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Author Topic: Camlock Colors  (Read 10156 times)

David Buckley

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2016, 02:37:59 am »

What we colloquially in entertainment technology call C-Forms are now officially known as IEC 60309, and there are variants for every power scheme one is likely to encounter.  Wikipedia article.  Used in all sensible jurisdictions worldwide.  (This excludes New Zealand and Australia as sensible jurisdictions, which have a local and highly stupid 32A connector)

The colour is (mostly!) based on "voltage", and the highest voltage present.  So blue plugs are generally 230V single phase, red are 400V three phase (ie 230V phase to neutral, 400V phase to phase).  There are some interesting variations, for example, Norway is 240V delta, so three phase four pin blue plugs...  Disneyland Paris has the earth monitoring variants, so there is an extra pin, and power isn't supplied until the earth circuit is confirmed as working. 

In some places in the world, these connectors are incredibly expensive, in other places, dirt cheap.
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2016, 04:49:19 pm »

Around here those are called "Pin & Sleeve" connectors and are very prevalent on the oilfeilds
All the supply houses have never heard the term "CE-Form" but they know pin & sleave very well.  There's also very old ones (all-metal) around so they've been here a while -and they also have explosion-proof versions apparently that cost an arm&leg so you have to know which ones if you don't want some serious sticker-shock!

http://www.cooperindustries.com/content/public/en/wiring_devices/products/pin_sleeve_devices.html





hey

Yeah in the past here in the UK green has always been our earth connection (or stripy green/yellow), but in the past we had the black and red colours for all of our wiring. Very old house wiring will still have this buried in all the walls.

As we became more connected with Europe and standards were applied across the whole area, we adopted Blue for Neutral and Brown for live quite some time ago into common household scale wiring, and it also made it's way into higher power things like industrial system and our show distros.


However you're correct in that we use camlock less commonly.  As we have our double voltage (compared to the US) 240v system, we only have to pull half the current to get the same overall power, and so our wiring is generally a little lighter weight (I'm sure most people, certainly anyone who's toured over here, knows this) for the same power delivery as yours.

Rather than each conductor needing to be so big it gets an individual plug/socket as in camlock, ours are all small enough that they can be packed into a single multipin connector, known as cee-form.  They're blue if they're just single phase, and red if they're 3 phase, but all three or five pins are in the one connector.

(you'll often see yellow ones too for building sites and industrial work, which work on a "110v system" which is actually centre tapped 2x 55v, considered safer in that environment where damage or outside/wet conditions are more common).

They come in standard sizes of 16, 32, 63 and 125 amps. They have a male and female end, and whether a cable connector or an outlet panel, the power delivery end (female) has a little lid that closes over when not in use as well as recessed pins that are almost impossible to accidentally touch without actually sticking something inside.

Being at 240v, most often a 63 three phase is all that's needed for even a fairly substantial sound system, which will be fed into a distro and split as needed (usually 32a single and triple phases for amp racks, 16a singles for stage power and processing racks etc, and right at the end of the line down to our traditional 13a sockets for stage power for musicians and individual devices etc). Only a big arena or stadium system would need a 125a 3 phase (or one each side of stage to reduce wiring).

Lighting rigs, being a little more power hungry, can have camlocks on show a little more commonly, but even again this is often just done with 125a 3 phase connections.

Various 16a single phase Ceeform connectors:



and a 32a three phase cable (though hard to tell, connectors are about 1.5x the size of the 16a ones, cant be cross connected to another amperage accidentally)


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Craig Hauber
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Dave Stevens

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2016, 02:41:30 pm »

Not all pin and sleeve connectors in the US are pin compatible with IEC 309 (Cee) spec though anything relatively new should be.  You see them a lot in convention and meeting space and some newer multi purpose rooms.  In Euro/UK we use Cee down to the  branch circuits for the plug boards.  In international entertainment, including the US, it's known as a Cee.   If you call it a pin and sleeve most won't know what you are talking about.  It doesn't matter what other industries call them, roadies know them as Cee or Ceeform just as you wouldn't call a cam loc a "single pole locking connector".

In Euro/UK you won't find cams or NEMA style twist locks unless someone from the US brings them over.  When we do bring gear over typically we tap a US distro into a transformer (though in some cases you could use a genset).   I've taken mon rigs and backline that that was universal voltage with Brit or Euro plugs and rented or had the venue/promoter provide branch distro. 

As was posted earlier, you won't find cams over there.  They use powerlocs.   I've done arena tours where we provided a pair of 125 amp Cee, no power tap or bare tails needed and theater/club tours a 63 amp Cee was plenty.  On really big gigs or if you need more current (squints, for example) you'll get powerloc to a distro that will break it out to Cee.   The topology of the Euro/UK systems are better than the US in that there is standardization from the mains to the branch distribution level.  There is a difference in plug boards but rack connections are typically a 16 amp Cee, in some cases a 32 amp Cee.  Compare that with the mismatch of NEMA twists over here and it's a much more universal system.

