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weird power outs

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by itie, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. itie

    itie Active Member

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    so at my school we have all colortran equipment. we run a innovator lighting board and i believe we have colortran dimmer (but we are able to get to them). well one morning i walked into our theatre to do some work and found the strip lights on our second electric strobing. the board was off and i tried turning off the lights using the presets. but they still strobed on. so i ended up unplugging them. i left them unplugged for a month and a guy did a dance concert in our theatre and he used them. so they were working and not strobing. i found out that the school had a power outage the nught before they started strobing. then a couple of days ago i was working on a set and the power went out (bad storm). everything was fine until the generators kicked in and the storm light went on. well sure enough on the same electric and i believe same fixtures the strips light started to strobe. now im new to tech and im the only thing this school has but to me it sounds like something is wired wrong. can you guys think of any reasons of why this is happening? i told them to bring in the company that did the install but nothing has been done about that yet.
     
  2. VeeDubTDI

    VeeDubTDI Member

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    This happens in my space from time to time when I turn off the light board. Random things will come on, go off, flash, flicker, etc. Turning the light board on and then back off usually fixes it.
     
  3. itie

    itie Active Member

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    light board is not on during the power out and i tried that and it didnt make a difference.
     
  4. VeeDubTDI

    VeeDubTDI Member

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    My point was that sometimes sending a fresh control signal to the dimmers is enough to stop them from misbehaving.

    Do the lights continue to strobe when the board is on with all channels set to 0?
     
  5. itie

    itie Active Member

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    yes the only way i got them to stop without going into the dimmer was to unplug them.
     
  6. VeeDubTDI

    VeeDubTDI Member

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    Interesting. Sounds like you need access to the dimmer room to reset them when this happens. Why don't you have access to them? Who do you have to get in contact with to get access to them?
     
  7. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I would just like to say that if you are "new" at lighting, electrical and tech in general, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go poking around in any wiring cabinets/junction boxes/dimmer racks/distribution panels/etc. Carelessness/inexperience with electricity is one of the easy ways to get yourself killed.

    CONSULT A QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN.
     
  8. itie

    itie Active Member

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    well they r locked in a mechanical room that the school decided the drama teacher or the fine arts teachers didnt need a key for. but that door isnt the problem cause i can get a janitor with the master key to open it. not the dimmer racks have locking doors on them. they r locked sometimes then left wide open other time. the school does not have the key for them and didnt even know that it was there until i came along. i think the county has the key to them because they came into r theatre to look at something and after they left i got in there and they were wide open.
     
  9. VeeDubTDI

    VeeDubTDI Member

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    The next time it happens, try pressing the RESET button on the racks.
     
  10. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Curious, how old is your venue? What brand dimmers and control do you have?

    Are the strip lights plugged into the electrics or is it all hard wired?
     
  11. itie

    itie Active Member

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    brand new school just built 3 years ago. and i dont mess with it at all. they r plugged into circuits. they are colortran fixture and a colortran board, and colortran dimmers. but i could be wrong about the dimmers.
     
  12. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Interesting. I'd definitely try to get ahold of the installers if this keeps up.
     
  13. express

    express Active Member

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    There could be a short in the wiring, we have a 8-inch freshnel that strobes all the time and there is a short in is cable. :)
     
  14. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    That's not too unusual. Probably not to hard to fix IF IF IF IF, you know what you are doing.

    By cable, I assume you mean the fixture whip or tail, the 3 foot or less ''cord".
     
  15. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Here's one theory worth checking. If the dimmers are fed from the generator transfer switch, it could be a cooling issue. I'd be willing to bet that whatever exhaust fan or HVAC unit cools the dimmer room, isn't powered from the generator. This is an easy mistake for the building's electrical engineer to make.

    So, a power outage hits, the generator runs, the dimmers continue to produce heat, and the room gets too hot. Now you have an unhappy dimming system that goes a bit wild until the controller is reset.
     
  16. mrtrudeau23

    mrtrudeau23 Well-Known Member

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    i also ran into this kind of problem at my high school some years back. our older model ETC dimmers had been hit by lighting over the summer, causing random lights to strobe. we had to go through and test all the dimmer trays to find out which ones had been lost.
    i also had another venue where an old strand CD80 rack was hit by lighting, fried the brains in the rack and automatically turned on the panic mode from the rack. the only way to kill the lights was to go back and trip all the dimmers until we could get the brains replaced.
     

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