# Building a lighting inventory- baby steps

#### manuallyfocused

##### Active Member
We've got an ETC Ion coming in for a demo on Monday, and I just talked to a rep with Pathway who may be able to get us a Cognito2 to play around with. The end of the year is coming up fast, so it'll be a headlong rush to the finish. Now I've just got to figure out how I'm going to light the dance show...

#### RileyChilds

##### Member
Also, for the MEs out there- how many 20amp circuits can I safely get from our 100 amp 3 phase service? Online calculator says 26, but I'm not sure I'm doing it right.
I would agree and say 15, but I am willing to bet you are being limited by the disconnect on the feed, it would be reasonable to replace this disconnect with one that is a higher amperage, of course this assumes your feed comes direct from the MDP.

#### robartsd

##### Active Member
You can put 100 amps of load on each leg of a 3 phase 100 amp supply. How many circuits you use to connect that load is up to you. Each circuit must be protected with overcurrent protection up to the ampacity of their installed wiring. The total ampacity (and overcurrent protection) of all circuits on a leg can be greater than the supply in which case you can not use all the ampacity of every circuit at the same time. It is quite common for the sum of the branch circuit ampacity to exceed the supply. ETC has done studies and found that most 20 amp dimmers never see loads greater than 10 amps, but I imagine that we're more likely to work close to the maximum on non-dim circuits-since control is separated from power, it is easy to share the power with more fixtures until the circuit's capacity is used up.

I imagine that for occupancies where the users may not understand the limits of the system (residences, office space, etc.) that the code establishis some reasonable ration that usually works with no issues for those people. In a theater, it is expected that the master eletrician has more understanding so the codes might not provide as much guidance.

#### manuallyfocused

##### Active Member

For the power distro setup- if it goes from cam-lok tails to the power distro, which would have integrated breakers on each circuit, to SOCA out, to SOCA inlets on the wall feeding into conduit, at that point we need an additional set of breakers after the connectors on the wall before the circuits feed out to the edison outlets and/or SOCA outlets? Is the theory that someone who doesn't know better could possibly plug something between the cam and the SOCA that does not have its own overcurrent protection device and fry individual circuits before the 100 amp breaker gets thrown?

Because our space is fairly small and we have limited lighting positions and lighting inventory, I don't anticipate using anywhere near all of the capacity of a 24 circuit distro in the near future (possibly ever, as 5-10 years down the line the school hopes to be demolishing our current auditorium and building a purpose-built performing arts center). Would it be better to purchase a 24 circuit distro and be very careful about power calculations, or purchase a 12 circuit distro and be safe no matter what? I have an electrical company with a lot of experience with entertainment installs and power distro fabrication, and I'm having them come in to take a look at everything with me next week.

Thanks again for all the thoughtful questions and advice, and I will continue to keep you all updated as we progress.

#### manuallyfocused

##### Active Member
The school year is over, and we squeaked it out with enough left in the budget to purchase an ETC Ion with a 2x10 Fader Wing! I also crammed in 2 new Elation Cyber Paks and a bunch of edison connectors and cable (purchased 250' of SJ cable from Home Depot, but am planning to return it and purchase SO cable from a small supplier for a little bit mroe as the more I'm reading the more I'd prefer to go by the letter of the code when possible). In practice, do theaters often use SJ cable for more than just breakout assemblies? When I purchased 4 50' edison cables from my lighting supplier a few months ago, they came built with SJ cable, so until I read more into it I assumed that SJ was fine for our needs. Was this just them trying to save money? Should I make a big deal out of it and make them take it back?

I had an electrician come in to take a look at our power situation and make a recommendation on what we should do about power, and he felt that our best way forward was to run 20-amp circuits directly from breakers on our two 225-amp panels, and bypass any distro completely. The 2nd panel was originally placed for 2 now-defunct catering kitchens (which I hope to turn into a functional shop/makerspace in the next few years) and is almost completely unused now. We could run the circuits through the empty conduit on both sides of the auditorium ceiling, and have circuits drop down as needed wherever they would be most useful. I'm waiting on a quote from him for doing that work, and in the meantime am getting excited about designing our musical production next year, Urinetown.

