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Control/Dimming house light control

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by headcrab, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. headcrab

    headcrab Active Member

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    So we got someone to put in the dimmer for us so we can control our house lights from the board. However we don't have a good way of doing that when the control room is locked. I considered Luma net but that's expensive and even inputting 0-10V into our control interface but it didn't work. Any ideas?
     
  2. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    isnt the NRD8000 microplex only? Maybe you could stick a I/F-501 before the dimmer and use the analog input on it. Not sure if this would work. I wouldnt have used that dimmer for houselights -theyre terribly unreliable. Dont load it anywhere near its rating, or you will learn the hard way what I am talking about.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I really don't want to know how you made that dimmer pack do what you want it to. I really hope that you had a certified person do the install.

    In any event, how was the house light system controlled before? It sounds like by solving one problem you have created more. Not being able to control your house lights from outside of a locked room is very bad, and is most likely in violation of local fire codes and health & safety codes. If you have any kind of console failure you currently have no way to turn on your house lights. This is very bad!
     
  4. headcrab

    headcrab Active Member

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    I've been using the NRD8000 for two years and never had any problems. But I didn't say that we have the NSI MC 24/48 board and a I/F501 in between it and the dimmers. The I/F501 accepts analog control, so I thought i'd try that, but as I said before that failed. So then I thought of Luma net, which the IF501 also accepts.
    You mentioned the result of a console failure: as a lame backup we have an old microplex board that still works. But in any case I'll see what we can have done about turning on the lights in a system failure.
    I looked for Lumanet control panels which bypass the main board entirely, but they're too expensive for us now. Is there a place which sells them cheaply or is there another alternative?
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    What would be great to know is how you were previously controlling the house lights before you had them connected to the NRD8000? I assume since you have said that they were not controllable from your console that they were on some form of their own dimmers. Any photos that you could take and show us would be great. The reason that I ask this is because there may be a much simpler solution than what you have done that could leave the original system in place.

    Continuing to operate a public facility with no publicly accessible control of general lighting is very dangerous and can incur legal action. This is a very problematic situation if you used to have locations from which house lights could be controlled that now do not function. It is not worth the risk of injury to people, let alone any legal action, to have control of the house lights from the lighting console.
     
  6. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    My major concern here is emergency egress lighting. Most house systems have several battery backup systems built in, so that in case of a power failure at least some of the lamps are still coming on. Here in Portland the minimum required light is 2 foot candles at floor level when emergency lighting is activated. Hopefully none of the emergency lighting has been compromised in this project.

    Now what I find odd is that you have an IF501 and it's still not addressing the the control issue < that's a pun Addressing? Get it ? >
    I think it's an address problem. But with NSI I always think it's and addressing problem. With the NRDXXXX series it probably is an addressing problem. remember in micro-plex you don't use the actual DMX address you use an arcane logarithm, based on the current solar cycle. < I believe>
     
  7. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Whoa...I just realized that in my facility, there is no way for the audience to turn lights on, should the emergency arise. We have emergency lights if the power is cut, but I can think of other issues that might arise. All of the room lights are on switches requiring keys, or run to an auxiliary lighting panel in the booth.

    Guess what I get to address tomorrow?
     
  8. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    The audience doesn't need to have access, you just need to have a way to turn the house lights on that can be accessed by a system that isn't the lighting console. This could be a panic button, key station, whatever. If the only way to turn on your house lights is using a lighting controller that lives in an access controlled room, you have issues.
     
  9. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    egress lighting brings up another important issue. As far as I know, the egress lighting needs to be supplied from the same source as the house lights, so if the house lights lose power the egress lighting comes on. If the supply to the dimmer is lost, is the egress lighting going to come on?

    The poor design of the NRD8000 boards lend themselves to some unique failure modes. For example each group of 4 dimmers has its supply as much as (40 amps) going through a 1/4" quick disconnect soldered to a pcb. Leave it on fully loaded for a day and it can get hot enough to melt. I have installed probably a hundred of the things for a company I used to work for, and have repaired dozens. I would not trust them for house lights, and if I had to, I would not load a channel past 500w or a board past 2kw.
     
  10. FatherMurphy

    FatherMurphy Active Member

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    The general public having the ability to turn the house lights on (and off) isn't the best of thoughts, since they wouldn't limit themselves to emergencies. Every house lighting system I've ever installed has had a keyswitch in the booth that locks out the wall stations that the public can reach, so that mischievous three-year-olds and tired ushers leaning against the wall panel don't cause the house lights to blink on and off during the performance.

    I'm a fan of dual control of house lights, both through the console and stand-alone. You can build the houselights into the showif you want, but if the console dies, you still have control of the house (Also, it lets you edit cues live during rehearsal breaks, without having to remember to drop the house each time you hit 'record'). Generally, I put a single push station at every door that people customarily use to pass through the house, with larger stations backstage and in the booth, with the walkthrough preset being enough light to vacuum, hold class, rehearse the church choir, and any other common no-crew-present usage.
     
  11. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    In my smaller venue we have an ETC Unison system with two wall stations, one in the house, one back stage. This theatre has no booth. When the light board is on, the DMX signal from the board overrides the wall stations. As soon as the racks lose DMX, control reverts to the wall stations. With this set-up, we don't have to power up the light board for day to day use of the theatre and when a show is running, curious little fingers can't accidentally bring up the house lights.
     
  12. headcrab

    headcrab Active Member

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    In our installation the emergency lights are on the same breaker as the house light dimmer. So if the dimmer loses power the emergency lights will still come on.
    When our console is off the I/F501 maintains the dimmer levels until it receives current DMX data (when the console is turned on). So I don't have to leave the console all the time. But I will try to get a remote input to control the house lights from outside our booth.
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    It would still be really great to know how the system was set up to operate before you made your modifications.
     
  14. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    Ok, I just read the manual for the IF-501, its been years since I have used one. It has a mode where it will accept BOTH DMX and Lumanet, and output microplex. The control inputs are merged as LTP.

    So, all you need is a lumanet wallplate, and to set everything up properly, and you will have your console, and a wallplate for your house lights.
     
  15. gordonmcleod

    gordonmcleod Active Member

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    In most locations I have delt with the house light dimming system must automatically come to full if the fire alarm system is activated with no form of override or lock out
    It also must not be possible to dim the lights until the alarm is reset
     
  16. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    thats easily accomplished with his setup, but I would be getting into the realm of the electrical rules on this forum
     
  17. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    It would also more than likely require a qualified person to do the install. I'm not sure what the rules are when dealing with fire alarm systems and their interaction with other systems, but I doubt that "just anybody" is authorized to set up, wire or program such a system.

    You might also look into what your code says about this. I've never been in a facility that had this requirement. Not saying it's a bad idea, but it's a big hoop that you might not have to jump through.
     
  18. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    when interfacing something to the fire alarm, there are these relays they use (there is some fire alarm name for them, i forget it at the moment). The fire alarm company installs the relay and programs the system to actuate the relay when necessary, then the electrican hooks the relay up to whatever he needs. So the relay acts as a demarcation point between the fire alarm and everything else, remember -nothing can be connected to a fire alarm that isnt UL listed as a fire alarm component.

    An example of this that is quite common, is a shunt trip main breaker will be installed in the panel feeding the audio system. A fire alarm relay will trip the breaker in an alarm condition to kill the sound.
     
  19. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Interesting info. I've never heard of that before. I like to think I could trust a crew to react appropriately by killing the sound and bringing up the lights themselves but it's nice that there's a way to idiot-proof it.
     
  20. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    some municipalities have local codes requiring it. Clark County Nevada is one of them.
     

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