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Ariel Davis Dimmer Distro

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by MNicolai, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Here's a thread, special request by Derek, of a nice antique piece of equipment we've had in our stockpile for awhile. It's an old Ariel Davis portable dimmer pack. The original wiring had dry rot, was underrated, single phase, and generally bad news. We don't use it as a dimmer pack anymore though, just a straight power feed. To accomplish that our electrician replaced the wiring on it, which only costs about $1500 for the new wiring, the feed from the transformer in the room we use it in, and the materials, of which the plug alone was ~$400. It's now a 3Ø/4W/120V/100A portable piece of heck. Personally, I wouldn't have had it rewired, but as it's the property of a school, purchasing a proper distro wouldn't have been in the budget. For your viewing pleasure though, I have photos!

    [-]Michael Nicolai's Photos - Ariel Davis Power Distro | Facebook[/-]
    [Mod. note: Pictures in post #35 below.]

    Considering the wiring it had when I looked at it with my electrician, I'm very surprised it was ever able to get a UL listing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2012
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I really think that for $1900 you could have bought something more suitable. What happens if someone moves one of the handles below 100%?

    Come to think of it, I have built a 24x20A 200A 3Ø 120/208VAC Wye Edison PD, with volt- and ammeters, for less, (not including labor).
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  3. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    The modifications to the unit were one thing. A lot of the cost was simply getting the feed into the room we needed it in. The decision for it to be rebuilt was above me, I was just the guy who went to the electrician and made it happen.
     
  4. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    I would have rather used some Mini-Cam-Loks (E1015) instead of that thing...would have been cheaper and you could use the wall receptacle for other things when not using the distro, like chain winches or a small rental dimmer pack. I don't think I've seen that type of plug anywhere else except on a yacht and some cooking equipment in the cafeteria at my college.

    Like Derek said...you could have probably spent just slightly more and gotten a modern distro.
     
  5. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Forgot to mention, the dimmers are still functional, it can still be operated as a dimmer pack, we just don't use it as one. Our big party trick is hooking up 15k christmas lights to it though and doing fun stuff.

    The cost of rebuilding the unit is almost irrelevant though. The wiring is still good if our electrician got ansy and wanted to take that wiring and use it on a distro that's worth our time. It had to operational for about four days days last December, so it's not exactly something we use frequently. However, it is a subject I'll be talking about with the electrician in a few weeks; we have to discuss the future of some old equipment in the same pile as this. He says there's 300A available there in total, but because of the way it's setup, we can only access the power behind the seven 120V/20A breakers. He's the one who has a budget to do something about it, so I'll see what he wants to do, but if he ever wants anyone to be able to tape more than 140A on it, then he'll need to replace it or change it up so that it can handle those sorts of loads. If that much is changing though, he'd be better off taking the new wiring off it and hooking it up to something else rather than modifying that unit any further. I put a lot of it in his lap, because the choir uses it for a single day of the year, plus three days of lead time for setup and rehearsals, so he needs to be able to justify purchasing or creating a new distro through his own creativity of thinking how something like that could be used elsewhere, for more than a gig that lasts four days and is only done every other year. Of course, by the time we get that in-depth, we start discussing the possibility of going LED, and then we stop to ask why we would even need that much power. It's this whole logisitical mess, and I consider the fact it was rebuilt a temporary solution.

    Oh yea, and the people who had the authority to make demands on what kind of power feed they needed, are in their 70's and are very narrow-minded, so they don't care what happens long term, so long as they can turn on everything they need to be able to, and they also don't explain themselves to the people doing the work and paying for their problems, so it's hard for our electrician to say, "Well if that's what you want, you could consider going ______ route for a better solution."
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The "pin and sleeve" connector is actually common for portable power distribution (especially in hotel ballrooms and exhibit halls), but seldom used for stage lighting. See the glossary entry (when it's working again:() "Expo Plug."
     
  7. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    The last exhibit hall I was in was the Rhode Island Convention Center for Digital Overload 2008. They used mostly used E1016 Cam-Loks from what I could see...but I guess it all depends on the venue. Some places like Cam-Loks and some places like Pin-Sleeve, it all depends on what the building designers prefer. The last place I saw an Expo Plug (or at least something similar) personally is on the Ferry going from Martha's Vineyard where my parents live to Falmouth, MA. They use a larger version (about 4" in diameter) for their Shore Power connection.

    EDIT: Since some people seem to be misunderstanding me and sending me nasty PM's... I am not saying that Derek is wrong... I am merely stating I've seen more Cam-Lok's then I've seen Pin-Sleeve type connectors in my experience. I apologize, I may have worded it improperly (is was frackin 3am give me a break)...I've reworded it since then to be more clear.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  8. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    Err....I don't see how E1015 mini Cam-Loks would be useful here:

    1. Code prohibits use of single-conductor cable below#2AWG in size in 520.53 (H)(2).

    2. The biggest wire that will fit in an E1015 is #4AWG.

    3. You cannot simply peel back the outer jacket of a multiconductor cable and install E1015's on the inner conductors, since then you do not have an extra-hard usage cable required by 520.68(A)(1).