My next step is to shop around for some grants to help us begin investing in LED fixtures and other, more sophisticated fixture solutions (very excited about the just-announced Colorsource Spot). I downloaded ETC's grant application, but their next round of application review isn't until November. Are there any other companies or organizations that offer grants for these purposes? Has anyone gone through the ETC grant process? Any advice?

Thanks again!

#### Jeff Lelko

##### Active Member
Congratulations on your purchase of the ETC Ion! I really think you made the right decision going with that versus a 'lesser' board just to get you by for the time being. I can't comment about your electrical as that's out of my area of expertise, but it definitely sounds like you're making great progress. Best of luck and have fun with it!

-Jeff

#### manuallyfocused

##### Active Member
Thanks Jeff! We're really excited about it.

Turns out the cable question is now moot, I just got a (literal) carload of 12/3 SO cable with stagepin connectors today from a big musical studio and staging company in Burbank that was getting rid of them. Between 500 and 800 feet of cable (according to them it was 560 total, but I think they underestimated the lengths by a lot, will measure in a couple of days) with about 30 sets of stagepin connectors and a beat-up roadcase for $300. Enough to make the rear wheels on my Honda Fit almost hit the wheel wells, and definitely enough to get us by for a while. I took apart one of them and the individual wires have some type of crimp connector that fits into stagepin connectors, and still fits into the Lex PBG connectors I bought! Gonna throw the edison connectors on some of them, keep the stagepin connectors to make adapters as necessary for rented gear (these can be SJ cord, yes?), and cannibalize the rest for short jumpers as needed. #### masterelectrician2112 ##### Active Member Good decision on the SO. The NEC actually requires that minimum 12awg extra hard usage cable (SO) is used for extensions. However, SJ is allowed for breakouts, adapters, and twofers. Perhaps someone can give a more precise code reference since my code book didn't come with me on my summer internship. I know part of it is in article 520. Also for a 100A 3 phase panel, I use an 80% safety factor, so with each phase giving 80A with the safety factor, that gives you (4) 20A circuits per phase for a total of 12 circuits. This has been an interesting thread to follow! I admire your drive to do the best with what you have. Best of luck to you! #### derekleffew ##### Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member #### manuallyfocused ##### Active Member Turns out it was a lot more cable than they thought. Almost 1600' of what looks like barely used SO cable, though the connectors are a little rough and desperately need their pins properly split. 4x 100', 21x 50', and 5x 25' pieces. Converted 5 of the 50' sections and 3 of the 25' sections to PBG with new connectors (and labels, because the cables came with unused heatshrink tubing!). Need to dismantle 9 10' and 4 50' PBG cords that were made with SJ cable and switch their connectors to the new cables, and then we'll have a pretty useful inventory. Is it worth it to replace old fixture cords with the SJ cable? We have a number of older Colortran fixtures whose cords are made from three wires and a nylon casing (with no strain relief for the connectors), might be a nice way to give them a bit of new life. Debating using the SPG connectors to convert our 24 built-in dimmer pigtails from L5-20 as a first step towards converting everything to SPG one day, but will probably save that for a year or two as we'd need to replace a bunch of 2-fers and 3-fers as well. Also, the administration cut the check for the Ion console today, so it's really real! And we're getting a grant from Nemetschek for educational licenses of Vectorworks that can live on our media lab computers! All in all, a good day. Separately, I've been roped into a small group of teachers working on plans for a Makerspace at our school. I'm pretty excited, because if we can make it happen it'll be a fantastic resource for all of our programs, and especially (selfishly) for stagecraft as I can offer practical applications for pretty much all of the areas of interest they want to develop. Also, if I have my way it will give me a decent wood/metal shop in the bargain. Has anyone on here had experience interacting with or developing a Maker program? Any advice? I'm also looking forward to the opportunity to add CNC, arduino, and a host of other areas of interest to my skillset if this works out. And I really want an excuse to make the school buy us a small propane forge . Side note- While I was bringing in the cable today there were a couple of workers installing power and data lines for a projector in the auditorium. There was an electrician running romex through the dropped ceiling to power the projector. This struck me as a bit off, but