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Never trust the house staff...

Discussion in 'Safety' started by Flyboy, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    Occupation:
    Master Electrician / Rigger
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    ...they don't know anything! We just wrapped up a show, that I was the LD, for a local up and coming community theatre group. First of all, to say I was the lighting "designer" was kind of a joke, since the group owns no fixtures of their own, and my budget allowed for the rental of only an 8 can kit (I got two of the cans as ERS because I also work for the rental company). So here I am with my 8 lights, of which there were two S4-26s and six S4 PARnels. I was able to light the entire acting area well enough (considering), and split my load on two 20-amp breakers...or so I thought.

    It turns out that the managerial staff had no clue as to what sort of load their building could handle, and when I asked them for the size of their breakers (apparently they weren't allowed to even <i>show</i> me the breaker box) I asked if they were 15s or 20s. The lady--who, despite knowing nothing, was very nice and accommodating--informed me that they must be 20s. The strange part, however, is that nothing went wrong during tech/dress week. However, on opening night, the circuit that our audio guys FOH rack normally patched into was dead. We were told the location of 5 separate breakers in that room (to be safe, we divided up one for each tree of lights, one for the amps, and one for the FOH). So we merely switched him to the one free circuit in the room. Right after the salad (this was dinner theatre), one of my trees, and the entire FOH went dead. Apparently they didn't <i>actually</i> know where the breakers were separated.

    Every night went like that afterward...I started running my lights dimmer, and we got our FOH rack back on its circuit, just in case...but every night, that same breaker flipped. Is it possible that we ruined the breaker itself? I don't think the building has been updated in the last 5,000 years.

    Anyway, the show's over now, and the good news is that on closing night, where we had the most people show up, the FOH rack tripped its breaker all by itself, with none of my stuff on it, two minutes before we opened the house. We had to scrounge an extra AC extension and run the power from a completely different section of the building! At least this one's over now...
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    Never trust the house staff, or conversely only trust the right ones that know what they are talking about. Last year we had our Gala event at the Oregon Historical Society building. I was given a floor plan of the place and the patio area, in which we were setting up a tent and I had been asked to deck out in accent lighting, was labeled as having three seperate 20amp circuits availible. Great That's more than enough to do what I need! No it was three outlets all on one 15amp breaker. Even though the drawing was labelled I should have trusted my early production days instincts and verified for myself. So new motto ," always confirm, never assume"
    BTW I love that Ambrose Beirce quote,translation, " I think I think, therefore, I think I am." For those non-latin speakers out there.:mrgreen:
     
  3. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    We all know what happens when people assume...CRI (Cranal-Rectal Inversion). Especially people who have no idea of what exactly we do.
     

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