Cabling + amps

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by chris_galea, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Hey there,
    I'm trying to get some assisting work in the UK but whenever I've been there, I've noticed all their lights have special cabling (amps?) which come with the lighting hire.
    Anyone know what these are?
    What I should know about using the power over there?
    Is it ok to plug packs / monos right into walls or do I always need to use the amps?
    Thanks in advance, don't want to make a fool of myself there so I thought I'd do it here.
    Chris
     
  2. The UK uses 230 volts AC with a 50 Hz frequency. If equipment is designed exclusively for 120 volts, you need a transformer, not an amplifier. Many units will have a switch to allow you to select the voltage input. The frequency (which is 60 Hz in the U.S.) normally should not make a difference. Look here.
     
  3. Thank you Hector!
    So I should never plug a mono or pack straight into the wall?
    What about battery chargers etc?
     
  4. Look at the label for battery chargers many are rated for 85-260VAC 50/60Hz so it's fine without transformer. Otherwise you do need transformers.
     
  5. Thanks a lot
     
  6. Be aware that US plugs will not plug into UK sockets. Even if your equipment is OK for 240 VAC, you'll need adapters for your plugs.
     
  7. All you have to do is ask the person you're renting the equipment from.

    Not sure what you mean by "special cabling (amps?)" but they can explain it to you. If they are supplying it with the gear, they presumably want you to use it.
     
  8. Thought I saw rental there. But you could still
    ask at a camera shop that sells the same
    units.
     
  9. Those are not amps but professional lighting power packs. The flash heads plug into them to get the high voltage charge the flash heads need. The power packs plug into the available wall outlets. I wouldn't mix US and UK units with the wrong wall power. Rent the units from where you will use them. And definitely ask about proper usage. Those power packs put out high voltage. It's dangerous if you don't know what you're doing with them. Years ago there was a comedy movie about the whole royal family getting electrocuted by a professional lighting power pack set in a rain puddle. It can actually happen, and has caused harm to people.
     
  10. I'm not sure what the problem is. If you hire lighting gear here in the UK it will (or should) be fully compatible with our 13Amp sockets and 240V 50 Hertz mains power. Rental companies have a legal responsibility to ensure that any rented-out electrical equipment has been regularly tested and is safe to use, even by those with no electrical knowledge. If the luminaires require a transformer, then that should be notified to the hirer and be supplied with the heads. You'll only have problems if you import US or European luminaires and cabling.
    There is a rumour that the UK mains voltage was recently changed to 230 Volts AC, but measuring the mains with a multimeter always shows the supplied voltage to be closer to 240 Volts ~. But anyway a 10 volt difference isn't practically relevant, being only a <4.5% variation.
     
  11. Hi,
    The cables I meant are these:
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&q=CEE+plug+socket&oq=CEE+plug+socket&gs_l=serp.3..0i7i30j0i8i30l4.7337.8552.0.8818.5.5.0.0.0.0.65.271.5.5.0....0...1c.1.64.serp..0.5.266...0i13j0i8i7i30j0i13i30.-2woipNsjZo

    Are those commonly used? Is it still ok to plug right into the wall?
    Appreciate all your help, thank you!
     
  12. I would admit to not understanding what the 'Amp' unit would be but CEE PLUG SOCKETS are industrial versions of the square pin sockets found in consumer situations. They're often waterproof which can be useful in many industrial type situations. (Camp sites use these for caravans).
    Often an adapter can be used to convert oblong pin 13Amp plugs to the round pin CEE sockets, although it would be feasible to fit a round pin plug to the cable instead.
    The CEE sockets are often 15Amp and many continuous lighting setups use these as standard. These provide a higher energy provision before blowing a fuse on the main board.
    I tend to use adapters in these situations through a RCCD cut-out socket as my own safety provision but there should be no reason to plug directly into them if the lighting plug matches.
     
  13. There is a rumour that the UK mains voltage was recently changed to 230 Volts AC, but measuring the mains with a multimeter always shows the supplied voltage to be closer to 240 Volts ~. But anyway a 10 volt difference isn't practically relevant, being only a <4.5% variation.​
    For incandescent lamps, 4.5% can significantly shorten lamp life. For anything else, yes, don't worry about it.
     

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