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Author Topic: Dealing with power outages
John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 889
From: Freehold, NJ, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 07-02-2001 10:45 AM      Profile for John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Email John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's that time of year in our neck of the woods- hot and humid days with the ever present chance that our power will go out due to strong storms or power interruptions due to heavy demand.

We experienced two interruptions over the weekend. Fortunately, and as luck would have it, I reveiwed our booth procedures with the operators at a Saturday morning meeting, so everything went smoothly.

I'm curious to know what your procedures are, not only from the standpoint of the booth, but down on the floor as well.

Also, our Director of Operations was present Saturday night and got some interesting comments from patrons (Are we going to see the show? Are you going to start the movie over? Where shall we go?).
Any anecdotes on your experiences?

If this topic was covered on a previous thread, my apologies.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 07-02-2001 10:58 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Safety of the audience is the first priority. So proper operation of emergency lighting systems and emergency public address notification should be checked on a regular basis. As far as the film and equipment, procedures for startup after a power outage vary with the type of equipment, but need to be followed to avoid film or equipment damage. I assume for platter installations, the audience is urged to wait out the outage if it is short, since the film needs to be run through anyway when the power is restored.

Do most theatres have surge suppressors or other protection against nearby lightning strikes? How many have backup generators or UPS units for critical electrical and computer systems?

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com
Web site: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion

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Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: West Hollywood, CA
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 07-02-2001 12:32 PM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When we loose power, our booth staff is instructed to get as many breakers off as possible before it comes back on, to minimize the damage a potential surge would do.

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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 07-02-2001 02:36 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jim has the right idea. The worst situation is where one leg of the power goes out. There is a great temptation to keep going, but 3 phase items can be seriously damaged. Air conditioning compressors are most at risk.

If there is a partial outage (some lights work, others don't, etc.) someone should race to the AC breakers and turn them off.

Surge supression at the main entrance makes good economic sense.

Audiences will usually sit for five minutes before coming out of a theatre, so informing them of the problem is usually simple. Anyone want to post their boilerplate speech for power outages?

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Adam Martin
I'm not even gonna point out the irony.

Posts: 3686
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 07-02-2001 03:03 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin       Edit/Delete Post 
Previously posted somewhere else, here is a link for this thread ...
Emergency Procedures (pdf file)

And don't forget to turn off the popper ... hey, is something burning?

[I disclaim all liability resulting from the use of these procedures]


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George Roher
Master Film Handler

Posts: 266
From: Washington DC
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 07-02-2001 06:05 PM      Profile for George Roher   Email George Roher   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The theatre I am currently working in always has problems with thunder storms and power surges. What usually happens is some of the movies will shut down, and others will switch to non-sync but keep running. With the insane layout of this complex it's a real chore to run around and get everything running properly again.

Yesterday there were thunderstorms and we had 4 power surges. In one instance Shrek switched to non-sync and it was a few minutes before sound was restored. The customers wanted the film "rewound", as they always do. A manager asked me to cut the film (already 10+ minutes into the feature) and restart it from the beginning but I had to say no. We were likely to have more power surges (which we did), and I was getting behind schedule as it was.


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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 07-02-2001 06:13 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
What usually happens is some of the movies will shut down, and others will switch to non-sync but keep running.

This is simply unacceptable equipment and automation design. I know it is a fairly common problem, but I can't think of a single good reason for it to happen. I fault the manufacturers on this one. A drop-out power pulse should be registered as that, and not as a change to non-synch cue.

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Andy Muirhead
Master Film Handler

Posts: 323
From: Galashiels, Scotland
Registered: Dec 2000


 - posted 07-02-2001 06:26 PM      Profile for Andy Muirhead   Email Andy Muirhead   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here in Scotland this doesn't happen to much, but if there is an electrical storm nearby, it has us all running about everytime there is a dip in power. Normally power dips for a fraction of a second, which in some cases is enough for the xenons to go out.

As soon as the lights flicker, all staff run and check all screens. If we do find a xenon that needs restruck we have to wait for the bulb to cool sufficiently to restrike. we could change the tappings on the rectifier to give us a higher strike voltage, but we'd have to wait then for the rectifier to lose charge enough to work on it safely, so it's 6 and half a dozen! Never had any other probs, though, with automation changing to nonsync or anything else.

