Pin Spots (rain lights)


I stumbled onto this forum while doing some research on lighting for a show I am working up. I've been out of the business for a number of years, but have had an opportunity to get back on stage with an 80's tribute band, and since I was in charge of lighting in a past life, that responsibility has come to me again.

My question is related to PAR36 (38?) pinspots. Obviously I have some confusion as I have seen them referred to as both 36 and 38, so I'm not quite sure which is correct or if there is a difference.

Anyway... back in the day, we used several groups of pinspots. I recall several groups of 3 fixtures, where I just plugged each one into a single gang plug, and then into a single channel of the dimmer pack. This gave me a nice 3 way pattern where needed.

However, I also recall that we had a rack of 10 or 12 pin spots behind the drum kit. I recally that there was only a single plug for this. I am also thinking there were some kind of transformers involved. While browsing the net for new and used equipment, I have seen several ads for pin spots, some don't mention transformers at all, and some say without transformers.

a) what is the purpose of the transformers?
b) do I need them if I plug the pinspots in individually, as in the 3 fixture example above?
c) or are transformers only needed if all the lights are wired together into a single plug? and even then why? what's the difference if 10 or 12 are all plugged into a gang plug and then into a dimmer, or if they are all wired together?
d) or are the transformers needed because the lights are going thru dimmer packs?
e) do the pinspots normally come with or without the transformers?

Thank you for any .....light shed... (couldn't resist!)


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