The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Ariel Davis Lightboard

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by jwl868, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    We are using a different venue this year for the dance school’s production. Although I’ll have a friend running the light board, the board itself is an Ariel Davis. Found one reference online and it appears that this must 30 or more years old.

    The venue’s personnel will provide some basic instruction, but any other advice about the reliability and functionality of a board this old?

    Thanks

    Joe
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,678
    Likes Received:
    342
    Location:
    NJ & NYC
    Oooohh...yeah...that's one old board. Any info on what model/make it is? Back to the days of Slider Patch!
     
  3. rmarston

    rmarston Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ciity, UT
    Oh yes that is definately one old board - I used a 5 scene preset model of that board years ago. The first SCR dimmers - dimmer curves were bad and wow what filament noise.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Well, I wouldn't worry too much about reliability. The fact that it is still functioning even somewhat makes it more relaible than anything ETC has ever made (NOT to knock ETC.) As for functionality, the only Ariel Davis I've ever used has been the A/D "slider": A master controlling six individual dimmers, essentially linear autotransformers. Can be thought of as a single-scene preset. From Off to Full, the dimmer handle travels at least 12".

    Many of the parts were re-purposed for EC's infamous "Slider Patch" patch panel, where the handles moving vertical were the circuits and the horizontals were the dimmers.

    Please take pictures and post them. Many of us would love to see a control system of this vintage still in use. As I recall, Electro-Controls bought Ariel Davis around 1968, so your board is closer to 40 years young!
     
  5. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Attached are a few pictures.

    Joe
     

    Attached Files:

  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Cool! That's the most sophisticated Ariel Davis "desk" I've ever seen. A patch panel and manual dimmers built into one enclosure is rare indeed. Looks like there are 12x 1000w? linear ATDs with handles 11 & 12 missing. The 6Kw master on the right (dims1>6) has a handle (and maybe the entire assembly) from either Superior or Ward-Leonard. The handle on the left (dims7-12) looks like a Luxtrol handle. My high school's cafetorium had the same 2 sets of 6 sliders, but no masters, and no patch panel, as the Xrays were hard-wired and had extra outlets on the sides of the fixtures. I bet there's a Date of Manufacture somewhere inside +/- 3 years of 1965.
     
  7. rmarston

    rmarston Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ciity, UT
    Looks similar to the AD board I used in high school ( probably 50's manufacture). This board had 4 master reostats with 6 slider auto transformers to each master. Two of the masters doubled use for the house lights. The patch panel was a rats nest at the bottom front of the board.
     
  8. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    5,949
    Likes Received:
    225
    Occupation:
    Stageline Operator/Staging Supervisor
    Location:
    Howell, NJ
    Talk about a beast.
     
  9. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks for the input. (I've been too busy to get back to this post.)

    I have essentially no experience with lightboards. Basically, how was this one supposed to function? How do the two small sets of sliders on the left relate to the 60 sliders on the right? And what should the two large levers on the left do? And are the switches on the lower front of the unit basic circuit breakers?

    (I'd like to have a basic idea of this before going in.)

    Joe
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,078
    Likes Received:
    687
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Hmmmm.... I think I have one of the 6 fader units (just the actual faders) hanging around with some of the old stuff here. It is a heavy sucker, but at least I have an idea of what it might be now. Will post a photo when I can.
     
  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Disclaimer: Some of the following may not be 100% accurate, as I can't read any of the dyna-groove labels, or most of the handwritten masking tape labels, but here goes...
    The "switches" on the front ARE circuit breakers. It appears the ones above the "turn these on" are constant power for "PA System," "stage screen," and "Keep On." (If only everything were labeled with P-Touch labels!)

    Slider Patch Panel. The sixty sliders on the right are the lighting circuits, but I bet there really aren't that many. Boards like this were often built to stock sizes, or over-sized for future expansion which never happened. The female connector to which you plug in a light should have a number 1-60. You then find that number's slider and, by moving the slider upwards and letting it go on the horizontal 1-12, you've "selected" which dimmer will control that circuit. The sliders often want to stick at odd places, you generally lift the handle slightly and often have to jiggle it to get it to lock into the dimmer you want it to be. If you slide the slider to slot#30, then press and hold the button on the meter (or maybe turn ON the meter's circuit breaker) the meter will tell you how many watts you have on that circuit. It's possible to assign every circuit to any one dimmer, and thus over load the dimmer and trip it's circuit breaker immediately. I'm pretty sure each of the twelve dimmers is only 2400watts, and it's possible that the total load on dimmers 1-6 can only be a total of 6000watts, likewise with dimmers 7-12.

    One the left side: The large handle [labeled CURTAIN WHITE] above dimmers 1-6 is the master for those dimmers. Setting dimmer#1 at 5 (50%) and bringing the master to 5 (50%) also, will bring the lights on dimmer#1 to 25%. Repeat for dimmers 2-6. The other master [labeled BLUE RED] above dimmers 7-12 works exactly the same way.

    I admit to having no clue what the 2 large handled switches are with the hand-drawn arrows at 2 o'clock, I'm guessing it's some sort of transfer or possibly repatch capability, but probably doesn't work, hence the masking tape labels.

    In your first post you said "The venue’s personnel will provide some basic instruction..." so I'm sure they know how to work the system to it's best advantage. You probably won't have to change anything on the slider patch. Be aware when fading just one dimmer the brush inside will sometimes lose contact and the lights on that dimmer may flicker off and back on, no real way to avoid this, I'm sure the brushes are old and worn.

