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Help... I'm in Specification Hell!!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gafftaper, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    So for the new theater since I'm spending state money if I want a specific product it either must be a completely unique product or I have to specify a set of specific functional features that will result in the products I want.

    So I'm trying to create a list of unique FUNCTIONAL features to specify that set apart the three instruments below from the competition so that I don't get stuck with a product I don't want...

    S4 ellipsoidal: Dichroic Reflector; rotating barrel; interchangeable lens system; no tools required for changing lamp, focusing lamp, cleaning reflector, or changing lenses; capable of 575 or 750 watt lamps; locking gel frame holder. Help me ETC guys... that's enough to make sure I don't get 360Q's but I'm afraid of getting stuck with Shakespeares or SL's? I can't use "industry standard" as an excuse. It has to be functional differences.

    S4 Pars... Does this qualify as a unique product. Does anyone else make a PAR with interchangeable lenses? If so no problem I just specify that and I'm done.

    Selecon 6" Fresnel... I want a spec that requires a Selecon Rama (Stran would be nice but they cost a lot more... I think I've got the specs nailed here: zoom range of 7-50 degree or larger; the lamp focus system shall use bearings or some other system to prevent metal from rubbing against metal; must accept a 750 or 1000 watt lamp; Heat insulated rear handle for safe focusing, extruded aluminum construction for no noised due to heat expansion, sheet metal sides are unacceptable.

    More to come but let's start with these first.
     
  2. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Contact each of the manufacturers and request their specification sheets for the products. They are written by the MFGs just for bids so their product will be choosen.
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Don't make ANY assuptions that there aren't other products. Altman in fact makes a "PAR" type fixture, as does Beheringer. No, they're not the same, but would be considered "equals" on a bid.

    As the poster above mentioned, contact each manufacturer and ask for their help. Don't ask the dealers, call ETC, Selecon, etc. Even with all of this there are some products that might make it through, depending on who is approving the purchasing.

    --Sean
     
  4. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    S4 and Par - Both MUST use an HPL 575 or 750 watt lamp. Neither of the other fixtures use the HPL lamp. Those are unique to the ETC fixtures....
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    What the two above me said. Also look on manufacturers' sites for "architect's specifications." These are cleverly written to exclude all other manufacturers. Avoid the phrase "or equivalent," if at all possible. Unless it doesn't matter to you if your 12/3 SO cable is Carol or Royal or whatever.

    Likewise your GSP connectors can be Union-Connector, Bates, Rosco, or Marinco, as long as they're black with a see-through cover and accept crimped ring terminals. And are "contoured." Do they even make the square ones anymore?

    Don't sweat the small stuff. As a taxpayer, if I lived in your state, I'd prefer you to spend my money on stuff that mattered like consoles, dimmers and fixtures rather than a specific brand of connector. But I haven't forgotten I told you to demand either Switchcraft or Neutrik for your XLRs as all other brands are inferior.

    Try to give two choices if you have to list a specific manufacturer. Once one reads the bid and sees what you want, they will bid "No Bid" and you'll get what you want from the other. But it's a dangerous game to play.

    So tell us, if you can, what you're spec'ing, so we can argue over whether the Ion is right for you. :)
     
  6. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    He's already posted his proposed list of gear, and we've had a rather extensive conversation about it.

    --Sean
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If you just say interchangeable lenses, you could get stuck with Star Pars. And you DON'T, under any circumstances, want to deal with those. State 7.5" gel frame slot as a feature. I sure hope they don't put elation or AMDJ fixtures on state budgets - but if they do, you have to watch out for the OptiPars and the Behringer model as well...
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    It all comes down to the specifications. If you leave them open enough then even AMDJ could slip through as a cheap alternative.

    Thanks for talking me down from the edge a little. I've been really ticked and freaked out about this ever since I learned how the system works today. I'll start gathering spec sheets for everything that I care about. It's going to be nuts but it's really just a trip to a dozen website download pages. Sigh.
     
  9. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Nope, not anymore, they used the last of them on our renovations! Yep, all 190ish circuits have square plugs! :cry:

    (Unless pigtails for power distros are supposed to be square, which would probably make sense anyways. And my red/size in quote isn't supposed to be obnoxious, just highlight what I'm .)
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've been studying the S4 Par and it's clones. My purchasing guy has stressed that I must find functional differences to specify. I don't think saying that it must use an HPL lamp is enough to satisfy state law. I did notice however that it appears only the S4 Par can use a 750 watt lamp. Anybody know if that's true. If that's true then I've got a slam dunk functional difference. "Must accept 750 Watt lamp capable of producing 21,900 lumens"

    I also noticed that the Behringer and AMDJ pars have a safety screen in case the lenses break. Anyone know if the heat and shatter resistant "Borosilicate Glass" is unique to the S4? AMDJ and Behringer have limited information... big surprise there. Altman's download site is currently down so I can't research the specs.

    By the way here's a treat for Soundlight. Go to www.altmanltg.com click on FAQ and read #7 You'll learn, "What makes the Altman Star*Par better than it's competition?"
     
