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Author Topic: Wiring A Stage For AC Power  (Read 6802 times)

Don Lomonaco CFCRC

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Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« on: February 04, 2015, 04:46:32 pm »

Hi everyone!  I need to wire the stage in our church for AC power as part of our recent building project.  I'd like to run my plan by some pro's here to make sure things are done properly. 

We've had our electrical contractor install three outlet boxes on the wall behind our stage and all are wired to a dedicated 20A circuit.  There will be no amps or stage lighting used on these outlets.  Only DI boxes and monitoring stations (small computers).

What I'd like to do is run AC cable from the wall outlets to outlets installed inside Elite Core stage boxes.  I have 7 boxes around the stage.  My plan was to run two lines, each from the back corners of the stage, and have one daisy chain to 4 boxes and the other 3 boxes.  I've got a spool of Carol SJ00W 12 Guage AC cable.  I'll wire the ground, neutral and hot into and out of each outlet then attach a standard plug onto the other end and plug that into the wall outlet.

Here are my questions:

1.  Is this a good plan?

2.  Do I need to ground the stage boxes themselves to the ground terminals on the outlets?
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 05:00:01 pm »

I am not an electrician, but yes, ground all boxes, and use GFCI outlets.

JR
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Don Lomonaco CFCRC

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 05:03:14 pm »

I have standard 20A-125V outlets.  GFCI won't fit inside the stage boxes.
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 05:07:00 pm »

I too am not an electrician, but if you are planning on using the Elite Core floor boxes, I believe that they are designed for installation use, not portable use. Getting a suitable (code compliant) strain relief on the AC cable may be an issue. There are other boxes more suitable for building a portable "stage stringer."  Mark C.
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Don Lomonaco CFCRC

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 05:21:27 pm »

There will be clamp style strain relief under the outlets on the inside of the box as well as strain relief in the wire chase using mounting pads and zip ties.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2015, 05:25:54 pm »

There will be clamp style strain relief under the outlets on the inside of the box as well as strain relief in the wire chase using mounting pads and zip ties.

That's not acceptable for use other than permanent installation.  I would call back the electrician and get a quote to add another circuit (from the same breaker box) and install the stage boxes.

John is absolutely correct about those being GFCI protected, especially in a house of worship unless the the goal is to speed up the meeting with the maker...

Google "church electrocution", "musician electrocuted", etc.  No reason to be tomorrow's news.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 05:28:08 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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Don Lomonaco CFCRC

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2015, 05:29:33 pm »

Our stage isn't going to move.  Can it be considered permanent?  If not, what type of strain relief should I install?
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 05:41:26 pm »

Our stage isn't going to move.  Can it be considered permanent?  If not, what type of strain relief should I install?

What makes something "portable" is the use.  If these boxes are not permanently installed into the stage, the use is "portable" and if the box is not Listed for that use, it's a no-go.  That's the first thing.  Next, if you build these into the stage you can't use SJOOW to connect them for several reasons, one is that Code prohibits the use of cords to power permanently installed outlets, another is that the box cannot be modified with a "SJOOW-friendly" strain relief without negating the UL listing of the box (because UL didn't test it that way).  Use of Listed components and materials, built/installed to Code, is probably required by the church's insurance company.

If you're just trying to build a "stringer", there are several products that are Listed equipment.  Lex Products is one manufacturer, there are similar products from others.  http://www.lexproducts.com/products/entertainment/powerflex-cable-assemblies/multiple-receptacle-extensions

This sounds like somebody forgot to tell the architect that there was a band downstage, or the "ladies aesthetics committee" didn't like the idea of stage boxes until the problem of orange extension cords everywhere became obvious.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 05:56:42 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: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2015, 06:17:42 pm »

What makes something "portable" is the use.  If these boxes are not permanently installed into the stage, the use is "portable" and if the box is not Listed for that use, it's a no-go.  That's the first thing.  Next, if you build these into the stage you can't use SJOOW to connect them for several reasons, one is that Code prohibits the use of cords to power permanently installed outlets, another is that the box cannot be modified with a "SJOOW-friendly" strain relief without negating the UL listing of the box (because UL didn't test it that way).  Use of Listed components and materials, built/installed to Code, is probably required by the church's insurance company.

Remember that in many (maybe most) areas, any commercial building AC wiring must be inside metallic conduit or armored cable. And earthquake prone parts of the country may require even heavier schedule metallic conduit, which is essentially black-iron water pipe. Of course, this is in addition to using proper UL listed components. How to know? You need to contact your local building inspector to begin the discussion. They should be able to direct you to relevant codes that need to be complied with.

While you should be able to build your own top-of-stage "portable" stringers using proper UL listed components, you'll really want to use a licensed and bonded electrician to install any permanent under-stage wiring in floor boxes. As noted above, without a properly inspected electrical installation, any fire or electrocution due to wiring problems could be disallowed by your insurance company, allowing them to refuse payment of any claims. You really don't want to go there....
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2015, 06:45:17 pm »


While you should be able to build your own top-of-stage "portable" stringers using proper UL listed components, you'll really want to use a licensed and bonded electrician to install any permanent under-stage wiring in floor boxes. As noted above, without a properly inspected electrical installation, any fire or electrocution due to wiring problems could be disallowed by your insurance company, allowing them to refuse payment of any claims. You really don't want to go there....

+1

I know none of the inspectors I deal with would allow SO or SJ cable for this use.  Since this is a "place of assembly", the NEC only permits metallic raceway/cable wiring methods.  The main issue being smoke generation if a fire does start.

If the issue is money, ask your contractor.  As a contractor, I would rather (especially with non-profits) supervise a couple of volunteers than have someone come in after the install and hack the install-imo, better to do that than wind up trying to prove who did what.  (That may not be possible everywhere-inspectors in my area are generally easy to work with and more interested that the job is supervised and done right than in who has a license and who does not-there are provisions here for "unclassified" persons so we can usually fudge a bit.
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Steve Swaffer

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Re: Wiring A Stage For AC Power
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2015, 06:45:17 pm »


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