    This board was designed to basically operate thusly: With no lights on and both masters at 0 (00%) set the desired levers for dimmers 1-12, then fade up both masters to 10 (100%). [Single scene preset] At the end of the scene, fade both masters out and reset dimmers 1-12 to new levels, and fade the masters back up. The two masters don't have to work together however. Another thing, if you need a quick blackout, DO NOT slam the masters! This is very hard on the mechanics and electrical contacts. There should be a switch or breaker for each master and it's much better the switch OFF then gentle bring the handle to zero, then turn the switch back on. That may be what the big switches on the front are for. At 2 o'clock they work as I've described above. At 12 o'clock, they're OFF. At 10 o'clock, they may act as 2 6000w dimmers, but you have no power to dimmers 1-6 if switch on the front is not at 2 o'clock.

    This all sounds more confusing than it really is. The board will be a challenge, and many would scoff at it, but this type of control was how it was done in every theatre in the US from 1900 until 1975, including every Broadway musical. Many would argue that learning lighting on a system like this makes one a better designer when using a Light Palette, which actually uses many of the same concepts (tracking vs. non-tracking).

    I'm sure the venue personnel can and will explain all this in better detail than I can. Good luck, have fun. Never let them see you sweat.
     
  12. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    derekleffew

    Thank you for that information. It makes sense, now that I see what the parts are supposed to do.

    And to make sure I get the concept, please bear with me on this example:

    Dimmers are at 0, masters are at 0. On the slider patch panel, I put sliders #1 and #2 at position 1 (for Dimmer 1) and put sliders #3 and #4 at position 2 (Dimmer 2).

    Then, I move Dimmer sliders 1 and 2 up to 100%. And then I move the Master to 100% and the lights (Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4) come up.


    Alternatively, could I first move the master to 100%, then move the sliders for Dimmers 1 and 2 to 100%?


    Joe
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,506
    Likes Received:
    2,926
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Absolutely correct!

    The "slider patch" is only used when setting up the lighting. During the show it's pretty much forgotten about. One thing I forgot, always make sure everything is at zero when moving the slider patches, or you can get quite a spark (arc) and this is bad for the contacts, as the veritcal sliders move across the horizontal dimmers. This is why you generally have to "lift" the slider handle maybe 1/4"-3/8" to move it and then let it go and wiggle it to make sure it makes good contact with the dimmer's buss.

    Answer to your "alternatively": Yes, in theory you would be accomplishing the same thing, but in practice, you'll find it difficult to physically move (lots of Newton force required) dimmers 1&2 either up or down, you'll need two hands, and as I said before, you may get a flicker as the brushes lose and make contact. Not saying it can't be done, just warning you of the issues. Sometimes there is no other way, if you want only one dimmer to fade up or down while the others stay where they are.

    When is your event? Can't wait to find out how it went.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  14. rmarston

    rmarston Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ciity, UT
    Looks like the 60 sliders on the right make up the matrix patch panel. From the photo, there are 60 load circuits patchable to 30 dimmers (sliders on the left side). The 12 sliders on the right are the autoxformer dimmers, each group of 6 controlled by reostat handle above each bank of 6. The only puzzle is the matrix shows a dimmer capacity of 30 and yet there are 12 dimmers shown? wonder where the other dimmers are?
     
  15. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The show – The Nutcracker - is in December. Its an annual show and this is the studio’s 18th or 19th year. [Me – I’m a parent-volunteer basically the stage manager, such that it is.] For a variety of reasons, we have used different venues over the years, probably none more than 3 years in a row. During my tenure [about 9-10 years], we’ve used a middle school, a high school, and a private theater and each of those venues provided light and sound staff. Our light and sound demands, though, are limited – The stage just needs to be fully lit most of the time and we use a follow spot for soloists. [There are other limitations, I suppose: no one to do any lighting design; not really knowing what is available at the venue; no real time or budget to implement a design; and as much as anything, there really is no perceived need for a lighting design.] There is one dress rehearsal at the venue, and at that time, we go over our needs with the person in charge of the lights and sound at the venue, give them free-reign, and we cue the lights and sound as we go.

    The subject venue was used by the studio before I got involved, probably 12 years ago. Same board obviously. A few other details about the venue’s stage lighting: there is one beam over the audience and three electrics over the stage. The beam has 11 separate spotlights (fresnels maybe. Looks like gel frames, but no gels, but I don’t think they are easily accessible anyway). Each electric has enough sets of strip lights to run the width of the stage, about 45 feet. (I think there are 5 strips per electric. Each strip light has red, white, and blue lights. And that’s it.

    Joe
     
  16. rmarston

    rmarston Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ciity, UT
    I have done Light design for the Nutcracker some years ago - any possibility for side lights, and what about special effects - snow, and fog? Sounds like the venue you have is very limited.
     
  17. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    5,949
    Likes Received:
    225
    Occupation:
    Stageline Operator/Staging Supervisor
    Location:
    Howell, NJ
    Shinbusters are a must for ballet.
     
  18. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,097
    Likes Received:
    109
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Launceston Tasmania
    Not if you haven't got them.
     
  19. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    5,949
    Likes Received:
    225
    Occupation:
    Stageline Operator/Staging Supervisor
    Location:
    Howell, NJ
    I could make a floor tree for less than $100 utilizing parts from the local plumbing supply place.
     
  20. who_touched_the_patch

    who_touched_the_patch Member

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I really love reading the tape messages on old and slightly unfamiliar boards.

    "TURN THESE ON!"

    Very important step.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice