# Stage Lighting upgrade... Thoughts on my ideas...

#### macsound

##### Well-Known Member
Would it be possible to offload some of the "networking" onto the (assumed) IT upgrade?
If negotiation could be made with IT that the theatre needed a dedicated network that wasn't connected to the school, along with its own patchbay in the booth or backstage (not in the catwalk), you might be able to offload $50,000 in conduit and cat5 runs that could be used for dante, artnet and anything else since it's patchable. #### BillConnerFASTC ##### Well-Known Member$50,000 seems high for cat5 for a high school theatre. I'm about to check out a HS system with relay racks, distro, console, 50 or 60 fixtures, dmx and network, and architectural controls that is around $200,000 all in. I'd guess network - was not 10% of that. As far as sharing a network between lighting, sound, and IT - I don't and haven't found anyone that likes the idea. Too much room for problems and redundancy too cheap. #### macsound ##### Well-Known Member The$50k is probably over the top for round number sakes. Depends on how long each of those runs are and what state they're in.
Nothing would be shared because each port is home run to a patch panel.
Lighting goes on a switch, Audio on another, internet on another.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
What is the rush for total upgrade has been expressed, as with what is coming in technology. What not asked is what light board in how many universes it has, and somewhat how those universes of data are distributed to the lights.

Interesting above point about teaching the young students about modern technology, as opposed to teaching them older technology also. Good fair point. If 1:1 fixture to fixture replacement is being done or less lights to get design angles with fair point I think. Replacing a few at a time in growing a system and budgeting for a larger light board I think more normal to this industry. My opinion at least.

#### Robert F Jarvis

##### Well-Known Member
ETC is now supporting using D20 dimmers in a Sensor for their LED fixtures. That alone could save far more than the fixture premium.

This caught me by surprise. We run a ETC Sensor R48 with D20 for regular (legacy) fixtures but are bringing more and more LED's which we like to shut off their power after use. We have used D20's to supply some LED power, but over on the ETC connect forum I've been castigated for this. We know SCR's out put out a rough non-sinusoidal waveform and it is the general opinion over there that you don't use D20's for this job - and I'm quoting ETC techs. Personally I'm of the opinion that providing you slam them to 100% (basically bypassing the SCR) can't see how they would damage the LED's.

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#### BillConnerFASTC

##### Well-Known Member
You have to set them to unregulated at the CEM - tru;ey "slamming them to 100%" - and with ETC's LED fixtures. Do not expect help or sympathy if you use them to power anyone elses LEDs.

#### almorton

##### Well-Known Member
Stick a 'scope on when the dimmer channel is slammed to 100% and see if there's waveform distortion - chances are there will be. If you haven't got a hard relay in there (or sine wave dimmers, which don't use SCR/Triac) then you're going to get some distortion of the waveform.

#### Malabaristo

##### Well-Known Member
This caught me by surprise. We run a ETC Sensor R48 with D20 for regular (legacy) fixtures but are bringing more and more LED's which we like to shut off their power after use. We have used D20's to supply some LED power, but over on the ETC connect forum I've been castigated for this. We know SCR's out put out a rough non-sinusoidal waveform and it is the general opinion over there that you don't use D20's for this job - and I'm quoting ETC techs. Personally I'm of the opinion that providing you slam them to 100% (basically bypassing the SCR) can't see how they would damage the LED's.

There is some subtlety that might be missed here. Official ETC policy (per their manuals and datasheets and so forth) is that ETC fixtures can be used on ETC dimmers when those dimmers are configured correctly (set to switched/unregulated at the CEM). ETC can't tell you whether anyone else's fixtures will play nicely with their dimmers because they're not privy to all the engineering details of those products. It really comes down to the design of the power supply used in the fixture and whether it will interact badly with the dimmers. Unfortunately there's not a quick and easy test that can tell you this since there are a ton of variables.

To avoid those subtleties, many people will just say "Relays only" because they can more easily guarantee that will work.

#### RickR

##### Well-Known Member
I had hoped to post the document stating all the caveats and limits. Can anyone find it?

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
I had hoped to post the document stating all the caveats and limits. Can anyone find it?
@RickR I'd bet @STEVETERRY Know's where to find it.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
One of the aspects to running ETC branded LED’s on ETC Sensor D20 dimmers that are configured to Non-regulated mode, is what happens when you have other gear from manufacturer X on the same power feed ?

We have a lot of ETC LED gear as well as Chroma Q, VariLite and Elation, thus I am always using either relay modules or Thru-Power in relay mode for all LED and movers.

