Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber upgraded with ETC
NEW ZEALAND: Entertainment Lighting Solutions (ELS) was recently enlisted to upgrade the dimmers in the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber, part of the Auckland Live entertainment precinct. The venue was looking to upgrade its aging dimmers to a more modern solution. As all of the venues within the Auckland Live precinct utilise ETC consoles, with the Concert Chamber itself accommodating an ETC Element console, the decision was made to also install ETC dimmers.
‘They wanted the consoles to work seamlessly with the dimmers over Ethernet,’ explained Nick Abel, managing director of Entertainment Lighting Solution. ‘Consequently we installed the ETC Sensor3 dimmers, which feature the Advanced Feature modules that allow the dimmers to be modified from the console. That means from the lighting operation position, you can turn the dimmer into a switch or dimmer circuit, on or off or a permanent hard power circuit.’
This has been particularly useful at the Concert Chamber, as its dimmer room is located in an inconvenient location at the back of the venue. Within this room, the new ETC Sensor3 dimmers are housed within one self-contained rack. The rack offers 96 dimmer circuits all of which feature Advanced Feature modules that contain embedded voltage and current sensors. The sensors monitor circuit-status information, which is analysed by the control electronics to diagnose and report circuit-specific load changes or module faults.
‘It’s all integrated with their existing ETC system, running over the ETC Net3 network that’s in the venue,’ said Mr Abel. ‘We added dual processing to the rack so that it has two brains to allow for redundancy. If the primary processor fails, the backup processor will run the system.’
‘The ETC Sensor3 dimmers have been fantastic and I aim to buy more,’ enthused Malcolm Ibell, head of lighting for Auckland Live. ‘There are no other modular dimmers on the market that give us the ability to switch to pure relay bypass on the actual dimmers. Plus they integrate incredibly well with the rest of our network; all of our nine venues are networked via fibre-optic and all units save back to a central file server. This solution is totally seamless and means we can take any console from any room, plug it into another room and it works. Plus you can grab shows from another room, so it’s very useful. Touring acts can also plug directly into our network no matter what console they have, as long as they can talk and stream ACN, they talk to all of our dimmers.’
Although the team no longer has to routinely access to the dimmer room, Mr Ibell was concerned that because you can switch the Sensor3s from dimmer to hard power from the console, it can also be undone from the console.
‘Consequently one of my main specs was the ability to physically go to the dimmer module and flick a switch which bypasses the dimmer and turns it onto just straight power,’ he continued. ‘It was important for me to have it locked off, I didn’t want it to be modified from the console so suddenly a lot of movers didn’t have dimmer power. No other company in the world can supply modular dimmers that can do that.’