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Author Topic: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?  (Read 1439 times)

Tim Weaver

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So all of my LED pars and Leko's etc stay powered up all the time. As long as they aren't being used the power draw is very low, and they seem happy to be left on 24/7.

I am about to install some movers that have gobo and color wheels though. Should I have them power down every time? Or just make sure the last scene is a "zero" scene that stops all rotation and puts everything in a non-used state?

These fixtures will be used once a week. If I power them down, they will (most likely) be turned on and not used 3 times a week. So is it better to leave them on and zeroed, or turned on and off several time a week?

These are Intimidator scan 305's for those interested. Bush league fixtures, but I want to know because eventually I'll add some spot fixtures to our big room too, and I'll go through this all over again.
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 11:15:32 pm »

Personally I think I would want the fixtures turned off when not in use, at the budget end of the spectrum the integrated fans are going to have a pretty short life even without cigarette smoke or oil based haze clogging things up. Power cycling could be the difference between several years of use without any repairs vs as little as a few months before some of the fans need to be replaced.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2020, 06:46:29 am »

Hey Tim, I'll also chime in and say that I prefer moving lights to be powered down when not in use as well.  Aside from the fans running indefinitely, any power issues that your building experiences can lead to abnormal behavior with the fixtures - I once walked into a venue to find all the moving lights running an endless calibration cycle...  Some fixtures such as my older High End units have the ability to go into a dormant state - fans/lamp off but don't need to recalibrate when reactivated.  Unless your fixtures have a mode like that I'd vote to just power them down when not needed and unattended.  Hope this helps!
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John Fruits

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2020, 07:45:51 am »

Another thing to consider if your lights are powered on all the time, thunderstorms and voltage spikes.  There have been cases where such storms have damaged the electronics of LED fixtures.  If there is a mechanical power relay in the circuit that won't happen when they are not in use.  At the lower budget end of things the ETC Foundry products might be suitable.
https://www.fullcompass.com/prod/542413-etc-ufmp4-4-zone-mini-relay-panel
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2020, 08:20:07 am »

We always power down and disconnect our fixtures at the end of the night when we have a multi-day event regardless of them being static or movers. Fan death, power surges, electrical fires, all good reasons to shut anything down that's not going to be used for a good while.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 09:00:27 pm »

I'll echo everyone else, as well as what Chavet DJ told me - dimming a fixture to zero is not the same as hard cutting power.  Lower priced fixtures are more critical for this, as there is still heat build-up as long as power is on even if there is no light going out. 

DMX controlled relays are worth it and not crazy expensive.  For a couple small circuits, Chauvet Pro and many others have single circuit relays; for larger installs like most HoW (I assume your current application?) - Lyntec has some up to 10 circuit DMX controlled relays that don't break the bank. 

Another option is a simple relay panel, say Lyntec since I'm familiar with them, but IP or RS-232 control.  When the AV system is powered up, have that turn on the lighting relay panel as well.  At the end of the day, turn everything off, let it cool, then the master shut-down can also trip the lighting relays. 
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2020, 10:29:38 pm »

I've experienced two major incidents of LED fixture damage due to fixtures not being completely powered down.
First was some kind of electrical power disruption in a one year old university building which wiped out the power supplies in over a dozen new Elation LED fresnels, as well as several computers. Did not affect the Altman LED cyc fixtures by the way.
Second incident was a city auditorium where a show had just ended, audience had left, a major storm hit before the lighting system was shut down, and a dozen Elation LED PARs had their power supplies wiped out (fixture fuses didn't even blow).

I'm now a firm believer in cutting power to all LED fixtures via relays when not in use, although it wouldn't have saved the LED PARs in the second instance because the system was still on.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2020, 12:02:20 pm »

It comes down to how difficult it is to turn them off.  Can you leave them on?  Yeah, probably.  Stuff without fans shouldn't be any issue at all.  Stuff with fans, as stated earlier, might suffer from a fan failure earlier.  Power surges and whatnot are always a concern as well.

