Pin Spots (rain lights)

vlus

Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2004
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!)

Vick
http://www.heavensonfire.com
 

Mayhem

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Location
Australia
vlus said:
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?
From an Australian perspective I am refering to what we call a Pin Spot (see below)



a) Pin Spots are Par 36 (low voltage) lamps which require a transformer to provide the reduced voltage required by the lamp. From memory it is 6V and 35W but I could be wrong and would need to check. A Par 38 lamp however, is a mains voltage lamp that you can buy in a variety of colours and usually come in 80W or 100W. You will often see these used in outdoor applications
b) The transformer is part of the pin spot and sits within the body of the light, behind the lamp.
c) The pin spot (that I refer to) should not be placed on a dimmer (see http://www.controlbooth.com/postlite1041-transformer.html for additional info) but should be used on a switch pac
d) See above mentioned link
e) As previously mentioned, the transformer will come with the unit

Hope this helps
 

vlus

Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2004
ahh, so we (back in the day) must have been using PAR 38's for our groups of 3, because they were plugged in direct. well, plugged into a gang and then into a dimmer channel.

the rack of 10 or 12 must have been PAR 36's since they had transformers, although i'm sure we used them on a dimmer pack.

thanks for your help. if anyone has any more detail or info, let me know!

vick
 

Mayhem

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Location
Australia
Happy to help. You may be correct in thinking that you use to plug the Par 36's into a dimmer. From what I understand is it can be done - it is just not advisable to do so because of the way in which dimmers and transformers interact. I recall attempting to do it some years back and couldn't get it to work, so instead, I ran them off a switch pac.
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
Dimming a pinspot should never damage your dimming equipment, but over a period time, it can destroy the transformer in the spot light. This is because transformer loads are refered to as inductive loads. Be careful about placing pinspots on some chase controllers. I know that back a few years ago, American Dj made a controller called the CC-500 that would actually become a fire-hazard when it was used to chase a pinspot. Make sure your controller or switch pac has what is called "zero-crossing" circuitry.
 

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