Jump to content

Tell me what bugs you....


Recommended Posts

16A connectors are available in black in such a way that when the plug and socket are connected there is only a little blue showing to identify the cable as 240v.

sounds great - wonder why I've never seen them around - Isuppose I don't get around as much as I used to. Are they very expensive?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 45
  • Created
  • Last Reply
I think they are called a midnight 16a connector, we use them on all of our 16a mains cable. They aren't much more expensive than standard blue connectors. Another useful one is a 16a connector with a clear shell, makes visual inspections a lot easier... Peter <_<
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe the black 16a connectors are known as 'ebony'. We have had them supplied by AC and Stage Electrics.


The big issues with 16A connectors from my experience of working in an entirely 16A house are.


1 Not as physically robust. A 15A duraplug can take the knocks without shattering, I can't say the same for most ceeforms.


2. There is a wide variety of manufacturers of compatible connectors, these vary widely in quality, so its worth being picky, just cos it fits, doesn't mean its any good.


3, O n the other hand they are quicker and easier to wire, more space.


4, They are safer, you can't get you fingers in behind the pins.


5, They double nicely for that odd show in the park.


6, You can standardise your cable. That is stock less 13A cable for example, just a few 13-16 jumpers and 16-13 4 ways, hey presto, a 13A cable that can be any length you want. (I know you can do that with 15A as well)


Sometimes I curse whoever decided to give us this new standard to use, but most of the time the benefits outweigh the problems. One thing is, take a good guess at how many 16-15 jumpers you will need...then double it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like I have come to this discussion late on, but would like to add my 2p worth from a Stage Management point of view.


For me, ideal venue would include:-


Prop kitchen / running room, with fridge / cooker / microwave & some cupboard space - NEAR TO THE STAGE!. If only small venue, then possible to use green room facilities, but never ideal. Also nice to have somewhere to make / maintain props.


Sufficient dressing room space for probable sizes of company.


Decent comms system (inc. cans / show relay / paging) Am currently working in 2-space venue where can systems not properly separated - great fun when both shows on.


Prompt desk in position where get good view of the stage (seems obvious, but when touring I have often only had a limited partial view).


WING SPACE - or failing this, a technical rider with a limit on the amount of furniture in the show! ;) (although this would take some of the 'fun' out of my job)


Backstage crossover that is easy for actors to do in a hurry as opposed to having to send them off with a detailed map.


If you're going to have a rehearsal room, then a plea for some natural light, lockable storage & separately controlled heating.


If receiving venue, then as visiting SM it is great to have access to phone / fax / e-mail / computer without having to kick one of the admin staff off theirs.


Of course, most importantly, Comfy sofas, reasonable prices & late-opening in the bar! <_<


That's all for now. I can offer no informed opinion on 15A vs 16A systems, but hope this post was even a bit useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok...most of that lot is noted...


I'm going 16a, BTW. (Tourmate ebonys...nice) Might actually do a fulll changeover here, too, next time PAT testing comes around.


So: Prompt desks: Tell me the ideal design please.. Top tilted? What angle? Height? What type of chair do you want with that? Shelves? Little compack slot? Tiny beer fridge?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm currently involved in speccing the refurb of our theatre so here are a few points.


General electrical specs: (though your m&e engineer should cover much of this)


- Wiring to be in SWA/MICC/Steel conduit/Steel trunking/Plastic perimeter trunking in offices; NO Twin&Earth anywhere

- SELV separated as per regs and emc

- Completely separate trunking for audio/video cabling (extra-low voltage cabling only)

- No cables buried in plaster unless in steel conduit

- All office, workshop & backstage wiring to be surface wiring; FoH flush mounted & decorative as appropriate

- All junctions in conduit to be accessible and documented

- No juction blocks in new wiring

- Any mains trunking, signal conduit or signal trunking shall be filled to no more than 50% of the capacity defined in IEE guidance note 1 to BS7671

- Where conduit, trunking, cable trays and other electrical services pass through fire barriers, those barriers shall be maintained around the services. No barrier shall be placed within conduit; any barrier placed within trunking or around a cable tray shall be removable to allow for future additions and maintenance.

