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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Preparing Barco 32B for drive-in off-season (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Preparing Barco 32B for drive-in off-season
Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2011
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 10-28-2013 09:53 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just curious if there are any specific recommendations for preparing my 32B for the 6 months of non-operation during the off-season. Should I drain the coolant, remove the lens, remove the bulb, or anything else. I have already removed the exhaust tube to ensure no moisture gets in from there.

For what it's worth, my area can see winter lows in the low teens. Since the building is completely unused during the off-season, it is possible the inside temperature could get below freezing if we have an extended cold spell.

I am already aware that I should run the projector for an hour or two once a month to recharge the battery on the ICP board.

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Brad Miller
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From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 10-28-2013 10:31 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
It takes 50 hours to fully recharge a near-dead enigma battery.

The enigma batteries are only good for 6 months, and that's when new. Like with any battery, the older it gets, the less the battery will last.

I wouldn't just power it on for an hour or two. I would run it for a solid day each month.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1729
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 10-28-2013 11:04 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That leads to a question that has crossed my mind before, even though it doesn't really affect me. What do drive-ins do with their digital equipment when they're closed, anyway? There is a drive-in not too far from me that just got their digital projector this summer (I have no idea what kind). They are on the outskirts of a small town. They run weekends in the summer and they obviously close for the winter. I've never seen the place, but I get the impression that the drive-in is more-or-less just a shack in a field, and probably uninsulated and unheated since why would you need heat there?

If it were mine I would be concerned about environmental conditions (what would happen to this thing in -50 degree weather) as well as vandalism or theft.

Do drive-in owners with digital equipment in cold climates have to unhook the whole thing and take it home for the winter, then get it re-installed next spring?

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2011
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 10-28-2013 11:20 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank
I think much of it would be the same as any other building. If you have an alarm system and/or closed circuit cameras, then leaving it unattended is probably not a huge issue.

As for the temperature, I would have to assume they install some kind of heating system - probably with a low limit control. From what I see in the Barco manual, the 32B has a non-operational temperature range of 5°F-140°F; I imagine other brands and models are similar. In most situations the temperature wouldn't be any kind of issue, but if you can see -50°, then more precautions are necessary. If it's the kind of place that is completely unreachable in the winter, then I would think they have no choice but to put the projector into storage somewhere over the winter.

As has already been pointed out, these have to be powered on for a period on a regular basis to ensure the battery stays charged. Unless you're planning on hooking it up to 3 phase power in your home or storage unit, it's probably better to leave it in place and just go turn it on periodically. I've heard some conversation about a specialized trickle charger these boards can be hooked up to during long term shutdowns, but I don't know if that's a practical solution for a single screen situation.

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Brad Miller
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From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
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 - posted 10-28-2013 11:23 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
There are all sorts of things that can be done. You just have to decide what the threat is. Cold? Theft? Then to what level do you want to protect yourself?

At our NOC we don't charge our regular drive-ins for off-season months. We do however continue to monitor them and turn them on remotely every month to make sure that battery doesn't die during that time. We can also control the heater (or a space heater) and also monitor for theft. Technically yes we are still performing work during their non-operational months, but everyone at FT thought it was senseless to charge for what is in everyone's best interest when we are just going to be there once they re-open taking care of it for them.

Last winter the only drive-in at our NOC that had any issues whatsoever getting going again was the one that decided to disconnect their internet connection for the winter despite our recommendation not to. It was an expensive mistake for them. [Frown]

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Scott Norwood
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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-29-2013 07:17 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not sure about the projector, but I would be concerned about condensation in the server and other electronic bits. Some form of climate control (maybe a small heater set to something like 40 degrees) would be cheap insurance against premature failure.

It would probably be a good idea to remove the lens, too.

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Tony Bandiera Jr
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From: Moreland Idaho
Registered: Apr 2004


 - posted 10-29-2013 11:51 AM      Profile for Tony Bandiera Jr   Email Tony Bandiera Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
It would probably be a good idea to remove the lens, too.
[uhoh] Actually it would be a very bad idea to remove the lens.

Remember that in ALL video projectors including D-Cinema, removing the lens leaves the imaging system completely exposed to dust, dirt and humid air.

Now IF you remembered to save the cap that is in the lens barrel on a new machine you could put that back in place..but why create extra work?

I'm sure Brad will know if it is better to leave the lens in place or remove it IF you have the proper cap.

