Microstar II Lighting Control Card for IIe

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Microstar II Lighting Control Card for IIe

OK Apple IIe fans who also do theatre production, listen up! What you’re looking at is a barely used “Microstar II” stage lighting dimmer control card for the Apple IIe. This is not a dimmer--it provides 16 standard analog 0-10vdc control signals to drive your dimmer packs (not included) which have analog inputs. This will not drive DMX or LMX dimmers directly(see below). Put it in an expansion slot, boot up the included software on 5.25” floppy, and you have a theatrical memory lighting control console better than most low-end memory systems available today! A 5.25” floppy will hold up to 250 cues. This commercial product is as close to bullet-proof as one can get; the Microstar system has been proven in over 35 years of use in educational and community theatres across the country. Simple to run but capable of all standard theatrical console functions including: point cues, looped cues, insert cues, save cues to disk, load cues from disk, blind edit, single or split crossfade times, name cue, format disk, stage(live)/blind, copy cue, & copy disk.

 

It does not have submasters or a softpatch function--channel 1 will be dimmer 1, etc. With the Apple IIe’s video monitor showing all channel levels, fade times, present/next cue, cue list, and menu’s, this console is far superior to any two-scene preset or memory system having dinky one or two-line LCD readouts or none at all. See the actual screen shots for a better idea of what this can do. The instruction manual and diagnostic routines are also on the included software floppy disk. 

 

This card will control 16 channels of standard analog (0-10vdc) dimming; up to 6 cards (96 channels) can be used in an Apple IIe. Output connector is a DB25F which fits the Apple IIe rear-panel cutouts. Custom control cables are available at additional cost. To drive DMX or NSI-microplex type dimmers, an analog-to-digital encoder is necessary. Use “Ask a question” if you need more info about this. Microstar can be paralleled with most existing analog control consoles so you can also have full manual control of your dimmers and be able to set up a scene which can then be recorded into Microstar’s memory--all detailed in the very well-written instruction manual. You must have an Apple IIe (model with integral keypad is nice to have), 5.25” floppy drive (required); a printer will allow you to print out all cue information but is not necessary.  This product is a perfect cost-effective way to add simple-to-use memory control to existing analog dimming systems where the dimmers are working fine but a control console upgrade or replacement is needed. Complete turnkey setups adapted to specific dimming systems are available. NOTE: Apple IIe computer and actual dimmers are NOT included. You get one 16-channel control card, DB25 ribbon cable, 5.25” software floppy, instruction manual via PDF download, and 90 day warranty.  Picture is a stock photo. Flat rate insured Priority Mail shipping of $9.95 to US states only.  

https://www.ebay.com/itm/294280444701?hash=item44847b3b1d:g:8VIAAOSwCdVe88Xq

 

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Microstar II for Apple IIe Historical Note
Above is an ad from Theatre Crafts magazine August/September 1983 showing  the Microstar memory lighting system for the IIe.

Also note the manual crossfader built into a retrofit IIe lid. West Star made two or three versions as they refined the card, ending up with the Microstar II as the final version.

They also sold a manual crossfader built into a separate desktop sloped enclosure. 

The software was freely distributed on 5.25 floppy which contained a diagnostic program, the instruction manual, and the actual lighting program compolete with disk duplication routine using either one or two drives. 

West Star also made "ProStar" which was a similar system for the IBM PC. This had enhanced capabilities vs. MicroStar: 48 vs. 16 channel cards, 120 vs. 96 channel capacity, softpatching of dimmer, AB & XY crossfaders, and proportional submasters. Both ProStar and MicroStar were thousands of dollars less than memory consoles from the big names in stage lighting at the time like Kliegl, Electro Controls, and Colortran.

 

 

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