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Author Topic: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro  (Read 6052 times)

Nils Erickson

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2013, 04:07:14 am »

Interesting. I'm about to replace the powered boxes I have with RCF NX 12s on the "box-a-month" plan. I can't modify the box, I want to retain a warranty. I wish there was a way I could do this with True1, but how could I do that with 6 brand new original PowerCon wedges? I'm
Bummed that doesn't make sense.
Personally, I wouldn't worry about it too much.  If you build the True1 cables, you are going to need to make adapters.  Probably for quite a while, as lots of useful gear uses powercon now, including your wedges.  So, make a bunch of short cables with a True1 connector, and the blue powercon on the other side. 

The other major upside to the new connector is that they mate without an adapter.  The blue-grey powercon mate is $15 or so, to connect your cables together.  If you are using quad boxes, this is a little less of an issue, but you will still want some.  Another upside is that they are IP65 rated.

I am curious to see how quickly this connector is adopted by other manufacturers.  Personally, I have never had an issue with the non-breaking aspect of powercon.  I have hundreds of feet of this cable in my inventory, lots of devices that use it, and close to 30 quad boxes as well... I don't see myself changing it any time soon; it works great, and it will be some time before we start seeing this other connector in use.  The thought of having two systems to work with current inventory is not appealing at all, as you are seeing now...

I wish the new "outlet" connector they are making also fit in the "D" size hole like all of the other ones... that would make swapping them out eventually much easier.

Nils
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Geoff Doane

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2013, 10:37:13 am »


The only downside is that they are 16amps, not the full 20amps.

It's been pointed out that they are rated for 20A if the voltage is only 120 (not 230V).

However, the major downside, IMHO, is that virtually no commercial product uses the True1.  Maybe some day that will change, but it could turn out to be another Elcassette (if that reference makes no sense to you, Google it!)

With a bit of planning, the lack of mating between cable connectors is not a problem.  I've been using a PowerCon based stage distro system for over five years now, and don't even have any couplers.  On the rare occasion that I need to join two cables, I just use a quad box.  Cable kits consist of 1m, 5m and 15m cables (3, 15 and 50 ft. for the metric challenged), with a 38m run for FOH.  That works for me, as long as the distro is located at the stage.  I use my own PVC electrical boxes for the quads, but if I was doing it again, I'd spend a bit more for the OA Windsor quads.

All racks and all quad boxes have in and out connectors, so I can daisy chain around the stage.  My powered subs also have in and out connectors, so they integrate well with the stage power.

In my experience, the PowerCons have proven to be as reliable as the Hubbell Twist-Locks that preceded them.  With no exposed pins, bending them isn't a problem, and if something does get damaged (I've lost the odd spring and latch), you can do a field repair with nothing more than a crescent wrench (and a spare connector, which is worth far less than a new twist-lock).

My biggest complaint with them is that it's a very tough fit for 12/3 SOOW cable, but apparently, the True1 is worse in that regard (only 12mm instead of 15mm for the original).  Whirlwind and Digiflex have distro products out there using PowerCons, but they appear to be building them with 12/3 SJ00W cable, not S-type. 

Has anybody actually seen a True1 in the wild? (trade shows don't count  ;) )

GTD
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Steve M Smith

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2013, 12:01:07 pm »

It's been pointed out that they are rated for 20A if the voltage is only 120 (not 230V).

Current is current.  The voltage is irrelevant.


Steve.
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Geoff Doane

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2013, 01:37:41 pm »

Current is current.  The voltage is irrelevant.

Not if you're going to break that current, and the True1 is specified as a current breaking connector (CBC).  This is particularly true with switches.  Here are the specs from a couple I pulled at random from the parts bins:

C&K toggle switch: 2A @ 250 VAC, 5A @ 120 VAC

Miltac microswitch: 6A @ 250 VAC, 0.1A @ 125 VDC, 1/8 HP @ 125/250 VAC

The current varies all over the place, especially if you're switching DC.

GTD
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Nils Erickson

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2013, 02:25:33 pm »


However, the major downside, IMHO, is that virtually no commercial product uses the True1.  Maybe some day that will change, but it could turn out to be another Elcassette (if that reference makes no sense to you, Google it!)

In my experience, the PowerCons have proven to be as reliable as the Hubbell Twist-Locks that preceded them.  With no exposed pins, bending them isn't a problem, and if something does get damaged (I've lost the odd spring and latch), you can do a field repair with nothing more than a crescent wrench (and a spare connector, which is worth far less than a new twist-lock).

My biggest complaint with them is that it's a very tough fit for 12/3 SOOW cable, but apparently, the True1 is worse in that regard (only 12mm instead of 15mm for the original).  Whirlwind and Digiflex have distro products out there using PowerCons, but they appear to be building them with 12/3 SJ00W cable, not S-type. 

GTD

Totally agree with Geoff here.  Not sure how people will squeeze 12/3 SO into that connector, as it can be very tight on the current ones. 

FWIW, I did find a commercially available 12/3 SO powercon assembly (I said I hadn't seen one previously in this thread); you can custom order them from Motion Labs.  They also build distros with powercon outs.

