Just posting to let everyone know about the LD Calculator... Not sure if anyof you have found it before or posted about it before... But its a pretty neat program that doesnt everything from keeping track of your fixtures, working out voltage load, conversions etc.
The program seems to be so hard to use and to specify it for one theater. How is that done? I downloaded it and tryed it out but was unsuccessfull in using it. Any general tips and things that a person needs to know?
I dont tend to use alot of its features. The main things i use it for are the beam calculator and the electronic calculator. It has a very extensive electronic forumla calculator and a load calculator which are the features of it i use!
The program really does comes in handy. It probably is not something most high school require you to know (photometrics). But a program like LD Calc helps people like me for example decide what fixture to use in a certain location without having to hang 5 different fixtures to decide what is the best one for that location. (Saves money to if you are paying a union electrician 50-150 bucks an hour to hang yuor plot.) Now, I usually end up puling out the old calculator and doing math the old fashion way but when pre-planing a plot it is simple for me to sit down at my computer put in a few numbers, etc. There is alot of other features I use in the program that probably none of you will need unless you get into complex stuff.
I realize there are hand held electrcal calculators but I have never bought one yet. I do it the old fashioned way also and constantly have to remember which part of the formula to punch in first. I have both a PocketMaster and 20 year old Radio Shack Architectural calculator which is easier to use even if you have to smack it for all the keys to work at times. Even than and with a Photometrics Handbook when you don't have the primary lamp featured, the calculations for what your beam will look like gets complex so such a program might be useful for design. Is or was there not a lot of these types of Light Beams type programs out there? A review of all the programs based on usability, how well they work with Cadd, and cost effectiveness might be worth further study and posting. What other programs are there on the market now?
But as opposed to a computer program for it, how about something hand held that does this kind of stuff, especially something that will do the basic electrical formulas, simple rigging loads, voltage drop, and things like converting metric to imperial.
Than if for me at least I would be interested in something hand held that is able to calculate what the color temperature and luminous output will be at a dimmer percentage setting seperate from the computer. Say type in 100,000 Lumen / 2,800 K at 75% of 120v (even your actual voltage as it changes things) and you get the new figure for it's output. But in something small enough to fit in the design/tool bag. Anyone see anything like this on the market? Much easier even with a dual monitor to just grab the hand held calculator much less when on your feet doing a figure. Dual tap transformer, High tap puts out 12.5VAC, the Low tap puts out 11.4VAC, on a 12.8v Lamp that's 100,000 Lumens what would be the difference in output between the lamps? Yea it's 10% less voltage but than you have to figure in the 3% less lumens per 1% of voltage... That's a fairly simple figure you can put on a normal calculator but most calculations when talking with the designer and he asks what the difference in output will be are not that simple. Yea Yea, I know you can program a scientific calculator for such things - remember I'm a simpleton however.
Another nice thing to have on this calculator would be something like you have a PAR 36 lamp with a 5x7 degree beam spread, what size is the beam going to be at 15'? Much less what the beam or field angle would be on a 36 degree Leko at this distance. Should be simple enough for a small calculator.
Also what ever happened to keyboards with built in calculators and displays in the number pad area anyway? Have not seen them since the 80s. While I like my Wave keyboard, I would not mind a simple calculator as part of it.
Just some musings from me.
By the way, on freeware:
GE http://www.gelighting.com/na/specoem/tools.html used to offer Light Beams which was a free program for doing simple photometrics outputs of single basic lamps. They stopped giving it away but anyone intrested in it contact me off line and I'll try to send you a copy. Need to quickly know how much light you have on stage with say a FFN, it will let you put the X/Y distance in fairly simply than print up various reports on what the beam is going to do or copy them to various formats. They also used to have or might still have a free voltage drop calculator that unlike the above Light Beams in being limited to a select set of lamps, could let you specify any data on the lamp than adjust it for voltage.
Most of whats left on their free programs however are lamp cost effectiveness calculators or simple room lighting design software. They should have upgraded the library on Light Beams and added the more fixtures option instead of loosing it.
By the way, I also noticed that Altman has a free symbols library available.
No, I would think the market would be too small for them or other calculator companies it would have to be something coming from the theater industry instead. How hard would it be to combine some kind of palm pilot with a calculator, by my thinking it would not be that difficult but that's why I don't do such things. We have forum members that might be able to make such a thing if not places like tools for stagecraft that could create such things. Were our own electronics department not so busy I would ask them.
So what do you electronics types think? Is such a thing possible in a home made version even if the design would have to be sold off elsewhere for the production model?