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Labeling instruments?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    So I want to take inventory of our lighting gear, and label everything. So I supposed I have to questions.

    First, how can I label my instruments? I'd like something like console tape, and tape it onto the yoke, but I have no idea about what types of tape might melt / burn up / discolor / become a gooey mass, under the heat from a 360Q (lamped with a 1000w! :neutral:), or a S4, par 64 etc. Is there any specific product made for labeling instruments?

    The second question is, how best do you guys suggest labeling and organizing the instruments? We're starting from absolute scratch, on the organizational end of things. I thought maybe a different count for each type. (6x22-1 ; S419-1 ; PAR64-1) with those types of abbreviations. Perhaps their wattage also on the label, or a separate label for wattage.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
     
  2. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    For S4's i sugest you inventory the fixture and lens tube separately.

    For everything else at my school the in house ME used paint pens on the yoke and that seemed to work just fine.

    JH
     
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Don't use any kind of tape! At all! Use paint pens. Someone used spike tape for inventory once, and we took it off this year...powdery residue is all over the yokes. We use paint pens, with a different color dot for each time we clean the fixtures, which is every few years. Paint pens are also good for writing (and color coding) degree numbers on S4 lens tubes.

    And as mentioned, inventory S4 lens tubes and instruments separately if you have more lens tubes that S4 fixtures.
    For the labeling, people should know what it is...I wouldn't even label them as to what they are. I'd just put a dot after inventorying them to make sure that you don't inventory an instrument twice, and keep an inventory that has how many fixtures, lens tubes, lamps, etc. that you have.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2007
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've seen stencils and white high temperature spray paint on the side of the instrument itself, but just a paint pen on the yoke seems the way to go for me.

    If you want to number each S4 then that's good but other than that I wouldn't give them a lens designation as those can change. Just S4-1, S4-2 is good enough. Anything else could get really confusing if you start swapping lens tubes.
     
  5. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    That's true, I wasn't thinking it through, as for the foreseeable future we only 5 S4s and 5 19º lens tubes.

    So it's not worth numbering the instruments? Just counting them? I guess numbering would be useful if you had extensive records, and could say "clean 6x22-36, it hasn't been cleaned in 4 years" but I guess all we really need is a head-count?
     
  6. BenFranske

    BenFranske Member

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    If your theater loans or rents instruments to other theaters it becomes important to have individual numbering of fixtures so you know which instruments are where. Paint pens on yolks work or if you have a bit more money you can get real permanent adhesive metalized inventory tags from a commercial vendor.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I don't know of any permanent installations that number their fixtures. I'm sure that some do, but I don't know of any. You just keep an inventory of how many you have, check the inventory at the beginning and end of the year, and when you check inventory, you also see if any of the fixtures need to be bench focused, have their lamp replaced, have shutters steel wooled due to rust, etc.
     
  8. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    I just bought stage pin plugs that were engraved with my company name and telephone number, and have a red cover on them. They were only about $.20 more than the normal ones, and are great for a quick identifier. All of the shops in town use a different color, so when I started getting bigger, I picked red and told all of them. One shop is yellow, another is orange, and another is white. It is great! I still label everything on the instrument with a red paint pen, but the plug is an easy way to see it.
     
  9. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Ditto.

    We have +600 fixtures in 3 theaters and if asked, I could give a very close figure of what types and how many per theater (not exact though as 2 spaces are Dept. of Theater spaces where I only do servicing). This is absolutley true of my main space, where I know the exact types, wattages and position of +300 fixtures.

    I don't bother labeling any of it, as it ALL gets serviced/checked by a 6 person crew over 3-4 weeks in August. Anything needing fixing we fix. Anything that breaks during the year either gets fixed right away, if there's no available replacement (such as all my S4's zooms and fixed lens, as well as the Shakespeare fixed lens units), or can go to a "I need fixing" hamper to await summer maintanence (typically Pars).

    In short, I never saw the need to do a identifier label for ea. and every unit. If I were renting it out, that would be a different story as I would need to know who/what was having trouble with a particular fixture and when.