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Lyle Williams

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2016, 04:54:20 pm »

The "highly stupid" Australian connectors are Clipsal 56 series:

http://updates.clipsal.com/ClipsalOnline/Files/Brochures/I0000112.pdf

They are actually really well made, and I like them more than the IEC ones.  Not being standardised with the rest of the world is a bummer though.
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David Buckley

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2016, 11:36:15 pm »

The "highly stupid" Australian connectors are Clipsal 56 series:

That's not a false statement, but it isn't a concise statement: the highly stupid (note lack of quotation marks) connectors are just one type of connector offered in the 56 series range:  You can get C-Forms in the 56 series too, for example here's a 56 series 16A C-Form.

For some reason, our Antipodean countries seem entirely able to use the 63A C-Form (sorry - IEC 60309 connector, no electrician here knows what a CeeForm is), and 16A C-Forms, but for 32A we have the stupid connectors.  Or at least, we have the stupid connectors in many places.  In some other places there are 32A C-Forms, so you need a jumper cable to plug your dimmer with the stupid connector into the sensible C-Form.

Hateful things.

Perhaps the worst feature of them is that unlike C-Forms, they can't be used by untrained personnel.  Most folks can figure out a C-Form, and other than the odd scream from the trapped finger as they go through the learning experience during the demate, folks are generally able to mate and use them safely without a training course.  The stupid connectors require the screw thread to be done up tightly to ensure the pins mate correctly, or otherwise they don't mate solidly, and you get melted connectors.  And once the socket is a bit melted, its all downhill from there.  So a socket used once by an untrained person can doom the socket to replacement.  Which isn't good when you turn up for the gig on a Saturday and someone rogered the socket on the Friday and said nothing about it (or didn't notice the damage).  Out of hours electricians are not cheap, and relies on the guy having the right connector in the truck.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 11:38:21 pm by David Buckley »
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James Feenstra

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2016, 12:00:53 am »

Canada has another
No we don't....we have the same color code as the US for 120/208v Wye
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alex.cerutti

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2016, 07:09:13 pm »

No we don't....we have the same color code as the US for 120/208v Wye

Maybe I've just come across old labelling? Do you know of an older colour code?
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John Sulek

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2016, 07:55:27 pm »

Maybe I've just come across old labelling? Do you know of an older colour code?

Not in the last 25 years.
The only difference is the colour sequence of the hot phases. Some places are red, black, blue instead of black, red, blue.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2016, 08:48:27 pm »

Not in the last 25 years.
The only difference is the colour sequence of the hot phases. Some places are red, black, blue instead of black, red, blue.

Written inside the 1200 amp switch at our now-decomissioned arena - "Black Red Blue - get a fucking clue."  I wasn't working there when that was originally written so I don't know what circumstance led an electrician to put it there.

That said, I was told that in Canada the follow spotlight color boomerang is loaded with frame 1 the furthest from the operator, frame 6 the closest... which is opposite of how I was taught (in the USA) 30 years ago.  Any truth to that? /swerve
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2016, 01:49:12 pm »

That's not a false statement, but it isn't a concise statement: the highly stupid (note lack of quotation marks) connectors are just one type of connector offered in the 56 series range:  You can get C-Forms in the 56 series too, for example here's a 56 series 16A C-Form.

For some reason, our Antipodean countries seem entirely able to use the 63A C-Form (sorry - IEC 60309 connector, no electrician here knows what a CeeForm is), and 16A C-Forms, but for 32A we have the stupid connectors.  Or at least, we have the stupid connectors in many places.  In some other places there are 32A C-Forms, so you need a jumper cable to plug your dimmer with the stupid connector into the sensible C-Form.

Hateful things.

Perhaps the worst feature of them is that unlike C-Forms, they can't be used by untrained personnel.  Most folks can figure out a C-Form, and other than the odd scream from the trapped finger as they go through the learning experience during the demate, folks are generally able to mate and use them safely without a training course.  The stupid connectors require the screw thread to be done up tightly to ensure the pins mate correctly, or otherwise they don't mate solidly, and you get melted connectors.  And once the socket is a bit melted, its all downhill from there.  So a socket used once by an untrained person can doom the socket to replacement.  Which isn't good when you turn up for the gig on a Saturday and someone rogered the socket on the Friday and said nothing about it (or didn't notice the damage).  Out of hours electricians are not cheap, and relies on the guy having the right connector in the truck.

They'd need to be a long way out before they arced.  While my experience with these is not stage related, we have many hundreds of these and I can't recall ever having heard of damage.
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Re: Camlock Colors
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2016, 01:49:12 pm »


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