Powering Moving Set Pieces and Props?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Matt Nowell, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. Matt Nowell

    Matt Nowell Member

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    Hey guys,
    We are starting to design tech for a musical we are doing in a few months, and there are a few wagons that have to be outfitted with lighting and foggers. Sadly, they have to appear and then disappear during the scene, as well as move around the stage; so presetting the wagons is out.
    I need some advice as to how to best power those instruments.
     
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  2. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  3. Matt Nowell

    Matt Nowell Member

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    Hey @RonHebbard
    I apologize. How to power the lighting and foggers? We will more than likely use two foggers depending on what we can get our hands on. I'm not exactly sure how many lighting instruments we will use, it depends on the size of the wagons. But, I can tell you that they will all be LED units for this show. I don't know what brand yet, it depends on what we can get; but no movers, more than likely just LED pars or strips.
    Thanks for the quick response by the way. This is more of a general theory question rather than "Hey, tell me exactly what I need!" kinda thing, haha!
     
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  4. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  5. Matt Nowell

    Matt Nowell Member

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    @RonHebbard Battery powered solutions. Cables being dragged along behind moving set pieces and actors is what I'm trying to avoid, haha!
     
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  6. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  7. theatrewireless

    theatrewireless Jim @RC4Wireless #RC4DoesThat

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  8. Crisp image

    Crisp image Well-Known Member

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    I guess itwould depend on how big the foggers are. I put a 400w smoke machine under a radio controlled wagon and powered it with a 600W inverter on a car battery. Now do the calculations to convert 12v to 240v takes a lot of amps. I usually round it to 10a per 100W but it is most likely a few more.
    Then the lights. I also converted some 240v LED to 12 v DC by removing the AC power supply fro the light. No conversion factor needed for that. It just depends how you want to go about it.

    Regards
    Geoff
     
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  9. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Relocating this thread so it is posted in the correct place.

    Carry on...

    ~Dave
     
  10. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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  11. Ben Stiegler

    Ben Stiegler Well-Known Member

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    Would you preheat your Fogger on shore power (so to speak) before untethering for the wagon moves now scene?

    @TimMc - curious to hear how you would do this?

    What about 2 techies behind the wagon .. one with a dry ice filled cooler (on wheels) and the other with an oriental style folding hand fan to move the mist?
     
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  12. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    If room permits, then Dry Ice foggers are the way to go. Water is heated prior to show so they can be plugged in during the pre-heat. All you need then is a battery powered inverter that will handle the blower motor.
     
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  14. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  15. Ben Stiegler

    Ben Stiegler Well-Known Member

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    You are reminding me that I got “baked” as A1 into a 4th of July float at 100 degrees near Chicago with a cassette deck, amp, and speakers ... power from tow vehicles inverter. 1972 ... high school techie, up for anything. No buckets. That was the last job I ever did for the Republican Party, tho, and it was a kinder and gentler time. [these days, I fantasize about RF jammers
    for said organization’s events ...
     
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  16. Crisp image

    Crisp image Well-Known Member

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    You could but I did not. they only take a few minuets to warm up and then the scenes were only a couple of minuets long and they don't put out that much smoke (400W) for that long so they would last each show with a charge between times.
     
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  17. almorton

    almorton Member

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    In the past we've used car batteries, leisure batteries and alarm batteries as power sources on moveable set pieces or even on the talent (small packs of AA sized rechargeable batteries) and used the excellent RC4 wireless dimmers to control LED (and low power incandescent) lighting. The RC4 kit will also act as a wireless DMX bridge, so you can pipe the DMX into other fixtures on the same set piece. We're currently using a Look Solutions Power Tiny Fogger on a show - this is a battery powered fogger which has virtually instant start up (no warm up required), is quiet, generates a decent quantity of fog and can be controlled either by a dedicated radio remote or with a DMX add on. For fixtures that need mains voltage we've had some success using inverters, but bear in mind that you'll always get less out of the inverter than you put in, because they're never 100% efficient, so if the load needs say 600W you're going to have to put more than 600W into the inverter. At 12V, that's in excess 50A, so you'll need very chunky cabling and the battery won't last long.
     
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  18. Olddog

    Olddog Member

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    Typical car battery is in the 40 AH range, there are inverters for boats and backup systems that use line power then switch to battery and have a charger built in. UPS with the alarm off as well.
    If you're using dry ice watch for the hazard of spilling hot water.
    Other options are battery powered foggers that don't require preheat like Tiny Fogger.
    Also manual foggers that are preheated on line power then pumped like Handy Fogger.

    low cost inverters are often modified sine wave and electronicy things don't like that.
     
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  19. Crisp image

    Crisp image Well-Known Member

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    A typical car battery cant be compared to at a deep cycle battery contained in a UPS or other such backup device. A car battery is designed to give high current (200A or more) output quickly over a short time. This is referred to as CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) Deep cycle batteries are designed to produce lower current draws over a sustained timeframe. I have a car battery that is the same physical size as my deep cycle 100AH. There are some hybrid batteries that are used in boats to give cranking to start the motor but also supply the long low draw to power accessories. Deep Cycle batteries are usually heavy in comparison to normal car batteries.

    You can get some great priced pure sine wave inverters from the likes of Ebay. I have a couple of them and have tested them using an oscilloscope and they are good.

    Regards
    Geoff
     
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  20. Olddog

    Olddog Member

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    All true "Crisp image" but I noted at my last trip through "Canadian tire" many of the car batteries now have an ampere hour rating on them as well as the CCA.
     
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