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2P&G/Stage Pin vs. Edison vs. Twist-Lock

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by lieperjp, Mar 16, 2009.

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What type of connectors does your lighting system use?

  1. 2P&G/Stage Pin

    58.2%
  2. Edison/NEMA-5

    11.7%
  3. Twist-Lock

    16.3%
  4. A Mix of the above

    13.3%
  5. Whatever the rental company sends

    0.5%
  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Why does the theatre use 2P&G? What are the advantages? It would seem that either the Edison (for it's common-ness?) or the Twist-Lock (safety - won't come apart) would have more advantages.

    This is something I've been wondering for a while now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  2. Thefoxygranpa

    Thefoxygranpa Active Member

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    My highschool has all stagepin installed...everywhere. However, the new highschool in our district was just built and they have all twist-lock.

    Bizzare!
     
  3. fredthe

    fredthe Active Member

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    Having dimmed circuits on something other than Edison has the advantage of keeping you from plugging unsuitable loads into dimmed circuits.
    All of the HS new contruction/renovations I've seen recently are 2P&G. Also, it's the standard for rental houses around here; if you spec twist-lock, they'll send adapters.
    Also, over the years there have been a variety of twist-lock configurations... 2P&G had never changed. While twist does have other uses, I've never seen 2P&G on anything other than a lighting circuit... makes it hard to confuse with something else.

    -Fred
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  4. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I prefer using 2P&G, although I have yet to rewire an entire theatre from L5-20 to 2P&G just to suit my personal preference. I prefer Stage Pin partially because it's what I first learned with and what most professional theatres around here use, and also because it's less obtrusive than a Twist-Lock (in my opinion). Stage Pin is nice and flat and square and easy to tape down or label or something, while twist lock has larger, round connectors which get in the way more. Also, if you split the pins properly on the 2P&G, then the connectors shouldn't be coming apart under normal conditions. Someone else will probably come along to discuss how one connector is better from an electricity standpoint, but I don't know much about that so I'll leave that to others.

    Personally, I think that the common-ness of Edison connectors is actually what would make them bad for theatre use. Most Edison connectors are only 15A, and household extension cords are almost never properly rated for high loads on the stage. If you try to run 3 Source Fours @ 750W through a household extension cord through a 15A Edison, you could have a serious problem on your hands. I have done shows in theatres that used Edison connectors, and used household extension cords for extra cabling, but I was able to make sure that everything came in well under the max load for that cable or connector. The average music teacher thrown into doing tech work would not know that his bright orange garden extension cord couldn't handle as much power as the dimmers are designed for. And of course, there's the problem of people always cutting off the ground pin on their devices and extension cords. :doh:
     
    ElGusto likes this.
  5. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    I have worked in venues that use L5-20 twist-lock connectors, and they most certainly do come apart, far more easily than a 2P&G with properly spread pins. Oh, when they're new they stay together just fine, but as they age and take abuse, they seem to lose that ability. There will be disagreement on this subject, but I feel that the 2P&G is a more robust connector, better able to handle the rigors of stage use.
     
  6. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    As others have stated, 2P&G is often chosen due to the fact that it greatly cuts down on the chances of things that shouldnt get plugged into a dimmer being plugged into your dimmers.

    While the (good) 2P&G connectors are pretty rugged, the pins on a male twistlock are quite fragile and are easily bent out of shape. Then when a misshapen male twistlock is forced into a female, it spreads the contacts in the female leading to burned and melted connectors.

    That being said I actually own quite a bit of 20amp/120v twistlock cable, adaptors, and twofers that I use for temporary event power.
     
  7. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    We used to be all stagepin, but a few years ago the district decided to change everything over to L5-20 (twistlock). Everything except what they were too cheap to replace: the floor pockets, because they are the original Kliegl ones with stagepin receptacles and the spacing would have been different for the twistlock, meaning new pockets; and the second electric, which the electrician doing the change managed to screw up (he also did work on the dimmers and wiring). I don't have a problem with twistlock, it's great. You typically don't have to worry about it coming apart (great for vertical runs when you have no pin splitter) and nobody is going to plug their CD player into it.
     
  8. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Um, did you have issues with people plugging their CD players into 2P&G receptacles?:eh::think:
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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  10. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Being of that age that remembers when most theatres were stageplug (not the same as stagepin), I have seen the evolution of changes in theatres. The stagepin was originally only two pins and had little or no strain relief. Many states and county wiring codes changed especially in public buildings, to twistlock as it was considered to be much safer. I can't speak for all states, but I know that Virginia and I believe California and New York were among the many. This is why you will see twistlock in High Schools and colleges more than in professional houses. With the addition of the ground pin and the improvement of the strain relief, such as Bates connectors, many of the codes changed again and started to allow stagepin. That is one of the reasons, that some of the newer performing arts high schools were then built with stagepin. This also gave the students an environment that would be more like what they were likely to see in the professional world.
    In our community, two of the four community theatres have stagepin and two have edison. (Guess which ones were built as theatres and which were converted churches.)
    All of the high schools other than the performing arts high schools have twistloock with the performing arts high school having stagepin. One college has stagepin and the other one has three theatres. The one used for concert series/roadhouse has stagepin. The student production "in the Round" has Edison 288 dimmers, and the teaching theatre has twistlock. "Go figure". Most of the reasoning for the selections were made by what the code was at the time the theatre was built.
     