- MK wiring accessories throught unless alternative approved in writing by client

- All cables clearly and permanently maked at each termination

- All Ceeform sockets to be Legrand Hypra IP44 plastic, IP56 outdoors

- Offices: white moulded or plastic perimeter trunking

- Backstage: metalclad accessories ONLY

- Kitchen to be 'industrial' and to have tanked lino

- Hand dryers >300m3per hour

- FOH emergency lighting to be integrated into architectural lighting



General mechanical specs:


- All walls to be masonry/breeze block not lightweight concrete block

- All plastered walls not to be drywalled

- Check heights of doors

- Windows in interior doors where possible

- Think about locks and master-key systems in the building

- Internal doors to have hold-opens (connected to fire alarm) where specified

- Paint colours to be BS4800 or RAL; no custom colours; and documented

- Mains (not battery) urinal autoflushers in toilets

- Consistent signage scheme FoH



Theatre-specific specs:


- Auditiorium painted in dark colour (you might think that's obvious, but the new arts centre I've been working on the install for this week...)

- House lights dimmable (ditto...)

- Electric blackout blinds on any windows in auditorium or rehearsal room (ditto...)

- No glass window on the sound box, and any glass on the LX box NOT to be wired fire-glass (ditto...)

- Fire alarm to have facility to isolate stage & auditorium smoke sensors, and 2 minute pre-alert in stage areas

- Extraction fans overstage to clear fog machine and pyro smoke.

- Acoustic lobby from backstage onto stage

- LX box access/layout

- Workshop layout

- 110V power tool ring in workshop and on stage - for safety but also people are less likely to 'borrow' 110V power tools!

- Wardrobe with washing machine/tumble dryer/costume rails/ironing board

- Backstage notice boards

- Machine closet with air vent/ cabling access for amps, paging system, video distribution amps etc.

- Cans/ min 2xvid, 2x cat5, 2xtie-line (starquad) to everywhere (including technical office for maintenance of kit)

- XLR tielines to have male and female panel connectors in parallel (so you don't need to find those elusive gender-benders)

- 100V Stage Relay/Paging to all FOH, backstage & office areas with local control of volume & announcements option

- Video relay to offices, backstage areas, foyer and bar

- Relay of LX desk monitor feed to auditorium plotting position (e.g. remote video node or VGA-composite video adaptor)

- Lighting desk rigger points on stage, at plotting position, by dimmers

- Bar bells location

- Floor Boxes - heavy duty stage spec

- Stageboxes with 15a/16a outlets AND socapex sockets in parallel for ease of wiring.

- Electronic codelocks to backstage/ offices etc. from public areas.


Unless specified otherwise by the Client, or required otherwise by the Licensing Authority, the specification for all new systems shall comply with the guidance provided by the District Surveyors Association and the Association of British Theatre Technicians in their ‘Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment’.


Also, on a final and very important point, beat everyone around the head until they accept that the architect is NOT God - you, the client, if anyone, is God! Have fun!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So:  Prompt desks:  Tell me the ideal design please.. Top tilted?  What angle?  Height?  What type of chair do you want with that? Shelves?  Little compack slot?  Tiny beer fridge?



- Needs to be wide enough to put an open A4 ring binder on the desk. A wrist support (a la computer keyboard ones) would be nice; along with a swivel chair with gas height adjustment and arms.


- For storage, I'd go for a shelf under the desk, rather than a lift-up lid desk as it's easier to use. Not too much storage otherwise it rapidly fills with junk.


- As for height, it needs to be short enough to see over when the video monitor fails, especially to be able to see over when you're standing.


- Needs to be stable enough not to fall over if hit by a wayward truck!


- Needs some kind of foot rest.


- Unless your really think you need to, don't go for the option to use the desk in multiple locations as it gets very expensive. Put it on decent castors with a couple of feet of cable.


- I'd put some kind of hook or spike to store gaffer and electricians' tape on, as you can never find it otherwise.


- Section the front panel off with different coloured areas containing controls for one particular system - e.g. red area for cuelights, blue for paging, green for working lights etc., otherwise it all looks a bit cluttered.





