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Author Topic: Whats your Lighting Distro?  (Read 3083 times)

Ted Christensen

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Whats your Lighting Distro?
« on: June 19, 2007, 07:35:20 pm »

I have to power 16 par56 cans and sometimes I do not have 2-4 20amp circuits laying around the venue to use. I cannot use my 50amp main. So im thinking about doing something new involving a second smaller distro or something along those lines. I was wondering what does everybody else do?

Thanks,

-Ted
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Ted Christensen
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Brian Ship

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2007, 02:28:09 am »

IF I don't have enough power, I go onto a site survay and plot out the building's power in where it's going and what's it doing.  Than in as near to concert loading conditions as I can, I also meter the amperage to each of the circuits I have studied.

This than tells me much about available power and from where and balanced load.

Very difficult to do and do properly.  Recommended would be to hire a licenced electrician to either give you power for the show or supervise how you get it.   Someone else that has very specific training that will be able to help, rather than chancing it by way of second outlet you find in a room and possibly a fire.

Get someone licenced and bonded to sign off on and provide power for you.  Why waste money in lawyer bills later?
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Dan Glass

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2007, 06:17:39 am »

Ted,
If I am understanding the question correctly than I have to say that sometimes the power just isn't there.  You can only provide lighting based on the power that is available.  Now you can get a little creative and hook up the lights but only run as many as can be safely run at a time.  For example, if you only had (1) 20A circuit you know you can power up to 8 300 watt Par 56 lights at a time, well better make it 6 to be safe.  You can setup as many lights as you want just don't turn on more than that at a time.  I try to do a site survey of new places when I can or at least talk to someone who knows the power situation at that venue.  Most of the time at banquet halls and small clubs you get an answer like "there are outlets all over the place", or "there is alot of power, no one else has ever had any trouble" when you ask them.  This is usually my clue to do a site survey because most of the time you will have 10 outlets that share 2 20A circuits and this has to be used by sound, lights, and the caterers.  Most of the time I can just tie directly into the breaker panel or such and get what I need, but in the end if the power is not there it is just not there.  A generator is the next step I guess.
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Dan Glass

Miguel Castro Rios

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2007, 11:46:38 pm »

I don't mean to hijack your thread here. I was just reading and thinking how sometimes you only have so much power and no generator. You have to share the lights and the audio from the same source.

Well, I was told that you should not have the audio hooked up to the same souce of the lighting gear, because it will create a buzz in the sound gear due to the dimmer of the lights.... This is true, Right? (ok if I'm wrong plz tell me so)

Now, I'm just a little confused here. I once worked with this freelance, and we only had one power source. I was wondering how we were going to share power(because of the dimmer).  And he said to me in Spanish that there would be no problem if he hooked up the sound gear ''before'' the lights. And by ''before'' I don't mean in time, I'm thinking som' electrical he did or something, I mean that's the translation from spanish to english. I DON'T KNO!!! BUT It sounded good, No problems at all. I haven't had the chance to see this kid again and ask. Does some know HOW, or any theories behind this... How do you set up your gear with this kind of situation?
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Craig Leerman

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2007, 04:55:52 am »

Quote:

Well, I was told that you should not have the audio hooked up to the same souce of the lighting gear, because it will create a buzz in the sound gear due to the dimmer of the lights.... This is true, Right? (ok if I'm wrong plz tell me so)


Well, in general, if you have a crappy sound system and crappy dimmers, then probably yes to the  noise. If you have a correctly wired sound system and good dimmers, then probably no.

I run small tree dimmers (NSI) and larger rack dimmers (Electrol) all the time with my sound gear, as well as PA systems from other companies. I have not had any problems with sharing a PD, a phase or leg, or even some outlets.

For the most part,  the majority of newer dimmers are pretty quiet, even the cheaper ones. From what I can tell, much of the noise issues in PA systems are caused by incorrect wiring, using unbalanced connectors, and the like. I think a lot of the bad PA guys try to put the blame on lighting folks, instead of correctly wiring up their own stuff.

I was accused of causing noise in a PA years ago. Considering I had not plugged in or tied into any power, it was easy to explain that the noise coming out of the PA was simply his own fault!

1
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Jacob Gregory

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2007, 06:34:56 am »

[quote title=Craig Leerman wrote on Fri, 13 July 2007 03:55]
Quote:

I was accused of causing noise in a PA years ago. Considering I had not plugged in or tied into any power, it was easy to explain that the noise coming out of the PA was simply his own fault!

I love that, for once the sound clown had to leave a poor lampy alone.  Last time I had noise in the PA, it was from a tattoo artist who set near the stage then plugged his power cable into my distro.  Needless to say, that cord got unplugged really quick and he was directed to another electrical panel nearby.
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Don Lanier

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2007, 05:20:46 am »

If you've done all the normal things such as use 300 Watt lamps and pull your master back to 50% and you still cant run the lights you simply MUST find more power or cut back, Some clubs will let you tap and some wouldnt if Elvis asked. If thats the case either the club should arrange an electrician per the bands tech rider or your going to get the night off as the 6 bulbs you have lit burn merrily along without you.

Most of us know how to tap but many places get freaked out about it especially if your the biggest band they've ever seen. This happens when clubs want to do a special event and they hire the bigger band and the club owner says IVE ALWAYS HAD PLENTY OF ELECTRICITY Shocked , Its not really your fault as the band should have a tech rider that specifies 4 20 amp circuit's separate from PA/STAGE

Advancing the gig should determine this lack of power and the band has to have a rider,contract, without it your going to enjoy sitting there and making small talk with the staff.
Small gigs such as this routinely will have small power and there's no way to fix it on the day of the gig without the club owners permission.
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Don Lanier
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Rob Blohm

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2007, 05:34:37 pm »

Don Lanier wrote on Tue, 24 July 2007 04:20

If you've done all the normal things such as use 300 Watt lamps and pull your master back to 50%...



Actually, pulling down the master would offer little help because of the way dimmers work. Dimmers don't actually regulate current, but rather chop the waveform in half and in essence turning the light on and off really fast. I don't know the exact mechanics of it, but I do know that reducing your levels don't really help.
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Geoffrey Brown

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2007, 10:33:51 pm »

Also not entirely true - While some dimmers do operate by clipping waveforms (essentially turning the lights on very quickly) you do, averaged, see a reduction in current drawn.  While your peak current to each bulb will be 300 watts worth, your average will be a little over 150.  

Then you get the fancy dimmers, that really do just output a lower voltage using CVTs or another happy method.
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Rob Blohm

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Re: Whats your Lighting Distro?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2007, 10:48:16 am »

Hmm, I stand corrected. Good to know though. I was always under the assumption you couldn't do that.

So the real question is, will having the averaged current lower help prevent tripped breakers? I'm sure we've all been in a situation trying to fit more lighting onto less power...for those that don't use a distro.
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