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Author Topic: Lighting patch-panel setup  (Read 3418 times)

Craig Hauber

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Lighting patch-panel setup
« on: April 15, 2010, 07:22:06 PM »

I'm consulting on a cabaret-type "trendy" nightclub and was wondering about lighting system wiring infrastructure.

This is a new-build and I'm working with the electricians and architect on a design for them but they don't know this type of gear so they've looked to me as the A/V installer for advise.  Falling back on memories from my small theater TD experience I'm thinking of nema-box raceway type enclosure on the wall with 40-or-so pigtails hanging out of the bottom of it that you can patch into a portable dimmer outlet or any number of non-dim standard 20A circuits in the wall below it.  From the patch box the wiring would be all conduit thru the walls, ceiling and floor to standard lighting positions with pipes.  (As the low-voltage contractor I'm putting in all the dmx and network to all positions too)

Is something like this code legal?  Can it be done with 5-15 edison cord ends or do you have to have a standard hot pin-patch like in larger theaters?

What code section deals with all this so I can point the electrical contractor in the right direction.  I am dealing with pro commercial-grade contractors but they've never done theater-type lighting before.  We're about to bring in a lighting designer  for the actual fixtures and controls but I want to have a versatile wiring setup in before the drywall gets closed up.

-Stage area during interior demo phase:
index.php/fa/29495/0/
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Craig Hauber
CSA Productions Inc.
Ventura-Santa Barbara CA
www.csaproductionsinc.com

Matthew Haber

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Re: Lighting patch-panel setup
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2010, 07:48:05 PM »

If you are going to be using them with dimmers other than cheapy Chauvets, I would put stage pins (2P&G) connectors on the tails and corresponding connectors on the non-dims. I would then just get a bunch of stage pin > 5-15 and stage pin > L5-15 to let people connect movers and other intelligent gear on the other end. As far as code goes, I have seen many theatres with stage pin patch panels but I can't guarantee that it is legit. What types of dimmers do you expect to purchase/rent/see with touring acts. Will you have a company switch for dimmers that you bring in?
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Craig Leerman

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Re: Lighting patch-panel setup
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2010, 08:17:52 PM »

Using Raceways and pigtails for patching is legal as long as all national and local codes regarding installation are followed.

That said, I would look at a different way of doing things. The system you outlined would be kinda versatile, but not what most touring, or local vendors would prefer.  If you insist on having a flexible system, then I would run Soco up by the  lighting pipes, and a Soco patchbay next to the company switch.  That will cost a bit more, but will actually be useful.

Better still, scrap the whole patchbay idea, and place tree dimmers up by the bars, along with a bunch of 20 and 30  amp receptacles. That way you have power for movers, and dimmers for the house lighting.  (and power for LEDs, Foggers, Strobes, Mirror Ball Motor, etc)

As a vendor, I expect to have to run my own cables/multipin  from my dimmers to my fixtures, or use tree dimmers and run power.  Having local outlets near the bars would let a vendor plug in a tree dimmer if they wished, or they could always run their own cables to their dimmer rack.

For in house use, the tree dimmers near the fixtures would give you a great deal of flexibility, simply by addressing the packs differently, not to mention way lower costs.  Also, as LEDs improve and more LED fixtures come to the market, you will find that you will need local outlets near the bars and DMX runs way more than electrical patching.

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Tom Bourke

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Re: Lighting patch-panel setup
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 10:25:34 AM »

I also feel that the way tech is going right now having lots of circuits at the light positions is the way to go.  Also make sure there are easy to run cable paths.  For example an EASY to open cable trough from stage to FOH.  No mater what you build in some one will tour with some thing else.  Don't for get dry runs of cat 5 or 6 from every where to a central patch panel.
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Lighting patch-panel setup
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2010, 11:59:07 PM »

Thanks for all the advice.  The client doesn't want to see any wiring or lighting mess so I'm building as many runs into the room as possible.  

Unfortunately it's all behind walls when the project's finished.

I do not have enough breaker to handle all of them hard-wired (56) but there is enough for the basic house acts.  If guests come in we can park a genny in the alley and run a panel backstage to plug everything in to real power or into the ETC packs that the local rental house provide.

There's possibility in the future of up-sizing the pad-mount transformer outside and just getting everything hardwired to breakers but that project will wait until they get shows in and see how good/bad revenues are.  My in-between solution was the patch-bay for now so we can at least get lights all in the right places even if we don't have that many of them.

I was considering just installing sacopex in the walls but figured normal conduit wires with receptacles would be more palatable to inspectors and electricians.  Not to mention getting rid of the multi-connectors which is one less failure and break-down point to worry about

There's a ton of video going in as well as a rather robust audio system plus two kitchens and three bars so power is getting stretched thin for now
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Craig Hauber
CSA Productions Inc.
Ventura-Santa Barbara CA
www.csaproductionsinc.com

Todd Black

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Re: Lighting patch-panel setup
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2010, 12:00:27 PM »

cant run socapex cable inside walls (or even through a hole in a wall). Furthermore, cords cannot be used a subsitute for the fixed wiring of a structure so its questionable as to whether you can even use it here. Last, 99% of socapex cable is AWM wire, not a NEC recognized cord so that may cause problems with the inspector as well.

First thing is to make sure these contractors wire everything lighting related with a neutral per circuit. I will look into some good patchbay options and get back to you later. One thing to maybe consider is bring all of the building wiring into a large junction box with din rail terminal strips, then once the plot is laid out hard wire the dimmers and non dim circuits into them.

Dont forget conduits for data circuits. As everything moves to LED, you are going to need more data and non dim power and less dimmers.
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Todd Black

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Re: Lighting patch-panel setup
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2010, 12:04:45 PM »

another thing:
you need to get a determination if the stage portion of this falls under NEC 520, if it does that is going to cause you to have to use SO type cord and rules out SJO for anything but adapters.
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