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Author Topic: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?  (Read 14308 times)

Rob Spence

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2016, 11:36:09 pm »

Thanks guys,

So basically I need to tell the client/promoter that they need to tell the venue to provide an electrician to tie in or have an electrician install 14-60 (Id like the extra power for strobes ;) haha).

What about disconnects with tails? I guess technically the top of it is live, so the whole panel is live which means I can't do that myself.

Who typically picks up the hookup cost? Client or production company. I'd be willing to guess client most of the time.

My current issue is both increasing production costs to client and adding this additional fee for hookup, possibly causing consternation amongst them especially considering this is new territory for them.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

You want a 14-50r (aka, stove connector). Don't go 14-60 as no one else will have a plug for it. The connector and associated parts are about $50. Then, an hours electrician labor to hook it up. If you need a bit more, have em install 2. Won't be twice the first of one.



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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2016, 01:00:55 pm »

You want a 14-50r (aka, stove connector).

Thanks, Rob. that makes sense; and in all reality I'm never really pushing into the 120A (@120v) range all that often, so I could probably get away with the 100A (@120v) service just fine even when loading all 6x 20A circuits on my distro to full. [Because sound is so dynamic]

And the only 220v stuff that I have are the Diversatronics strobes which don't pull all that much if used sparingly. Also, I could always crossrent 120v Atomics instead.
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Rob Spence

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2016, 01:03:43 pm »

Thanks, Rob. that makes sense; and in all reality I'm never really pushing into the 120A (@120v) range all that often, so I could probably get away with the 100A (@120v) service just fine even when loading all 6x 20A circuits on my distro to full. [Because sound is so dynamic]

And the only 220v stuff that I have are the Diversatronics strobes which don't pull all that much if used sparingly. Also, I could always crossrent 120v Atomics instead.

You should meter your loads sometime. Often you use nowhere near what the nameplate asks for. You may be surprised.

List your major loads here (make and model) and I bet some folks will have some real experiences to relate.

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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2016, 01:28:08 pm »

16-30A per leg. I've never seen it much higher than that except when the strobes are going.

I don't like to, but I've run the whole rig (minus strobes/band) off of 4x unverified 20A circuits with 100ft 12g extension cords (I don't mean I didn't meter/check them, I mean I didn't verify the distance from outlet to breaker panel or current drop under 20A draw, I plan on getting the circuit analysis tool that puts a 12/15/20A load on the outlet in the near future). This was the most risky power wise (not safety) thing I've done. But it worked out all day with dance/hip-hop/EDM music I attribute to the iTech & efficient speakers :)

2x RMX2450 - I've poped the 15A breaker on the back of the amp before with EDM, I try to keep it on a 20A with some electronics/a main/front fill
1x iTech 8k  - This thing is great for current draw though I try to keep it to a 20A with some electronics and a main/front fill
2x SRX835p/K12 - 2-5A
1x Booth electronics - I need to meter this specifically to know but I guess at 5A

2x Strobes 240v 20A ea
4x 350w LED movers
4x 350w Arc movers

The lighting stuff is pretty easy to gauge on power draw as it's fairly constant and I calculate the draw at 100% but still I can run whole thing (including led pars and other random stuff) off of 2x 20A circuits though it is pushing things a bit and I try to give some 80% rule breathing room, but sometimes it ends up being closer than I'd like. I know I have good breakers though :) haha.
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David Sturzenbecher

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2016, 01:30:41 pm »

Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?

This comes from my other thread quoted below.

In the past my expertise with electricity was levied to tie in, I no longer want to do this; I want to be legal/ethical.

Point me in the right direction, I know not where to go to learn about this side of our business.

My NEC codebook is a little dated (2005), but in 520.53P (Pg 70-433) there is a comment that states an exception:

A portable switchboard shall be permitted to be connected to a permanently installed supply receptacle by other than qualified personnel, provided that the supply receptacle is protected for its rated ampacity by an over-current device of not greater then 150 amperes, and where the receptacle, interconnection and switchboard comply with all of the following
a. Employ listed multipole connectors suitable for the purpose for every supply interconnection
b. prevent access to all supply connections by the general public,
c. employ listed extra hard usage mutli-conductor cords or cables with an ampacity suitable for the type of load and not less then the amperage rating of the connectors.
(I typed all this in by hand...sorry for any errors, please reference the code if in question)


Is this still in the current code book and more importantly....what does it really mean?
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2016, 01:39:27 pm »

Thanks guys,

So basically I need to tell the client/promoter that they need to tell the venue to provide an electrician to tie in or have an electrician install 14-60 (Id like the extra power for strobes ;) haha).

What about disconnects with tails? I guess technically the top of it is live, so the whole panel is live which means I can't do that myself.

Who typically picks up the hookup cost? Client or production company. I'd be willing to guess client most of the time.

