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Control/Dimming Non-Permanent Shutdown Procedures

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by derekleffew, Mar 7, 2009.

?

Portable: Do you remove power from dimmer racks/PDs at night?

  1. Always

    53.4%
  2. Sometimes

    20.7%
  3. Never

    24.1%
  4. Other (please specify...)

    1.7%
  1. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Location:
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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  2. iLightTheStage

    iLightTheStage Active Member

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    More recently, I've left systems powered on over-night, following the belief that there are less issues with MLs if they do not lose power.

    However, I've started to feel un-easy about this. As the Master Electrician, I am taking responsibility for the power and the safety of that system. When I am not there, the safest setup possible, is for the power to be cut off. If I have not arrived for the day yet, then the system should not be powered on... and I get rather peeved when I arrive (always early) to discover someone has powered on my system.

    My $.002 (the economy isn't what it used to be)
     
  3. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    North Wales PA
    With the exception of a lunch break or other food run, all power is off and locked off when I am not in the building. If it can be arranged, even the cams are disconnected. I simply can not justify the added liability of having the equipment powered, or supplying the temptation for someone to “play” with things.

    “A dead cable maketh no sparks”

    ADDED:
    One thing I should add is that we operate in the North-East, where there are lots of summer lightning storms, and plenty of ice and snow in the winter. This adds the following risk list:
    Lightning hits
    Surges from attempted power restores
    Ice snapped service feeds
    Vehicular disruptions
    One of my pet peeves is that linemen use the neutral conductor as their guy-wire. If the span is stretched, guess which conductor snaps first!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  4. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Location:
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    Where working at a venue where the power comes from an outside contracted company and turning the power off an on are two added calls which may or may not happen on time, sometimes its better just to leave it on.
     
  5. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    Guess I should have read the question first, I thought you were talking about permanent racks so I voted never. But when we have a road company in the house we require that power be shut off overnight if they're staying more than one day.
     
  6. Jeroen

    Jeroen Member

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    We power off non-permanent installations when we are not there (overnight). Main reasons:
    - protect equipment against lightning strikes
    - avoid that not-knowing people 'play' with the equipment
    - liability in case of a fire
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Every time that I have worked with portable dimmers and PDs I turn them off at the end of the day. It just seems safer. Plus, it helps to deter people from trying to play with gear, especially if your company switches are lockable.
     
  8. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
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    We powered down our dimming system in high school (which was just a bunch of portable 4-pack shoebox dimmers) because we didn't want anyone messing with it. It was portable because it was only set up for events, everything was taken down after events. This is because we didn't have an auditorium, and everything was in the gym.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  9. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Location:
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    Im just starting to use portable dimmers for the first time. I have some shoe boxes on trees in the house because last time we ran cable all through the house to reach the locations and it was just a mess so we went with portable dimmers this time and at night, I unplug them. Why? Why not?
     
  10. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    IMHO, equipment should never be left on overnight. Especially moving lights. In reality, you will have less issues by shutting them down. This gives them a chance to cool and re-calibrate every morning. If you are not shutting them down at night then I pray that you are at least lamping them off (for the sake of your lamp budget AND your local fire department). Keeping moving lights running and exposed to their own heat (lamp or electronics) puts them through a lot of strain and will only cause more problems for you (and even more than that if you actually own the gear).

    Even if your power is coming from another company, you can still power down YOUR dimmers and PDs. More than anything your dimmers should have a chance to cool. Sensor touring racks have a thermostatic switch that shuts down the fans when the rack is within a safe temperature and kicks them on as soon as a dimmer is activated. Smaller portable dimmers (shoebox dimmers) obviously have no fan and are convection cooled. However if there are no dimmers on, then your only worry would be someone turning them on without your authorization.

    Long story short:
    Manage your heat, give your movers a rest and prevent anyone from messing with your stuff.
     
  11. iLightTheStage

    iLightTheStage Active Member

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    Personally, the work I do is with all rental equipment, and pretty much never running longer than a week. So, I don't worry myself too much with moving light fatigue over their lifetime. Plus, all of the locations I work in are temperature controlled, so I don't have to worry about the MLs electronics to cause heat issues while sitting motionless with their lamps off.

