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Clean Floor Pockets?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by EWCguy, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. EWCguy

    EWCguy Member

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    Our stage has four floor pockets, each with three 2PG circuits. Over winter break, Maintenance hires in someone to buff and often paint the stage. Of course, no one ever thinks to mention that the floor pocket cover should not be painted (again) and I have to pry the covers open to be used. In a similar vein, the custodial staff often pushes the dry or wet floor mop right over these pockets, so I also have to scrape and vacuum them out so they are usable.

    What measures do you take to prevent paint, dust, water, etc. from affecting your floor pockets?

    Here's a couple photos:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Xw2XcsOudyXUooBaCWqsLeqQvypr4qfM/view
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VDVtI3LJVYmwfqXjcBRGT4tpi7wvijW0/view

    I clearly need to request replacement of one socket.
     
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  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'd keep them covered at all times except when their circuits are actually needed. Could be hard: a square of 1/8 or 1/4 maso/mdf, or soft: rubber matting, taped on all four sides. At a minimum, tape the lid's seams--20¢ of gaffers tape saves a lot of aggravation later.
     
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  3. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    We’ve 8, we keep them covered with old squares of ex Marley dance floor.
     
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  4. Colin

    Colin Well-Known Member

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    +1 for dance floor scraps.
     
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  5. JonCarter

    JonCarter Well-Known Member

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    We used to clean & paint our own floor -- never had a problem.
     
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  6. John Scrip

    John Scrip Member

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    Same here. That said - We tend to maintain those pockets fairly often. They can certainly get nasty when we don't.
     
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  7. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    In planning and design of facility, I try to avoid using them. Seen too many filled with water, gunk, and glitter.
     
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  8. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Marley scraps, or tall traffic cones. We DS'ed traffic cones over one set at a theater because the night cleaning staff simply moved the cones away, flood mopped the floor and put the cones back.

    We had a nastygram the next morning explaining that if we wanted the floor cleaned by the night staff we'd have to un-screw those cones.

    We had a good conversation that afternoon with the night cleaning contractor who had no idea... (Thanks theater management)
     
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  9. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    Ours have cast lids; I can't imagine they wouldn't be stronger than the paint... though we also paint our own floor.
     
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  10. NickVon

    NickVon Well-Known Member

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    Having them mounted back wall/ or back of proscenium left and right seems just as piratical (more so) then floor pockets specifically. The couple HS stages I worked out don't do much stage deck maintenance beyond the general sweeping, so it's usually just dust crud that as easily vacuumed out with a shop vac. Maybe if you really need circuits for a mid stage boom SL and SR 2 pockets would be nice. But then I'd maybe just plan to add 6 extra circuits to what ever your mid stage electric would be and bring them from their. Or the pockets should be recces ed below whatever Maso/decking the deck would be; so that in addition to the cast iron/steal flip cover one could easily drop in a piece of maso/plywood/marley and tape the floor pocket closed and level? Vacuum formed plastic cover to sit over the outlets on the inside when not in use?
     
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  11. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I usually have overhead access - catwalks or occasionally a walk on gridiron - so plan for drops for booms or ladders.
     
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  12. Colin

    Colin Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, wall mounts plus drop boxes do nicely most of the time. I have floor pockets at midstage L and R which aren't where a boom ever wants to be - dropping down is more flexible. But, I also have a pocket on center line about 8' from the upstage wall and while I only use it every 3rd or 4th show, when I do it can be a big problem solver. Big chunks of scenery tend to land in that vicinity and need power without cable runs on the deck or dropping down in view.

    The other little irritation with our pockets is they're not quite flush with the deck and definitely of lesser load capacity, and they're located in some of the most convenient paths for lift and pallet jack traffic.
     
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  13. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Storing unwired spare male plugs in every unused female floor circuit helps as far as keeping the socket contacts clean but does nothing for keeping water et al from entering and accumulating in the pockets themselves. One venue's floor pockets wisely had drains in them with mop water periodically raining in the trap room below. This wasn't appreciated by musicians expanding their orchestra pit up stage into the trap room. (The A.F. of M. got pretty uppity about the pockets raining unexpectedly on the tymps and marimba.)
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  14. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Since the painting ritual is known to take place over winter break, cover them with painters tape beforehand.

    The rest of the time, most of the gunk is getting in through the cable openings. Keep the openings covered with gaff tape when they aren't in use. If you never need the lid to close when they are in use, consider closing off the cable openings permanently. Epoxy a piece of flat bar stock to the under side of the lid.
     
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  15. Keith Duster

    Keith Duster Member

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    Our relatively new theater has 6 floor pockets with a variety of A/V, power and sound I/O's. When installing them, the sound contractor recommended that I cut a thick piece (40 mil, I believe) of rubber roofing and mount it just underneath the door when it is screwed in. This has kept the dirt, water and dust that inevitibly enters out of the plug area. Seems to work well so far. I vacuum out the floor pockets when we touch up or repaint the flat black floor, roughly twice a year. The lids are not super strong, and we have to be careful about any heavy loads sitting on and/or rolling over them. We paint the covers flat black along with the floor.

    Unfortunately because of our limited dimmer space, there are no Stage Pin plugs in the floor pockets - a regret of mine.
    20190424_123504.jpg 20190424_123510.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. SweetBennyFenton

    SweetBennyFenton Active Member

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    Ha! Those are old Electro Controls boxes. I had 8 of those in my stage until a recent renovation. I keep one of the old ones on my wall as a memento.
     