It's a bit mad though as we have four screens, with four independent projection rooms, so we do look a bit stupid wildly running about everytime the lights flicker!

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8146
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-02-2001 06:55 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We had some nasty thunderstorms in the Boston area this weekend. The lights in the theatre flickered occasionally on Saturday, but the only major problem was that one show of Pearl Harbor lost sound for a minute or so while the DTS unit rebooted and switched the processor (CP55) back into "aux" from non-sync. This got me to thinking: does anyone plug sound equipment into a UPS? I would have switched it into 04 manually, but this theatre has two booths and moving between them requires passing through an auditorium. By the time I heard about the problem with the sound, the DTS unit had finished rebooting and all was well.

If we had lost power, I would have just killed power to everything at the breaker panels until everything was back to normal; I assume that the audience would have been given apologies and passes.

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Rick McCluney
Film Handler

Posts: 66
From: Ocean Springs, MS, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 07-02-2001 11:02 PM      Profile for Rick McCluney   Email Rick McCluney   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I once had a manager, who will remain nameless, who experienced a brown out in mid show. He wanted to make sure that the film would be ready for the next show since he lost the show that he was running so he continued to run the projector at the reduced voltage. Needless to say that motor was dead within a couple of days.

Rick

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 07-03-2001 12:47 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I just make sure the projection equipment and computers are shut down. I never worried too much about the HVAC's. Being an old refrigeration man, I found most compressors can usually handle it, unless they were ready to go on the fritz. Compressors have high current cut-outs that sense rotor lock current in event the head pressure is too high for the compressor to restart. They will usually restart themselves just fine after the discharge line (high side) pressure drops when it bleeds off through the expansion valve or cap tubes.

However, if you can, shut them down anyway, before the power comes back on just to be safe side. One thing you don't want to happen - that is, in 3 phase applications, the return of only two of the three phases of electrical power.

Make sure you have all three phases before you attempt to restart them. This is easy to determine. Does everything come on? If it does, chances are you will be OK. If roughly about 2/3d's of everything comes on, you can safely say, "Houston, We Have A Problem", and you better scramble to shut down all your three phase units if you have not previously done so. Otherwise, you more than likely wind up toasting your HVAC compressors or any three-phase motor you have in the building.

Usually, if you just drop one phase, the motors will continue to run under these circumstances, but will shortly self-distruct due to overloading. Most 3 phase motors are very unforgiving about operating with one phase missing, unless they are impedance protected.

Although "phase rotation" is usually not that important for HVAC compressors, it is important for blower motors and three phase motor-generator sets.

We have had the power company apply power with phase rotation accidently reversed. Our MG set for the black stick carbon arc lamphouses ran backwards, and did not produce enough current to light a firefly. So happens the lamp vent was also a 3 phase motor. It ran backwards, too.

HVAC units don't really care if their compressors run backwards or not.

So, make sure all your motors are running in the correct direction. A squirrel cage tumbler will blow air no matter which direction it is running. But, if it is running backwards, the amount of air it will move is almost ziltch!

OK - wrong thread for this, but it still fits power bumps.


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Sean McKinnon
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1712
From: Peabody Massachusetts
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 07-03-2001 01:04 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Author's Homepage   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you are using a dolby cp-500 then you can set the default power-up preset to Sr-d or whatever that way if the power goes out for a second and the unit restarts it will not start in non-sync. This also means that at the beginning of the day you have to manually switch all the processors to non-sync.

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 07-03-2001 01:28 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Those "bumpity bump" power failures will ruin lots of things....

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Steven Gorsky
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 146
From: Frederick, MD, USA
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 07-03-2001 01:58 AM      Profile for Steven Gorsky   Author's Homepage   Email Steven Gorsky   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
On the CP500, instead of setting it to wake-up in SRD, set it to wake-up to the last format. This way it will come back to what ever was used last, and you won't have to change it to non-sync when opening.

Steven Gorsky

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Sean McKinnon
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1712
From: Peabody Massachusetts
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 07-03-2001 02:29 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Author's Homepage   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know youre right. Thats what I meant to say but its been a while since I set-up one so i forgot.

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