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Author Topic: Shore Power?  (Read 1205 times)

Bill McKelvey

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Shore Power?
« on: July 27, 2017, 01:19:45 pm »

At one of the venues I work at is looking to install an outlet for the tour buss to plug into. What is the "standard" plug that would be used, if there is one?
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2017, 01:58:52 pm »

At one of the venues I work at is looking to install an outlet for the tour buss to plug into. What is the "standard" plug that would be used, if there is one?

I can't speak for all tour buses, but most RVs use a standard NEMA TT-30 receptacle for 125V 30A. Some larger RVs use NEMA 14-50 receptacle for 125/250V 50A (range receptacle). I imagine tour buses are really just fancy RVs with a name-you've-heard-of painted on the side. (And I've seen a few non-fancy RVs with name-you've-never-heard-of painted on the side, too.)

A panel like this would probably serve 99% of the buses and RVs that show up:

Home Depot: GE 1LU532SS 100 Amp 3-Space 3-Circuit 240-Volt Unmetered RV Outlet Box with 50/30/20 Amp GCFI Circuit Protected Receptacles

(There are other manufacturers, models, and distribution channels; I just posted the link above because it's something that Home Depot probably has in stock in the local store. The venue may have a standardized product line they use for electrical equipment; check with the facilities department or the electrical contractor that services the venue.)

« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 02:31:43 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2017, 02:11:46 pm »

A point of safety:

A shore power connection should have a disconnect switch (such as a circuit breaker) accessible adjacent to the plug connection. The plugs and receptacles are NOT rated for "make/break" connections with a load.

To prevent arcing (which can damage contacts in the receptacle and the prongs on the plug), the disconnect switch should be opened prior to making or breaking the plug connection.

When I put an RV plug in at my house (I don't have an RV, but sometimes family visits and drags one along), I place a label on the panel that says something to the effect of "To prevent arcing, turn switch OFF before connecting or disconnecting RV." No guarantee that they'll pay attention, but at least the instructions are right there.

I think that the "To prevent arcing" part is important. If people don't know the reason for a rule, they are less likely to abide by it.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2017, 02:13:40 pm »

The box Jonathan shows is exactly what was installed at our arena downtown.

It may be useful to install a couple of extra 50 amp fused disconnect switches for overflow or other uses... most coaches carry a set of :tails to 14-50R: for times when there is no outlet.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Ray Aberle

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2017, 02:23:30 pm »

At one of the venues I work at is looking to install an outlet for the tour buss to plug into. What is the "standard" plug that would be used, if there is one?
Something else to remember: Are they expecting only one bus(s?) at a time, or is there the possibility of a group coming in with 3, 4 or more vehicles?

As always, easier and cheaper to over-install now (based on expectations for X number of years) than to find yourself lacking and have to go back and retrofit more in...

-Ray
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Bill McKelvey

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2017, 04:04:04 pm »

Thanks for all the info everybody. I have given the information to "the powers that be" and will see what happens.
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Brian Adams

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 10:28:54 am »

The box Jonathan shows is exactly what was installed at our arena downtown.

It may be useful to install a couple of extra 50 amp fused disconnect switches for overflow or other uses... most coaches carry a set of :tails to 14-50R: for times when there is no outlet.

I just did a county fair this weekend, 7,000 people max for a typical country act, nothing too crazy but they did have an unusually large crew for this type of act. The venue had 6 standard 50A range plugs for bus power spaced along the bus parking area. One bus had its generator running, which surprised me since there's so much power available back there, so I stopped to count the buses and there were 7 buses for 2 acts. Well, 6 for the headliner and 1 for the opener. It was a tight fit in the lot that night.

I guess my point is that you're right, the OP might want to consider more than one shore power panel. I'd probably plan for at least 3, unless there's literally only one place you could possibly park a bus.
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Brian Adams
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 11:20:39 am »

I can't speak for all tour buses, but most RVs use a standard NEMA TT-30 receptacle for 125V 30A. Some larger RVs use NEMA 14-50 receptacle for 125/250V 50A (range receptacle). I imagine tour buses are really just fancy RVs with a name-you've-heard-of painted on the side. (And I've seen a few non-fancy RVs with name-you've-never-heard-of painted on the side, too.)

