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Author Topic: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?  (Read 13079 times)

Jason Lucas

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 07:49:26 pm »

And how do these things fit into all this?

http://www.appliednn.com/e_RS1_pop.php
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 08:00:51 pm »

And how do these things fit into all this?

http://www.appliednn.com/e_RS1_pop.php

That would be a portable moving light distro. I can't tell from the photo, but it is probably a 200A (400A?) 3ě distro, with Edison and Socopex outputs. The back of it has all the circuit breakers and meters, the front has all the connectors, from the 5 wire Cam-Lok to the Edison and Socopex. The Socopex multies are probably 6 20A circuits each (maybe 10A or 15A) and the Edisons are 20A each. There are also some DMX network switches in there.

A sound distro would likely have fewer Socopex and maybe some PowerCon. Sound distros usually top out at 200A, most are less.

Mac
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Brad Harris

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 08:11:13 pm »

And how do these things fit into all this?

http://www.appliednn.com/e_RS1_pop.php

This distro appears to be a MLD Lighting Distro.

On the right of the picture, there is input CAM LOCK connectors (and thru's as well). They take big power (usually 100-400A) on individual cables (1 cable per leg, neutral, and ground). There is also 'courtesy' power beside that connection for local use (ie, chargers, desk lights, etc)

In this distro (from bottom up, above the camlock connections), it then breaks it down into 8 SOCAPEX connectors of 6 15 or 20A 125/208V circuits, the breakers are on the right of the picture. In addition, it also breaks that cam feed down into 6 15-20A 125V Edison connections. All breakers appear to be on the right.

The top units appear to be DMX splitters.


BRad
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Jason Lucas

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2013, 08:23:16 pm »

Figures I do a google search and it comes up with a totally different thing. I couldn't actually tell the difference since I don't know what most of those different colored plugs are.

Anyway,

I've heard that it's usually preferred if you have all the audio equipment on its own distro, including FOH. My question is how is that all wired together?

How do you get the FOH board wired into the same distro as the stuff on stage (or even back stage)? What if you wanted to put the entire system on a power sequencer?

Don't worry I'm not trying to do any of this myself, but I'd like to understand how it all works.
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Kemper Watson

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 08:59:38 pm »

My knowledge of power doesn't go very far beyond standard 15 amp wall sockets and standard NEMA 5-15p connectors.

I know in more professional audio applications they use power distros. Where can I learn some of the basics of what makes up one and how they're hooked up?

Here are a few examples

http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/power-electrical-distribution/default/power-distro
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2013, 09:31:26 pm »

Figures I do a google search and it comes up with a totally different thing. I couldn't actually tell the difference since I don't know what most of those different colored plugs are.

Anyway,

I've heard that it's usually preferred if you have all the audio equipment on its own distro, including FOH. My question is how is that all wired together?

How do you get the FOH board wired into the same distro as the stuff on stage (or even back stage)? What if you wanted to put the entire system on a power sequencer?

Don't worry I'm not trying to do any of this myself, but I'd like to understand how it all works.
To keep it simple:

The main power comes into the distro (distribution) panel via large cable and high current connectors.

Then it goes through breakers (just like in your house) and there are various outlets of various current capability and voltage.

Some may be 20A 120V edisons and others may be 50A 240V or three phase outlets or any combination.

Which ones depends on what particular power a particular system may need.

Not every one is the same.  They are setup to distribute the power needed (voltage and current) to various aspects of the system-amp racks-backline power-FOH and local outlets for 'whatever".

They are all different because the needs are different.  It does not do any good to have a distro that does not "match" your configuration/needs.

When doing a system-the whole system is thought of as a whole. 

If you don't know what your specific needs are-then there is no way to know how to "distribute" it.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2013, 09:32:37 pm »

I think there is a "Power distro for dummies" handout in the funeral home waiting room.

JR
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2013, 09:53:12 pm »

Figures I do a google search and it comes up with a totally different thing. I couldn't actually tell the difference since I don't know what most of those different colored plugs are.

From the pic you linked, we'll start on the right rack, bottom to top:  CAM-LOK "in" and "thru" with reversed Ground and Neutral.  Green=earth ground; White=neutral; Black=hot leg X; Red=hot leg Y; Blue=hot leg Z.  Connect in that order, reverse order to disconnect.  The lower row of Cams is the inlet, the upper row is the "thru."  The connections are bused internally and there is no breaker between the "in" and "thru."  Imagine a copper bus bar extending vertically, linking the in and thru.  In the left hand rack (the pics are front/back of the same model), the lower 4 rack spaces are occupied by the master breaker that feeds the circuit breakers above it.

Up next, the 2 panels with red Socapex« connectors:  Mac and others are correct, these are 208v. connections for moving lights, strobes, etc.  That's why they're red.  If you look at the other side of the rack, you'll see that the breakers are labeled accordingly and that each circuit has a 2 pole breaker (2 hot legs).  The next panel up has a pair of 120v. Socapex connections.  The breakers are in the top breaker panel and labeled accordingly.  Note they take up less space because each circuit has only 1 hot leg.

At the top are a pair of DMX splitters and a fairly sophisticated voltage, current and line frequency metering system.
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Anyway,

I've heard that it's usually preferred if you have all the audio equipment on its own distro, including FOH. My question is how is that all wired together?

Just like plugging it into the wall, except we take all the outlets and put them on a very small wall ;)

Quote
How do you get the FOH board wired into the same distro as the stuff on stage (or even back stage)? What if you wanted to put the entire system on a power sequencer?

Portable sound or permanent install?  I can count on 1 finger the number of portable systems with sequencers I've encountered.  But the answer is "so you can plug it in at the distro, run an extension cord with the snake."  Yes, it's okay to do.  We've done it for years; I taped a piece of #14 SJO to the very first snake I owned (and I built it), extending past the stage box about 20', put Edison connectors on and never looked back.  That was 35 years ago.  These days we do the same thing except the wire is fatter, the snakes have more channels, and it's all 300' long instead of the 85' I started with last century.

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Don't worry I'm not trying to do any of this myself, but I'd like to understand how it all works.

It works by taking all the outlets and putting them in one place that gets the electricity in a Big Gulp serving.  This has several advantages, including creating a "star grounding system" where all ground paths originate from a single point and having known circuit loading (unlike plugging into a wall outlet - what else is on the same breaker, the frozen drink machine?  Food warmers?  Neon lights?).
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2013, 11:36:55 pm »

Here are a few examples

http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/power-electrical-distribution/default/power-distro

For a simpler version, do an image search for "spider box." Ignore all the obvious home-brew units, especially the ones with two male pigtails.

A spider box is a distro that's marketed toward construction companies, not touring sound. They probably won't provide any voltage regulation, noise filtering, or metering.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2013, 11:57:54 pm »

Ignore all the obvious home-brew units, especially the ones with two male pigtails.

Here is a "power distro for dummies." There are several dangerous issues with this "how to" from both personnel safety and equipment protection perspectives. You'd have to be a dummy to use this distro.

There are some "double-pigtail" devices commercially available (example) to safely combine two 120V circuits to create a 240V (or 208V, depending on circumstances) circuit but they include safety features which overcome the dangers.
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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
┬ź Reply #19 on: November 11, 2013, 11:57:54 pm ┬╗


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