Dimmer Racks


Wireless Guy
Premium Member
I have often heard people refer to having dimmer racks in their schools. In our school, we save Rosco IPS dimmer bars on our electrics. I'm curious, which system of dimming control is more common in schools and facilities? Also, when a facility has dimmer racks, how is the output of each dimmer run to the electrics and the catwalk to power the luminaries? Is it basically a bunch of really long extension cords, or does it work differently?
At my school we have a total of 36 ETC Smartpacks. We have 7 snakes running from our dimmer room, one to each of our positions, so we have 6 circuits for each position.

I think dimmer racks are more common then dimmer batons, but I could be wrong.
At my school, we have a dimmer rack in the basement of the theatre building, with cables coming up to positions on our grid. I think that's the most common setup. It's also, in my opinion, a bit more practical, because if there's a problem in your rack, and you need to locate it, then it's all there in one centralized place.
Dimmer racks are common in permanent installs. They are permanently mounted in a location and have the necessary power run to them and tied in permanently.

Your analogy of long extension cords is correct to a degree. In actuality, multicables will be run to distribution bars where the connection drops are hooked in for the final run to the pigtail. Multicables have quite a few wires in them. They're denoted in a pretty simple fashion gague/quantity. 12/3, for example is three twelve gauge wires - the stuff that's on the pigtail of your conventional lights. 16/7 is seven sixteen gauge wires.

Does this help at all?
At my school, we have a dimmer rack stage right with about 30 Electro Controls Quad packs (yeah, old, but they get the job done). From the racks, they run underground and up in the wall down to the three distros on stage. There are also two circuits that run to the catwalk and the balcony side arms, but they're wired into normal electrical junction boxes with either edison or twist-lock outs.
Really you can have Dimmer Packs, Dimmer Racks, Rolling Dimmer Racks, Distro's (Moving Lights). They are all forms of power distribution.

They all work the same in a sence that they control lighting. What's more common... that are all common. None is right or wrong. You just see dimmer racks used more in installs cause they can be placed in a location permenently.

Users who are viewing this thread