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top Tech tips

The Boogie Man

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Hi Troops,


After I posted the topic about the little leds in racks it got me thinking about some of the other little things we do that just make life a bit easier.


So post up your tech tips for the rest of us to go, "doh! why didn't I think of that"


Here's a couple to start the ball rolling:


The little leds in racks make a re-patch a lot easier.


A line drawn on top (before turning) of a speakon makes it easier to find the hole :rolleyes:


Velcro fassteners on the rack end of cables. That way just lay from the end source and gather up the excess behind a rack or whatever.


individual switched gangs in racks etc. So if a unit goes west, it can be isolated in a rack.


Those just off the top of my head.

Just add them as you think of them.

They may seem obvious, but only after you discover them or someone tells you.

Anyway just a bit of fun in a tech (sad) way :P



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Sub snakes – To minimize cable runs




Marking all the flight cases with where they should go so when you have local crew you are not constantly being asked “Where does this go?”




Aux fed subs – So when the singer decides to use the sub as a table to rest his mic on when he goes crowd surfing we don’t get any feedback (Amongst other things!)




Stair climbing sack truck - Somehow it makes those 80kg subs a bit more easier to manage in venues with “compromised” load ins




Carrying a real of electrical tap on a carabineer attached to my belt – Means it’s always to hand to tape up cables after coiling/ marking bad equipment etc




That’s all I can think of for now, it will be interesting to see what the other members of the blue room come up with, maybe I can improve how I work even further by learning from others best practice

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Just a thought but how do fuses make the job easier?


This is turning into a what should I have with me thread, we have lots of those already tips to make life easier is a much more interesting topic

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Since I am more venue based these days...

We have got the old pigeon holes from the staff room, added doors, and made a really handy cupboard. This means all sorts of stuff is sorted into the lids of paper boxes, and labeled. At a glance, you can see where things are, and quickly get what you need.

A board with wheels on to wiz about under the stage, to undo all of the bolts when the staging needs to come out.

Quick Colour - lots of pre-used gel sorted by colour rather than number. It speeds things up when someone asks for a bit of red, the first piece that fits the frame gets to work that night!

The cardboard tube lapel radio mic holder/sorter, © Bobbsy/Paul?!

The disk with the default patch and basic lighting states, for when someone comes in and sets the patch 1-1 and wonders why all of the stage lighting has turned to concert lighting.

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Blu Tak is your third hand when soldering.


Use it to hold wires whilst tinning the ends.


Use it to hold connectors whilst tinning the pins


Offer tinned wire to tinned pin, held in Blu Tak, and apply iron to reflow the solder and make the joint, if your quick no additional solder will be neccesary.


Start from the middle with multipin connectors......

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When buying spare parts for your lanterns and other kit, buy twice as much as you actually need.

If the stock is the same age, chances are that fault you have just fixed in three lanterns, is about to show itself in your other 50, and it pays to be prepared.


Put the kit away in a prepared state ready to be used, it saves so much time when you are in a rush...

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Along the lines of labeling everthing and colour coding,


Having cable groups different colours makes tracing them a lot easier.


I know it's not allways poss with others kit, but with my own show I designed it from the start with colour coding for cables.

All mains power cable is in white, all diimmable cable is blue and all line level signal cable is black.


We all mark cable ends with tape, but a couple of wraps spaced along the lengh of a cable helps identify a cable lying along the floor with other cables.


Red and blue tape at either end of DMX cable is handy to see the "flow" of the signal to and from cans and dimmers.

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When running composite video, a pair of headphones will, if the jack is touched across the bnc, allow you to hear the frame sync pulses providing a easy way to check the cable without having to haul a monitor 60 feet up.


It is actually possible to do a passive DMX split (and have everything stay within specs), a small diecast box with three connectors fitted plus 4 56 ohm resistors is all that is required. You connect all three pin ones together then have a resistor from the input pin 2 to each of the ouput pin twos, same for pin 3. The signal level drops by 6db at each output port, but as the driver is going to be putting out at least 2V (5V is typical, but some drivers may be reverse terminated), and RS485 (the DMX electrical standard) calls for correct operation down to 200mV and the resistors ensure correct impedances, the system still meets spec.

A real splitter is of course better in almost all ways, but this one can get you out of trouble, and can easily live in your tool chest.


A Crystal earpiece will trace signal with only the tip connected as the impedance is so high that capacitive coupling will provide a return path (Most handy as a bench tool).


Regards, Dan.

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If you carry a laptop around with you then label the plug on the PSU so you know its yours, you never know when the plug next to yours in the four-way happens to be the mixer or amp rack! And with a mass of black plugs an wires on a dark stage/FOH position, the need for clear labeling is vital. I choose, instead of using white electrical tape with "Laptop PSU" written on it, to use a square of hazard tape - distinguishing it quite clearly from anything else in that four-way, and still very visible in dim light.


I guess you could further the point to simply label anything in your racks.... But I'm sure most of you do already :rolleyes:



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