That said, good call on the condensation issue with the server and other electronics. [thumbsup]

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Scott Norwood
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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 10-29-2013 12:19 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Definitely agree on the lens cap.

But isn't there a condensation issue with lenses? As in, what happens if there is moisture between the elements. Plus, there is the issue of theft and/or vandalism.

I suppose that insulation and a small heating system would solve most of these potential problems.

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Brad Miller
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From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 10-29-2013 05:25 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Leave the lens in, and of course at MINIMUM get some sort of space heater to keep the booth at some sort of very cold, but reasonable temperature.

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Ken Lackner
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From: Atlanta, GA, USA
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 - posted 10-29-2013 05:45 PM      Profile for Ken Lackner   Email Ken Lackner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have to agree with leaving the lens in, not just so projector's internal optics aren't exposed, but I just can't fathom the point of removing it.

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Jack Ondracek
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Posts: 2243
From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
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 - posted 10-29-2013 06:01 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's been some discussion about this in another forum. A Barco owner has suggested that he'd be more comfortable, pulling the "heavy lens" out for the Winter. He also thinks storing the bulb vertically is suggested by the manufacturer, though I guess I've somehow missed that one.

The guy is no dummy, but I wonder... If a lens is OK, sitting in an indoor Barco 24/7, why would it be different in a drive-in.

With no other information to go on, other than the many Winters I've put my 35 gear to bed, I've made no special plans for the new equipment.

I have 7 computers and myriad other electronics in the booth. Condensation has never been a problem for that gear, so I don't expect the Barcos to suffer. No special plans there.

I keep my booth at a minimum of 55 degrees over the Winter. Automatic forced-air ac/heater in the wall.

Not planning to do anything with the lens or bulb, other than put the lens caps on. I've had much better service from xenon bulbs by leaving them alone until it's time to change them. Couldn't even rotate these things if you were inclined... wire's not long enough.

I do have some furniture pads here that I'm thinking about putting over the machines, but I don't really see any major reason for doing that.

We have a 2nd floor booth. Those with ground floor, & concrete block structures might have other issues to consider.

Thanks for the info about the battery. I did know about the 6-month limit, but not the long recharge time.

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Justin Hamaker
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Posts: 2011
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 10-29-2013 09:42 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My concern with removing the lens is that you simply increase the chances of damaging the lens or the connections to the projector. Unless there is a documented reason to remove the lens, I think it's better to keep it in place.

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Brad Miller
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From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
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 - posted 10-29-2013 10:16 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
The Barco B lens mount is also a joke. It is fine on the C units, but not the B. I would strongly not recommend mounting/dismounting the lens anytime it isn't absolutely necessary. At a drive-in, any shaking will be exaggerated even moreso due to the long throw and every time you put a lens back in you are making it slightly worse.

Best to leave the lens mounted for this reason and also to keep dirt out of the engine.

It's also a good idea to cut the power to the 220v or tape a note to the projector or something reminding you that you have the lens cap on. If you light the lamp with the lens cap on, by the time you remember the cap is on, it may have become a part of the lens optics by melting into it. I've seen this happen.

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Jack Ondracek
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Posts: 2243
From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
Registered: Oct 2002


 - posted 10-30-2013 03:39 AM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good point about the lens cap. I'd heard the story, too.

In our case, my daughter and I are the only ones who touch the machines, and we both still carry the "first time on the screen" paranoia from our mechanical film days. One of us is in the booth at least during the first start of the evening and we watch the automation start all 3 machines at the same time, so the possibility of leaving a lens cap on for more than a few seconds is essentially zero.

On power... that's another issue I made a decision about when we installed last December. I see no good reason to permanently leave something on that I only use 5 hours a day. So, everything is powered down when we close for the night, including the UPS boxes... right down to the (switch rated) breakers on the wall.

That's 19 hours a day that I don't have to worry about dust, lightning, bearing time on the fan motors, hours on the hard drives or the additional heat load of 3 projectors and their servers (and those things do generate heat, just sitting there).

Aside, maybe, from the daily use of the power switches, the equipment seems to suffer no ill effects from this practice.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11706
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-30-2013 06:36 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We have exactly one (7-day) theatre where the servers are powered down nightly. Care to guess which theatre has had a hard drive failures in the past year?

While you can say you've had success thus far...statistics will show that on average, shutting them down is a false economy. We've seen the increase in drive failures.

In our 3-day a week theatres, then yes, everything but the automation shuts down. So far, not significant increase from them.

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