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Stage Worklight

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by tech2000, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    At my school we have "worklight" electrical ports on three of our four electrics and the only one that works constantly is the third electric. (Well the first electric works constantly also but we can't seem to turn it off)
    The second electric, we plug in the worklights and they are fine for several minutes and then they all shut off.

    My question is, what is a cheap way to have worklights cover the stage (preferably from the electrics) without using regular dimmer ports?
    Our music teachers go up to the light booth and turn on the face/down lights for class use. (There are three periods of orchestra in there every day.)
     
  2. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Scoops are great for that; that's what we used in college. What we did is cable them directly off of the electric and plug them into the wall. We conveniently had some locally-switched outlets at the SR ASM position, so worklight was as simple as turning the three or so switches on.

    Even more elegant would be dedicated dimmers or relay modules tied to Unison panels, but we weren't elegant.
     
  3. wfor

    wfor Member

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    Especially if you're electrics are dead hung, it would be easy to drop a cable from some scoops and wire up a switch box.

    If you don't have scoops, I've seen cable strung horizontally across the support cables, with cheap florescent tube sockets attached. They're cheap at lowe's or home depot or somewhere. If you're lucky enough to have a fly system, you could dedicate a batten to this, and drop your cable from the grid.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    As was said, cheap shop florescent fixtures are a great option and available at just about any hardware store. Make sure they have some sort of secure cage to contain the tube. You don't want one coming loose and falling to the deck.

    There are also some great things you can do for very little money with a little creativity and a couple of cheap 500 watt halogen work lights like the one pictured below. Be sure to take a good look at the floor model in the store. If you get the right one you can remove the fixture from the base easily and not have to do any wiring.

    Let me stress the importance of having a qualified person who knows what they are doing help you rig the lights to the batten (this is true of hanging fluorescent tube fixtures as well). These lights are not designed to be hung from battens. If not properly hung they could fall and be extremely dangerous. You need to attach safety cables to the fixtures... something they are not designed for... again it can be done easily but have someone who knows what they are doing help you. They also get very hot so you need to leave at least two feet clearance between the fixture and anything that is potentially flammable. Don't just get some wire or gafftape and hang the fixture. Be safe.

    [​IMG]

    Another great option is just to have a set of these that you get out when you need to work. You can get one for about $40.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  5. wfor

    wfor Member

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    Another good idea. It may be a bit cumbersome for everyday class use though.


    It seems you have some sort of worklights.

    Is it just control that's the issue?

    If you have an express/expression, you could do some fancy work with that macro port deal it has. If you have unison or a similar architectural system, I would make a preset with only work and house lights, and don't even have one with stage lights.

    The easiest solution may just to plug in your worklights in to dims, if you can spare the few extra circuits.

    Whatever you use, make sure it is pointing straight down. As a musician, I appreciate the need for good downlighting to see music, I'm sure your orchestra will be pleased they don't have to spend class staring into hot stage lights.
     
  6. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Just about anything on the following link should work.

    Open Faced Units

    Our new facility bought 6 Mini Floods (but I can't figure out who makes them), and they operate on a standard T3 halogen lamp you could pick up at any hardware store. The front end price is a little bit more, but they take up a very small amount of room on the electrics are plenty bright for work lights. I liked them so much I made them dual purpose and sneaked them into some cues for our last show.

    Best yet, they'd be used as intended. Your fire marshal would go crazy if he walked in and saw fluorescent fixtures hanging on a batten with cords dropping to the floor and run to an outlet in the wings.

    Beyond purchasing fixtures to use them as intended, I would strongly advise you to consult an electrician. Wiring an edison connector to a fluorescent fixture does not fall into the category of use as intended.
     
  7. wfor

    wfor Member

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    Certianly, they should be installed properly.

    The way I've seen them done is being stage pinned into the "WL" socket of an ETC Electric. They are operated by a standard switch on stage. I suppose it breaks out from the socapex bundle at the grid.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    How are these circuits currently controlled? Direct 120V switches or relays in a rack somewhere? Is any sort of architectural control system involved?
     
  9. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If it's a standard switch, then I'd venture to say that it didn't get routed through a Unison processor, but rather just got divided from the entire system and made into a regular circuit.

