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Electrical Installations In Marquee's

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I had a nice surprise on Saturday. The marquee lighting had been plugged into the power allocated for the entertainment. :rolleyes:


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Like you, i'd be nervous about sharing a socket with 'other' marquee related appliances and would ideally insist on a dedicated supply for the Disco. I've seen this thing happen far too often.


I see the plug marked 'Chandeliers' - I guess this was feeding the house lights?. Well, a couple of chandeliers, each containing several 40w - 60W lamps can add up and make a big dent in the 13A maximum load available from the trailing socket and the incoming Arctic cable only looks capable of about 20A - what was the end of the blue cable plugged into?.


The biggest danger of 'single sourcing' power in this manner, is not only the very real risk of overload or interference (bar pumps, fridges etc) but if the disco blew a fuse or a bulb failing tripped the supply then the entire marquee would be plunged into pitch darkness as well as silence :D - silence that is, apart from the screams from all of the little darlings who were running around the dancefloor and have just collided with large solid objects :rolleyes:


This is a classic example of either the marquee company, or the client skimping on costs.


For large marquees, most decent companies will get an electrician to tap directly into the incoming mains distribution at the house end, run large current carrying SWA cable to the marquee and have a seperate 'consumer' unit and temporary distribution outlets for caterers, bar, disco, house lights and portaloo power etc. Such temporary installations are capable of 40, 60 or even 100A, much more preferable than somebody's old extension lead acting as a single source for all who need power - a very real fire risk - something you really don't need in a marquee. Coconut Grove anyone?


Sadly though, any client likely to question the price of a disco could probably also skimp a few hundred on a proper marquee electrical installation - service provider be warned.

Edited by McCardle

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"


'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

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Depends entirely on what current your own 'rig' draws. Some minimalistic shows could probably easily work from one 13A socket without any second thought, whilst a mobile nightclub style rig could probably need a whole 32A ring main to itself.


It's Probably safe to assume that an 'average' DJ could probably safely operate from one 13A double socket in a marquee, if that was the only offer on the table, at least if their pride could bear to be parted from their 3kw mega strobe and 22 moving heads :D


But that allocated socket should be dedicated to the disco, and nothing else. Once other people start plugging into one lead, then their power consumption also has to be deducted from the total load capacity.


So for example, lets assume that you are sharing a socket with the house lights....


Power Available - 13A four gang socket, rated and fused at 13A. At *230v mains voltage that means that there is just about 3kw or 3000W available from that source.


If you (the disco) were the only load on this socket then you would be able to use the full 3000W which the lead is capable of safely suppling.


However if you were also sharing with something else, ie the house lights:-


Lets assume, 2x chandeliers in the marquee, each containing 6x 60W lamps


One Chandalier = 6x 60w bulbs - power consumption 360W each x 2 = a total load of 720W being drawn by these two Chandaliers


So if you are sharing the same 13A supply


3000W - 720w (allocated to house lights) = 2280W left available for the disco from this one source, that isn't a lot.


By the time you've plugged in your 1200W amplifier, Mixer, CD Players and a few 250W lighting effects then you are already sailing dangerously close to overloading the supply and a fire risk, and don't even think of plugging in your 1kw smoke machine in this example :scared: .


Some lighting effects like the I-Colour and NJD Quartet can draw as much as 1500W - 2000W just for the one effect, and smoke and haze machines use heating elements which can also be fairly greedy with consumption.


So, the best advice is to inform the client that you need, at least a double 13A socket outlet which is dedicated to the disco and not shared with anything else, either in the marquee or at the building end. If you show draws MORE than 13A, then either reduce it, or inform the client in advance of exactly what you need. Telling them on the day is not an option.


If the client really has no option but to use an ordinary extension lead, then make sure that your total load is going to be less than 13A, that the extension lead is of a decent quality, full unwound and is rated at 13A load. Also make sure that it is plugged into its own socket at the building end.


I've done marquees before now, where a 13a lead at the marquee end has been plugged into an orange 5A flymo lead further up the chain. I've also followed wires back to a house socket where it has been plugged into a mulitway socket along with a kettle and washing machine. People really do not think when they plug in an extension lead, and its really 'any socket will do' attitude, so never assume that the person who plugged the lead in knows what they are doing, check it out for yourself. smile icon


(NB *230v is the new european harmonised voltage which was agreed and set as a standard voltage across europe some years ago, and of which the UK is also a member, most of the time the actual voltage is around 230 - 240v, but as a safety margin, its common practice to use 230v in load consumption equations)

Edited by McCardle

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"


'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

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Crikey two years ago I posted that!! time flies!


Yeah I agree with the above post, you an easily overload a "ringmain" sockets system by plugging in your gear to a socket outlet that shares power with all sorts of other stuff in the building.

Lets face it, its a little pot luck really, nobody knows whats on the same power ring unless it all goes off!! then you'll find out


best advice is to split your total load into 2 leads.. one for lights, one for audio



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