A panel like this would probably serve 99% of the buses and RVs that show up:


Exactly correct. That's what the RV guys call a Campsite Power Pedestal, and it's an industry standard. Just about all tour buss shore power will use the 50-amp/240-volt receptacle, but smaller ones will use the 30-amp/120-volt one. And the 20-amp/120-volt receptacle should have it's own GFCI in the box. Don't let them feed this panel with a 50-amp/240-volt GFCI breaker or you'll have a lot of random trips that won't make you any friends.

Bill McKelvey

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2017, 11:40:19 am »

I just did a county fair this weekend, 7,000 people max for a typical country act, nothing too crazy but they did have an unusually large crew for this type of act. The venue had 6 standard 50A range plugs for bus power spaced along the bus parking area. One bus had its generator running, which surprised me since there's so much power available back there, so I stopped to count the buses and there were 7 buses for 2 acts. Well, 6 for the headliner and 1 for the opener. It was a tight fit in the lot that night.

I guess my point is that you're right, the OP might want to consider more than one shore power panel. I'd probably plan for at least 3, unless there's literally only one place you could possibly park a bus.
There is only room for one bus with trailer.
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Brian Adams

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2017, 11:43:16 am »

There is only room for one bus with trailer.

If you're absolutely sure of that. Never underestimate an artist who is determined to get their bus as close to the building as possible and the lengths they'll go to in order to accomplish that.
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Brian Adams
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Bill McKelvey

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2017, 11:49:59 am »

If you're absolutely sure of that. Never underestimate an artist who is determined to get their bus as close to the building as possible and the lengths they'll go to in order to accomplish that.
There are eight parking spots behind the theater. To park the bus all the cars must move so the bus can pull across all of the spots. If you try to park two busses side by side it blocks the road and makes the local police unhappy.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2017, 12:38:29 pm »

There are eight parking spots behind the theater. To park the bus all the cars must move so the bus can pull across all of the spots. If you try to park two busses side by side it blocks the road and makes the local police unhappy.

What if the act is a favorite of the local police/fire marshal (nod nod wink wink)?

What if they drive off the road and park on the sidewalk/flowerbeds?

What if they have a permit to block the road? How many buses can be parked end-to-end along the road?

Consider all contingencies.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 12:40:38 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Bill McKelvey

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2017, 01:04:15 pm »

What if the act is a favorite of the local police/fire marshal (nod nod wink wink)?
Free tickets for police/Fire, tickets for improper parking to bus.

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What if they drive off the road and park on the sidewalk/flowerbeds?
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Improper parking ticket

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What if they have a permit to block the road?
No gonna happen.

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How many buses can be parked end-to-end along the road?
Maybe 14 or 15

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Consider all contingencies.
I'm sure they are thing about it.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2017, 01:12:21 pm »

If you're absolutely sure of that. Never underestimate an artist who is determined to get their bus as close to the building as possible and the lengths they'll go to in order to accomplish that.

We just did a show where the artist had to have his own private "warm up" trailer for his voice in addition to the tour bus. The warm up trailer needed its own 30-amp shore power outlet for the air conditioner and vanity lights. How come I don't get a warm up trailer or chill out trailer or even a pop up tent?

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2017, 01:29:05 pm »

We just did a show where the artist had to have his own private "warm up" trailer for his voice in addition to the tour bus. The warm up trailer needed its own 30-amp shore power outlet for the air conditioner and vanity lights. How come I don't get a warm up trailer or chill out trailer or even a pop up tent?

Because you're not an Artiste.

I carry my own, personal popup tent now.  After watching another company owner take an overnight stay in hospital from heat exhaustion from being in direct sun on a relatively moderate day (high 80's F.), Homey don't play dat.  No place for me to get out of the sun?  I brought my own... and if I can't set it up I'll pack my toys and be off-site in 30 minutes.  I'm too damn old to die for some else's good time.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 01:31:56 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Mike Sokol

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2017, 01:35:51 pm »

I carry my own, personal popup tent now. 

Yeah, I bring my own 10 x 10 popup tent and a lounge chair as well. Plus we take a 6 ft production table with a battery brick for my iPad, iPhone, sunblock, etc... I'm also thinking about getting one of those battery powered misting fans that sits in a 5 gallon bucket of ice water.

