LED Stage Lighting

SPierce

Member
Location
Nebraska
My church has a couple rows of LED stage lighting that not only dims but changes color. I was asked if I could look into installing a switch for these two rows of lights in order to shut them off preserving the life of the cooling fan on them. When I asked about what controls them now, I was told they're on a dimmer and they dim them all the way down as a way to shut them off. My problem is I don't have any experience with stage lighting and I'm guessing there is a lot more involved than a simple switchleg between the controller and the lights that I could interrupt and install a switch into. Does anybody have any experience with these that can give me any insight? Thank you.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
The simplest thing would be to install a switch or disconnect between the source and the controller, if the controller feeds power to the light assemblies.
If the actual controlled dimmer units are in the LED assemblies you can probably just interrupt power to them and not try to switch the control wires at all.
 

mirawho

Senior Member
Location
Sun Valley, CA
Hi SPierce. First off, can you send me the type of lights? Most LED stage lights are complete units (meaning the drivers are internal to the unit). The lights are controlled by a light board and communicate with the board through DMX. The fact that they change colors tells me that they are being controlled by a board.
 
Last edited:

mirawho

Senior Member
Location
Sun Valley, CA
And most intelligent stage lighting connects with either L6-20 or PBG depending on the voltage supplied. Usually a multi-cable like Socapex has been run with a break-out that terminates in either PBG or L6-20 for this type of light. The Socapex would be coming out of a Socapex distribution panel and not a dimming board.
 

mirawho

Senior Member
Location
Sun Valley, CA
Are the lights hanging on a truss? Can you see if there is a cable fall that you can trace back to a distribution point? I would be surprised to see these lights being supplied by a dimmer. They might have to save money if they had incandescent lighting in there before like par cans and replaced them with the LED's.
 

Rampage_Rick

Senior Member
I'd also like to add that a "hard shutdown" to save the cooling fans might be a misguided issue. Generally speaking, electronic devices that require cooling fans don't appreciate having the power removed abruptly. Digital projectors are the most obvious example: When you power off a projector it will keep the fan running for several minutes, lest the residual heat from the bulb cook the liquid crystal modules (or similar parts)

Repeatedly turning off the power to these lights might end up causing more damage in the long term than the cost of replacing the cooling fans every few years. I'd definitely read the manual to start.
 

bward

Member
Location
New York
Knowing what type of lights they are would definitely help answer this questions.

If these lights are in fact controlled by DMX, that's also good to know. Some of the better DMX controlled fixtures have an option where the fan can be turned on or off from the control board - this would be the way to go if it's an option.

Regardless, whatever the lights are plugged into should have a disconnect switch or circuit breaker. Most theatrical productions have a policy where at the end of the show, the control board operator tells the lights to "dim" all the way to 0. Then the fixtures cool down for 15 minutes (or whatever the mfgr. recommended time is) and then the "electricians" turn off the breakers once the lights have sufficiently cooled down. The next day, the breakers are turned on and the control board is able to take over again.
 
Top