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Topic Title: What regulations cover portable stage electrics?
Topic Summary: What qualifications are *required* to build portable 63 Amp (240V) distribution boards for theatre / concert use?
Created On: 09 July 2014 12:48 PM
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 09 July 2014 12:48 PM
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herring

Posts: 5
Joined: 17 September 2004


Hi,

What qualifications are *required* to build portable 63 Amp (240V) distribution boards for theatre / concert use?

Are they different for single / 3 phase?

Cheers!
 09 July 2014 01:17 PM
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Avatar for OMS.
OMS

Posts: 19471
Joined: 23 March 2004

None and no

Basically the "equipment" needs to be safe and covered by the relevant certification - CE mark, BS EN 61439 Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies etc

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 09 July 2014 01:28 PM
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herring

Posts: 5
Joined: 17 September 2004

Hmm.

I was thinking of building my own, hence it wouldn't have a CE mark! The components would though.
 09 July 2014 01:31 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 11299
Joined: 13 August 2003

Probably worth looking at BS 7909 ("Code of practice for temporary electrical systems for entertainment and related purposes") too.
- Andy.
 09 July 2014 01:53 PM
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Avatar for OMS.
OMS

Posts: 19471
Joined: 23 March 2004

Originally posted by: herring

Hmm.

I was thinking of building my own, hence it wouldn't have a CE mark! The components would though.


For your own use, you can do basically what you like - it's up to you how you manage the risks

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 09 July 2014 02:37 PM
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davezawadi

Posts: 2628
Joined: 26 June 2002

You need to be aware of the requirements.
For outdoor use they are usually IP44, with IP67 63A connectors used (5 pole).
Split down outlets should have suitable breakers (usually C type) and RCDs should be somewhere so you may decide to use RCBOs for 16/32A circuits (30mA).
Single 63A 30mA RCDs are not a good idea as they always decide to trip at "convenient" times.
Cabling should be 5 core 10mm2 HO7RN-F, usually Titanex which is very hard wearing though not cheap ~ £10/metre.
Pat test and you are done!


I have quantities of socapex cables and breakouts for sale and a couple of brand new 25m 63A as above plus dimmers to suit! PM me.

-------------------------
David
CEng etc, don't ask, its a result not a question!
 09 July 2014 02:45 PM
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broadgage

Posts: 1268
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No law AFAIK requires any formal qualification to assemble the equipment described.

If, as is likely, it is to be used in a workplace then the law requires "competence" but that is not the same as formal qualification.

The insurers of the workplace probably require that all electrical work be done by suitably qualified persons, but it is debateable as to how far this is enforceable with transportable equipment as distinct from work on the fixed installation.

If you are considering building such equipment, make very certain that you have the required skills and knowledge, and the correct materials to do a safe job.
Negligence could result in loss of life or other serious accident, and leave you open to prosecution.

If you or your employers put a significant hourly value on your time, then it can be more economic to purchase such equipment ready made, from a reputable supplier, not fleabay.
If however you have spare time, then subject to the caveats above, self building can be worthwhile.
 09 July 2014 04:24 PM
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herring

Posts: 5
Joined: 17 September 2004

Thank you all!

It's a volunteer run theatre, so time is free, if you see what I mean. I do take the point about cost of components, though.

Thank you for parts recommendations.
 09 July 2014 06:27 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 2542
Joined: 22 July 2004

Take time to familiarise yourself with how to test disconnection times, earth impedances and so on, if it is not currently your thing (know how to test and understand the answers basically). Just because its portable, does not mean folk suddenly can accept longer disconnection times.

Apologies if I'm stating the obvious, but the world of theatre /festival can be a bit rough on the electrics and testing regularly to make sure the earth hasn't been yanked out, and really does get to the far end, and inspecting cables, boxes and glands to see the insulation has not been compromised is probably more important than normal, not less. Its not helpful that its effectively a slightly different set up each time.
I have various home brew test things like a neon between neutral and earth to warn of O/C neutral, a self built phase rotation indicator box and various nefarious cable combinations to allow rapid confirmation that all is OK before connection to a new source.
Having black and blue swapped due to a misunderstanding about colour codes at the origin is far better found before connection of the main loads.

Have fun.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 10 July 2014 03:37 PM
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BigRed

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Hi Dave, might be interested in those dimmers, what are they?
 10 July 2014 05:00 PM
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BigRed

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As for stage stuff, make it to last. Proper fittings, not domestic. If it can get broken, it will. Look at pro distros for ideas, the best I've seen are in rack cases, steel "u" panels, designed for repairability, mains in bottom, outs top. Don't use cheap plugs and sockets, it will bite you. You can lid flight cases too and put wheels on them.
As for small stuff, build them in DIn enclosures with a waterproof lid, if there is a chance of been dropped in water!
 10 July 2014 05:14 PM
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davezawadi

Posts: 2628
Joined: 26 June 2002

Big Red I will PM you

-------------------------
David
CEng etc, don't ask, its a result not a question!
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