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Control/Dimming Identifying our lighting controls: Century CCR dimmers

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by scotty269, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. scotty269

    scotty269 Member

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    So, my school was built circa 1940 and has had the auditorium upgraded at lease once to my knowledge. I'm trying to do some research on our lighting system and would appreciate any help!

    [media]http://osxserver2.chs.philasd.org/~10dubins/100_4714.JPG[/media]
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    [media]http://osxserver2.chs.philasd.org/~10dubins/100_4739.JPG[/media]
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    So, what do you want to know? It is a Century Lighting dimming system, and I wouldn't suggest poking around inside it unless you know what you are doing. There is a lot of power coming in there, and a lot of exposed bussing. I would even go so far as to say that you shouldn't poke around in there unless you are or are supervised by a qualified electrician.
     
  3. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    How much of it is working?
     
  4. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Upgraded once and ONLY once, from the look of things.

    24 dimmers, Century CCR - so mid 60's SCR technology. At least one big green honker ASCO relay doing something. Lots of house light and constant power circuit breakers. Maybe 80 stage circuits ?. No patch panel ?. Control console is ?.

    So what do you want to know, other then it all needs to be junked ?.

    Steve B.
     
  5. scotty269

    scotty269 Member

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    Thanks for the helpful response buddy. I didn't even realize it was a Century system. :rolleyes:

    The 2nd picture is for the stage lights - maybe 2/5th of the switches actually control lights. The others are dead/not connected.

    3rd picture is house lights and power switches. They all work. Okay, all except for the top right row, but we're getting those lights looked at next week.

    I was hoping for the official product name for the system for some further research on these. Was this a common product back in the 60's? Or was it a fairly limited production line? Are there any service companies today that would even dare try to repair this? This thing is in fairly good condition, and unless it catches on fire tomorrow there is no hope in getting anything to replace this. Because of that, anything that can be done to keep the unit in good working order is my top priority.

    Also, in the second picture there are gray "boxes" with switches in them. Anybody willing to take a guess as to what they do? I've had no luck in figuring out what they are for.
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You have to pardon my cynicism, we are just getting to the end of a really long tech week. However, the big "Century Lighting" placard was a big clue. The main point of my post is that we can be of more help if you provide as many details as you can and ask more pointed questions.

    Those would be the actual dimmer modules.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    First of all put the cover's back on it and NEVER open it again without a certified electrian being present. There are so many ways to die back there it's really not funny. DO NOT be tempted to do any cleaning on your own back there.

    I believe a "1960's Century CCR Dimmer rack" is all the detail you need to find out if someone can service it. Call your local theater dealer tell them what you have and ask if they can help you find someone to give it a cleaning (be prepared for them to laugh). Century was a major player back in the day (after a couple of corporate changes it's now Strand Lighting). So I'm sure there were quite a few of these around, however I doubt more than a handful are left in operation and people who know how to service them are becoming harder to find. If they can get parts is an entirely different question. These dimmers were overdue to be replaced 20 years ago.

    In fairly good condition... for something that should have been thrown out 20 years ago, uhhh sure.:rolleyes: The beauty is there's a pretty good chance that it WILL catch fire tomorrow.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Century Lighting Service, Inc.
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]18-02 River Road[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]Fair Lawn, NJ 07410-1201[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica](201) 791-7001 FAX (201) 791-3167[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]Contact: Sal Maratta & Joel Epstein
    E-Mail:
    [/FONT]
    [email protected]
    [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]Specializing in old and obsolete dimming equipment to current equipment.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]Field service coverage of the Eastern United States.[/FONT]

    Lite-Trol Service
    Steve Short
    1-800-LITE-TROL
    Hicksville, NY
    Lite-Trol Service
     
  9. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    reminds me of an old century system that i ran into a few years back that spanned two floors and were installed in the 50-60's era. The building was getting bulldozed the week after i was out. It was time for them to finally die. In yoru rack, it appears that your dimmers are 6kw (can you tell me what the breaker size is on the ssr modules (the grey boxes with the switches on them) the grey boxes are actually what houses the ssrs (the components that do the actual dimming) From the looks of it and what i can read barely, it appears that they are once again 6kw, in which the breakers underneath break out the 6kw, into 2.4 or 1kw lines to be distributed wherever. The rack is totally hardpatched. Good luck on service, it has lived its life, and i am a believer of using old dimmers but there is a limit as to how old. There are a lot of non dim circuits where were fairly common to get paired up into dimmer world back in the day.
     
  10. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Can the sarcasm. Your question was vague and imprecise as to how much you already knew and what exactly you wanted to know.

    Things that you added in a follow up which now allow us to provide more complete answers:

    "I was hoping for the official product name for the system for some further research on these."

    Gafftape answered it as did I, a Century CCR, mid 60's.

    "Was this a common product back in the 60's? Or was it a fairly limited production line?"

    Common as it was the only SCR that Century manufactured in those days, just prior to the series 300 and 600 dimmers, if memory serves. Not that common as pretty much every install was different and custom. Plus more then a few other companies doing the same thing - Major, Gallagher, Kliegl, among others, so lot's of one off systems. Your's is a bit different as it appears to not have a patch panel, which was common to get the output of a few dimmers to many branch receptacles.