#### Ravenbar

##### Active Member
I hope I can put this well ... but don't let your current personal knowledge and vision limitations be something that those who follow you will curse. This IS the way these days .. it's not the future, it's here. And if ARTnet never got used, that's a cautionary tale too ... in a school, the learning opptys for students are as important as the production itself. If you need some help with knowledge, confidence, or getting to be a helper at some gigs or facilities that use Ethernet based tech, I bet someone here will invite you over. I understand limitations of having 3 other roles, not wanting to introduce risk before a show, etc ... but at some point you gotta jump the broom .. for the sake of the students and the district spending wisely, if not yourself. The budget mavens no doubt think that $350k will last 20 years ... and (see posts below) entire universes disappear into thin air with some fixtures, pixel tape, etc. I visited with a touring LD last year whose dance / opera show came thru Berkeley. 80 universes, 44k cues. Your 2 universes will not last 20 years. plus every once in a while, that genius kid comes along and helps lead the charge.It's a gift to let them do that ... it's ok if they understand it before you do, as long as they teach you, too. with admiration for all you do, Ben Very few if any students actually touch the system anymore. THe shows director, who handles the lighting most of the year, is in the IT department. There have been instances where, in there view someone got in the booth and wiped out everything on the board. Knowing how to wipe the board out myself, I more suspect the power was shut off for an extended period and the bios battery went dead as well. Anyhow, the booth is locked up, and not even most teachers have access. This is the 8th year I've done the show there and I've only ever had 1 student "interested", but he didn't advance beyond running a spotlight. As far as the upgrade itself, I don't really see the point in spending all that much. The only real problems the system has it lack of parts availability for the fixtures(Altman Shakespeares), and a lack of lighting deep into the pit. They honestly barely ever even change blown lamps, so every year my first order of business is fixing broken stuff. Would it be possible to offload some of the "networking" onto the (assumed) IT upgrade? If negotiation could be made with IT that the theatre needed a dedicated network that wasn't connected to the school, along with its own patchbay in the booth or backstage (not in the catwalk), you might be able to offload$50,000 in conduit and cat5 runs that could be used for dante, artnet and anything else since it's patchable.

The IT network in the school is from my understanding, already pretty much state of the art. They had internal fiber optics installed back the early 2000's, when I was a student. I do know a lot of the network wiring runs above the stage already.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
If you need parts... I have probably +40 surplus caps, reflectors and other parts available for free to a good home. (Shipping TBD in reverse shipping.) They are used but I would only send stuff in good or at worst ok shape. Shutters, more on demand for what you cannot save in what's usable might be more difficult to send in other than workable for a few more years condition. Same with shutter handles, advised that you follow posted instructions in removal in saving as many as possible in shutters and handles, than given due diligence I could send more.

All good to send off for free, even some gate reflectors, and if you need 6x16 or 6x22 lenses... have a large box of them & some extra 6x16 lens trains.

Seems like there is a problem of being able to work on your school's lights though, this much less service call and changing out parts as needed in ability. A shame that the best a student can work towards is follow spot op. I have been to schools with students taken out of class so as to get training on their new light board they will be using.

If you have extra parts or delisted fixtures, I only need the pineapple - the upper section between lamp cap and gate/shutter assembly, if not more of the gate I have less stock in. Send me the scraps in perhaps exchanged shipping, parts I need before just scrapping what outer parts you are scrapping. This to make whole more complete fixtures for donation. Also, those who need fixtures, drop me a word in PM.... Literally scrapped a 4'x4'x4' box full of 8" barn doors and top hats last week. Trauma, but I could not think of anoyone needing them. Than I found two theaters for them today I had not thought of than.

I already personally own well over a hundred fixtures for the museum and more than a dozen at home, anything I get these days goes to charity once restored, or if antique and not already in it to the museum. I have my 360Q and 360, as with lots of Inkies etc. for my home needs. This amongst surplus antiques or spectacular looking - (kind of steam punk looking) living room lights waiting to become that again. There is no money interest for me in sharing parts, more so to get back some more space in my single car garage.

#### TED Events

##### New Member
My thinking behind preserving the dimmers is that (1) I don't think the budget is going to stretch to replace absolutely everything, especial with the need for supporting system upgrades, (2) Preserving the ability in the future, if needed to utilize existing fixture inventory, if/when the LED stuff stops working. I know I can fix the incandescent stuff, LED's not so much. I also don't see the old equipment going away entirely. Last I knew, the R40 striplights that were retired in the early 2000's were still kicking around somewhere, (3) We're often employing non-theatre lighting for practicals/effects/ect. This varies from christmas lights, to LED strips, jobsite worklghts, to old overhead projectors. To preserve the ability to preform these tricks with incandescent's, dimmers are useful.

Specifically in my email, I mentioned RGB(A/W). Didn't realize lime was a color option.

I'm fairly certain students won't be hanging lights. The current standard is stagepin for dimmable and edison for relay. I see no reason to change that.

I would prefer to stay away from Altman fixtures as well, I only gave that light as an example of the fixture type. Problem being, the prefered supplier(Syracuse Stage), is an Altman dealer, so that's what we tend to end up with. My biggest gripe with the Altman is the lack of parts availability for the Shakepeares. I learned on 360Q's and to me a Shakespeare is new tech, yet I can't get more than basic, universal parts for them(i.e. I can only get TP-22 sockets(yes, I know that number off the top of my head from replacing so many) but I can't get speed caps for them. There are a number of fixtures prematurely retired, because the steel socket mount screw/standoff siezed/snapped off in the aluminum base. The entire fixture is fine, other than the cap.

