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Work Lights...

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by EHubbard92, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. EHubbard92

    EHubbard92 Member

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    All around the theatre we have blue work lights, but they've never worked. We can't figure out how to turn them on. Today Justin and I took the time to track the line all the way back to the dimmer room where it disappears into the floor. The line is marked "DM25" and "LI66".

    What does that mean?

    Can anyone tell us where to go from here?

    Neither one of us really knows what we're doing (especially when dimmer racks are involved) so yeah...explaining is nice.
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    The tags could refer to many things. I would start your endeavor by testing the lamps in the worklights to see if they are good. If they are bad you might try replacing them and then looking for a light switch that formerly didn't do anything (there are usually a few around in schools). After that, there is probably no safe way that untrained personnel could continue to troubleshoot the system.

    Your best bet is to see if you can get a copy of the original wiring drawings of the space and then consult with a qualified electrician as to how the lights are wired and if it is possible to use them.

    Electricity is very dangerous, you should not attempt any modifications to the system without direct supervision of qualified personnel.
     
  3. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    Depending on the install, some work lights run off of the dimmers others have a switch, and then some have a combination, of they can run off the dimmers or you can manually switch them on. See if you can find out who did the install, and call them. Or you should find an electrican who is familiar with theatrical lighting systems.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Known in Hollywood as a pignose.
    [​IMG]

    Note the lack of a grounding conductor, and use appropriately.
     
  5. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Ahh!!!!!!!!
    Run away.
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I don't understand what your point is? If as the OP said, all the lights are wired back to a cable that they don't know where it goes then your sarcastic remarks are really meaningless. It would not be advisable for them to start cutting cables and installing connectors, and I don't see how your pignose adapter helps any.
     
  7. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Dude calm down...what he is suggesting is totally reasonable. They make tone generators that you can plug into a standard wall plug and then you use a special wand and can trace the cable back to a certain circuit panel and breaker. The pignose adapter can adapt the plug to work in the socket of a worklight. There is no need to remove anything or screw with any wiring it's a totally non-invasive and safe way to search for an unknown switch or breaker. With some help from his local facilities crew he could use this to trace the cable and find what panel it goes to if it goes to any. In fact this method is pretty common.

    Here is the cheapest one I could find

    http://www.tempo-textron.com/prod_detail.cfm?cat=800&subcat=802&pid=10442
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  8. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I have done EXACTLY that before. It works great. Your best bet is to rent one of those tracers (if your district electrician does not have one). They can be rented for about 10 dollars a day from most contractor rental locations. Make some phone calls before you go out and buy. Or... on the cheap....

    Buy our Circuit Identifier by Ideal Industries, Inc. at GoodMart.com

    Ideal product are fairly decent, they are not0 Fluke, but they will do for something that you won't use daily.
     
  9. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I mean no offense, but electricity kills, and I am only interested in keeping people safe. It didn't occur to me that Charc was referring to using a circuit tracer. In any event, as a student in a school this should still be a supervised activity by someone who is qualified to service the system.
     
  10. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    The easiest way to test for line voltage is with a non-contact voltage detector. They cost about $10-$15, and are really handy.

    [​IMG]

    All you do is hold it up to insulation of the wires, and it'll beep and flash if there's line voltage. This works without having to actually touch the conductive material, so it is much safer than other testing methods. I use mine a lot if a light isn't turning on to see if there's even current from the dimmer, because more often than not a problem in the patch is why a light won't come on, as opposed to a problem with the lamp. The only thing you need to do is put it next to the cord.

    Beyond pulling out a multimeter or a voltage detector though, you should have an electrician come in, especially if you're to the point where you want to open branch circuit panels and use circuit tracers. I'm also a student, and our district electrician always has time for my little projects and questions, especially when it comes to tracing wires and finding out where conduits run. Next week he's coming in to do an electrical analysis of one of our venues, so he'll hook up his logging analysis equipment, a we'll put on a rehearsal that night, and then the next day eight shows, and then process the data for how much power we sucked up, and examine all of the amperage and voltage data. The primary reason is to find out which lamps will last the longest for us with the voltage differences on the local grid, be it HPL/120's or HPL/115's. His impression of the grid is that we tend to get our voltage a little bit on the high end, which if that's the case, then we'd stop buying 115's and get more bang for our buck out of our lamps.
     
  11. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    It should be noted that while these are really really handy, they can malfunction (as can all tools). I know someone who relied on one of these, and got shocked. Don't get me wrong here, they will probably perform perfectly 99.9 percent of the time, but there still is that .1 percent...

    Icewolf08 is right, electricity kills. I hate to beat a dead horse here, but when in doubt, call an electrician.
     
  12. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    This is why you always check the tester against a known hot circuit, test the circuit in question, and before you touch anything, test the tester again against a known good circuit. Never trust any meter, tik-tak, or anything before you test it.
     
  13. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I still trust my Fluke 1AC tester over that of any other more economical. Got three of them including two of the newer version.

    On such a sensor, one is trusting it's going to detect voltage and I have had the Fluke sense anything from about 9v while not rated for it, thru a high leg. If I'm only using a tool to sense voltage, I want it to sense say a pilot or dimmer voltage in addition to normal line voltage without having to add a load to it to cancel or detect.

    This and to ensure the Fluke is sensing, I normally just rub it up and down my arm to see if its battery is good. If it starts blinking due to vibration or the electricity in my body I know its working.

    Not sold on Fluke for all but this and the multi-meter probes, think there is some better multi-meters out there on the market, but do most trust this to fluke where I'm involved.

    When working with potentially live electric, I also normally hang it from my shirt collar. Not to be cool but so it will annoy me and I can thus remember every time I attempt to touch or open something up, that it's there right next to and rubbing on my neck so as to remember to use it. Best place for such a sensor - a place that will help you remember it's there.
     
  14. EHubbard92

    EHubbard92 Member

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    So...we figured out how to turn them on.

    The answer was really basic. We felt dumb.

    Because apparently the bulbs burned out before the first day that the school was opened, which is why Smith had never seen them on before. So we just replaced a bulb and it turned on because the works were on. Problem solved, we just replaced every light.

    Now we have to make the blue lights turn on without the regular works. Which we don't know how to do because the works aren't controlled through the board. They're controlled through the touchscreen. So...part A is solved, part B is still unsolved.
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Touch Screen? What brand/model. Light console Brand/model. Dimmer racks Brand/model. A few pictures of the "blue lights" vs the works and also the touch screen, stage manager's panel if you have one would be great, and finally a picture of wall mounted house light control boxes? Give us a little more information and I bet we can help you through that as well. Most of these things are set up in a pretty standard way.
     

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