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Cue Lights

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I'm just starting out in the world of Theatre. Currently an Apprentice at the Local College !!


As a Project I've been asked to Make a Cue Light System for the 90 Seater Studio Theatre I work in.


It needs a Master Station, Remote Stations, Using XLR Cable and run along the T/L


It needs to Have a RED LED, GREEN LED and a RESPOND Function on the Remote Stations. And a RED LED, GREEN LED and TWO Switchs on the Master Station.


I've Looked at all the circuit Diagrams Avalible on the Internet, Although I've used Circuit Diagram before they all seem very complicated. Does Anyone know where I could get a working drawing from or is there anyone with a circuit diagram who can explain in more detail so I can understand.


I would be most Grateful


Many Thanks in Advance.



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Pretty simple, really, as long as you don't overcomplicate it. Wire the indicators on each circuit in series, so that you know whether or not the red/green on the outstation has come on (if yours does, theirs has! ;)). And put a NC momentary push-button in series with the red at the outstation, so that when they push it it flashes the red at your end (and theirs) off as an acknowledgement. Other than that, it's just a case of finding the right PSU for the job and wiring up a few switches and connectors in a nice case.
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Congo I am intrigued, not so much about the cue system but the word "apprentice".


If you have a moment perhaps a fuller explanation would be of interest to us all (?).



Of Course. I Done a Basic Production Course at Chichester College Last Year, The Performing Arts Dept then offered me an Apprenticeship at the College ( Which they'd never done before, this is the first ), So Working along side the Resident Technician as his Apprentice, Aswell as Completing an EDI Lighting, Sound and Rigging Course, Cultral Theatre and Events.

When I Done the Basic Production Course, It Only Taught the Real Basics and Didn't really Gain enough. However the EDI Course goes to extreme Lengths to make sure you understand.

The Course itself dosn't have to be completed by Apprentice's. However it is Reccommended. There are No Entry Qualifications Needed.

The Bit I Really Like about it is the Technician has a Lifetime of Experience. And it gives me the chance to actually learn somthing, and Work in theatre at the same time


I Don't know if this is a bit basic, but if you want to know some more information, please contact me



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  • 1 month later...

If a master station, and several outstations are to use lamps wired in series, then a relatively high supply voltage will be needed.

If incandescent pilot lamps are to be used then a suitable transformer powered from the mains will be required.

If LEDs are to be used, then the current is much less and batteries would be viable.


Presuming 4 lamps in series, with LEDs 4 in series will need from 10 to 14 volts in total, but only at about 20ma. That suggests a series pair of 9 volt batteries, with suitable current limiting resistors.


If incandescent lamps are to be used, then 6 volt pilot lamps are very cheap, 4 in series will need 24 volts, perhaps a bit more on account of resistance loss in the cables.

Bright enough lamps will probably be about 300ma, making transformer operation desireable.


The last system I built used 4 core wire, and lamps of 3 colours, red, green and white.

(although red and green only is common, a third signal could be useful)

All lamps of one colour were in series, with a switch for each colour at the master station.

Each outstation had a push to break switch to acknowledge the red or white signal.

Power was 25 volts AC from a small transformer.

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I am just (literally this evening) putting the finishing touches to my cue light system.


I used the same designs as linked on the blue room wiki, so 3 core XLR cable with the respond function. I've also added a crafty little trick;


Instead of using double pole double throw lever switches, I've used push switches and latching relays. Because of this, it's possible to make simple presets using an "assign" toggle switch. These assign all the selected channels to one standby and go button. It's a standard feature on most professional systems, so I was dead chuffed when I got it working on my system!

Will post pictures soon. I'm pretty pleased with it all round.

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  • 1 month later...

Well folks, I promised pictures!


These are the pics of my finished portable cue light system. It's a 6 channel system using 3 pin XLR cabling. It provides flashing standby, solid standby acknowledged, and go.

I also got a bit crafty with the switching and managed to make a simple preset system. You'll see below the individual channel's push buttons, there's a toggle switch. Flicking this down assigns that channel to the standby and go masters (the bigger red and green buttons). Pushing these gives a standby or go on all the assigned channels.

The basics of it are the circuit diagram on the wiki page. I just replacedhe toggle switches with relays and push buttons to allow the preset to work.


Please note, it was a scrap box project. I wouldn't have used the push buttons that I did if I'd had the budget and time to do it "properly". Luckily as they're small diameter holes, I can drill them out for bigger (and backlit) buttons at a later date.


The panel is engraved using my pantograph at work. I've also fitted some push buttons for bar and backstage bells. Yet to actually wire them, but thought I'd better fit the switches while I was engraving the panel! The XLR's on the front panel are for gooseneck lights.


Master Station;






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Thanks for the kind words!


It's all down to the neat front and back panel! It doesn't look massively tidy when you open it up - no pcb's, it's all just wires direct to relays and switches (notice I didn't post a photo of that bit!). Just to aid fault finding even more (snigger), as a good radar engineer I've also wired the entire thing in the same colour cable! (seriously, look inside the transmitter rack for my radar system - all the cabling is in "Plessey" pink). It's all I had in stock.


Final touches I need to make - a solid state flasher circuit. At the minute the output stage is a relay, so the unit does quietly sit and tick to itself all the time. The 1u blank panel will probably get replaced with a timer and clock. Just to finish it all up.


I may also put a few multifunction buttons on there too. I'm currently designing a modular control system using 3 pin XLR cabling. The idea is to allow one button to trigger several daisy chanined project boxes, connected by XLR's, that can contain various things from mains relays (with appropriate input and output sockets) to mouse clicks, closing contacts, whatever. There will also be power supply boxes to power the chain and input boxes with screw terminals to connect other inputs like micro switches or large push buttons. It'd be nice to have inputs/indicators from this system on the SM's panel as well.


Why you might ask? Several times I get asked "could you just make us a button that the performer presses once they're in a safe position" or "we want a light to come on when this door opens" or "we want to control that sound effect when that doorbell is pressed". Each time I have to make a dedicated circuit (however simple) to do the job. If I had a modular system with a well thought out and common pinout, it'd be far easier to give people exactly what they want, quickly.


I may also make a few buzzer-equipped outstations and possibly some that can drive bigger lamps. We'll see!

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  • 2 years later...

I have started looking at building a set of cue lights, and this topic seemed the most relevant to add to. I've had a look at the wiki page and the schematic for the advanced system with flashing and acknowledge seems to be a broken link now. Does anyone have one that they wold be willing to share with me?


Many Thanks



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