I am using proper DMX cables. The original package I bought this all with is the Elation Stage Pak 1 Complete lighting system. The package includes:
1 x Stage Setter 8
2 x DP-415 4 channel DMX dimmer packs
2 x MC-25 xlr cables
I looked at the manual for the DP-415 in addition to the Stage Setter 8. I didn't find out how to reset the Stage Setter, and I confirmed that my DMX addresses are correct on my DP415s.
I finally found that if I turn everything on, with my Stage Setter faders ALL at 100%, the lights end up "warming up" and after a few minutes are on full. I have blackout capabilities only. If I unplug or turn off my Stage Setter console, the lights remain on. Weird. No dimming capabilities, but if I move any fader, the LCD screen's numbers change accordingly. 0-255, but nothing is happening to my lights.
Fortunately, my production is in a school setting so the lights' ability to remain on and black out will be acceptable. But I still will be sleuthing till I find a suitable answer, as we have another performance at the end of the month where full-on is NOT going to be acceptable.
As far as I know, the cables are reacting fine and I don't think they are bad. If I can get my hands on some digi XLR cables this week, I will test them to make sure that the current ones I have are working properly.
I will also be researching in to purchasing another console, perhaps from MusiciansFriend, to see if it's a console problem. I'm well versed in MF's return policy, so that may be a viable avenue to check the condition of the Stage Setter, before I send that in for servicing. Honestly, I'm hoping I have a completely (somehow) completely blown console, but I have a terrible feeling its flagrant user-ineptitude. Would it be best to try to acquire another Stage Setter 8, or would it be a decent idea to "upgrade" either the console or dimmer packs? We're doing fine channel-wise, and with 12 lights, for what we're doing, we don't have a direct NEED to upgrade. Of course, if that's what it takes then that's what it takes.
I guess the good news is that I'm certainly learning a LOT from this.
Thank you all (and by all so far, I mean James) for your help, I am so unbelievably grateful.
3 cheers for Elation tech support? I'm totally blown away.