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Venue remodel: Power

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dave briar:
So our remodel/expansion of the indoor venue is progressing. It turns out we have a 200amp panel to “spend”.  Presently we’re considering ten 20amp circuits — three to the amp rack, two to the over-audience light bar, one to the upstage overhead light bar, and four to the stage (two for back line and two downstage).  We did two large outdoor shows this summer where we rented the stage and PA and our electrician installed a 50amp drop to support those events. His question now is do we need/want another 50amp installed for the indoor venue as well.

Given this will be a 450-500 cap club with installed PA and lighting my thinking is that it would be rather unlikely a visiting production would need more power than what will already be available.  Am I right or am I thinking too small?  Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Stephen Swaffer:
There is no reason you can't put in ten 20 Amp circuits and a 50 Amp circuit.  Circuits don't use power-loads do.  The chances of you loading every 20 amp circuit to 20 amps is minimal-and likely if you use the 50 amp, some of the 20's would be left unused.  For my money-given what I hear on here, I would install a 50 amp circuit with a cali and a 14-50 receptacle to cover any distro they might bring.

For that matter, if you might use more 20's at a given location for some types of events put a couple.  It is better to use installed wiring than use an extension cord to a receptacle in the "wrong" place.

David Simpson:
It really depends on the type of shows you are bringing in, and what you are looking to do in the future. We see even small bands bringing more and more with them. Video seems to very much be a growing production component for even low lever groups. I have never been disappointed buy putting in more power while doing such a project. I'd say go ahead and have them include the additional 50A.


Nathan Riddle:
Throw in a cam tie-in for good measure  ;D

Brian Jojade:
I don't see any reason NOT to put that 50 amp plug in the venue if you have the option.

No, it won't get used every day, but when you have a touring act that has stuff pre-wired, it's way easier for them just to use the tie in vs having to rip stuff apart and tie in to your circuits.

No, you're not limited to only having 200 amps worth of breakers in your panel.  And, if you're running single phase 240v power, that would be 20 20 amp 120v breakers.  If you're running 3 phase, it would be 30 breakers.

As far as where to run those circuits, if you're letting people hang stuff from the light bars, this is where power can be really handy.  Some older lighting would need a single circuit for each light.  Yeah, most tours don't use that stuff, but some one offs may love it if power was up there and available.  An extra 4 20 amp circuits available on each light bar would be pretty awesome.

On the stage, I'd say double your plan, at least.  Again, you may never NEED that many circuits, but having more available sure comes in handy, especially when you get unknowns plugged in.  Keeping things on separate circuits, even with low power draw is nice because if something horrible happens to one device, it doesn't take out a bunch of other stuff if the breaker trips.

And, if you've got the ability, adding a 100 amp service tie in for the random big stuff would be an added bonus.  Relatively cheap to do now, but has you ready for the unexpected.

Yes, if you try to do ALL of it at once, you'll trip the main breaker. But that's how pretty much every panel is wired. 


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