IGBT Stage Lighting Dimmers – A Primer

Imagine being able to plug your stage and theatre lighting fixtures directly into dimmers that are quiet and don’t generate the heat of SCR dimmers. You’re imagining IGBT dimming, a revolution in dimming technology.

IGBT dimmers bring the future into your theatre, club, auditorium or sanctuary with drastically-reduced installation costs. Mounted wherever you mount lighting fixtures, they are smaller and lighter than SCR dimmers. Better yet, they do not produce any mechanical buzz or hum.

Distributed Dimming Benefits

oEasy to design, expand and install

oDrastically reduces installation and equipment costs

oLocate silent dimmer strips next to the light fixtures

oMuch less wiring

oReduced voltage drops

oNo dimmer panel required

Power and Silence Benefits

oState-of-the-art dimming technology

oQuiet dimmers and load

oLow neutral harmonics

oProtection against short-circuits

oHigh-density racks

oControl of various load types including magnetic/electronic transformers and electronic fluorescent dimming ballasts

Intelligence and Control Benefits

oStations, keypads, wireless PCs and consoles for simple or complex applications

oBroad range of matching, attractive controls for fully-integrated projects

oIndustry standard wiring practices

oWindows®-based open control protocols

A Case Study

When Cornish College of the Arts began converting Seattle’s historic Sons of Norway Hall into a theatre, plans called for installation of a complete air conditioning system just to cool the old-style, heat-producing SCR rack dimming system they planned to use. Dave Tosti-Lane, chair of Cornish’s Performance Production Department, started looking for a different solution.

The college had already been through the ordeal of retrofitting a concert hall to the tune of thousands of dollars just to relocate a noisy dimmer rack. They didn’t want to go through that again. Mac Perkins of PNTA recommended the Intelligent Raceway system from Entertainment Technology, a Genlyte Thomas company. The beauty of an IGBT system, as Dave discovered, was that it would not only circumvent the noise problem, but it would also reduce the heat loads.

The savings of not having to do a full-blown air conditioning system practically paid for the dimmers. They also saved money by not having the associated costs of load wiring the dimmers out to the circuits and all of the additional wiring and time it costs to run cables from the dimmer rack to the lighting instruments.

While the cost savings may have been the leading benefit, close behind was the system of focus buttons that were installed. This feature enabled the crew to finish hanging the first show in the new theatre in record time. The trio hung, circuited and rough-focused 130 fixtures in two five-hour lighting calls.And as a sound designer, Dave was really appreciative of the lack of fans and chokes.

With all their benefits, IGBT dimming systems are a boon to the staging of theatrical productions.

Copyright 2007 PNTA