    All in all--the pin and sleeve connector was the right choice. However, IMHO--the wrong choice was not consigning that piece of equipment to the dumpster. But take heart--it's still not too late to do that!

    ST
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  10. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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  11. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    BTW, I took another look at those photos. You have a serious safety problem with the open slots below the breakers. There is a potential shock hazard here.

    I suggest you get rid of that thing on safety grounds alone.

    ST
     
  12. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Don't worry. Now that's been used for it's emergency, "We need 200A of power, 10 days from now," use, it's sitting in a pile of old equipment that later this month will be up for review between the electrician and I. My recommendation is to save the wiring we just retrofitted into it, and toss the dimmers. If there's a need for a proper power distro then, we'll purchase a proper power distro, or as an electrician, he'll make something, which he has mentioned as a possibility before. Too many people waited too long to address the issue of needing a power feed last December though, and because of short notice, this was all that could be arranged or an entire show that had been in the works for 4 months would've had to have been canceled. Now there's another 15 months to prepare for the next gig, and this time I hope everything can be done the right way.
     
  13. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Could someone please let me know how this "pin and sleeve" is different to cee form?

    At first glance, you have another issue with that distro. A 4 pin plug... What's it missing, Neutral or Earth? Both are important for 90% of what our industry does, chain motors are one of the few exceptions...

    And it's the wrong colour cee form for that application, Red cee is for 380 - 415 V AC, you should be using blue for the three phase voltages at play in the states...
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Physical size and ampacity, primarily. Pin and sleeve are available in sizes from 30A-125A. CeeForm seem to come in 16, 32, and 63A. For CeeForm info, see this BlueRoom Wiki entry, and IEC 60309. (Who knew they had a wiki also?:)) In the US, I only see CeeForms on European equipment, primarily on the video walls of XL Video, sometimes on Barco projectors. VLPS used to use Yellow and Red for their chain motor control and power, respectively. We always called them the mustard and ketchup connectors; it seems the red should have been blue.

    The plug as pictured is 120/240 single phase. Hot, hot, neutral, ground. Perfectly valid.

    MNicolai's plug is Orange, the proper color for his application. Leviton appears to use: yellow for up to 125V; Blue 250V; Org 125/250V, Red 480V, Black 600V. See Leviton 60 and 100A Pin and Sleeves. With the exception of orange, the colors and purposes match.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  15. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Color coding is different in the US then it is in Europe and Australia. Also in the USA it is completely legal to combine the earth and neutral conductors.
     
  16. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    [user]MNicolai[/user] said that the box is now a 3PH/4W/120V (I actually think he means 3PH/4W/208V) system, which lends me to believe that it is not Hot, Hot, Neutral, Ground (A.K.A. 2PH+N+E.) Instead it is Hot, Hot, Hot, with a combined Neutral and Ground (A.K.A. 3P+E.) I may be wrong...maybe [user]MNicolai[/user] could clear this up.
     
  17. fredthe

    fredthe Active Member

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    I'm not aware of any part of the NEC that allows combining earth and neutral conductors for anything involving a plug. Can you cite a specific part of the NEC that allows this?
     
  18. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Ceeform can definitely be had in 125A varieties; I've wired them. I believe they are also available in 200, 250 and 400A varieties.

    If, and there is some debate as to this,it is only 2 phase, then that would be kosher. Just because such a thing is rarely if ever seen out side the US...

    Orange... not in the international standard as noted, and so I have no idea on it... Again if it is the 3 phase I read initially, it is problematic.

    I presume you are eluding to colours of plugs & sockets, which Derek seems to think match bar this orange wierdness...

    Um, if it's completely legal in the states to combine N&E, then it's a wonder you don't lose more people to electrical deaths. It also UTTERLY defeats the purpose of a MEN system... It will probably also be very noisy...
     
  19. STEVETERRY

    STEVETERRY Well-Known Member

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    Err...combining neutral and ground is only allowed with certain types of equipment (electric stoves, for instance) in residential applications.

    ST
     
  20. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Well in that case, ether MNicolai is wrong and it isn't a 3PH/4W/120V system and it's a Split-Phase 240vAC. or the electrician wired it wrong...I'm just trying to make sense of what MNicolai said. He said it was 3PH/4W/120vAC...the only way for that to work would be with a combined Neutral/Ground. I know there are some instances where that is allowed like you said with stoves and such. My boss also says it's allowed in commercial applications and we have opened up the main panel at the PAC I work at and that is how it is wired (Both the Neutral and Ground Bus Bars are bolted to the Panel without any insulation.) So something here is amiss...ether neither of us are wired to code, or something.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008

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