    If the tail on it is only a few feet, that's one thing, but if it's hanging on a batten instead of an electric then we're talking about running mile-long cords to the nearest available power source.

    Meanwhile, with the issue of hazy work light circuits that almost work, but not really, I would suggest consulting an electrician or tech support. If you know who did the install, they would also be a good resource to tap. It could be everything is working as intended, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's working how you want it to. It could also be a problem with the electrical feed. If your work light circuits get tied into a digital processor, such as ETC Unison, then I would recommend calling ETC(or whomever is appropriate) before you call an electrician. The important thing to note is that there are three likely candidates for your problems. User-error, Programming-error, or Electrical fault. If you call an electrician and it's a programming issue, then you'll have spent money for an electrician to scratch his head for a while and tell you he has no answer. If you call the manufacturer of the system, then they would probably be able to determine pretty quickly where the problem lies.
     
  10. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    First of all, thanks everyone for the helpful advice!
    The ports on the electrics are stage pin and runs through our dimmer system so we can turn it on and off with our ETC Express, but also runs directly to a set of switches SR. There are 4 ports on each electric.
    Oh, yeah, we have a fly system (50-60') The highest in our school district!
     
  11. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    By switches, do you mean conventional switches, or preset stations?
     
  12. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    By switches I mean push-buttons. (They turn red and green depending on on/off status)
     
  13. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Who is the manufacturer of the dimming system, and who is the manufacturer of the button station that controls the work lights? I'm not familiar with any button stations ETC makes that have red-indicator lights on them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  14. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    The dimming system is ETC but I'm not sure of the buttons.
     
  15. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If the button station is also ETC, then I'd say it might be a programming error. There are a hundred and one different ways that it could be programmed through Unison. It could be very possible that it's working like it's supposed to, but what's it's supposed to do isn't what you want it to do.

    I'd suggest you set yourself up for a tech support call. Plug fixtures into all of the work light receptacles without overloading the dimmers. Discover as many symptoms as you can. Find out if the problems are repeatable or if they are sporadic. Then give ETC a call @ 800.444.8825. Wait until after the holidays though. It's their 24/7 tech support number, but if you call them on a holiday, they will be obligated to return you call, probably about ten minutes later, so use it responsibly.

    If the button station is not ETC, then I'd question if there's another possible source for the problem. By any chance, do you know when your installation was done, roughly?
     
  16. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Does it look anything like this?

    [​IMG]

    We have this system at my school with ETC Sensor dimmers. This is a master station, and there is one SR and one in the booth. Then there are other stations with just the Panic buttons. The lights on the buttons change colors when you push them, depending on which station has control. Is this what you have?
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    It actually sounds like you have a decent system that just needs a little care. Take a picture of the control station and post it. What kind of dimmer racks do you have? If you don't know take a picture.

    Where are you doing shows, inside the Matrix? Say "hi" to Neo for me.
     
  18. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    I don't think it is the swiches that are the problem because the buttons for all our worklights (those on electrics, fly/loading/grid rails, grid/catwalk/workshop/side stage lights) are on a metal box stage right.
    They are separate from another lighting system with presets (from etc) that can control houselights, flourescent foh lights, etc. That system is fine.
    We have ETC Sensor Dimmers.
    Sorry I don't have much information right now, school is out until January 5th so I can't take a picture, but I will when I can get in!
     
  19. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If you can control them from your lighting console, then they're on the same dimming/control system.
     
  20. cwhitson

    cwhitson Member

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    Based on the original post, I would have to say that the problem probably lies in one of two, or both issues.

    You said that one electric works fine, one is always on, and the other works then quits.

    1. whatever system you use (dimmer or separate) is not programmed or set up properly. (sounds like one is overloading which is why it is shutting off, other has a bad pot or relay which is why it is always on)

    2. the electric that is always on could be a wiring or switch problem.

    If you are knowledgeable enough about the setup of you work light system, take the advice and try some simple testing and then find a pattern for each electrical that is malfunctioning and then call ETC (or whoever installed/supports the system your work lights use.)

    Do not follow the advice of hanging fluorescent or your own work lights. That would be totally unsafe and probably against building/fire codes in most places. There is already a work light system in place, no need to re-invent the wheel. may cost some $ to get fixed, but that's much better than the alternative.
     

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