    I don't quite get your point on allowing your racks to cool. Are you saying they should cool by being off, or being left on until their fans kick off?
     
  12. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    On my normal lighting rigs, i power everything down. When it involves x-spots and Hog II they stay on. X-spot CPU's redetect all of the boards upon powerup, and they dont always like to detect these boards properly, so once they are on and playing they stay on. Lamps get shut off of course at the end of the night, and the dmx is disconnect, along with the console being locked out. I do leave my console of a UPS incase of power surges, sags, or any other weird things.
     
  13. csheleytd

    csheleytd Member

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    Location:
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    We leave our permanent racks on all of the time because they are in a locked cage in the trap room and also because they are the only power source for our house/aisle/emergency lights, however we always power down portable racks because of liability and the fact that they are non essential to anyone but the ME/TD.
     
  14. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
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    I think I threw off the curve. I didn't read Dereks statement at the begining of the thread, I responded to the poll on the front page. Since both of my theatres are completely populated with IPS dimmer strips and they are powered directly by circuit breakers they stay on all the time. In a portable/road setup I prefer to kill the dims etc at the switch.
     
  15. nelakluwos

    nelakluwos Member

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    Location:
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    I have to agree with ScottH about shutting down movers when they are not being used. It gives them a chance to cool and saves on lamp costs in the long run. Plus when they are turned back on they are given a chance to "reset" or "home". I understand that with most new fixtures to can send a lamp off or reset command, but giving those costly units a chance to rest is the way to go in my book.

    What are you saying... that you don't necessarily care what happens to the fixtures because they are not yours, so you aren't going to shut them off?

    You obviously have never worked on an idle ML before. Just because the lamp is off doesn't mean the components in the unit are cool. Obviously they are much cooler without the lamp on, but the electronics are still being fatigued by sitting there conducting useless energy.
     
    ScottH and (deleted member) like this.
  16. iLightTheStage

    iLightTheStage Active Member

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    If I'm having issues whenever I power-cycle the units, then yes, I will leave them running overnight for the 1-6 nights I need them. My priority is to the show running properly, not maintaining units I do not own. It may sound a little jerk-ish, but I have to set my priorities somewhere.
     
  17. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    I usually power down all portable systems when I leave for the night. Unless there is some circumstance where it's better to leave them on, which is rare.
     
  18. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    If the lights you've rented arent operating properly, you should contact the rental company. Most REPUTABLE companies stand behind their equipment and will do their best to make sure that you get what you asked for (i.e. working equipment)
    If there IS something wrong with the fixture, leaving it on for 6 days certainly wont make it better. Which means when you return that light to the shop, either A) it will have sustained enough damage that you will be charged a service fee (but your priority is the shows lighting not the budget) or B) the light will go back to the shop showing no signs of trouble, the shop will put it right on the next truck since they are so backed up and there is no time for a test (and the last user never reported any trouble), which means the next client will have the same exact problems you had, or worse.
    Not helpful to say the least.
     
  19. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    While I haven't done anything where I've been in charge of a show with rented gear, I'd have to say I'd probably chance a little bit of wear on the gear over having problems with the show. Now that's not to say I'd ignore something that appears to be causing further damage, but I'm not going to worry about preventative maintnance type stuff-- that's for the shop and wear on the equiptment comes behind the show.

    Note I'm not advocating leaving the stuff on for convinence, just if it is needed for the show. I know one of the audio guys says they leave EVERYTHING on except for the projector lamps (b/c they are like 20grand) on one of the shows he works on because failures are most likely to occur on power up or down.
     
  20. jomoki

    jomoki Member

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    Location:
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    shut down pros and cons

    What are the pros and cons of shutting down lighting on a daily basis? I'm running a show with hybrid fixtures; conventional, scrollers, movers and LEDs and am wondering if there is a best course for shutdown. I turn off discharge lamps with dmx but there are still fans and internal processors running without power off verses startup with fixtures resetting and homing. My normal procedure is; turn on control (console, splitter) then power on fixtures, end of show reverse the sequence. My question is; given the conniptions of fixtures restarting is it best to do this on a daily basis? When the show is dark for 2-3 days, yes, but daily?
     

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