My current issue is both increasing production costs to client and adding this additional fee for hookup, possibly causing consternation amongst them especially considering this is new territory for them.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

If you need more than a couple of 20 amp circuits you need a real source of power.  I say that because in 35 years I've yet to find ANY so called *dedicated* 20 amp circuit that wasn't used by something else - from the bathroom exhaust fan (2 amps) to food warmers to frozen drink machines (12-15 amps).

If your customers really give a shit about their event they'll get the power needed to run it.  I went through this with a corporate client that didn't want to pay the hotel AV company for the 100 amp 3phase service.  When the subs kicked in hard on that Saturn V launch video, we lost power to the amplifiers and the so-called separate circuits at FOH went down, too.  It was a very awkward moment (that resulted in a discount to the client because THEY didn't want to pay - why should we lose?) but ever since they don't fight the electrical power requirements.

I also don't like extension cords running everywhere for several reasons:  first, because you don't really know (and can't find out) what else in on that circuit; second because those cords represent a trip hazard to the public, presenters & staff no matter where in the room those cords are; third because someone tripping on (or deliberately messing with) a cord will take down some or all of your show.  Will I do it?  Yes... but I charge the customer the same rate as with a distro & tapping fee and include a "no guarantee" clause in the quote and contract.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2016, 01:46:28 pm »

My NEC codebook is a little dated (2005), but in 520.53P (Pg 70-433) there is a comment that states an exception:

A portable switchboard shall be permitted to be connected to a permanently installed supply receptacle by other than qualified personnel, provided that the supply receptacle is protected for its rated ampacity by an over-current device of not greater then 150 amperes, and where the receptacle, interconnection and switchboard comply with all of the following
a. Employ listed multipole connectors suitable for the purpose for every supply interconnection
b. prevent access to all supply connections by the general public,
c. employ listed extra hard usage mutli-conductor cords or cables with an ampacity suitable for the type of load and not less then the amperage rating of the connectors.
(I typed all this in by hand...sorry for any errors, please reference the code if in question)


Is this still in the current code book and more importantly....what does it really mean?

It means that if all that is needed is to plug in a listed multipole connector with rated cable, and the service is 150 amperes or less, the busboy can do it - "by other than qualified personnel".  The NEC does not require a licensed electrician, only "qualified personnel" for other hook ups but the local AHJ may have other requirements.

CamLocs are not multipole connectors and multi-conductor cable cannot be used with CamLocs or other single pole, separable connectors so the exemption does not apply to those items.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 01:50:41 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2016, 01:53:30 pm »

If you need more than a couple of 20 amp circuits you need a real source of power.  I say that because in 35 years I've yet to find ANY so called *dedicated* 20 amp circuit that wasn't used by something else - from the bathroom exhaust fan (2 amps) to food warmers to frozen drink machines (12-15 amps).

If your customers really give a shit about their event they'll get the power needed to run it.

Couldn't agree with you more and one of the reasons why I like having my distro so much. I trust the power will be there.

I was scarred the whole time I was on the 4x circuits that someone was going to plug in a floor buffer in a differen't part of the building and pop a breaker.

Alas, sometimes the proper hookup isn't there and you're forced to do it.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2016, 02:05:51 pm »

If you need more than a couple of 20 amp circuits you need a real source of power.  I say that because in 35 years I've yet to find ANY so called *dedicated* 20 amp circuit that wasn't used by something else - from the bathroom exhaust fan (2 amps) to food warmers to frozen drink machines (12-15 amps).

I've had food services plug their big 1,500 watt coffee makers into my "dedicated" 20-amp circuit in the middle of one of my seminars, which took out the lamp in my projector when the circuit breaker tripped. Nobody offered to pay for a replacement bulb.  >:(

Also, many times you just don't know where the circuit breakers are located. Or the circuit breaker panel is locked and the custodian just left with the keys.... Had that happen to me in Seattle when I hit a big bass note, and had to run emergency extension cords across the hallway to another room. Yikes. :o

Anytime I can use my own power distro I'm much happier. 
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2016, 02:20:29 pm »

Couldn't agree with you more and one of the reasons why I like having my distro so much. I trust the power will be there.

I was scarred the whole time I was on the 4x circuits that someone was going to plug in a floor buffer in a differen't part of the building and pop a breaker.

Alas, sometimes the proper hookup isn't there and you're forced to do it.

Yes, and while we'll exercise great care in selecting from among the available outlets in the room we will not guarantee the results - and we disclose the reason for that up front.  There is *always* a way to get the power you need but the client may not like it because of cost, aesthetics, etc.  It's ultimately their show and if they are satisfied with *presumed* adequate power, so am I.  When it bites them on the ass they'll find a way to get what we/they need.
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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

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Re: Legally/Ethically, when do I need electrician to tie in?
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2016, 02:20:29 pm »


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