V3 T4 and T2 support

Let me preface the explanation that this isn’t a complaint, and I understand the direction of dropping support. However, I do want to provide some suggestions & possible solutions as this direction is turning some of our consoles into oversized paper weights. :blush:

In the venue that I operate, I have both an L5 & T4. The T4 was becoming increasingly undependable as it got slower with software revisions, and unexplainable crashes. We purchased the L5 to replace it, but I kept it for redundancy as well as occasional offsite events. In an offsite scenario where I rely on it, I always run tracking backup. I disassembled the T4 down to the chassis, replaced the hard drive with an SSD, thoroughly cleaned every portion of it, and re-iso’ed it. It looks as new as the day we bought it. The Wacom screen, pen, faders, and all buttons work flawlessly. To date, it has worked perfectly as a tracking backup to the L5. If I unplug the network cable from the L5 it fails over to the T4 and I have the same number of faders, buttons, and an identical layout to continue right where I left off.

With the introduction of v3, this old, but very functional console can’t provide the redundancy that I need it to anymore. My understanding is that I won’t be able to use it for tracking backup as soon as I update the L5 to v3. Once my shows are v3, I also won’t be able to export them and use them on the latest v2 revision on the T4; as I’ve read v2 shows won’t work on v3. Again, this scenario doesn’t allow the T4 to provide any kind of backup or redundancy in the case of the L5 failing.

On to the suggestions! Could you guys please come up with a solution (even if we have to purchase some new piece of hardware) that would allow the T4 (and T2) consoles to be treated as a USB console? If it functioned like the S1 or S3, even without the Wacom feature, it would provide a fantastic wing with all its faders, buttons, encoders, and playbacks. Even if I had to provide a standalone PC/laptop I would be thrilled to be able to use it in this capacity (on v3). I’m guessing the Windows update for this console is completely out of the question due to the age of the hardware; which would likely mean lack of driver support. If that’s the case, would there be any type of option to replace the hardware in it (similar to the discussions we’ve heard about the i3) to make it Windows install friendly? There’s so many T4 & T2’s out there floating around that would take advantage of this!

If these ideas just aren’t feasible, could you at least incorporate a “save as” or “export as” feature that allows exporting to a v2 capable file? I understand that some features wouldn’t work or might be missing, but in a redundancy situation, it’s better than nothing! Most major softwares allow the ability to save for an older version (e.g. Sketchup, WYSIWYG, Excel, Word, etc.) I understand that it’s not necessarily comparing apple to apples in terms of coding & development, but this would be a huge win for those of us having to move from hardware to hardware with our show files.

I’m sure you guys have talked through most (if not all) of these scenarios and solutions. There’s users out there much more fluent in Vista than I, who probably have even better thoughts. Hopefully this can start some civil discussion. There’s usually good logic behind the decisions that are made. I appreciate any thought and consideration of this information. At the absolute very least, a trade-in credit for these retiring consoles would be a great incentive to move on.

And how is T4 arranged inside? On my I3 (2009), I’ve replaced everything related to the system: motherboard, hard drive, RAM, power supply. Then installed Windows 10 and Vista V3. Can’t you do that on T4?

The old T series consoles use a propriety serial connection for the front panel faders and buttons not a plug and play usb like the I3.

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Hey Peter, thanks for the response. Could a conversion cable (or piece of hardware) be made & sold that could covert the serial connection to USB? Wouldn’t it make so much sense to bypass the internal computer hardware, that could proceed unsupported, to allow the use of so many faders, encoders, buttons, and playbacks that will be useless to us now?

Hi Kevin,
I work on the software side of things so can’t really comment on what would be required to make such a cable or if it would even be possible, but if it were i suspect it wouldn’t be worth taking R&D time away from making future consoles to replace aging hardware like the T series. I understand where you’re coming from but the general understanding from people who make and own lighting consoles from any manufacturer that over a decade (the T series is now 14 years old) is a pretty good run for a console. It also becomes a support nightmare to keep supporting old hardware.

This was something I had explored long ago and it was determined that even to just try to attempt something there would be thousands of dollars in parts and dozens of man hours just to try it. In the end what Peter said is right and parts are going to be slim pickings since they are no longer available from the manufacturer.

To be honest, I would hate to watch someone spend over $5k in parts to attempt a mod only to have a completely unavailable part go bad and cause the whole endeavor to be a waste.

Hey @ben.coleman & @peter.rubie,
Thanks for the insight. I understand it seems complete abandonment of these consoles seems imminent. So, is there any possibility for a trade-in program? I see companies, like Yamaha, have made this a common practice for their audio consoles. It would make it so much easier to justify ditching the console to make the investment in the new generation of hardware.