  11. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Hang in there gaff, but like others have said, talk to the manufacturer or sales rep who can mail/fax/email their specification. It will seem goofy, but its the only way to get the job done. (In my own situation, the joke is to include " 'Acme Pump Company' shall be cast on the outside of the pump casing" on pump specifications.) (See attachment.)

    I know little about the type of equipment that you are buying, but I'll toss this one out: often Made in the USA is a necessary or desirable issue in public projects. Don't know if that would help or hurt your specs.

    Joe
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 24, 2007
    gafftaper likes this.
  12. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    If memory serves, the only one who uses the HPL is the S4 Par. The American DJ, etc. can't use it yet due to patent issues, or so I've been told. I could be off on this, but I do remember a recent install where we modified the end caps on the Amer DJ/Elation whatever product in order to fit the HPL base. Probably voided the warranty but that wasn't my decision.
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Thanks JWL 868... your pipe specs really helped me face this process with a smile.

    Len, unfortunately, I'm told that in this state I can't specify that all instruments must use the HPL lamp, my specifications must be based on functional, measurable differences, not just a preference in lamp. Sigh.

    I believe I've got my ERS situation under control because we already own 16 S4 zooms... apparently state law allows me to say that since I am purchasing more ERS instruments I have the right to demand they all be S4 so they will have similar parts and function. Plus I want to buy Seachangers... and they only work with S4's so I think I've got that set.

    Going back to my previous post does anyone know if any of the S4 PAR clones will take a 750 Watt lamp? Between that and the high temperature shatter resistant Borosilicate glass I think I have two FUNCTIONAL differences between the S4 par and the clones. Can anyone confirm this?

    I'm going with the 6" Selecon Fresnels and they have several clear differneces... like a rear mounted heat resistant handle for safe focusing and a safety interlock switch that prevents them from being turned on while the lamp access pannel is open. No problem there.

    Now as for Cyc lights, I'm not too picky, I've been planing L&E broad cycs they are cheap and have a lot of bang. It's a black box so I'll probably only use them less than half the shows. I think that if I just spec the lumen output of that instrument and the ability to have several rigging configurations I should be fine. Anybody have any suggestions about cyc lights and bang for the buck? The L&E's run about $200 each and take up to a 2,000 watt lamp it's hard to beat that.

    Now over to the sound list... that's the one that's got me really worried.
     
  14. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so. From my one time working with a non ETC par like you're talking about, we had to remove a bar across part of the end cap, and do some other modifications. I don't remember what those modifications were, but I remember it wasn't fun. Even then, there was no third pin-hole for the 750 watt lamp. So I think you'll be ok. Also, the lenses were marginally different (definitely cheaper quality as well). Which means that you could argue that your current S4 lens inventory won't fit in a non-ETC product.
     
  15. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    BUt that is a functional, measurable difference. The lamp is the heart of that style of fixture. With out the use of that lamp, you don't get near the light output that you do with others. I don't understand how they can say that the lamp is not a functional measureable difference.

    Try to put a GLC or GLA in that fixture vs an HPL and see what you get for light.....
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    First off I am dealing with a person in purchasing who knows nothing about theater equipment. So everything I say requires education. He said I could specify a minimum lumen output as it's a measurable difference. We know that the reason for the better lumen output is the HPL is a superior lamp. Maybe what I should do is prove to him that the HPL produces more light and then I can call that a functional difference.

    Just looking at a handy catalog and noticed:
    The HPL 750 and 750X both have the highest lumen output and color temperature in their class
    HLP575-X beats out all other 575 watt lamps by 500 hours of life
    And of course the HP575 is the brightest lamp in the group (beats the flk by 20 lumens),

    Yeah I think I can argue that's functional difference on the basis of lumen output, life, and color temperature.


    Thanks guys... this is all really useful.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2007
  17. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    What kind of dimmers are you getting again?

    --Sean
     
  18. jklak

    jklak Member

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    If you have a board preference make sure you spend some time getting the specs on that. Don't assume that you are going to end up with either a Strand or an ETC. There are plenty of cheap and crappy companies out there that will get a bid on a school project because they are priced much lower. One possible way to get around this dilemma is to specify that the manufacturer of the lighting board and dimmers has a service rep within 100 miles of your location. This will wipe out the possibility of some of these other companies qualifying to submit a bid and will save you from having to deal with someone 600 miles away trying to tell you how to fix your problem over the phone when (not if) something stops working. Unfortunately I'm speaking from experience here.
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm getting two racks of Strand C-21's and a Classic Palette console... that was all a done deal in the bidding process for the building two years ago. The lighting instruments got cut because the building was over budget. Now we are purchasing the instruments out of a one time equipment budget purchase from the college.
     
  20. Bob

    Bob Member

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    Don't forget:

    ETC provides 24 hour tech support, with every call answered/returned with-in x number of minutes...

    Compare warranty statements

    Compare UL/ETL certifications

    -Bob
     

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