    Steve Bailey
    Brooklyn College
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I agree, unless you are tracking a rental inventory it is probably just extra work to give your fixtures unique numbers. I take all of my lens tube for all fixtures and paint the color frame holders to designate beam angle. I use the same system for source fours and for our older Strand axial Lekos, since each of the S4 lenses is roughly equivalent to one of the 6x beam angles. As for labeling what is ours, paint pens, or in my case, silver sharpies.

    We inventory, clean, and bench focus every year (and as needed), and we tag finished units with spike tape. Since we change it frequently it doesn't seem to degrade, and since we clean units, it is no big deal.
     
  11. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    All of these suggestions are great guys, thanks for the input.

    I'd love to do a complete clean / bench of the inventory, on a yearly basis. Hell, I'd give up the entire week before the school year starts to clean and organize the theater, but I doubt I'll be given access. Knowing our dept. head, she's too protective of our only lighting instruments to let me take everyone out of the air and onto the bench.
     
  12. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    In Australia and the UK we have to take our fixtures down at least once a year to safety test them.
    They are tested for continuity and insulation.
    If your fixtures are moved a lot they have to be tested more often and if you hire or lend fixtures they have to be checked on return even if they only went out for one day. Each fixture has to carry a label with the date of test and the due date of the next test. This includes everything, all lanterns and every 240v cable. It means that annual clean and test means every lantern is inspected and cleaned by neccesity every twelve months minimum.
    This test has to carried out by a licensed technician.
    The point of all this is of course that each instrument carries a numbered label, making it easy to maintain an assets register and maintenance program.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2007
  13. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    I labeled all of my fixtures individually. They weren't source fours, but different fixtures had different problems and lamps and I figured it'd help in designing.


    It didn't. Biggest waste of time I did probably, abandoned the system in the middle of a show once when I had to quickly change out a lamp cap (not a 360Q for those wondering). I'd just color code for the lamp, maybe wattage rating if you have different types, but other than that, individual numbers is just a waste of time, imho. (And I didn't even have that many fixtures)
     
  14. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Where I work we decided on buying a dry erase type adhesive backed tag. Stuck it to the bend in the yoke so that from the top you can see it and from the side you can also see it depending upon where you looked at it. This for PAR’s, on Lekos from the side of the yoke. Problem is that the adhesive once heated up from the fixture, it frequently peels up and takes replacement or heat gunning and re-sticking to stick it back down. Had I to do it over again, I will have done inventory tags with the same label only such a tag on a key ring thru one of the holes or a hole I made into the yoke. This way such a tag will not suffer from heat.

    Dependant upon the fixture, a box to “X” with the wattage of the lamp, and another area to write in with lens type.

    This in addition to ability to look at lens type or look at markings on lens train makes it easy to say know what it is from above - especially by way of lamp type where there are many lamp options.

    Started out with colored dot stickers on the yoke, even dots with written atop it the wattage, but for those in the field they had to know our system of colored stickers to know what lens it was. Better with the dry erase stickers. Put it on a dog tag near the top of the fixture and all good I would recommend.

    Another thing I did over the years was heat shrink with company name and phone number on the cord whip or a sticker with it elsewhere. In the case of while 575w Lekos were still in the inventory, a black heat shrink for them, blue for the 750w upgraded ones. Soon after some lot number problems, we also started dating the fixture whips so as to ease in sending back what was not so good and or for resale/rotation selling off the older gear by way of lot number as it were.
     
  15. tomed101

    tomed101 Active Member

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    Also by law, if anything fails the test, they either have to be fixed on the spot and re-tested or have the plug chopped off. In a school environment where a sparkey quotes only for testing, things rarely get fixed. Test and Tag is ruthless and unforgiving (as is electricity in general). Although it is a pain in the A** to pull down every fixture, it is worthwhile and keeps things safe.
     
  16. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    If you want to individually # fixtures, I would buy some permanent labels (there are some that are heat resistant), print them, and go to town.
     