I'm with you preserving the old-school dimming capabilities and keeping the relic stage lights as a backup but, with 120 channels now, do you really need more? I went to 3 High Schools (NLong story) HS1 had 48 6000 watt dimmers, #2 had 24 6000 watt dimmers, and HS had 48 6000 watt dimmers. All had patchboards and HS1 had adequate numbers of stage pin pigtails all along 3 battens above stage, and 12 individual proscenium pockets with 1000 - 1200 watt ellipsodials that I think if you were to take one down and stand it up it would have been taller than me. There were a dozen scoops, about 2 dozen 6" and a few scattered 8" fresnels, maybe 6-10 Lekos 6"... and 3 rows of 3 circuit par strip lights RGB. Not a bad compliment for a building from the 60's but... never any improvements. That auditorium burned down in an act of arson and was completely gutted and refitted with a 24 channel non-patchable system with no option for storing programs or scenes at all. Just a crossfader. I think it was a 0-10v type system same as the former. Althouth there was room, and the design/architecture elements were there, no fly gallery was installed. But the shows and music still happened.

HS#2 was designed for but never built a fly gallery either, and they lighting system was literally duplicated in every building (3 other Jr. Highs) built roughly the same era. 3 rows of par strips don't remmeber 3 or 4 circuit but with 250 watt par lamps. Barely any above stage fixtures, and no more than a dozen 6" ellipsodials (Can I just call them Lekos from now on?) which I realize now sucked due to improper lamp choice/ the way they were fitted, or being out of filament position/adjustment. Literally during some performances, people around the back of the house (Which doubled vig moveable gymnasium type motorized walls) as large group instruction rooms/ lecture halls) would scream "BRIGHTER! I CAN'T SEE crap!" (hey... this is Long F'kn Island, NY) But the show went on...

HS#3 had 48 6000 watt dimmers and a manual patchpanel and all of 16 pigtails from 4 junction boxes placed on each of 3 above stage batons. There were 24 pigtails above the house in 6 seperate equally distanced spots along the entirety of the catwalk slot. So, you're atalking literally 72 possible circuits for 48 6000 watt dimmers. IIRC the dimmer rack/patchpanel had 4 rows of 20 amp stage circuits and only the top row of 72 breakers was utilized, with 3 more rows of 72 breakers "spare." No side pockets, no stage pockets, no balcony rail batten, no footlight pockets and no receptacles along the back stage wall. On one show they needed to light a scrim at the far rear of the stage and literally borrowed a 6-channel portable dimmerr board and dimmer rack (4800 watt x 6 I believe) from the little theatre called "The Scrimmer" and 6 strip lights from the middle school to uplight it and power the strips because it never dawned on them to run 4 or 8 of the spare circuits that already existed from the existing equipment to real wall mounted receptacles. (District used twistlocks)

That school budgeted for and got a new system which the voters had to approve, and everything was ripped out (not the fixtures) and replaced with 24 circuit 2400 watt system (Kleigl Entertainer) with a "computerized" desk with memory and show cue storage functions. So... better control yes but, far less toal system capacity. Maybe a computerized patch, hope so because otherwise they'd have had to choose channels for each pigtail permanently. I believe overall it was a step down, but the budget had to include a lot of money to separate the house light controls and dimmers from the stage as the 2 systems were both incorporated within the original custom board.

So I'm thinking since your district at least is willing to invest in some upgrades periodically, instead of "improving" a cenrtral dimmer rack by tossing away 24 dimmers to provide for 2x as many 1/2 powered ones, and the want is there to continue to utilize exising incandescents because hey, they're free and they work, and a dmx system is already incorporated and being augmented, that instead of throwing money into an expanded dimmer rack to consider dimmer-per-light onto your existing stock of fixtures getting select ones off the ETC racks for that added channel capability? That would require added pigtails that are always powered in any location where you'd intend to use dimmer-per-light features.

#### jtweigandt

##### Well-Known Member
Before abandoning a bunch of conventional dimmers that are already there, Think about this. It may not be the number of dimmers that you will actually need at any on time once the LED's are there, but you may want most of those stage plug recepticles to be there and potentially live, or you may find yourself hanging that one God light special in the perfect spot, and the only conventional socket is 30 feet away and 2 bars over. Think potential positions not that you wont be using them all. Ditto on what others said about switching over to relays to power the new LED. big cost savings.. the wiring is already there.. use it. Also good idea to convert at the business end to a different plug type so that you don't plug LED into dimmed power. Finally we just got 10 new Lusters for our FOH (already had 5 phoenixes) and the Luster2s that we got are awesome sauce.

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