In my previous post about cheap LED fixtures, I didn’t mention our Chauvet Q-Wash intelligent moving light LED fixtures. We bought four at a very discounted price to supplement our conventional movers. They weren’t bright enough to stand out in the stage wash, but they made nice little beams in the haze, and they could be used to “fill in” small dark spots on the stage or set pieces. As wash lights, they lack gobos or beam control, but they do have smooth color RGB mixing (most “real” wash lights do have some kind of beam width control). So far, you might be thinking that you should pick up a couple, so I should tell you now that they all stopped working within a year or so of installation. One died within a month or two, and after about six months of operation, we lost one every couple of months until they were all gone. The problem wasn’t the LEDs–it was the motors or control circuitry. We were using haze, which is known to shorten the lifespan of moving lights, but that’s the standard operating environment for concert lights! The fixtures were also permanently mounted above our stage, so they weren’t damaged during handling. They just quietly died on their own–well, except for the one that went insane and just started moving around on its own until we got up in the lift and unplugged it! Fortunately this didn’t happen during a performance, as the motors got very hot and might have started smoking or something. The moral of the story is that a low initial price doesn’t always save you money in the long run.