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Author Topic: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?  (Read 11546 times)

Tom Bourke

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 01:46:51 am »

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?
That involves lots of copper!  A "typical" large venue may have 2 or more tie in points.  A 400A 5 wire with lugs or cams to go to the kind of distro you linked to for lights.  Also a smaller 100 or 200A 5 wire for sound.  Of course any given venue may have more or less than this.  The tie points may be right off stage or several hundred feet away.  Often times a 3rd tie in point may be provided for chain motor power.

A "typical" road show going into the above venue will travel with all there lights and sound equipment.  That equipment will include a large trunk of feeder.  Typically a hundred feet of heavy cam lock cables to go from the distro to the tie point, broken up into "tails" some short and some long cables.  This trunk can be 600 to 1000LB on its own.  Once the distro is tied in then a dimmer rack or another distro may take a feed from the threw on the first distro or a second tie point.  All the rest of the equipment will be tied to these distros.  The FOH "snake bundle" for audio may also include a very large cable just for power.  Mine has a 10-3 Soow cable with Twist lock ends.  The FOH lighting run for a festival my include an extra 100A run just for follow spots.

My point is that a large part of the weight shipped with each show is cable.  I have done shows where it took a semi to haul just the cables!  Even on VERY small shows, most of the weight of equipment was in cables.

Also keep in mind that a show may get inspected and the person doing the inspection typically can shut you down.  You have to do every thing by the book (that book being the NEC listed above.)  Even by the book your at the whim of the person inspecting and local codes.  One place I use to work at needed a "spider box"  The one we got cost 2x the money because we were in a  "fire district" and it needed an extra listing that only 1 place could do.  This is where experience and knowledge is invaluable.
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2013, 06:56:18 am »

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?
Jason,

Lex Products and Motion Labs are just two of the companies that make portable power distribution.  You can look to their products for reliable construction and code-compliance.

FOH Online had a Power Distro "Buyer's Guide" back in 2011...it may help shed light on what is considered "professional" versus "homebrew" or "consumer-grade".
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 06:59:35 am by Jordan Wolf »
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Jamin Lynch

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2013, 11:22:57 am »

Understood, I'm not trying to do a DIY sub-panel or anything right now, I just want to know more about power distros in pro audio applications, what makes up one, how they're wired, etc.

Our equipment has always simply been plugged into the nearest wall outlet, so we've never used a dedicated distro for audio equipment.

Keep in mind that not many people here on the forum will give you distro advice. They're afraid of law suits if they give bad advice or something goes wrong and you blame them for it.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2013, 11:53:29 am »

Keep in mind that not many people here on the forum will give you distro advice. They're afraid of law suits if they give bad advice or something goes wrong and you blame them for it.
That is true, but the bigger issue is that people want a simplistic procedure, when what's actually required is understanding.  In electrical power distribution, you can have a number of scenarios where things appear to work, but are very dangerous.  The body of knowledge required to gain this understanding doesn't happen in a forum post or two.
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Tim Perry

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2013, 12:57:51 am »

I just want to know what a power distro for a pro audio system looks like. What components are involved, and how it's all wired together.

pics of the distro de jure...
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Is there a "Power Distros for Dummies" resource somewhere?
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2013, 12:33:22 pm »

I agree with Tom-building-really designing a distro is no different than designing power distribution in a building and before you are allowed to do that in most jurisdictions it takes a 4 year apprenticeship followed by 2 years as a journeyman plus enough understanding to pass a couple of tests-and that still doesn't guarantee that you are qualified.  Not saying you have to be licensed-but it does take that experience and knowledge to do it right.  And the price for a mistake on a distro can be far more permanent than getting the signal path wrong on an audio setup!
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