  17. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Right. Test and Tag. There is the Australian Standard, AS3760:2003. However, Workcover or whoever in each state sets the actual rules. Now Queensland have the most stringent electrical safety regulations in Oz, overly so in the opinion of many, myself included. So you might have tougher rules.

    Now, I have issues with the term "licensed technician". You don't need a licence to do test & tag, though a licensed sparkie can do it. you need to be a "competent person". Now NSW Workcover have this to define what a competent person is. Beware, it's bureaucratic nonsense at its best. Basically, you head down to TAFE, waste 2 days of your life and come out knowing how to use a PAT. Not exactly something which is difficult to do...

    Now tomed, based on NSW rules, you are wrong. Again, QLD rules may be different. If something fails, you technically record said failure in the log book. You then have 2 options: fix it now or stick an "out of service" tag on which basically says hey idiot, using this thing might kill you. Don't use it until someone fixes it. You are not obliged to cut off the plug, but doing so can be an effective thing if people around would be likely to plug it in anyway. Once whatever it is gets fixed, you need to test it once again, record said test and then stick a tag on.

    Question: Why not take your sparkie and his PAT to the lights rather than bringing the lights to the sparkie? There is nothing in the standards that say you cannot test in situ. Bring in clean 240 to run the tester and Bob's your Aunty's live in boyfriend.


    Also, AS3760 does not require that the tag bear a retest date...
     
  18. tomed101

    tomed101 Active Member

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    That is very interesting. I did not realize that there were different rules between the states. I my previous post where I mentioned that everything had to be pulled down for testing, what I meant is that usually, un-patch everything, drop the truss to floor level (if it is flown) or take every light down so that the sparky can walk along with his PAT or whatever they use and test everything. In our school however, they do all testing over the holidays and don't tell anyone when they will be coming so we have to de-rig everything that needs to be tested (leads, lights, consoles etc) and place them in one place so the sparky walks into the room and tests everything in it and walk out. Pain in the A**

    Also, yes in Queensland every item must be checked every year, and every failure must be recorded and have the plug chopped. This is happening over the current holidays, so I hope that we don't have to many failures. Last year we only had three lights chopped (all Par cans thankfully) so it wasn't too bad.
     
  19. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Yes the rules are different in each state and yes in SA like some other states you only need to be a "responsible person". Work Cover etc in SA suggest the only way you can prove you are a "responsible person" is either to be a licensed sparky or to have done what is in SA a one day TAFE course.

    The main reason tomed in your case that everything must be derigged is because schools refuse to pay anywhere near a reasonable rate for Test and Tag so the items must all be in one place so the tester can waste the minimum amount of time finding the items. In SA commercial Test and Tag runs at about $5 - $6 an item for bulk work but schools won't pay more than $2 - $3. Take out the cost of the Tag and you need to do about 25 - 30 items an hour to make any money. So if it fails cut the plug and dump it.
    When I do a job I include as part of my T and T process an assessment and quote on repair cost but I charge more.
    In SA you are requested to put a retest date on a label or use different coloured lables to indicate which quarter testing was done in.

    In Tasmania the Tester has to do a 4 day course and ends up with a license.
     
  20. GoboMan

    GoboMan Active Member

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    Marking Lighting Instruments for Inventory

    So this is an unusual question...

    I was recently given the duty to create an inventory system for all of our lighting instruments in our theatre. I am going to create a spreadsheet/database on the computer that keeps track of all of our instruments--type of instrument, whether it needs cleaning, if it needs repair, if it is currently on loan to another theatre, etc.--and I want to "mark" all of the instruments with a specific number to help identify and keep track of everything.

    What is the best thing to use to mark the instrument? I thought about using stickers/labels but then decided that wasn't the best way, considering with the heat of the housing causing the stickers to fall off or burn. I'm thinking about labeling them with a Sharpie or grease pen. Which is the best and most permanent, and where on the housing would probably be the best place to mark it?

    I'm hoping there are others out there who share my similar visions of organization... :)
     

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