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  17. JonCarter

    JonCarter Well-Known Member

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    What ever happened to the good ol' cast iron pocket covers? (Which were made in the USA.) Is this modern stuff made in China?
     
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  18. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Was wondering about the brand. Not very deep in doing a good job of letting the cable train itself out. Good ideas above. Also think about the rubber sheeting used on follow spots for the focus rods in doing similar A decent in this case 1/4" rubber glued to the underside of the cover, and slit for cable openings as with the (?roofing felt paper or rubber flat roof material) above might be useful in helping keep debree out. if periodically vaccumed what might collect in the cast cable openings. Yes! keep man-lifts away from floor pockets as an active thing to watch for while driving! Weep holes, yes and necessary, the angle and location of the outlets should keep water away, but dead end plugs - especially if a rubber cork is put in the cord grip of that outlet dead plug.

    In general, one should not be mopping that wet this would be a problem of dripping to the floor below... if doing it properly for a stage. Believe the training I was given was three clampings of the mop.

    Brilliant ideas of especially when 1/4" masonite on the stage - plugs, and or even taping the holes not used or painters/gaff tapping the pocket openings when away. Tape of any type gets nasty especially with time or not used theater getting hot, but prefer over the school staff making it unusable. On the other hand, if you once let them make you crack the plate to get it open... don't chip away what they did. This is sealant against mopping or further paint. Granted tape next time afterwards.

    Seen a few Hub Electric ones from the 50's in a glossy stage Gymatorium which were Polyurethane sealed tight. Floor pockets have a proper use in as opposed to running cables across the floor to the nearest wall outlet, (That in outlets designeted for the Cyc or Procenium boom) or should that boom need to be moved away or gone for scene change needs - not practicle to get the ladder out so as to un-connect and remove the boom if it needs to go away between scenes. Glad to hear floor pockets still in use and even ethernet/DMX capable as with probably stage pin + say 208v options. Never thought about it, but would be a great thing in advancing for their proper use.

    Back... 25+ years ago, I started working alot at the 1911 Athanaeum Theater in Chicago. It had floor pockets in constant use especially for dance shows. Never had a problem in painting, or washing in three times straining the excess water off the mop - important. You had to refresh the mop no doubt more, but in general, if you have watter dripping into the band room, your stage deck is also not feeling so well with that amount of water. If still dirty... mop it again, and I did.

    They had 1911 floor pockets which I converted to grounded for the 20A stage pin, but I still had to deal with the constant use for a 7th circuit of 30A Stage plug outlets on them with converter to 20A stage pin!!! Stage plug was basically a wooden handle with two copper sheets applied to it, and in the floor pocket, very exposed sister plates and terminals (at least in the worst circumstance. Would have to re-visit a Wall of shame sample to verify that the female live side also had live plates.) These floor pockets were un-lit and fairly deep and dark. Years later, even after upgrading the floor pockets, I learned the floor pockets in 1911 were internally lit. (Believe I know this, or this was an option on such floor panels I dealt with) I didn't notice a lamp socket in them, but suspect for at least 1911 safety in plugging in the stage plug.. one would want some light in otherwise dark. When I was plugging on the 30A Stage Plugs, luckily they were not live and I didn't need to be in the box plugging in or removing booms in the dark. Such 30A Stage plugs were for a carbon arc wash light or PC fixture which the stage hand would also have to be Very Much around to adjust the arc. This unless the as if moving light, self adjusting arm assembly was added cost to be invested in. Depends on the fixture, but in general a lot of back stage people had posts in the 1911 period to move scenery Screw in them stage screws for braces, tie the flats etc. or during the show strike an arc or adjust/maintain carbon arc rods. And remember those guys in the day no matter the heat were mostly dressed well in not just Tee-shirt but shirt and other clothing... not even blue jeans or shorts.

    Study into the Iriquis Theater Fire - important reading... two books on it I'm aware of and read. Good reading and easy term papers.

    Authentic leather bound "Season 1916-1917 Chicago Stage Lighing Co." I bought off the net... Fascinating catalogue of rental equipment from them. Later pages is a calander from appairently a crew chief in listing names of people for each date working with him. Owner of the pocket catalogue had bad hand writing as per uncharictic from that day and time in at times quickly written words and smears from ink. His personal info was much more careful - a pocket sized rental catalogue with contact info for who to hire, calander to who was hired, financial tracking on them, also provided a more carefully written "Identification" page. This from a rental/sales cataloge from a lighting company.

    Leo W Souger, Marientvell, IL (Cursive writing on town confusing.) Lists his parents in case of accident. He weighed 136#, and was 5'4" (fascinating the actual lines are crossed out and above them written in "99.1/2# & 4'-11") So perhaps in 1916, that was him and corrected later. He owned a Buick #791 (what ever that means.) And a Mead bike. Goes into shoes I cannot read, size 10 socks (Hosiery), Hat - 7.1/2, Collar 13.1/2, Shirt... believe in a smear, 18, Undershirt 36, Drawers 36, Gloves 8, Waist... 32"

    We now know a lot about a stage hand back in 1916' and he was plugging dangerous stage plugs into hopefully lit floor pockets.... or was that an option?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Sugar... Perhaps?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
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  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Consultants Schuler Shook have been specifying this on every job they do for years now.

    I'll see your Electro Controls and raise you one Ariel Davis.
     
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  20. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    My old highschool has the yearly tradition of prying up the footlights and floor pockets after the stage gets cleaned, waxed and coated over the summer.

    They say the screwdrivers were never quite straight again...
     
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