If the question is as simple as should I flip the power switch or not, I'd say definitely flip the power switch.  When you leave stuff on and unattended, there's greater risk of something going haywire when you're not around.

Now, if you're putting a light in a hard to reach place and there's no easy way to switch power, it's not the end of the world to leave it on 24X7.  Electrical draw at idle would be extremely minimal. The cost of adding a switch would likely be more than a few years worth of phantom power draw.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2020, 05:51:20 pm »

It comes down to how difficult it is to turn them off.  Can you leave them on?  Yeah, probably.  Stuff without fans shouldn't be any issue at all.  Stuff with fans, as stated earlier, might suffer from a fan failure earlier.  Power surges and whatnot are always a concern as well.

If the question is as simple as should I flip the power switch or not, I'd say definitely flip the power switch.  When you leave stuff on and unattended, there's greater risk of something going haywire when you're not around.

Now, if you're putting a light in a hard to reach place and there's no easy way to switch power, it's not the end of the world to leave it on 24X7.  Electrical draw at idle would be extremely minimal. The cost of adding a switch would likely be more than a few years worth of phantom power draw.

All fixtures are in hard to reach locations with no existing switches. If I figure out a way to turn them on/off it will be an all new system put in specifically for this.

Right now I have a lot of fixtures with fans, but they are temp controlled. They don't run when the fixtures are cool.


I think I'm convinced to start powering down the fixtures, but I will have to do some real thinking on this because the whole rig (this is a church) needs to be as automatic as possible for the maintenance guys or whoever can come in and just turn stuff on whenever they need to. I was going to put in a Doug Fleenor wall plate/preset box this year. The power infrastructure complicates this a little.
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Jamin Lynch

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2020, 07:14:59 pm »

All fixtures are in hard to reach locations with no existing switches. If I figure out a way to turn them on/off it will be an all new system put in specifically for this.

Right now I have a lot of fixtures with fans, but they are temp controlled. They don't run when the fixtures are cool.


I think I'm convinced to start powering down the fixtures, but I will have to do some real thinking on this because the whole rig (this is a church) needs to be as automatic as possible for the maintenance guys or whoever can come in and just turn stuff on whenever they need to. I was going to put in a Doug Fleenor wall plate/preset box this year. The power infrastructure complicates this a little.

https://lyntec.com/

You can do a simple one button all on/off or zone programable
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2020, 07:24:48 pm »

All fixtures are in hard to reach locations with no existing switches. If I figure out a way to turn them on/off it will be an all new system put in specifically for this.

Right now I have a lot of fixtures with fans, but they are temp controlled. They don't run when the fixtures are cool.


I think I'm convinced to start powering down the fixtures, but I will have to do some real thinking on this because the whole rig (this is a church) needs to be as automatic as possible for the maintenance guys or whoever can come in and just turn stuff on whenever they need to. I was going to put in a Doug Fleenor wall plate/preset box this year. The power infrastructure complicates this a little.

Not really sure why the Fleenor preset box would complicate a DMX relay solution. If you get the POPO (each button is push on/push off) version, you can have all presets active at the same time if you wish. So Preset #1 could be "DMX relay ON", then punch any other preset(s) to get the scene you want. Pushing OFF will turn everything off.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2020, 10:15:32 pm »

I agree that this is an excellent application for DMX relays.  You can even make them a dedicated universe if so desired.  Thinking outside of the box, I know they also make remote-controlled circuit breakers.  I don’t have enough experience to speak of their applicability or code-compliance in this application though - that’d be something to consult your electrician about.  Good luck!
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2020, 10:52:05 am »

The ETC Foundry DMX relay is a good product for a permanently wired solution. Very reasonable price too.
https://www.etcconnect.com/Products/Architectural-Systems/Foundry/Zone-Controllers/Relay-Controllers/Features.aspx
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Steven Cohen

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2020, 11:47:30 am »

Tim,

Can the circuit breakers be shut off when the fixtures are not in use? I realize this creates anther step in a situation where automation is desired, but turning off the breakers is a cheap, effective solution.


