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Control/Dimming Permanent Installation Shutdown Procedures

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

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Permanent install "Do you kill power to your racks when you leave the building?

  1. Always

    18.5%
  2. Sometimes

    5.6%
  3. Never

    70.4%
  4. Other (please specify...)

    5.6%
  1. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
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    Lititz, PA
    The only time I kill power to my racks is for maintenance or when the power goes out.
     
  3. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I leave all racks up and running 24/7

    1) Racks are Sensor with CEM+ and I would worry that the CEM will not like frequent kill/boot cycles. ETC tells me that the racks are designed for 24/7 operations, fans included. And as a connection to the "Do you shut off your console" thread, not shutting down a console maintains constant DMX to the racks, which will have the Sensor fans running 24/7. A call to ETC about this indicated that this is normal and that the fans are unlikely to fail as a result (in their experience).

    2) In a meeting with the theater consultant, hashing out details of the new building spaces, the TC wanted to have master shut-off relays for the 3 racks in the large theater. This was mostly to help the buildings "Green" rating. I then pointed out that a Sensor with a fan running and it's CEM+ on, draws maybe 77 watts (according to ETC). I also had major issues with the reliability of a 3 phase, 2000 amp relay and could foresee many issues with a lower level employee forgetting to activate the relay to power up the rack, prior to a recital. Ditto having Unison/Paradigm trigger the relay, THAT had so many failure points that there is no way we are going that route.

    So I leave the racks on.

    Steve B.
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I am with Ice.

    Mike
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I have Sensor+ racks as well, and even with DMX present, my rack fans only kick on when a dimmer goes active. So if all the dimmers are at 0 then after 20 minutes of inactivity the fans will turn off, even if data is still present. The fans also come on if the CEM reads certain errors like "clean your filters!"
     
  6. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Alex you are correct as I discovered when I went back to the CEM manual this afternoon (nagging doubt in my brain).

    One of my racks seemingly runs 24/7, which is why I had called ETC about fan life. The rack has stage dims, as well as house lights, as well as the ghost light, so SOMETHING is always getting DMX.

    SB
     
  7. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
    Central Wisconsin
    We power down our permanent system since it's really just a bunch of 6-channel NSI packs mounted to a rack and permanently tied into the building's system. Saves electricity and prevents too much heat build up in our small booth.
     
  8. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I had to vote "other", because there are few rare conditions where I will down the racks. These have nothing to do with trying to save wear-and-tear on anything or being green, and all to do with maintenance or safety things, things where the rack is down anyway and leaving the building is a trivial addition.

    In college, we downed the racks (MD288s) once when we had a cooling fan seize up during a rehearsal. You could hear the noise of the fan all day, and in rehearsal that evening my job was to watch it. It locked up, we got works up fast and downed the racks.

    At the church I've got Genesises. They also stay up 24/7, but there have been a couple of times in the winter where squirrels have taken down one leg of the three-phase on the pole. That's happened twice, but I've downed the racks and all the other three-phase loads I could to keep the trafo and the air handlers as happy as they could be, and to hopefully reduce any big transients when that third phase came back on.

    Other than that sort of thing, there's no reason I down any of the racks I work on overnight.
     
  9. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    We almost never power our racks down. Certainly those in the dimmer room never get switched off; very occasionally we'll put a dimmer under the stage to run set electrics and that does get powered down nightly, purely because the understage area is not 100% watertight (old old building) and we're a little paranoid! Hence I voted other....Other than that, they're on 24/7.

    Interestingly enough I worked in a venue where the dimmers did get switched off nightly, which was fine, but the major issue I had with the procedures that were in place; in the event of a fire alarm, the LX operator had to power the dimmers down - and given that the dimmers were in the basement under the stage, about as far away from the control room as it was possible to be, I didn't think this was entirely sensible - if the building is going to burn, what difference does it make if the dimmers are on or off?! Strangely enough, the first time I ran pyro on a show, I asked the technical manager what I should do in the event of a fire alarm if I had pyros loaded, because surely that's going to be a danger to any firemen in the building? While he'd decided the LX op had to get the dimmers off, this situation had never occurred to him....
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  10. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    MASTER ELECTRICIAN
    Location:
    Winter Haven, FL
    My main rack is a EDI MK VII, and quite a few home made dimmers made from an old Teatronics MD288 rack, controlled with circuit boards from Lightronics and Northlight. All of these are shut off except shows and rehearsals. The house lights are on a dimmer rack that I made out of an old analog Electro Contol rack. I built the contol stations, and have a transfer switch for show control that uses a Northlight DMX to Analog board. When I first arrived at the theatre five years ago, the house were also on the EDI rack, and it was left on 24/7. In that year alone, we had $2000 dollars in repair on the dimmer rack. The building was built in 1976 and is in Central Florida. From all of the lightning strikes and Hurricane outages, plus bad ground connections in the building, we were always having to repair our dimmer rack.
    Since putting the house on it's own dimmer and turning everything else off when not in use, we have had no failures.
    I have also installed optos all over the theatre. (24 ouputs in all) That clears up the grounding problems. I have also modified the input circuitry to the EDI rack to use the true RS 485 transceiver. It had a RS 422 input transceiver. Additional surge protection was also put on all of the input power lines to the control circuits.
    I realize that I have explained more than was requested in the survey, but I thought that I would give reason why some might want turn things off, although in the normal convention, I would agree with leaving it all on 24/7.
     
  11. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Our three Sensor+ racks are always fired up, given that they include all theatrical and architectural lighting. In our black box, I always leave the Unison racks up, but I'm more frequently powering them down as of late, trying to mess with neoprene washers to quiet the hum of the fans. In general though, everything is hot, all of the time.

    Sound is another topic though. I always power those systems down when not in use. The way our install is, the sequenced power turns on three partially-integrated sound systems, including our Yamaha LS9-32, which is housed in a roll-top desk. I'm none too happy that the mixer fires up in an enclosed space when it is not needed but another portion of the system is.
     
  12. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Strangely, I find myself going along with the general consensus on this issue. It seems to me that this would be introducing an unnecessary amount of extra wear and tear on the 600 amp disconnect on my my main stage. There is no compelling reason I am aware of that would necessitate shutting down power to my dimmer racks in either of my spaces. In fact, in my smaller theatre, it would be counterproductive to do so as the work lights are powered by our ETC Unison racks.

    On the main stage, we do shut down power to our DMX splitting and combining equipment before locking up. Even here though, I don't believe it's necessary to do so, but this decision was made above my head long before I was hired. Other that its being a nuisance, I have no real objections to shutting this equipment down as part of our closing procedure.
     
  13. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Location:
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    The only time I've ever killed power to our racks was when I was cleaning out the filters and vacuuming the inside of the rack. After having done that, the fan now turns off if there hasn't been a load on it for long enough, unfortunately, the iSeries rack doesn't give you any info on the general state of the rack...
     
  14. Diarmuid

    Diarmuid Active Member

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    Location:
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    What with working in a school theatre, whenever I leave for longer than lunch, I tend to power down/lock whatever I can, especially because the dimmers (what with being full of high voltage circuitry) are in the same room as most of the drama lessons and are covered in buttons that just look like they'd be fun to touch. Also, by turning them off it makes me feel really eco-friendly:cool:.
     
  15. VegasLites

    VegasLites Member

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    Location:
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    The system remain on 24/7. Due to the fact that Arch lighting, work light, training light and running light are all powered throught it. And you would be suprised how much of the day those are used. We do turn off the racks for when we clean them and we will reset the network from time to time to make sure everything is happy.:)
     
  16. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    x2 Only time the racks get shut off is during maintenance and power outages
     

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