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Talk about patching, a fun mental challenge

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by OnWithTheShow, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. OnWithTheShow

    OnWithTheShow Member

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    Location:
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    Here is an interesting puzzle for you all to think about. Our system here has been updated several times from the original 36 kliegl dimmers. We now have 48 strand CD-80 dimmers. We have 3 units of 12 2.4k and 2 units of 6 6k. Dimmers 1-36 (24 2.4k and 126k) feed a patch panel (a big wall mounted unit with a slider for every circuit allowing you to assign it to a specific dimmer) on the stage level. Dimmers 37-48 feed twistlocks at the patch panel (so anything in those dimmers needs to have a cable run to the patch panel) When a new floor was laid in the theatre they covered our mid stage floor pockets. I guess my predecessor rewired those circuits so that they would still be usable, these circuits are available at the patch panel. Also the circuit numbers do not run in any kind of order so you will find almost random numbers on the pipes and catwalks. We have run multicables to each catwalk and electric for patching lights into dimmers 37-48. Also some sliders on the patch panel have started to go bad so that some circuits will only work in certain dimmers. Some sliders have also broken off the patch panel (anyone know where I can replacement parts?).

    Not really any question just a little food for thought unless you can think of a way to simplify it.

    We have a budget request in for a new dimmer per circuit system with 192 dimmers but that probably wont happen for a couple of years.

    The high school I am going to be advising at has a huge mechanical board with 12 dimmers and roto-lectors for circuit assignments, I cant remember the capacities of the dimmers, but it is probably something that belongs in a museum.

    Rob
     
  2. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Patching is difficult, but I can't really relate to your particular situation. My high school just went through a 10 million dollar complete renovation. It now has motorized battens, a full cyc, 192 channels run by an ETC Expression III console (worth 20K), and powered by two Sensor racks with Unison Software. The lighting inventory exceeds 200 new lights including SL ellipsoidals, ETC source fours, Strand Iris 3-cell cyc lights, Altman Fresnels and Parcans, and 20 zoom ellipsoidals. The auditorium seats 1500 and the sound system cranks. It is a similar setup as to what the Rolling Stones tour with. We also have a few moving head spotlights. Our facility includes the Performance Hall, Scene Shop, Prop Storage, 2 Dressing Rooms ,Elevator to Balcony and Tech Booth, Tech Storage Room, Foyer to Auditorium with Box Office, and A great "Black Box" Studio Theatre with a 12' grid, it's own dimming/lighting system, and is capable of seating around 200. Our followspots are Altman Voyagers (worth around $6500 each).
     
  3. TechnicalDirector3-W

    TechnicalDirector3-W Member

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    Location:
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    I love using a patch bay. Our patch bay is a large grey object that looks like it is out of the 70s. We also call it the "Spaghetti Board" because there is a cable that corresponds to every circut in the catwalks and when the whole board is patched and happy it is a big mess. It is a great way to learn how all of the lighting works and how all the power gets to where it needs to go. Our system needs to be updated badly but until then I will keep having fun with our good old patch bay.
     
  4. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    Location:
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    Mmm..patchbays, those things are a great thing if they work properly. However...if they don't oooohhh...yuck!

    I had the pleasure of using patchbays in just 2 opportunities, as most of my shows I do them wth touring equipment (dimmer per circuit basis). One wasback at my high school, the numbers had long since been erased from all outlets in te bars and booms, but year after year us in 5th year told the smaller ones how it was numbered, cool, kinda like a secret society 8O Now this had a row of terminals wit the bar circuits and then a row of terminals with the board numbers, and you had to connect them with a simple wire, only the live as the neutral went to every bar. Oh yes, if you didn't know the number on the bar the other method was to go tapping the terminals untill one wen fzt! and sparked...that was the live one!

    The other patchbay is installed in the Gran Rex Theatre in Bs As, this was one work of art, all new dimmers, and the patchbay tied off to Socapex output (first time for me with socapex, they ended calling me Soca), all was done with plugs, all neat, with hooks in the ceiling as to keep all wires tidy. Wonderful!!

    Oh yeah I also tried to use the Avo dimmer's patchbay, but another technician beat me to it! :evil:

    To address your problem, I'd change the system by a hard wired one, without the sliders, just have all outpus from the dimmer and all outputs for the bars and make jumpers so you can connect any circuit to any dimmer, and for heaven's sake, renumber the circuits!! Nothing will complicate yuo more often that a messy numbering, theatre, especially lighting, has to be very tidy.

    Oh and yeah, if you used audio patchbays....lighting is just soooo simple.
     
  5. seanb

    seanb Member

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    Some thoughts:
    1) The CD-80s are perfectly capable DMX dimmers. I'd think of just purchasing a new patch system and re-wiring the theatre side so that the circuits are sequential and well thought out.

    2) Motorized battens - yuck. Don't they teach counterweight in high school anymore?

    3) Lester - sounds like a great house, but I'm not sure you're using with a Rolling Stones quality rig. They're running EV XLC and X-Line in array on EV P3000 power with a Midas XL4 on FOH. Frankly, not likely what you're running in your house as it would be deadly overkill for 1500 heads. Also, is there stair access to the tech booth? I'd hate to be taking an elevator every time I went up there :roll:
     
  6. dust4sound

    dust4sound Member

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    Actually yes they do at our sister school (Ryan HS) they have both moterized and counterweight. The moterized are for the lighting system.

    And our Soundboard is the same one that the Rolling Stones used. They were going to come and look at our system and test it out, over the summer of 2000 or 2001.
     
  7. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there are stairs to the tech booth. Two flights, up each end of the balcony; from the foyer. The elevator is mostly for hauling lights and other heavy equipment to and from the tech storage. The elavator is just near the catwalk door, so its good access to that, also. The main purpose for the elevator is for wheelchair access to the balcony seating and booth. And for the sound system, the amp rack and speakers are different, but the board is the same; at least thats what I've been told. Its an Allen & Heath with 48 channels... I'm a lighting guy, not a sound guy, though, so I really don't care. It sounds great. The Expression 3 is really awesome! Nice space, especially for high-school level.
     
  8. seanb

    seanb Member

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    the expression is a nice learning console. Learn your syntax and learn it well - you can apply the knowledge and the style of thinking to other consoles quite easily. I would suggest getting an offline editor for your console as well - good practice tool and will really speed up your programming skills!

    Allen & Heath makes nice conoles. Their GL series is a nice introduction to mid range consoles, great to learn on, IMHO. The ML series consoles are mostly the same, but you can also learn the VCA fader system as well as the traditional audiogroups. It's not what the Stones use, though. Their consoles are amazingly nice. I think the thing about learning sound consoles that is the most difficult is just understanding that so much of it is just a copy and does the same thing as another channel. Once you learn an Allen Heath in and out, it's not hard to apply that knowledge to figure out ANY console if you've got a mind for it.

    Motorized battens are nice for Electric pipes as you don't need to be as careful with counterweighting it correctly. Usually if you're within 750-1000 lbs the motor to haul it for you, whereas with a single purchase CW system you need to be under 100lbs, under 50 if you can be.
     
  9. BenFranske

    BenFranske Member

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    Location:
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    Many schools are going to motors for liability reasons.

    As for patch bays, has anyone besides me had the pleasure of working with an ElectroControls slider style patch bay. You learn to to hate these things, they do strange things all by themeseleves in the middle of shows...
     

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