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Old May 22nd, 2007, 12:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: North Hollywood, Atlanta
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Hard question: Power Requirements for Studio. - What do I need?

I think i need: 600 amps / three phase power.

Any idea what this means or what it costs? We are trying to upgrade the current power in our facility to be able to run a dozen or so 1K lights and camera and 4 or 5 computers. This is something i saw on another studios website for there power... I know absolutely nothing about this and should probably not even be asking.

I need to make sure we can run equipment safely and not blow out the box. Im guising this would be - Say - anywhere from 10 to 30 thousand watts?

I did call an electrician company but they don't give quotes over the phone and cant come out for another 2 weeks. I really need an estimate ASAP. Any one who has any experience would be apriceanted.

Studio space is 60 feet x 35 feet.
Tyson X
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 04:29 PM   #2
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Er, ok, I'll bite (should know better, but.)......

Hi Tyson.

Really is no point asking here for that sort of info. There are so many if's, but's and maybe's involved that there is no answer.

1. If you know of another "studio" in the vicinity kitted out at all similarly to what you're after, ring 'em up and find out the name of their electrical contractor.

2. Go through the Yellow pages and ring the first dozen commercial electrical contractors in your vicinity and get 'em to come and give you a quote. Keep ringing till you find at least three that can do (I stress commercial as you want someone who has done this stuff before).

3. Sit down and write out absolutely EVERYTHING you want, where you want it and what it has to do. You'll miss a heap of stuff out but it's somewhere to start.

Once you've spoken to the contractors and they've pointed out all the things you've missed/ forgotten/ never thought about/ wouldn't have dreamt possible etc sit down again and re - do your list with what the budget can reasonably afford in conjunction with what you absolutely MUST have. You should have some ball park figures at this point to make that easier.

Go back to the contractors with your "sort of final" list and get them to quote. In light of the quotes re - tune your list. Go back to the contractors and get 'em to re - quote.

Choose your contractor and go for it.

You will find that almost invariably something important will have been missed, even after all the above, so keep some contingency in your budget for the unexpected.

Is there 3 phase to the site?

Is it rated for the job you want it to do?

Is the feed high wire or in - ground?

Can the existing board handle the load?

etc,etc etc. This is all stuff any decent contractor should check before anything else - but an oversight here can be very expensive.

Hope this is some help.


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Old May 22nd, 2007, 05:37 PM   #3
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Location: Honolulu, HI
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If you are running only lights, I don't see any need for 3-phase power. I see no reason a studio would need to run a motor so large that it would need to be 3-phase. Unless your studio is very large and you don't already have any air-conditioning, you shouldn't need 3-phase. If you need to run several tons of air-conditioning to compensate for your lights, it is probably time to look into fluorescent lights for some of your needs. If you start to switch to energy-saving fixtures now, you won't incur the cost of the huge compressors and extra power lines necessary. If you can get your needs down to those of a typical commercial unit, you also won't need to pay to have your own transformer installed by the power company.

BTW, for the lights themselves, you can figure out their power needs by putting each light on it's own breaker and multiply the total number of breakers. If each gets it's own 15amp circuit and you need a dozen for lights and a few more for computers, that's 15 x 15Amps which is only 225Amps. In reality, you might get 20Amp breakers with a 300Amp board. Your A/C will probably go on it's own box and that is going to depend on how much heat load you anticipate and the tonnage installed.

If you are running off the building's existing A/C, you won't be satisfied with the room temperature with 12,000 Watts of light running. Few systems are designed for small areas generating that much heat load.
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