he said it was to code. I'm sure there's a lot of crap up there already, but I would hope that anything we add would be done the way it's supposed to be done. Can anyone point me to a reference that says yea or nay for a school setting? Most of what I'm finding is that romex is fine in a dropped ceiling for residential but not for commercial/industrial, and I don't want to raise any red flags about it unless I'm sure it should be done differently. #### manuallyfocused ##### Active Member The Ion Console has arrived! (a week ago, but nobody told me, so it got hidden in a closet, but now it's home in the booth!) Next agenda item is transitioning the house lighting to DMX-controlled dimmable LED. We don't have the budget for LED fixtures, so we're going with screw-in LED lamps (the Strand rep did an extensive test, and, big surprise, is recommending a Philips screw-in LED lamp to go with the Strand dimmers) and then replacing our ancient analog Colortran houselight dimmer and slider control stations with something newer. Our (strand) rep is recommending the following: A few 750w or 1.2k Strand Lightpack dimmers (depending on how many individual areas we want from our 70 or so fixtures, likely 4-6) controlled via DMX by Interactive Technologies Scenestations. Does anyone have experience with either the Lightpack dimmers or the Scenestations? We were trying to come up with the simplest solution for getting DMX dimming control over the houselights, and getting wireless control via smartphone apps so we could avoid putting control stations anywhere besides the booth and backstage. I'm also going to get our ETC rep in to find out what their solution would be. #### RickR ##### Well-Known Member I've used both the Strand dimmers and IT Scene Stations a few times each. The dimmers are very similar to other "backpack" dimmers intended to run an incandescent off raw power. I used it in an all LED space for some S4s because all they have is wash fixturres. It's an all portable device and for house lights you probably want something to be permanently installed. I think you would get better dimming for less money with a small rack. Maybe an A21 style would give you the 6 dimmers you need. The Scene Station is a cute little DMX memory device. It does need to be in-line between the console and the rack so it can record from the board. It will drop off line when the console is on, so it makes for an automatic lockout. More Stations can be scattered around but they become slaves that just report to the master on the DMX line. It's all very neat and clean if you can get them some DC power. I suspect the ETC guy will likely suggest a SmartPack Wallmount. They recently made some changes and are calling the new stuff Echo. One nice adder for you is that the wall mount box dimmers can be converted to real relays. So if you ever convert the house to DMX fixtures that won't be an issue. I don't think ETC has a comparable device to the Scene Station, except the Mosaic Tessara panel. That's going to be quite a bit more expensive. It's a network device so using a phone to access it is very possible. #### Les ##### Well-Known Member I'm not sure if I've read this right, but if so I don't think the portable single-dimmers would be a very efficient way of controlling house lights. You pay a lot per-dimmer that way. I am also not sure that it is even legal considering it is a portable device. House lights, being related to life safety, should be completely hardwired. I would definitely push for a rack mount solution. You had asked earlier about replacing SJ whips on incandescent fixtures [with a high-temp solution]? Yes, absolutely. I would do that before putting them back in to service. Last edited: #### manuallyfocused ##### Active Member Well, it's been an eventful year. I thought I'd return and give an update for anyone who's interested. We're about to go into prep time for our musical production (Grease, this year) and our inventory list is a heck of a lot healthier than it was this time last year. We received a grant a few months after my last post for 12 ETC Colorsource PAR fixtures (Thank you ETC!) which completely changed the way we can light our space and do off-site setups. We also squeezed money for a 12-circuit power distro out of our show budget last year, along with a few hundred feet of sch. 40 pipe, bases, and cheseboroughs. I used a bit of every event budget I could get my hands on to get us some more 3- and 5-pin DMX cable, 4-channel dimmer packs, and other odds and ends, and at the end of last year the parent organization at the school decided to give us funding to replace the auditorium sound system and purchase a few moving head fixtures (4 Chauvet Rogue R2 washes and 2 R2 spots). We have now gone from renting$7000 in lighting equipment 2 years ago to do our musical production(including console, dimmers, power distro, and support structures) to having the lighting designer walk in this year and be 90% sure he doesn't need to rent anything.