    "Are there any service companies today that would even dare try to repair this? "

    Derek answered it and the very best person to fix these is Steve Short at Litetrol.

    "This thing is in fairly good condition,"

    Actually it's a mess visually, but still may function, but that's not something we can tell from the photo's and you didn't comment in the OP.

    Still un-answered is what is the control system ?. That's important as it's often one of the first things to stop functioning and is also the easiest to replace and one of the most difficult to get the new interfaced with the old, which makes you want to replace the old stuff. Is there a picture of a control desk ?.

    The brown box on the wall obviously operated contacts that turned stuff on as well as having 2 faders plus a master fader that have been removed. Hard to tell more as the image is blurry.

    Remember that what you have here is seemingly a one-off install, custom for the theater. Other then assorted parts - dimmer, relays, buttons and faders being off the factory shelf, the arraignment and design was specific to your theater, thus it's difficult to tell you how it was supposed to operate.

    Pretty much every company - Litetrol included, is going to recommend it all be removed and replaced.

    P.S. I too am at the end of a long week, my 4th show since Sat, with 2 more days to go, which is pretty much how a lot of us function around here and accounts for some attitude.

    Steve B.
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    One theater I worked in had a similar system... not the same... I don't think it was even a Century... but the same vintage. They worked so hard to keep it going as long as possible. One day it literally started spitting fire and sparks out of the dimmers. They worked and repaired and it was just a cascading failure. The would fix one thing and another would burn out spitting fire all over the place. These things have an age limit and you are WAY over due and living on borrowed time.

    I wouldn't spend a penny on upkeep or repair. I would focus on documenting how far out of date this is, the costs of repair and replacement, and get lots of expert testimony on paper. Spend your efforts preparing for it's failure and pushing the powers that be to think about replacement. Get price quotes for replacement vs. repair. There is no cheap option here. But, if you start things moving and put it on the radar of the powers that be perhaps you can start working toward replacement. I know school districts well and you have to start pushing for these things YEARS ahead of when they get done. But they can get done if you push hard enough and in the right ways.
     
  12. gordonmcleod

    gordonmcleod Active Member

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    Ok I will stick my neck out
    The CCR superseded according to my records to the edkatron systems
    It was century's response to the WL solitrol
    It used a UJT to fire the scrs and probably if looked after a stable system if one had the time and schematics to maintain it
    there are still some system in use in ontario
    drawing I don't have for it but if memory serves the fireing circuit was faily simple but one does need to know what one is doing before starting to work on it
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Gordon, I think you are correct (if you meant preceded). I saw somewhere either an introduction or an installation of the CCR stating 1963. (Due to respect for Edward Kook) it's Edkotron.

    From Strand - Chronology
    Not really valid to compare installation and portable systems.

    Anyone know of the GRADY GAMMAGE MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM in Tempe, AZ? Looks like a nice place, for a 1960s, 3000-seat, multi-purpose auditorium.
     
  14. gordonmcleod

    gordonmcleod Active Member

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    I remember the fireing circuit being similar but the CCR had a lot more feed back and definitly was more stable
     
  15. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I see a potential problem in the fourth picture. Look at the discolored lug on the top, right corner of the gray box. That connection may be loose and getting very hot. The wire is still bright looking, so the appearance may be from a previously repaired event.

    It might not be a bad idea to have a qualified electrician look at that to be sure all is OK there. Otherwise it could lead to things involving people in big red trucks. An electrician won't be able to do much else with the electronics of the system, but any competent electrician will be able to check that out.
     
  16. beachcombah15

    beachcombah15 Member

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    All it took us to get an upgrade from our old old old kliegl brothers system this year was the result of the whole system deciding not to work on the same night, during our spring musical run, that our Principal and Superintendent both happened to be attending. The show definetly went on, running our 2 spots the entire show just as fill lighting. Soon enough, two weeks after I get back from summer break our new installation began, and man how it is sweet, except for the lack of DMX Out on any of the electrics...but thats easily dealt with.
     
  17. scotty269

    scotty269 Member

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    Thanks to all who replies. I apologize for any rudeness in my previous posts, but I also had a very busy week of rehearsals for this week's show and I wasn't in the best of moods. Our alumni association is in the process of raising money (approx $10 million) to completely refurbish our auditorium in the coming years.

    In the meantime, they have agreed to fix any small issues that come up. (Read: replace lightbulbs, fix XLR inputs on the stage)
     
  18. gordonmcleod

    gordonmcleod Active Member

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    Does anyone remember when the DIMMY line of TRIAC dimmers was introduced by Century
    The Schematics I have have faded to much in the area of the title block to read
     
  19. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    It would make the entire system much more happy if you could get an electrician to come in and re torque all of the wiring connections. Wires vibrate loose over the years and I know it made my CD-80 rack much happier after i pulled it all apart and re torqued all of the terminal strips. Nice thing about schools, is you can usually find someone who has a dad who is an electrician.
     
  20. arfinator

    arfinator Member

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    [OT, but...]
    Why yes, I do. It is a part of ASU. I have never actually seen the dimming system (despite my tour backstage), but I will be working in the theatre for a school show in May.

    It is a VERY nice space.
     

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