  11. n1ist

    n1ist Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Location:
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    Everything I do is temporary with shoebox dimmers, so I use 5-15 for all. It also comes in handy when I need to supply extensions for the sound guy.
     
  12. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    One poster asked 'Why are stagepins prefered'. My reasons:

    1 - Carry a full 20 amps ( unlike most edison plugs in common use).
    2 - Much sturdier than either twist lock or edison.
    3 - Substantially cheaper than twistlock or edison.
    4 - Will not roll if stepped on.

    The only disadvantage I see over twist lock is that they do not lock. I can live with that.

    John
     
  13. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Where are you buying your plugs from, because I want in on that.
     
  14. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Bates 2P&G run $4.20 or so at Pro-Adv.

    20a Twists typically are around $7 - $9 for a male, $9 - $10 or so for a females

    Edison varies and there's a ton of cheap crap. Hospital grade is about as expensive as Twist. The better quality 20 AMP RATED Edisons are twice as expensive as 2P&G.

    SB
     
  15. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    to clear up a misconception about edison connectors, 20amp ones dont have any better current carrying capacity over a 15amp connector. The pins are the same, just oriented differently in the male, and one contact in the female is T shaped, but again has the same current carrying capacity. The only reason these two different devices exist is to keep appliances that need a 20amp circuit from being plugged into a 15amp circuit.

    Hopefully no one is using the cheapo hardware store edison connectors, should only be using hubbell or leviton (I prefer leviton as the strain relief accomodates 12/3 SO better than the hubbell) 5266 / 5269 series.
     
  16. Dionysus

    Dionysus Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    As an electrician I do have to say that I don't believe Edisons should ever be used for professional lighting. I've seen it a couple of times, but it scares me. The thought of someone running a 2.4kw load though an orange extension cord makes me cringe. At that 20a rated edisons are expensive and hard to get your hands on.

    Most theatre spaces I've seen in this part of Canada use Twist-lock. They work well (just don't treat them like they are invincible). I love the fact that they lock, and they are actually rated for 20a (well the 20a ones are). But with twist-lock it is IMPOSSIBLE to interface a 15a or 30a connector into a 20a one. There are different designs for twist-lock connectors for a VERY GOOD REASON.

    I've dealt VERY LITTLE with stage-pin connectors, I love the fact that they are flat-ish and are rated. Not to mention the fact that they are only used in one application unlike the others.

    I don't think I've ever seen one come apart that was twisted-together correctly. I don't doubt that it is possible, if the pins have been smacked around ALOT and abused and the person didn't make sure it was locked.

    for example during teardowns when cables are being tossed down I always make sure someone is down there to catch the connectors so they don't smack against the floor and get broken (or bent pins).

    And for stagepin, one thing keeps getting said that is important

    Not everyone knows how to do it, or that it has to be done. And with the design of the stagepin connector, if the pins are partially exposed it doesn't take much for it to go BOOM. That's why the pins of a twistlock are oriented in the way they are.
     
  17. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    No, which is my point. Twistlock still prevents people from plugging into dimmed power. Unless they carry an L5-20 to edison with them.
     
  18. Dionysus

    Dionysus Well-Known Member

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    The electrical code states that you cannot use a 5-15 on a 20-amp circuit. The main exception is with hospital grade, where you MUST use 12awg wire.

    And those cheapo connectors REALLY should not be used with 12awg wire nor on 20a circuits. There are three grades of 5-15s that I am familiar with, residential grade, commercial grade and hospital grade.
    The T-shaped ones you talked about are 5-20RAs. The electrical code recognisances them as a 20a receptacle that is allowed to have 15a loads connected.
     
  19. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    there are basically 4 'grades' of these connectors. Residential (cheap hardware store junk), commercial (hubbell Valise or leviton Python), industrial (fed spec) (5266 / 5269 types), and hospital (are avaialble in hospital grade commercial type and hospital grade version of the industrial grade type). There are also some other types such as corrosion resistant which dont really come into play here.

    The differences between industrial grade and hospital grade are minor, mainly corrosion resistance and contact retention. You *may* notice a difference in the female after a few years use, but for the most part hospital grade doesnt warrant the increased cost for our industry.

    With regard to what 5-15 and 5-20 can be used where, here is what is code allows:
    15a cir:
    -single 15a receptacle
    -multiple 15a receptacles
    20a cir
    -single 20a receptacle
    -multiple 20a receptacles
    -multiple 15a receptacles

    The 'T' shaped ones are 5-20R. There is no 5-20R(that I know of) that will not accept a 5-15. Aparrently in canada a 5-20R is referred to as a 5-20RA for some reason.

    The nema designations are -P for male plug, -C for female connector that goes on a cord, and -R for receptacle that goes in the wall.
     
  20. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Still waiting for the proper stage lighting connector to be invented!!

    Twist-Lock: Great thing to step on and fall and break you ankle.

    Edison: Best left on your home lighting fixture.

    2P&G: Looks like something from the 1800/1900's. Best left in Frankenstein's castle or DC theater.

    Look folks, the product density found in Soco is more what is needed. Maybe even the same pins loaded into a shell that can just fit 12/3. A simple locking system like an XLR connector. There's a fortune to be made out there for the company that finally makes them!
     

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