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Meet me in St. Louis Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by calcrew, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. calcrew

    calcrew Member

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    We are putting on the musical Meet Me in St. Louis as a school production. The play calls for chandeliers and dimmer switches. We have a chandelier with a regluar light wire and an exposed copper wire. The wires are 74in long. Our chandelier is 20in tall 28in wide, with 6 lights. We also have dimmer switches with black white and aqua wires. Those wires extend 125in from the bottom and from the top of the dimmer switch. The wall sconces have white, black, and a copper exposed wire. The sconces use 60 watt bulbs and are 10 in. tall. The wires on the sconces are 15in long. We would like to hook up the dimmers to the wall sconces, but do not know exactly how to do this. Any suggestions on how the wire lights and dimmers and electricity would be great. Thanks.
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    First, I would hook up the chandelier and sconces to your lighting system and install dummy switches in the wall.

    On top of that, you should not be wiring this yourself. Its obvious you have not done this before, get someone in there that can show you how to do this properly.
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    I'll second what Footer said.

    If you cannot identify which wire is which, get someone that knows. A shop teacher maybe? Perhaps one of the students' parents?

    As for the switch. Don't use it. What will ultimately be easier is to wire the lights to plugs, and plug those into stage lighting circuits. That way your board op has control of the lights.


    --Sean
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I third what has been said, you don't really want them on a dimmer switch, you want them under board control. Also, as has been said, it's obvious that you haven't done this before and shouldn't attempt it. Get someone who really knows what they're doing.
     
  5. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    I fourth what has been said. Don't trust the actors to get the switch right, have the light board op take a visual cue for turning on and off the praticals. Plus, this way you can use them in your preset, and if you need all the stage lights to go out as the chandelier goes out, well, its as easy as pushing the go button.

    If you've never wired anything before, ask someone to show you how its done. It is not difficult, a parent or teacher should be able to show you how. Wire a stagepin plug ($5 maybe) and it will be perfect.


    Zac
     
  6. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

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    Wuzzup.
    Okay, First, Listen to Footer. get somebody who knows how to do this first.
    But this is what I think you've got going on, it may help with future questions.

    Electrical
    ( Electrical 001 -Most safe electrical devices have a hot, a ground and a neutral wire. Hot is the main current, neutral is the return current and ground keeps a short from going all the way back to the breaker box, and causing a pyro display.)

    I think the exposed Copper wire on your Schonces the ground wire. the black and the white are your hot and neutral respectivly.

    Problem 1- It sounds like your missing a wire. On your Chandilier You have what appears to be a ground and a neutral wich means your missing a hot wire or you're light wire is your hott and your copper wire is your neutral. But I don't think so. It sounds like you might be missing a hot wire some where. If you wire the chandilier without a ground you run the risk of starting a fire.
    Problem 2- I have no clue what kind of dimmers your making refernce to. There are many diffrent kinds of dimmers so here specifics matter. Your dimmers also have a black and a white, but the aqua marine color should be green, unless your trying to wire in a power pack. Don't wire in a power pack. If you don't have them I recommed getting riostat dimmers ( small hand held dimming units) for your schonces. Or re-post with more information on this thread.

    Now here is the important part. There's not enough of the right kind of information for us to help you. You can have someone re-post and that might help a little bit , but please don't wire this yourself.

    Rigging
    It also seems that your question involves a little bit of rigging. ( geting the stuff up in the air. If you'r hanging the chandilier, I suggest using aircraft cable hung from your grid. You need an apropriate length of aircraft cable and some nicopress sleaves and a crimping tool. Again, see if you've got somebody who can do it for you.
    Build the schonces directly into the set.I'm assuming that you've got walls to mount them to. Then you can mount your riostat dimmers onto the wall in the back of the set.

    I hope this is helpful in some way, keep us posted as to what is going on.
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    First off, let me say welcome to the booth. I know that it looks like you got jumped on and shot down for your first post, but we are always very concerned about safety. Hopefully we won't turn you off from coming back, we really are nice once you get to know us. On that note, you should stop by the New Member Forum and tell us a little about yourself, we love to hear that stuff.

    Now, back to your issues. You have entered the wonderful world of practicals. A practical is basically any fixture that is a standard fixture (as opposed to a theatre fixture) that has to work in a show. This can be sconces, table lamps, chandaliers, etc. As it happens, the show that I am currently involved in has many practicals including chandaliers, sconces and table lamps. Personally I find working with practicals to be one of the more interesting challenges in a show as often it requires more work than putting a fixture on a pipe and focusing it.

    I do however agree with what has been said in that it sounds like you don't really know enough about wiring and electricity to be attempting this project on your own. While wiring up lamps is a pretty easy task, the CB TOS frowns upon us giving potentially harmful advice. It should be relatively easy to find someone in your school or community who can help you. You can also try contacting your local theatre supplier as they will probably be willing to help, and it is good to make friends with them.

    I also agree that you don't actually want the dimmer switches you have to actually control the practicals. Why? For most of the reasons that have been stated, but mostly because you (the electrician/light board op, etc.) want to have control. You will want it to always go to the same level each night, and having it manually controlled you would never get that. You want it to be actor-proof. So, once you get them wired up, plug them into an available stage dimmer (whatever you plug your stage lights into) and control them from your light board, you will be much happier.
     
  8. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I'm not going to go repeating what everyone else said, but a good book to buy from home depot is wiring 1-2-3. It really teaches you how things are supposed to be properly wired and i use the book as a reference when i have a brain fart as to getting 3 and 4 way switches to work. Also, where are you located at? I'm sure there is a member on here that is close by and willing to help or can point you to somewhere close that will be more than willing to help. I have gone to a few schools free of charge just to help them get something fixed safely. I'd perfer something being done right, rather than them trying to save a few bucks and figure it out themselves. I am always more than willing to teach anyone who wants to learn.
     
  9. calcrew

    calcrew Member

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    Thanks for all the responses.

    We're bringing in an experienced light technician. As the teacher, I want him to train/supervise students how to wire instead of just doing it all himself.

    The current problem is that we don't have enough active channels/dimmers linked to our main dimmer console.

    In the short term (for the current production), it may be easier to purhase a small console controller (12 channels or less) to control the two chandeliers and two sconces from backstage. Local rental places we contacted only allow their consoles to be attached to their own lights.

    If the above is a practical idea, any suggestions would be appreciated for an inexpensive 8-12 channel console with the flexibility to be wired to chandeliers and sconces for this production and perhaps lighting trees in the future.
     
  10. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    I don't mean to offend by asking this, but do you know the difference between a console and a dimmer pack/rack? You need both--the console controls the dimmers, and you plug the circuit(s) from the chandelier/sconces/whatever into those dimmers.
    What kind of console do you currently have? If you're not sure, take a couple photos of it and post them. You may be able to control more dimmers from your console. So, you really need more dimmers, and MAYBE another console.
    Do you have additional power to do this?
    Remember, the lights plug into dimmers. The console controls the dimmers.
    I think you need to include your light technician now. Is this a professional?

    --Sean
     
  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Seconding what [user]Sean[/user] said, IF your console has the capability to drive more dimmers, this, for $70, may suit your needs.
     
  12. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the hijack but those things cost more than $200 AUD in Australia.

    Back to the main stream.
     

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