- I'd still go for a traditional, manual desk, rather than some fancy automated one. I'm not a big fan of the major off-the shelf cuelight systems, especially the ones that have separate standby and go switches. Ours has one switch per channel - you put it in the up position to put the person on standby; both red lights flash, then go constant when the person hits the acknowledge button; you push the switch down to light the green light; it then springs back to the resting position. We also have a second switch per channel which assigns the channel to one of three master GO switches, for cueing lots of people. All the channels are modular and interchangeable. We use GPO switches, which are designed for manual switchboards and rated for tens of thousands of operations; they're expensive but worth it. I'd limit the desk to 12-18 channels for compactness, but if you need more flexibility, put in a cuelight patch (e.g. 3pin XLR). You can either go for hardwired outstations - e.g. LX box, sound box, followspot positions, flies - or sockets around stage to plug outstations into (3 pin XLR, then you can use mic cable as extensions). I'd put an outstation by the auditorium doors if you ever expect to have entrances through the auditorium.


- All buttons on the desk should be backlit - barbell, paging etc. You should have a single test button which would illuminate all the lights for a quick check for blown lamps. All lamps should be easily accessible for changes. There should be somewhere in the desk where spare lamps can be stored readily to hand.


- The desk needs a decent clock and timer that you can see in the dark, and preferably Rugby timeclock linked (see the relevant thread for details).


- The desk needs a video monitor to see the entire stage; 6" is a bit small, 14" is a bit big - I'd go for a 10" or 12" video cube as found in OB trucks etc. I'd really push for having another switchable feed from a low-light infrared camera (that also turns on an IR flood when you select it) for scene-changes. Also a feed from the LX desk to show the cuelist is useful - especially if the DSM will ever run the show off the rigger, and also for use during rigging, focussing and plotting.


- You need a decent gooseneck mic - especially if you're doing FOH calls. FOH calls button should have a flip-up cover to prevent accidental FOH calls! You could go for some kind of tapeless replay unit for routine FOH calls if you want.


- Build in a cans headset station - Canford sell them in bits to be built into custom items. Put a hook to hang the headset on.


- Put in a pair of dimmable Littlites - it's really annoying if a single one goes during the show!


- Decide whether you're putting houselight and working light controls on the prompt desk.


- Build in a phone, or put one on the side. Ours flashes a small strobe during shows, but also rings audibly during the day.


- We have warning lights that remind you if you've left any of the working lights on (as they're controlled from elsewhere), and if you've left the louvres in the fly-tower open.


- You need a fire alarm flasher at the prompt desk so the DSM knows if the alarm's gone into pre-alert. A light indicating whether stage and auditorium smoke sensors are isolated would be nice.


- Put in a couple of video, mic, and speaker tielines to near the desk for the enevitable time you'll need them.


- A two-channel phone-ringer built into the desk, with a socket either side of stage, would be fantastic! Ditto a doorbell and doorchime will come in handy for many shows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope, now you've got all these feedback you're going to show everyone round this perfectly-specced venue when it's finally put together, and we can impressed by the comprehensive nature of the specification you, the client, gave the architect and how he did everything just right. Alternatively, you can take us round to show us all the bits he missed or people forgot to mention, and all the eccentricities the venue has had built into it.


-- Nick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

VERY comprehensive spec for a prompt desk from robloxley, but personally prefer to have separate switches for standby and go as often need to keep a light on red & switch to green several times before coming off standby - unless I'm misunderstanding, the system described would mean having to re-put on standby after each go.


Best thing I ever saw on a prompt desk is a button on the one at Lawrence Batley in Huddersfield and merely says 'TAKE CONTROL'. Ah, the wonderful self-delusionment of it all . . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Best thing I ever saw on a prompt desk is a button on the one at Lawrence Batley in Huddersfield and merely says 'TAKE CONTROL'.  Ah, the wonderful self-delusionment of it all . . .

On the flip side, we have a button that says PANIC (turns on the houselights to full, bypassing the LX desk - driven dimmer), and a corresponding UNPANIC!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

have you considered putting in a comprehensive ethernet network? It won't cost much

ROTFL! Try adding up the cost of the cable and connectors and infrastructure (conduit/trunking) and labour to pull in and terminate the cable and multiply this up to a 'comprehensive' quantity and tell me your definition of 'much'...

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.