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Gaff it?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Aug 24, 2008.

?

Do you gaff together your stagepins connections?

  1. Yes, I gaff all or most stagepin connections

    16 vote(s)
    28.6%
  2. No

    40 vote(s)
    71.4%
  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'm curious what the actual breakdown of users is on the StagePin and Gaff issue. It seems that the consensus here is not gaffing, just splitting. I was just reflecting upon an experience six weeks ago regarding this issue, and it brought it to the front of my mind.

    Do you gaff all, or most, StagePin connections?

    Edit: By the way, I clicked the wrong button on my vote, I do not gaff my connections together, and messed up the poll settings, hey, it's neigh 4AM.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  2. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    I rarely gaff tape my connectors. With my cables up for months at a time, the adhesive residue just adds one more headache to my maintenance routine. I do, however either tie or zip tie the end of a cable to the pipe on both sides of the connection. The exception is a fixture plugging into a cable. If a connector feels loose, I spread the pins.
     
  3. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    No gaff, pin splitting.
    But, I will gaff if asked. At one show recently, the ME insisted on gaffing connections for any break-out tails running up the booms, so I did. (Although I used a pin splitter in addition on a couple that were unbearably loose...)
    The one thing I do involving tape and connectors, is use a colored spike on the stage pin connector to assist deck transitions, if someone unfamiliar with lighting has to place floor mounts and run cable, color coding tends to work better than explaining that the 10' cable goes to dim 87 and the 5' cable goes to dim 86.

    The question I have, is does splitting the pins have an electrical purpose aside from making the connectors fit tighter?
     
  4. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    If I used booms, I too would gaff my connections, but as I don't use them its not an issue.

    Color coding is also good for trained techs. It takes thought out of the equation by giving the tech a simple visual aid: Blue to Blue, Yellow to Yellow. Its nice and simple. I like simple.

    As for the purpose of splitting pins, making a better connection is the purpose of splitting them. Having the connectors hold together better is merely a fringe benefit.
     
  5. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    You zip tie cables? Really? That seems like it'd be very difficult to remove and change things around in a pinch, while tie line is reusable... Don't get me wrong, I adore zip ties, but they aren't what I'd use with cable.
    (Then again, you also do way more permanent installs, and they'd be better for that.)
     
  6. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    As far as removing zip ties goes, a good pair of dykes works pretty well for cutting them. That having been said, I will not use zip ties on temporary DMX runs. DMX cables are far more vulnerable to damage than power cables, and it's very easy to cinch a zip tie tight enough to damage the DMX lines.
     
  7. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    I know they're easy to remove (my itsy bitsy leatherman micra cuts through them without any hassle whatsoever) but it would seem that tie line can stay with the cable and be reused, while zip ties are a one-time offer, and have to be reattached to the cable every time.
    Just more of my spare change. ;]
     
  8. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    I use releasable zip ties for all these types of situations, are they not available in the US?
     
  9. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Pin Splitting is always preferable to Gaffing...Pin Splitting helps the connector get better contacts and helps prevent Arcing. Gaffing does niether of those things.
     
  10. quarterfront

    quarterfront Member

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    Occasionally I'll gaff if a cable is in a hard to reach place and there's a likelihood of it getting yanked on. Like, say, under the stage and running past a place where there's a lot of crew traffic during tech week - little insurance to keep me from having to go spelunking more than necessary. Or when there's a cable connection in a line running from an electric down to the deck I might do a tie and a piece of gaff.

    But generally, no.

    More broadly, the longer I do this the more I'm convinced that young technicians should not be allowed to use gaff tape until they're mature enough to use it minimally. I can't begin to describe how annoying it is to go up to the cats and find that some techie felt a need to tape every plug. Or to go backstage and find that somebody has dressed a piece of 12/2 SJO to the back of a flat with 1/3 of a roll of gaff but (surprise surprise surprise) it's come unstuck and there's gaff stuck to itself all over the place that has to be removed before I can re-dress it using a piece of tieline and a drywall screw into the flat frame. Or to find that somebody decided to dress a bundle of cable to my backstage uni-strut running light raceway with wraps of gafftape every 2'-0".

    I mean, the bottom line with gaff tape is that every piece you put on something is going to have to come off at strike. Oh, and it's $13/roll. It's great for a lot of stuff, but when people start using it to do jobs that they should have done with tieline.... Grrrrrr.... :mad:

    When my kids were 3 years old we didn't let them play with magic markers. Same deal....
     
  11. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I've never used tape on connections, mainly because I wouldn't want to peel it all off at strike. The only connectors I've had trouble with are rentals, and it's easier to make an extra loop and tie the two cables leading to the connector together, or if there's not enough slack, tie them both to the pipe. I try not to muck with rental gear more than I have to, and I keep the pins split on my gear.

    Someone mentioned color coding cables - I letter/number all of my cable with a small piece of white gaff tape on both ends of the cable. It doesn't matter what the letter and number are, as long as they are unique. That when when I find H2 plugged into a circuit on the wall, I can quickly find the other end of H2. I've tried colors, there just aren't enough to go around. For really long runs I train my tech to use similar letters - H to H, and so forth.
     
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  13. Mullet1215

    Mullet1215 Member

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    Why would you... There is no reason to gaff your connections. Just make sure there is no tension on the connectors (or tails for that matter) and fix any loose conectors. And you can save your gaff.
     
  14. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    For indoor shows in our studio theatre or mainstage, we will only gaff connections for anything at ground level, such as booms or floormounts, usually because they're close to where people walk. This does not include our strips. Outdoors, the same policy applies, anything near ground level gets gaffed. However, we don't gaff the entire plug, we'll only slap a small piece on one side of the connection, w/ tab of course.
     
  15. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    And they did at least 6 wraps around the connection, right? With no courtesy tabs? :twisted:

    The show I mentioned where the ME wanted the booms taped was outdoors, and yes, one side of the connection with tab. Sensible use of the gaff.
     
  16. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    We actually do it dual purpose; gaff all of our connections with white gaff, and write on it the dimmer and channel number. Might be overkill, but makes troubleshooting a real cinch. Plus, since we have a suspension grid and cables can really be going everywhere, it's really nice. (Courtesy tabs are of course ESSENTIAL to avoid headache.)
     
  17. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    For one-off outdoor gigs, we'll also label each end of a cable with white gaff and a circuit number. Sometimes we'll also do this inside for our booms because the cable runs can end up going to any number of different places, and if something goes wrong, then it's much easier to problem-solve.
     
  18. ScaredOfHeightsLD

    ScaredOfHeightsLD Active Member

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    Since most of the shows I work on are either one off events or shows which load in and out in the span of a week. I tend to request that the connections from breakouts to the fixtures, or jumpers, be gaffed/tabbed/ and sometimes labeled with the circuit. Not to say that I don't see the benefits to a batten dressed with tieline, which is how I hang ones which are up longer than a week. But for those short term gigs, I tend to go with the gaff.
     
  19. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I only gaff if it's where it could get pulled loose-- and on occasion if there is any chance curious fingers could find it. I have to add that one after I came in at 6:45am to find someone had unplugged all my towers (I had been there late the night before setting them up!). They were WELL GAFFED when I redid them. I tend to find that anything that could be stepped on by a dancer should also be gaffed.
     
  20. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    You know, while I absolutely understand the need to make your cabling as safe as possible, there's this little part of me that says "Why bother?" I've seen dancers trip on a tape line holding down a dance floor, at nearly every dance show I've ever worked!:mrgreen:
     

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