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Author Topic: Suggested Distro and plugs  (Read 2712 times)

Tom Provenza

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 04:48:42 am »

Hi Frank. What I dont understand is why does Motion Labs makes more distros with default inlets of L21-30s rather than L14-30s. I also plan to make my own 5-15 to L-14-30s and 5-20 to L14-30s.


Because most users of their equipment are larger operators that will be using them in a 3 phase environment, and in most cases these products with twistlock inputs are secondary distribution to much larger distros fed by single pole devices (cam).
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Tom Provenza

TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2017, 08:53:51 am »

Hi Tom. I have read your page several times in the past and have bookmarked it. Thank you for your articles as it explains everything in detail, kinda like a dummies book for me to be honest.

Anyway I like your suggestion to just stick to a 50A CS inlet in your page. However, the breakout L14-20s might be short for what I will be doing 6-%-70% of the time. I do EDM shows and most likely will use about 1/3 power amp ratings so looking at the amp's power draw specs, I might run into 25amps on 230v so I think I will keep the L14-30s just so I am ready. I carry Void Acoustics.
If your distro is in your amp rack there's no reason not to use L14-30s, but I HIGHLY doubt you're actually running at 1/3 power levels unless you're running at 2Ω.  Sustained tones turn your loudspeaker drivers into toasters.  A driver rated at 2000 watts program is probably only capable of a couple hundred watts of very low crest factor content.

Either L14-20 or L14-30 are significantly more desirable than your original idea of L5-30.  L5-30 is 3600 watts; L14-20 is 4160 watts (at 208 volts), L14-30 is 6240 watts (at 208v). 
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Frank Koenig

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 12:50:05 pm »

Because most users of their equipment are larger operators that will be using them in a 3 phase environment, and in most cases these products with twistlock inputs are secondary distribution to much larger distros fed by single pole devices (cam).

Exactly this. I'm kind of meso-scale wannabe and don't see three-phase much. In fact, I'm often running from two 120 V, 20 A branch circuits, one for me and one for the band. Thanks to efficient amps and speakers, that can still make a fair amount of noise and I have yet to trip a breaker.

I got started on L-14-30 as it seemed like enough to power an entire small event. A local rental and production company has had that size for their amp rack inlets for a long time, which reinforced my decision and led to my (maybe exaggerated) comment that it is popular.

TJ's approach of L-14-20 makes a lot of sense, and if I were doing it over I would seriously consider it. Having a distro with a 50 A inlet and and short adapter to allow running from 30 A and a bunch of lighter 30 A cable would be a good setup for me.

Running amps from 208/240 V, when available, would be nice, but I don't think there is a huge advantage. If you have multiple amps running at 120 V and balance them it will be close, especially if they are amplifying correlated signals.

I guess it comes down to what power sources you typically encounter (or can get installed), how much average power you really need at each rack, how much flexibility you need, and how sensitive you are to weight and size. Many ways to skin this cat, and I appreciate all of your observations.

--Frank
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2017, 01:20:03 pm »

Exactly this. I'm kind of meso-scale wannabe and don't see three-phase much. In fact, I'm often running from two 120 V, 20 A branch circuits, one for me and one for the band. Thanks to efficient amps and speakers, that can still make a fair amount of noise and I have yet to trip a breaker.

I got started on L-14-30 as it seemed like enough to power an entire small event. A local rental and production company has had that size for their amp rack inlets for a long time, which reinforced my decision and led to my (maybe exaggerated) comment that it is popular.

TJ's approach of L-14-20 makes a lot of sense, and if I were doing it over I would seriously consider it. Having a distro with a 50 A inlet and and short adapter to allow running from 30 A and a bunch of lighter 30 A cable would be a good setup for me.

Running amps from 208/240 V, when available, would be nice, but I don't think there is a huge advantage. If you have multiple amps running at 120 V and balance them it will be close, especially if they are amplifying correlated signals.

I guess it comes down to what power sources you typically encounter (or can get installed), how much average power you really need at each rack, how much flexibility you need, and how sensitive you are to weight and size. Many ways to skin this cat, and I appreciate all of your observations.

--Frank
Frank, I think there are reasons to do L14-30, L21-30, and L14-20, depending on what gear you are driving.  The larger company that I partner with is a Nexo shop, and their amps use 30A Powercons which fits well with the L14-30 standard.  The smaller company I partner with is, like me, a JBL shop and JBL's amp racks (which I don't own; I use my own amp rack design) are based around L21-30.

I can see the appeal of standardized cabling - if your amp racks need L21-30, having your stage boxes using this same system makes sense, however 8/5 SOOW cable is really huge, and not that many devices actually need 30A other than amp racks.  For that matter, 30A may not be the right breakdown size for amp racks either, depending on how many amps are in each rack and what the draw is.

Other than amp racks I own nothing that can use a circuit larger than 20A, and therefore everything requires 20A branch breakers downstream of the 30A distribution, adding significant expense, size, and failure points (Why isn't that circuit working?  Oh, somebody bumped the breaker...).

As to being able to switch between 120 and 208/240 volts, Powercon gives some options.  Powercon is listed for either 120 or 208/240 volts, so a cable with an L14-20P male end to a blue Powercon (quasi-female I guess) is acceptable, and easy to swap out for a conventional 120v Edison to Powercon cable.  My amp racks have Powercon "poor-man's distros" in them so I can easily change the number of power amps fed from each circuit, and I can feed the whole arrangement with either voltage by changing input cables.
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Rob Spence

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2017, 02:37:45 pm »

I have a rack pac in my A rig amp rack. L14-30 input and 4 20a circuits. I have the amps for the tops and the dsp on one side of the line and the sub amp on the other side.