I'm getting too soft for this...

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2017, 02:01:22 pm »

Yeah, I bring my own 10 x 10 popup tent and a lounge chair as well. Plus we take a 6 ft production table with a battery brick for my iPad, iPhone, sunblock, etc... I'm also thinking about getting one of those battery powered misting fans that sits in a 5 gallon bucket of ice water.

I'm getting too soft for this...

You're not getting too soft, you're getting smarter, Professor.

A little rant:  When I started in live production over 35 years ago the almost last thing I thought about was health - my own or my crew.  We were young and invincible.  Then a few years later it turned out my co-manager developed adult onset diabetes (type II?)  My mindset began to change.

Now I devote a lot of time and attention to keeping my crews healthy - food, shelter, hydration.  I consider those to be important things an employer or supervisor does, and in our industry it's not like I can call a temp labor service and replace a monitor mixing person, moving light programmer or stage carpenter if someone falls out due to environmental or work conditions.

In our industry there is still this gung-ho mentality that is admirable in many respects, but when it compromises the health and safety of the guys and gals doing the work, it has to be dialed back a few notches so we can each go home without a trip to the EMTs or hospital.

The incident I mentioned above happened this past weekend.  We were supplying a wedge monitor rig for a festival where the primary production company needed a specific product so my day was relatively easy - or at least it started that way.  When the Guy In Charge took his heat dive before 2pm, everything changed and suddenly I'm helping out with logistical issues that weren't part of my gig, wiring and patching stuff because the guy who was doing that had to move up the organizational chart and replace his boss.  Glad to help out and keep the co-headline ME happy.

Keeping people healthy and working is much better than replacing people because the affected person was just loaded into an ambulance... just sayin'.  So no, telling me I can't set up shade for me or my people will get me, the crew and gear off site so fast you won't see the dust trail.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Mike Sokol

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2017, 02:50:35 pm »

You're not getting too soft, you're getting smarter, Professor.

I'm putting one of these on my want-it list. You can't do your best work at a gig if you're suffering from the heat.

Mike Sokol

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2017, 02:57:10 pm »

I think the topic of crew comfort and (non-power) safety is an important one, but it really doesn't belong on the AC Power & Grounding forum. It could cover topics like misting fans, pop up tents, hydration, first aid kits, battery bricks for cell phone charging, etc.

Which forum should it go on?

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2017, 03:22:37 pm »

I think the topic of crew comfort and (non-power) safety is an important one, but it really doesn't belong on the AC Power & Grounding forum. It could cover topics like misting fans, pop up tents, hydration, first aid kits, battery bricks for cell phone charging, etc.

Which forum should it go on?

Safey has no dedicated place here and IMNSO I think that's the right approach.  Why?  Because safety is (or should be) an integral part of ALL production tasks.  There are few industries where potential harm can come from as many non-obvious places as in event production or theatre.  Industrial safety awareness has greatly improved over the years and in most industrial settings the safety is getting baked into the design of equipment (like proper ESG bonding - as consumers we don't usually think about it unless it fails - see phone charger electrocution thread) so workers are often unaware of the efforts before they even see the machine.

While I understand your desire to moderate discussions to keep them on track with the original topic, I think it's important to hammer away at the safety aspects of what we do, especially since these things happen to US, as individuals, as well as our crews and the crews of other folks involved in production.

"tis a puzzlement" - King of Siam
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 03:25:26 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Josh Rawls

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2017, 04:44:51 pm »

I'm putting one of these on my want-it list. You can't do your best work at a gig if you're suffering from the heat.

I have a few of those. The mist they put out is pretty heavy, even on the low setting. Anything it is pointed at will have moisture accumulate on it even on the hottest days.
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Shore Power?
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2017, 07:16:51 pm »

I think the topic of crew comfort and (non-power) safety is an important one, but it really doesn't belong on the AC Power & Grounding forum. It could cover topics like misting fans, pop up tents, hydration, first aid kits, battery bricks for cell phone charging, etc.

Which forum should it go on?

If there was to be a sub-forum developed, I think that the general description of "production" would be suitable.  I agree that safety discussions are important in just about all of the areas of the forum. I respectfully suggest that the regular readers of AC Power and grounding probably have a keener interest in safety than the folks who never read these posts.
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