All fixtures are in hard to reach locations with no existing switches. If I figure out a way to turn them on/off it will be an all new system put in specifically for this.

Right now I have a lot of fixtures with fans, but they are temp controlled. They don't run when the fixtures are cool.


I think I'm convinced to start powering down the fixtures, but I will have to do some real thinking on this because the whole rig (this is a church) needs to be as automatic as possible for the maintenance guys or whoever can come in and just turn stuff on whenever they need to. I was going to put in a Doug Fleenor wall plate/preset box this year. The power infrastructure complicates this a little.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2020, 11:50:30 am »

Tim,

Can the circuit breakers be shut off when the fixtures are not in use? I realize this creates anther step in a situation where automation is desired, but turning off the breakers is a cheap, effective solution.

No.

It's not in a convenient place first of all, and I already get calls about "how do I turn on the lights" when all they have to do is push up one fader. Some of the people that use the system don't even know what a lighting console is.
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Steven Cohen

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2020, 12:02:18 pm »

Are you sure that automated lighting is best for this application?

No.

It's not in a convenient place first of all, and I already get calls about "how do I turn on the lights" when all they have to do is push up one fader. Some of the people that use the system don't even know what a lighting console is.
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Steve-White

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2020, 12:36:31 pm »

No.

It's not in a convenient place first of all, and I already get calls about "how do I turn on the lights" when all they have to do is push up one fader. Some of the people that use the system don't even know what a lighting console is.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2020, 01:14:19 pm »

Just another question Tim - are ALL your building’s lights on DMX or just the stage lights? 

I’m not sure how I’d feel about random people with no knowledge of lighting equipment having unsupervised free reign on a light board - especially with moving lights that are generally not idiot-proof. 

I’ve worked in a number of venues that have a “work lights” circuit so that housekeeping can clean and crews can load-in/out without needing stage lights on, and I’ve worked in other venues where everything is automated with control via touchpanels mounted on the walls.  The ones accessible to floor staff are highly restricted to prevent misuse of the system. 

The argument between DMX relays, remote-controlled circuit breakers, or manual circuit breakers becomes much less important at that point since it would all either be controlled by automation or only used by trained personnel.  Does that help at all?
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2020, 03:48:12 pm »

I'm about to do an system simplification for a local venue.
Their portable tripods have a small relay device on each that powers the lights when it sees a DMX signal.
At least I think that's what it does.  I'll get more info when I go on site next week.
If this is what they do, you would only have to turn off the controller to power down the lights.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2020, 04:45:51 pm »

I like the DMX relays.  For our church, Pastor wanted house lights to be DMX controlled-someday we will upgrade the 8 chandeliers for now they have a mix of LED and CFL so dimming is an ugly option.  We also don't want the janitors or others messing with lighting control, so I set the 4 house circuits up with normally closed DMX relays-this way if the DMX is off the lights work the same way they have for years-but the DMX can over ride and turn them "off" when desired.

We have DMX controlled stage lighting-it's all fed from one 60 amp 3 phase panel.  My plan this spring is to use an inexpensive Northlight DMX relay to control a contactor that will power that entire panel down when the DMX control is off.

Like the others, I am leary of powerline issues when the system is not in use.  Knock on wood, but I have our media booth set up so that it is physically disconnected when not in use-in spite of being in Iowa with plenty of thunderstorms we haven't had any issues.
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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2020, 04:56:03 pm »

…….
We have DMX controlled stage lighting-it's all fed from one 60 amp 3 phase panel.  My plan this spring is to use an inexpensive Northlight DMX relay to control a contactor that will power that entire panel down when the DMX control is off.

Like the others, I am leary of powerline issues when the system is not in use.  Knock on wood, but I have our media booth set up so that it is physically disconnected when not in use-in spite of being in Iowa with plenty of thunderstorms we haven't had any issues.

The smart way to do it.
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Jamin Lynch

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Luke McCready

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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2020, 07:25:04 pm »

Fascinating discussion. Thank you!
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Re: Shut down LED fixtures or just zero them out and leave powered up?
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2020, 07:25:04 pm »


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