Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Footer, Apr 11, 2011.
So, what do you leave on 24/7 in your venue? Why do you leave it on 24/7?
Moving Lights, Scroller, Lx Console, Audio Desk, Amps, House Lx are all powered off nightly...
The only thing that doesn't get a nightly shut down are the dimmers, and a few CFL Blue 'Safety Running Lx' backstage.
The Dimmers are left on, due to a lack of a convenient disconnect... And a fear that one day they just won't come back... I really can't afford a CD80 retrofit for the AMX packs we're still using...
The Safety Runners backstage are for the other employees of the property (housekeeping, etc) as well as any hotel guests that may accidentally find themselves backstage in unfamiliar territory after hours.
Is this a trick question? Why would you ever leave things like amp racks and stuff on 24/7?
I am always trying to turn stuff off when it's not needed, but some things like the Crestron automation, dimmers, and a few wireless mics receivers have to be left on all the time so people can just roll in and press "Start." I managed to get people to start turning off the amplifiers though, they were raising the temperature in the booth about 10ºc when left on D: It still mystifies me how the screen and projector are tied into the crestron system, but not the sequenced power controller for the amps...
Some people leave things like amps on 24/7 because the start-up surge can do damage to certain components. Some say it will lengthen the life of the equipment. One place I know of, doesn't have a convenient way to turn their amps off, so they just stay on. (Annoying since the speakers buzz without the console on)
I don't leave any of my equipment on, but thats just because I can't transport it very well while it's plugged into the wall.
we leave the installed ETC sensor rack, flown powered mackie 450's, and our i-cue powered up all the time because there is no convenient way to shut them down at the end of the night. everything else has switch in a convenient location.
EDIT: also we leave on a custom built PC in our booth that runs our SFX program, and its associated echo soundcard. I don't really know why we leave it on, but that's what the note over the power button says...
grid lights and a ghost light near the SM panel for safety, the dimmers, and house/work light controllers. Everything else gets turned off.
Apart from dimmer racks which I leave on always;
PC and system processor ( sound web) processing so that I can turn on amps & audio desk with out having to log on a computer & start programs to show the metering on the system processor.
Backstage show relay system (camera, mic, phantom power & processing) so that anyone can turn on a screen anywhere and get a stage view. Also backstage paging from the SM desk.
Comms units; so that a headset can be plugged in at anytime, i.e. for maintenance, and it works.
Dimming racks, and thats about it. A lot of sound rigs i know stay on all the time because it takes more than several minutes to turn them on and warm them up.
What no ghost light option? Or are we counting that as a work light in this case?
At one space, everything gets shut down when we aren't in production or upgrading (dimmer rack and ghost light too, but not works or offices), because they are only in full production for about 16-20 weeks out of the year on average. At another, it's all off except the dimmer rack, ghost light, and cameras. At another, the place never shuts down, so it only gets turned off when dark or moving. Lastly, when I was still there, I believe most everything was left on if we were in production except for consoles and lights (minus the ghost).
Depends a bit on the current setup but in general the only things I leave on in my primary venue (or anywhere) are installed dimmer racks, occasionally the portable variety if it is not convenient to shut them down. They're fine on 24/7.
Of course the "Ghost Light" I try to keep on 24/7, however I've had people turn it off on me. Then I come in the backstage door, in the dark, expect to be able to not turn the main worklights on and... complete blackness.
I've seen places leave pretty much everything powered up 24/7, but I find that's not only a waste of money but inviting potential disaster in some small cases. Especially like to fully shut down audio-land completely when its not going to be in use for a while. Especially when thinking of potential power outages, etc. Better safe than sorry I always say. Plus most things would love the 'break' anyways.
as for amps (I saw someone said they think leaving them on would extend life), I don't believe it in general. Most modern amps have protect circuits and all, and if they're on 24/7 they'll sure suck in plenty of dust. Not to mention never have a chance to cool down. Pretty much anything electrical likes to have a break now and then. Plus when you think of the shutdown sequence (always turn amps off first), it kinda makes you think "perhaps I should shut the amps off"?