As a curious side question here:  Why do you suppose these commercially available cable assemblies from Whirlwind and Digiflex use 12/3 SJ?

Cheers,
Nils
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Samuel Rees

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2013, 03:22:15 pm »

All original PowerCon cabling at the venues I've been at this week have been SJOOW (I've been looking :). One venue has a huge stock from
Clair Bros with Carol Cable 12/3 SJOOW.
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Rob Spence

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2013, 10:51:32 pm »

Hum and buzz are definitely issues when running my small PA around town, so that is an upside for me. I expect a central patch point for loads will simplify setup and add consistency to deploying my rig. The other benefit for my rig is that I'm about to replace all my powered boxes with ones that have powerCON, so it seems to make sense to move to a system based on that. More on that in my response to Mr. Cornish.

I definitely want to fully enclose it - I'm looking for suggestions on that issue. Looks like Mr. Cornish has linked me to something, I'll be looking into that for sure. That link was a quick google link to something where the faceplate just looked right. Speaking of the faceplate - fitting 16 plugs on one faceplate was based on Rob Spence's design in the PSW thread I linked. It looked like he managed it ok - were you thinking it'll be hard to wire on the back, or that the powerCON connectors will be too close for easy field use?

I definitely meant that, my mistake!

My first version used a pre punched 16 hole plate. As I wrote in the thread you linked, version 2 only had 12 holes as the connectors were too close with 16.

Also, starting with a rack box made it safer.

I found I never used 4 inputs for the rigs I would use wall power for. Three was plenty.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
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rob at lynxaudioservices dot com

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Steve M Smith

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #37 on: December 21, 2013, 06:34:19 am »

Not if you're going to break that current

Yes.  I didn't consider that.


Steve.
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Samuel Rees

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2014, 12:16:46 pm »

Checking back in on my PMD and related endeavors.

For the unit itself, I'm going with the premade product previously linked here. It is priced reasonably above the cost of parts, and seems to have a superior design to what I would by building with its solderless rear connections and PCB. Also, I can't mess it up. Until now I has never seen a device like this off the shelf, even with years of PMD threads.

Kirby Y and I have an order out for the RCF NX 12s from Mike Pyle - with whom we've had a superb experience. Thanks Mike! Also ordered some PowerCon quads from Ken @ OA Windsor, looking forward to getting them.

I've decided to go with leads of 12/3 SO/SEOOW to feed the PMD, and 12/3 SJOOW for everything else. Just picked up the SJ, I went with Southwire "Viper" 12/3 SJOOW. Bought a 250ft roll of it at Home Depot for $220. Found it online and picked up so no shipping. I was surprised because this was the best price I could find anywhere.  Many of their other cables seemed to be overpriced, the SJ by the foot was 30% more. I chose to use SJ for my cables between boxes, jumpers and etc because of significant weight and cost savings over SO/SE, and because the outer diameter actually fits in the spec for the PowerCon strain relief. I'm still looking at different models on the SE/SO, because all of it so far is over 15mm (the spec max OD on the PowerCon). Carol seems "close enough". Additionally, most all the stage PowerCon I've found at venues is Carol 12/3 SJOOW. PowerCon connectors from Parts Express.

Finally, a question. What connector should I put on the feeder cables? My first thought was to put a 5-20p and them build an adapter cable to 5-15p for when I have 15a plugs. My issue with that is that I'll be working with 15a only plugs plenty of time, I don't love the idea of a non-locking adapter in my main power chain for 40% of my gigs. Will the 5-15p plug from P&S actually have contacts rated to take 20amps from a 15r/20r  receptacle? That would be ideal - then I'd just get an adapter cable for the odd time I encounter a 20r ONLY, non combo plug. But using a 15p for a 20a circuit doesn't sound very code. Suggestions?


 
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: My build of a "poormans" PowerCON Distro
« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2014, 01:41:23 pm »


Finally, a question. What connector should I put on the feeder cables? My first thought was to put a 5-20p and them build an adapter cable to 5-15p for when I have 15a plugs. My issue with that is that I'll be working with 15a only plugs plenty of time, I don't love the idea of a non-locking adapter in my main power chain for 40% of my gigs. Will the 5-15p plug from P&S actually have contacts rated to take 20amps from a 15r/20r  receptacle? That would be ideal - then I'd just get an adapter cable for the odd time I encounter a 20r ONLY, non combo plug. But using a 15p for a 20a circuit doesn't sound very code. Suggestions?
Put 5-15P on your cables and 5-20Rs for Edison outs.  There is no current-carrying difference between the 5-15P and 5-20P - it's just one blade turned 90.  You're not going to get an ETL listing with a 5-15P to a device designed for 20A, but I doubt you're building a product for resale.  I've never heard of an inspector caring as long as the cabling is 12-ga.

By the way - there is not a 20A only non-locking 120 volt receptacle - the 5-20R accepts both 5-15P and 5-20P.  If you encounter anything else, BE VERY CAREFUL.  If the receptacle is weird, it's likely unreliable, illegal, or intended for a different purpose.  On a related note - many L5-20R receptacles are dimmed, and therefore unsuitable for general-purpose power.
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