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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => AC Power and Grounding => Topic started by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on February 27, 2016, 10:58:41 pm

Title: Another venue power adventure
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on February 27, 2016, 10:58:41 pm
I am wrapping up a gig at a small town venue where when advancing I was told there was plenty of power - 2 220 outlets and a bunch of circuits.

This was pretty accurately advertised - there are two nice correctly wired 14-50 receptacles with breakers that if I would have brought a distro, would have been great.  After hearing that there would be plenty of regular circuits onstage and having a very full truck, the distro stayed home, leaving me to use the onsite "distro" - consisting of 5 duplexes with a sub panel on a board fed by a 3-conductor #6 cord.  The good news is they didn't bond the ground to the neutral in the sub panel, which is unsafe.  The bad news is they just left the ground unconnected entirely.  Then followed the usual story about "no body has ever said anything before", but in a refreshing change, the venue management promised to fix it, which in this case just means replacing a chunk of wire and putting a 14-50 plug on it.

We found enough power to do the show without subjecting the band to the potential for a painful death, but this is once again a great reminder to test EVERYTHING.  I have yet to find a venue-provided distro that's up to code - just varying degrees of dangerous.
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Keith Broughton on February 28, 2016, 07:47:47 am
"no body has ever said anything before",
That's what someone said just after the Shuttle exploded on take off.
It's the same when something breaks or fails. "That has never happened before" really doesn't address the problem.
Good that you had your eyes open !
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: frank kayser on February 28, 2016, 10:11:03 am
I guess the other thing is always make room for your distro...
Cudos to the venue for getting their rig relatively safe on request, and in a timely manner.
frank
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on February 28, 2016, 11:10:39 pm
That's what someone said just after the Shuttle exploded on take off.
It's the same when something breaks or fails. "That has never happened before" really doesn't address the problem.
Good that you had your eyes open !

Some of the manufacturers of Shuttle components recommended against launch in low temperatures. NASA, under political pressure to get off the ground, overrode the manufacturer's advice.
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on February 29, 2016, 09:11:47 am

We found enough power to do the show without subjecting the band to the potential for a painful death, but this is once again a great reminder to test EVERYTHING.  I have yet to find a venue-provided distro that's up to code - just varying degrees of dangerous.

In all likelihood, the distros are not are available/present when the venue final inspection is made.  Even if they are, some inspectors might be inclined to argue that they are not in their jurisdiction so not their responsibility. So yes, you do well to be your own inspector.
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on February 29, 2016, 09:26:31 am
In all likelihood, the distros are not are available/present when the venue final inspection is made.  Even if they are, some inspectors might be inclined to argue that they are not in their jurisdiction so not their responsibility. So yes, you do well to be your own inspector.
This particular venue dates back about 70 years and it's hard to know exactly when the various layers of upgrades happened.  The main feed was a 100A outdoor-type breakered disconnect box with small bus bars and a missing cover.  I'd guess anywhere from '60's to '80's vintage.  Coming from this box are two more RV-style outdoor breaker boxes with a 50A breaker and the 14-50 receptacle.  They looked newer, and were correctly wired.

The house "distro" was hardwired HHN/no ground into the coverless 100A box.  The distro thing looked at least 30 years old and was apparently recently looked over by an "electrician" of some kind.  All of this was onstage behind the backdrop curtain.  It wasn't exactly a generally accessible area, however it surely wasn't a locked closet.  Any arc flash from the uncovered 100A box would immediately light the backdrop curtain on fire.

Separate from this was newer power installed for the house AV gear.  This tested correct and was solid enough power for us to use, so after informing the venue management and turning off the 100A breaker, I avoided the scary equipment.
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Chris Hindle on March 01, 2016, 12:57:28 pm
Some of the manufacturers of Shuttle components recommended against launch in low temperatures. NASA, under political pressure to get off the ground, overrode the manufacturer's advice.

Oh, you mean the promoter didn't fill the rider as he agreed to ?
Just like our line of work...........

Chris.
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on March 01, 2016, 01:07:37 pm
I am probably repeating myself but GFCI power drops will protect the meat puppets even without a ground bond.

JR 
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Mike Sokol on March 01, 2016, 04:17:30 pm
I am probably repeating myself but GFCI power drops will protect the meat puppets even without a ground bond.

JR
 

Now you are...  ;)

I am probably repeating myself but GFCI power drops will protect the meat puppets even without a ground bond.

JR 

I am probably repeating myself but GFCI power drops will protect the meat puppets even without a ground bond.

JR 

I am probably repeating myself but GFCI power drops will protect the meat puppets even without a ground bond.

JR 
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: David Buckley on March 01, 2016, 07:59:40 pm
Keep telling it like it is, JR.  I still see pictures of distros without GFCI outlets....
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on March 02, 2016, 11:47:17 am
Sounds like JR is auditioning for the debate stage?
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Mike Sokol on March 02, 2016, 04:04:25 pm
Sounds like JR is auditioning for the debate stage?

JR for President? Hey, we can't discuss political topics here, but I would vote for JR if he promised to kick everyone's butts....

Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: frank kayser on March 02, 2016, 10:30:30 pm
JR for President? Hey, we can't discuss political topics here, but I would vote for JR if he promised to kick everyone's butts....
Including yours?  Hmmm... Where does THAT leave us?
Title: Re: Another venue power adventure
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on March 03, 2016, 02:31:48 am
JR for President? Hey, we can't discuss political topics here, but I would vote for JR if he promised to kick everyone's butts....

He will need new shoes.