Distro...Sortof

koncept

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Mar 6, 2005
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I am helping out with the local homedays in one of the cities here again this year. In the past two years we have added pole mounted receptacle boxes upgraded the service, and upgraded several breaker panels. this year we are adding portable mini distro panels 4 20amp circuits. However this year they hired a sound company who has asked for a 50 amp circuit with a range plug. can any one think why excluding the posibility that he is using a road rack with his own distro built in becaus other than that i am not aware of any sound equipment that draws 50 amps on its own.

thanks for your thoughts guys
 

CURLS

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Oct 19, 2004
chances are probably not, if he's being hired in and he's professional he will carry all of his own power to tie in to the diconnect and then distribute his power via more than likely other means than edison which you have 20 amp circuits but the edison connector is only rated at 15amps which is about half of what most professional amp racks draw
 

koncept

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we are providing four 20 amp circuits and a 50 amp. all he asked for was a 50. i was just currious because anyone who had come in the past including bands who brought thier own gear just used 4 20 amp edison circuits.

curls the edison plugs we are installing are rated for 20 amps.

so thanks everyone for the input
 

CURLS

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Oct 19, 2004
Hey thanks for correcting me man. I only build edison duplex's, and 3 phase stuff of the sort almost every other week. Oh, and for that matter bring in 200amp distros to venues everywhere. You might be supplying a 20 amp service to a quadbox of sorts but as soon as it gets to an edison plug it is dropped down to 15 amps, b/c that is all a Standard Edison Plug is rated for. Ohh, and I thought you were the one asking for answers?
 

mbenonis

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Of course, the sound guy should not be using a range plug to power his distro (and you shouldn't be providing one), but that's another issue altogether. I believe the proper type of receptacle would be a 50A twist-lock or CAM feeders.

As far as Edison receptacles go, curls is correct - a vertical blade Edison receptacle is rated for 15A - a 20A one has one of the blades turned 90 degrees. However, this rule is often broken out of convenience.
 
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I know alot of soundco's in my area that use 50amp range plugs on their distros. Obviously the safety of camlock isn't there, but if there is someone hanging around your distro that doesn't know what they're doing, that should be a matter for Security, not you.

As well, even 5 feet of 2 or 4 aught cable with cams is pretty bloody heavy and awkward, lots of the time it's more effecient, and just as safe, to use a range plug disconnect rather than a cam.
 

koncept

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sorry for the correction curls, the last theatre i was at reffered to any plug that was not stage pin or twist as an edison wheter it be a two wire or three wire (even if the blade is turned as the 20 amp is and stated by mbenonis) so i still call it edison. i would have personaly used twist for all 50 amp receptacles but it seems that almost anyone involved with this that requires that ammount of power uses a range plug.
 

CURLS

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Oct 19, 2004
Sorry koncept for going off on ya man. Reality I was actually seeing how others would react, because honestly that's how alot of people talk to other's in this industry.

On a second note, now bear with me are you folks talking about 50 amp range plugs that go to like washer dryer hookups that are non curved blade receptacles?

Because to be brutally honest I rarely have seen many sound companies use those, but thats just me. I have seen camlock which is what my company and god only knows how many other bigass companies i know use to come out of a disconnect When you tie in. I don't think I have seen too too many touring companies that Don't use cams to tie in with. However, once it reaches your distro thats a different story on connectors and distribution alltogether.
 
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Joined
Apr 25, 2004
Location
Kelowna, BC. Canada
A 50amp range plug is essentially a stove plug, however, electrical codes for wire gauge are more strict on portable distro's than on installed appliances (at least thats what I've found up here in Canada).

The thing about cams (once again, here in canada) is that when you tie in with cams, you need to hire an electrician to come in and either do it for you or inspect what you've done before you can energize. Which means you pay a guy a four hour minimum call to come in, look at 5 cables, make sure they're tight, and throw a breaker on for you. If he's bored and never been to the venue, he'll check the voltages on his meter before energizing, so at most he's there for 15 minutes and that time includes picking up his paycheck.

I can understand the need for this, but to incur that extra cost for a 50 amp show? Most of your profit margin probably just went to the electrician.
 

jonhirsh

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Dec 11, 2004
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Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
Hmm ok most shows i work on here in canada are set up under the guidelines that they are temporary. Thus cams and any power distro do not need to be installed by a licensed electrician. If ever show i did needed an licensed electrcian to show up i would be broke and so would the production companys.


But obviously if its a permentent or an long run then you should for your own safty hire an electrcian.
JH
 

mbandgeek

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North Carolina
you may laugh at my face at this question, but what exactlly is a distro?
 

jonhirsh

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Dec 11, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
A distro is Distrobution of power so it takes large amounts of power and breaks it down into useable bits for pieces of gear.

So if you have an Amp that uses 20 amps you use your distro you take the 200amps of power and convert it to 10 20amp outlets lets say which lets you plug in the gear.

Distros are needed when you need allot of power to turn on your gear all in one place. Lighting sometimes has a few distro racks to power large rigs.

JH
 

mbandgeek

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North Carolina
so it is to devide up the power for amps?

Why can't you plug them up to a wall outlet?
 

audioslavematt

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Mar 30, 2006
Location
West Lafayette, IN
mbandgeek said:
so it is to devide up the power for amps?

Why can't you plug them up to a wall outlet?
Not only amps, but processing, consoles, (usually) video, and backline. It's kind of hard to just plug 20 Lab Grupen fp6400s and another 15 Crown Macrotechs into wall outlets. These numbers are theoretical, but that's what most companies like Mid America Sound use. These amps are a little bigger than the little Behringer EP750s that you may see a bar band use. It's easy to burn up a 200 amp 3-phase service at shed level. If you were to run all that off wall outlets, there would be extension chords running everywhere and there would have to be some pretty intense wiring done in the venue. It's just easier for the production company to bring what they need and keep ground loops out of the system to start with. HTH
 
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