If you are referring to me, I personally don't believe it, I have just read that before.
We leave our dimmers on always. Also on occasion, the production PCs, when we intend to remote in and work on them from home. Other than that, nothing.
Dionysus, nailed the amp issues that I would be concerned with. Turning off the console/source before the amps can't be good.....especially repeating it over and over nightly. That plus dirt buildup, would risk shortening the life of an amp more than powering it on and off IMO. Amps were designed to power up and down. I don't know of any amps that advertise specs of 24/7 operation, like a server hard drive. The potential damage to local electric from inrush could be dealt with by powering each amp individually or through a sequential line conditioner/protector. Many "full featured" amps have their own built in power up/down cycle that they are designed to go through. Not following the recommended process and removing power regularly, could possibly void the warranty.....if it could be proved.
For multi-day events in large venues, I have seen large production companies leave lots of equipment on, such as consoles, processors, light fixtures and rack arrays. I get the convenience of it when during the daytime they rehearse and tweak & then follow with the night event... and then hit it again early in the morning. They power it all down when they leave to move back to the shop, or onto another venue. Some differences to note between them and my situation is that they are not responsible for the power bill of the venue in most cases and I am somewhat accountable to mine at a permanent venue. Also, with the larger road companies, their equipment turnover tends to be more regular and sometimes preventive and in my venue, we don't have budgets to support that and are not trying to compete/be attractive to clients through our equipment offering. Not saying everyone is like this, but you have the difference of an owner vs. an employee playing a factor in equipment care. Some guys may take the convenience factor because it isn't their equipment and that is all that effects them.......until an amp crashes during an event.
The idea of the turn-on surge damaging the equipment is an old tale, probably dating back to the vacuum tube era. These days, it doesn't make sense.
The biggest factor in how long a piece of electronic equipment lasts is its internal temperature and how much time it spends at that temperature. Cool equipment lasts. Equipment that tends to run hot fails quicker. This is why rack layout and the temperature of the room is so important. Dust is an enemy because it coats heat dissapating surfaces of components and acts as insulation. Leaving a full rack space between each piece of equipment helps equipment cool.
There are thousands of amplifiers (most by Crown, Crest, QSC, etc.) in use in Las Vegas casinos that haven't been powered down (except for power outages and minimal routine maintenance) for 15-20 years or more.
There's no option for none of the above.
The only thing left on 24/7 in my venue are exit signs, thermostats, the CEM's in the dimmer racks, network routers, alarm sensors, the automatic flush sensors on the urinals, and whatever stays on in various electronic devices like the clock flashing 12:00 on the coffeemaker. Everything else either turned off, on a astronomical clock or a photo-sensor.
- The Sensor racks, Unison processor and assorted stations, nodes and network switches, ghost light (on the dimmers and Unison). And one portable ENR 12 dimmer pack for my running/cross-over lighting as the main breaker is not convenient. Winches stay powered but key's removed.
- All lighting units including ML's, except the 2 Q-1000 ghost lights. Ion console. All audio including amps.
The thought just crossed my head that except for a few power outages, our dimmer racks have been on for a very long time.... (and probably never cleaned...).
I'm not in charge nor do I have a theater that I normally am in, but one place I've been decided after a couple months turning the scroller PSU on and off with the light board, that it would always stay on along with the fans running automatically. I'm not sure why they would do this if the instrument is going to be off already, but can someone elaborate?
15-20yrs. really? That is impressive. I have not seen that, but my exposure is probably much less than yours if you have seen thousands. LOL! The closest thing that I have seen would be a "Bogen" type PA amp maybe for ten years in a school for 24/7 power.
Well, Las Vegas would be the place where paying for power may not be much of a concern. The amps probably use nil compared to all of the units sucking juice on a casino floor.
Do you know of any manufacturers who actually list that their amps are designed for 24/7/365? And if they do, are they common models that are seen in the field of entertainment? Note: That I am genuinely curious and not intending to be condescending.
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