Tech Gadgets in the Chapel

Some discussions just don't fit into a well defined box. Use this forum to discuss general topics and issues revolving around the Church and the technology offerings we use and share.
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garylm-p40
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Need Manuals or Training for Some Gadgets

Postby garylm-p40 » Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:53 pm

After our building was recently remodeled, including the addition of a new A/V system, we started to notice some funny things. For example: sometimes the sound from the Primary room would be piped into the Relief Society room.

We fiddled around with the rotary dial in the back of the Primary room and found that what we had thought to be the minimum attenuation setting on a potentiometer was actually a switch setting for piping sound out of the Primary room. All of the other detent positions on the switch were hard-wired for certain attenuation levels, giving the impression that we were dealing with a potentiometer.

After that discovery I embarked on an exploration of the remodeled building and found several more surprises, including a never-before-used sound mixer panel for the multipurpose room, hidden in the dark recesses of the meetinghouse library. But I never found any schematics or manuals.

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Postby rmrichesjr » Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:21 pm

Based on what I saw in 2004 during an update at a stake center, the rotary control is probably a shaft encoder, and it tells the DSP what gain/attenuation to do. I would be pretty confident the behavior of sending Primary room sound to the Relief Society room is not intended and should be fixed, probably by replacing one or more of the DSP units. At least in 2004, the contractor (usually General Comminications) gave the Church a one-year warrantee, so any defects reported within that time would be fixed at contractor expense. The installer I worked with said they have had real reliability problems with the Ivie DSP units, and our stake center had one defective unit that had to be replaced before final tuning.

I would recommend reporting it (through your FM group) as a defect to be repaired under warrantee.

The contractor should have a DVD to train local folks how to operate the sound system. It is supposed to be given to the local units, but sometimes the FM group "forgets" to pass the DVD along. If you did not get the DVD, I would recommend bugging your FM group into coughing it up. Worst case, provided General Communications did your installation, you _might_ be able to buy a copy from them. I think they are headquarted in or near Bountiful, Utah. I may still have an address or other contact info if you need.

The unused mixer panel for the multi-purpose room sounds interesting. Is it old or new? If you could describe it, somebody here (maybe me) may be able to tell you more about it. However, unless it's part of the new system, chances are it's disconnected and of no further use in the building.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:56 pm

garylm wrote:We fiddled around with the rotary dial in the back of the Primary room and found that what we had thought to be the minimum attenuation setting on a potentiometer was actually a switch setting for piping sound out of the Primary room.


Sounds like a bug. All the installs I've seen, any switch is set up to select what that room hears, not where it sends to. So if you said the control allows the primary to hear the RS, that would be a possibility. But to have Primary force the audio onto the RS, that's not right. I would report that.

As for the mixer, either you've found the equipment rack, or you've found the remote control for the mixer. If it's the remote, it's a small box a little less then half the width of a laptop, with a sloped panel, 4 channels and a "master" control and a switch marked something like "voice-matic/manual". It has a single strange plug on the cable. No power connections. Depending on the vintage of your sound system, it may or may not be usable. I used to be able to use it on our chapel system, but not since the last renovation. I think I can still use it in the cultural hall, but that system hasn't been updated in several years.

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:23 pm

The equipment rack is usually stored in a seperate closet that only the FM and Stake Tech has a key to. So if you stumpled upon that closet unlocked you might want to notify the Stake Tech. (Especially since little kids had a way of getting into everything and anywhere)
- David

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Postby russellhltn » Tue May 01, 2007 3:42 am

thedqs wrote:The equipment rack is usually stored in a seperate closet that only the FM and Stake Tech has a key to.


Really? The Stake Tech gets a key? The rack at our place has these signs "Russell keep out". :D

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Tue May 01, 2007 5:22 am

Hmm, ours was Rob (the tech specialist) come fix this, the FM group broke it again. :D
- David

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Interest in circuit for nearly-invisible choir mikes?

Postby rmrichesjr » Sun May 06, 2007 4:52 pm

Would anyone be interested in a schematic and description for a nearly-invisible choir microphone (or tie-clip microphone)? It's not much more complex than the one I posted for going from line or headphone level to mike level.

The design uses a small electret condenser mike element, an audio isolation transformer, a couple of Rs and Cs, and a wall wart (to power the FET in the mike element). Some years ago, a youth choir was singing at stake conference, and the choir director asked for mikes. With this design, the mikes were much less vislble than with conventional metal poles and booms. I used the motorized projection screen to lift a brown-colored string, the mike element, and a thin coax cable to put the mike element above and a little in front of the choir.

Anybody want the schematic and description?

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Postby russellhltn » Sun May 06, 2007 7:13 pm

I'd be interested in it for the intellectual exercise, but microphones are one area that I prefer to buy quality pre-built ones. The elements you buy at the parts store just aren't in the same league. If you're using a good-grade of sound board, it probably will have the ability to "phantom power" the mics. Otherwise, I'm sure there must be commercial adapters for that. (Ones that don't require isolation transformers.)

At the request of the stake president, we have our mics permanently installed in the loft. :cool:

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Postby rmrichesjr » Mon May 07, 2007 4:59 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I'd be interested in it for the intellectual exercise, but microphones are one area that I prefer to buy quality pre-built ones. The elements you buy at the parts store just aren't in the same league. If you're using a good-grade of sound board, it probably will have the ability to "phantom power" the mics. Otherwise, I'm sure there must be commercial adapters for that. (Ones that don't require isolation transformers.)

At the request of the stake president, we have our mics permanently installed in the loft. :cool:


Quality pre-built mics do have advantages. The elements from the parts store sound a bit bright due to the textbook resonance of the diaphram boosting above about 5-10kHz by a few dB. Most Church building speaker systems roll off a little on the upper end, so the brightness of the mics is as likely to be an advantage. For boosting a small youth choir during stake conference so people in the cultural hall can hear the choir, very few people are going to hear a difference. The parts store elements have the advantages of minimal cost, small size (to help be nearly invisible), and adaptibility (stuck on perfboard 15 feet up on a string and RG-174 coax or hung from a piece of RG-174).

The attached schematic is actually for an 8-way box I built for overhead miking Saturday's Warrior. If I remember correctly, any configuration other than the mic element grounded and the transformer on the high side picked up buzz. The transformer keeps the mic's DC flow out of the PA system. I think I had tried a few configurations with op amps, but this simple configuration worked best. I found essentially no noise pickup with the mic element on 30 feet of RG-174 away from the box containing this circuit. One thing you don't want to do though, is plug or unplug the mic elements themselves while the system is live. The 1mA DC feed to the mic element makes for a rather loud pop.
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danbaker-p40
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Postby danbaker-p40 » Mon May 07, 2007 7:21 pm

Reading of tech gadgets, and the difficulty in finding a nearby power outlet, brings the following to mind:

A while back I home taught newlyweds Josh and Layne; Josh was bound for medical school. He related an event about his mission that changed his whole perception of it.

As a missionary, Josh was attending Sacrament meeting in a chapel in a poor area of Guatemala. It was hot; he was feeling dejected - the work had been difficult. He watched as a nearby Guatemalan woman dressed in her finery fanned herself. He noticed the pedestal fan oscillating in the corner of the room, it did not do much to cool the room. Josh thought, "the contributions of the members here probably don't even pay for the electricity to run that fan." His eyes traveled down the pedestal to the base of the fan, from the base to the line cord, and down the line cord to the power plug.

The plug was sitting on the floor.

The fan, though operating, was not plugged in.

From that time forward Josh knew whose work it was.


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