Our next addition is going to be a Nomad dongle for a designer's remote (also teaching tool and offsite console rig so the Ion can move less often) and at the end of this year I'm hoping to finally retire our Colortran zooms and Altman 360s. Running power and data is still a challenge, but at least we now have the cable to make it a little easier. I just got ahold of 80 feet of plenum-rated CAT6 cable, I'm going to throw some 5-pin XLR ends on it and put it through the ceiling to get DMX up to our house pipe position.

On the sound side we've beefed up our stock of speakers and cabling, and picked up a Behringer X32 console and rack console. We also discovered 10 sets of Sennheiser wireless mics that had been stored in the server room and luckily were brought to my attention before they got recycled.

Thanks for all your help and advice, this thread was extremely useful and I look forward to continuing to share our progress with all of you!

#### EdSavoie

##### Well-Known Member
I'm curious as to how you ended up with a single scoop...

I mean, two-three scoops I can understand, but one singular scoop?

Anyways, the whole endeavor seems quite interesting, definitely following this thread.

Fight Leukemia

#### Jay Ashworth

##### Well-Known Member
Note that the Cat cable is almost certainly solid core, and your DMX connectors are likely expecting stranded wire; that can be a problem.

Also: you can run the Nomad software for design without a dongle, you just can't *drive DMX* that way; you might want to evaluate that before spending money.

Otherwise, that was a fun mini-saga to read, and congrats on your Year As Klinger. Except for the dresses.

#### manuallyfocused

##### Active Member
EdSavoie- the scoop has been the subject of much curiosity and discussion. My students love it, and insist that we use it in some form for almost every show. I think some of the older inventory came by way of donation from film studios, or ended up there for a project or two and never made it back their original homes. Either way, definitely a mystery.

JohnD- I just got pricing for the educational package yesterday, definitely going that direction!

Jay Ashworth- Would this be a problem if I terminated the cable in wall-plate receptacles? I was thinking that might be a better option for semi-permanent install than the XLR connectors.

We currently use Nomad as an off-line editor, but adding the dongle opens up a number of possibilities for us- Using it as a client means our designer can be in the house while the programmer is on the Ion in the booth, and we can use it as a primary along with our 2x10 fader wing when we're doing events outside the auditorium and don't want to lug the Ion around (we use the gym on the other side of campus for Graduation and Open House, and do several off-campus events per year). It will also allow my students to program shows on their own computers, then plug in the dongle and gadget and run their shows directly as well as saving the show and running it from the Ion. And lastly, apparently the Gadget can also be plugged into the Ion and give us 2 additional DMX outputs!

As far as Klinger goes, I never watched MASH so I unfortunately had to google a bit to understand the reference, but I appreciate it now that I understand the context! Of course, I haven't said anything about dresses....

#### Jeff Lelko

##### Active Member
Hey, thanks for the update! Glad to hear that this are really working out for you. Nomad is a nice product, though if you plan to deploy it regularly I'd strongly consider using a touchscreen monitor or a wing of some sort. Clicking with a mouse gets very old very fast! Good luck!

#### Jay Ashworth

##### Well-Known Member
Ah; you *need* the extra universae. Got it.

As for the wiring, opinions differ as to whether the characteristic impedance of Category cabling meets the spec for DMX. I tend to think it doesn't, without help, but smarter people than me disagree.

In-wall, yes, solid wouldn't be a problem, as long as you were careful how you terminated the wire. I was worried about you putting a 22-24ga solid wire in a solderpot sized for 18ga stranded.

Unless you meant terminating it in Ethercons, and using molded drop/jumper cables, in which case barge forward.

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