The rack, when using subs, is always fed by my distro which has a 50a CS input. I have a 14-50 to CS short cable adapter if needed.

Without subs I can feed the rack from a single 20a circuit


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Josh Evangelista

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2017, 03:11:42 pm »

If your distro is in your amp rack there's no reason not to use L14-30s, but I HIGHLY doubt you're actually running at 1/3 power levels unless you're running at 2Ω.  Sustained tones turn your loudspeaker drivers into toasters.  A driver rated at 2000 watts program is probably only capable of a couple hundred watts of very low crest factor content.

Either L14-20 or L14-30 are significantly more desirable than your original idea of L5-30.  L5-30 is 3600 watts; L14-20 is 4160 watts (at 208 volts), L14-30 is 6240 watts (at 208v).

I intend to put the distro on a separate 3 space rack that I can place on top of my amp rack for bigger shows. I dont get hired for really big shows at the moment as I am a startup. However, my biggest rig runs as a 4 way system, which means I have an upper bass subwoofer that has four 12" drivers per cab. It requires two amp channels per cab, with each channel needing 2000 watts rms at 4ohms. At the moment, I only have a single Powersoft K20 to power a pair of these cabs, which means I need to share one amp channel per cabinet, which equates to running each cabinet at 2ohms.

I think ill shoot for the L14-30. Can I create a distro with one 50amp CS inlet to four L14-30s, with each outlet powering a single powersoft amp? What do you think of those 32amp powercons? Can that replace an l14-30 as outlet?
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2017, 03:40:59 pm »

I intend to put the distro on a separate 3 space rack that I can place on top of my amp rack for bigger shows. I dont get hired for really big shows at the moment as I am a startup. However, my biggest rig runs as a 4 way system, which means I have an upper bass subwoofer that has four 12" drivers per cab. It requires two amp channels per cab, with each channel needing 2000 watts rms at 4ohms. At the moment, I only have a single Powersoft K20 to power a pair of these cabs, which means I need to share one amp channel per cabinet, which equates to running each cabinet at 2ohms.
If you're currently doing this from a 20A 120v circuit, then you're nowhere near 1/3 power.  1/3 power is basically constant clip lights.  Not even the almighty Void can handle that at rated power for sustained periods without driver death.  In addition to causing severe damage to your speakers, 1/3 power sounds like crap - huge amounts of distortion.  If you really are running at 1/3 power you shouldn't be - you need much more rig for your gig.

I think ill shoot for the L14-30. Can I create a distro with one 50amp CS inlet to four L14-30s, with each outlet powering a single powersoft amp? What do you think of those 32amp powercons? Can that replace an l14-30 as outlet?
One 50A CS to 4 L14-30s is probably fine.  Whirlwind (and probably MotionLabs) can do 32A Powercons for output devices (not sure if 4 fit in 3U or not) and if you're sure you'll never need 120v that's fine.  L14-20 or L14-30 gives you potentially more flexibility by having both voltages available.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 04:28:48 pm by TJ (Tom) Cornish »
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Josh Evangelista

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2017, 04:34:42 pm »

If you're currently doing this from a 20A 120v circuit, then you're nowhere near 1/3 power.  1/3 power is basically constant clip lights.  Not even the almighty Void can handle that at rated power for sustained periods without driver death.  In addition to causing severe damage to your speakers, 1/3 power sounds like crap - huge amounts of distortion.  If you really are running at 1/3 power you shouldn't be - you need much more rig for your gig.
One 50A CS to 4 L14-30s is probably fine.  Whirlwind (and probably MotionLabs) can do 32A Powercons for output devices (not sure if 4 fit in 3U or not) and if you're sure you'll never need 120v that's fine.  L14-20 gives you potentially more flexibility by having both voltages available.

Obviously I cant run these cabs off a regular 15amp edison outlet. I only take these out for big shows, which will require me to bring out a distro. If I ever need to put the out for a smaller show, I have edison adapters and will have to program the amp draw to whatever the max amp the power outlet provides, which is a nice feature of powersoft amps.

Thank you. I'll stick with the L14-30s. The guys over at the ampshop suggested two 50A CS inlets on a distro. Not sure if thats good
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2017, 04:38:42 pm »

Obviously I cant run these cabs off a regular 15amp edison outlet. I only take these out for big shows, which will require me to bring out a distro. If I ever need to put the out for a smaller show, I have edison adapters and will have to program the amp draw to whatever the max amp the power outlet provides, which is a nice feature of powersoft amps.

Thank you. I'll stick with the L14-30s. The guys over at the ampshop suggested two 50A CS inlets on a distro. Not sure if thats good
I would not recommend Ampshop.  They are not a listed manufacturer, which means their products are technically not up to code.  There are also a number of forum posts about questionable work from them (disclaimer - I have had no personal dealings with this company, but a forum search will bring up those posts).  You should really spend the money and get a product from a reputable shop.

You can't have two inlets on a distro unless it's effectively two distros in the same box - each inlet going to a different group of outlets.  If that's the case, I'd rather have two separate units that could be used in different racks.
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Tim Hite

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Re: Suggested Distro and plugs
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2017, 06:14:42 pm »

Obviously. . .The guys over at the ampshop suggested two 50A CS inlets on a distro. Not sure if thats good

Something that is really useful and a distro is CS50 pass through. We have several 'mobile band shell' stages in the area that need the CS50 for their lights, etc and have no pass through. Being able to pass through our distro is nice. Plenty of places with just one CS50 outlet.

These stages also have 10kW generators built-it and I can snag power from that and pass through to the stage, as well.

Not ideal, but it gets the job done.

Other useful things on your rack distro is facility for stage power stringers and a 110v courtesy outlet on the front.

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