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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Safety cables for White Lightings
Shane Bevel, Photographer
Tulsa | OK | USA | Posted: 10:35 AM on 11.18.13
->> Hey folks, I have searched the board here (why does the search function here just plain suck?) and can't seem to find what I am looking for.

Although I usually use speedotrons to light arenas, I have a travel kit of WL 1600s and another of Ultra 1200s that I use for smaller venues.

The problem is that although I have rigged it in the past and got by, I am now installing the 1600s in an arena with no catwalks. They will be wired to a dead box so I can turn them on and off from the floor, but I won't really have any access until the end of the season when I pull them out.

So... how the hell do you REALLY attach a safety cable to a WL 1600? I would love to see some ideas of how you guys are pulling it off. Seems silly that they don't have a handle.

Thanks,
Shane
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 10:43 AM on 11.18.13
->> Through the adjustable bracket on the bottom of the housing and/or through the umbrella hole through the middle of the strobe (preferred).
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Shane Bevel, Photographer
Tulsa | OK | USA | Posted: 10:46 AM on 11.18.13
->> Thanks Tim, I don't like attaching to the bracket, but have done it in the past. I am thinking about the umbrella hole. Do you build the safety cable on the light. IE run the cable through the hole and then put the ferrels and clips on? That's my current thought on these, but of course that would mean cutting the cable to get it off (I don't intend to remove it though I suppose, since these are arena specific lights)
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Randy Sartin, Photographer, Assistant
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 11:10 AM on 11.18.13
->> I replace the bolt on the main mount with an eye bolt and run the cable though it.
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Randy Sartin, Photographer, Assistant
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 11:11 AM on 11.18.13
->> Through, not though. :)
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington - Normal | IL | United States | Posted: 11:16 AM on 11.18.13
->> On my alien bees - which appear to have a similar way of attaching umbrellas as the WL's - I just a long eye bolt through the umbrella holder and double nut the thread end so it can't back itself out. It's a bit tricky because if you get too long of a bolt, the reflector can get in the way but it does the job.
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Shane Bevel, Photographer
Tulsa | OK | USA | Posted: 11:27 AM on 11.18.13
->> Hey Alan, thanks I saw that elsewhere, but since the WL is considerably longer (twice?) I'm not sure I can readily find an eye bolt that length. I could make one out of all-thread I suppose, that wouldn't be too hard.

At this point I am considering the idea of just making the cable part of the unit. Since i already make my own cables it wouldn't be hard to fish it through the umbrella mount and then attach the hardware. Wouldn't ever lose them! ha!

Randy, I would really rather attach directly to the body of the unit. What are the chances that the main mount will fail? Who knows... but if it did (plastic fractures from over tightening or something hits the unit and breaks the mount etc) it would allow the unit to fall.
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Paul DiSalvo, Photographer
Highlands Ranch | CO | United States of America | Posted: 12:09 PM on 11.18.13
->> Saw this on one of the Buff tech forums. You can add one of these to the main mounting assembly where it attaches to the lightstand or superclamp stud. It's a speedometer cable guide for a motorcycle http://www.jpcycles.com/product/9400015 - Then you can hook the clip from your safety cable right to the light.
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Al Goldis, Photographer
East Lansing | MI | USA | Posted: 1:41 PM on 11.18.13
->> Snaking a cable through the umbrella hole means the safety cable goes inside the housing of the light. No way that can fail (short of the whole light literally disintegrating ;-).
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Jeffrey Nycz, Photographer
Warsaw | IN | USA | Posted: 5:41 PM on 11.18.13
->> Has anyone used nylon wire ties for securing strobes? They come in various lengths; I have several that are over 15" in length and you can string them together to create any length.
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Eli Lucero, Photographer, Photo Editor
Logan | UT | USA | Posted: 5:48 PM on 11.18.13
->> I take 550 pound paracord and run it through the umbrella hole. I then tie a Bowline on a Bight on each end and use a carabiner to secure the two loops.
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 6:32 PM on 11.18.13
->> Jeff, the conventional wisdom is that zip ties are good to keep things in place, but they lack the ability to resist shock loads.

As always, your mileage may vary...
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Shane Bevel, Photographer
Tulsa | OK | USA | Posted: 9:22 PM on 11.18.13
->> Dave, I agree, zip ties can be very strong when cinched down tight, but the shock of something falling and hitting the locking ratchet causes them to fail more often than not.

Al, I agree, that's the course we are taking.

Eli Paracord would be an option, I just happen to have steel around. Plus, it has to be exposed, but I have seen paracord become brittle with age/exposure. The black rope that the riggers seem to all use in catwalks to secure things like extra cables, other rope etc. would also be an option.

The biggest reason that I use steel is that the house typically uses steel. And if it looks like their stuff looks they usually don't question or mess with it.

Thanks for letting me bounce the idea off you guys. Lights go up tomorrow.... pray I remember how to operate a lift! ha!

Shane
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Rich Obrey, Photographer
Gorham | ME | USA | Posted: 11:59 PM on 11.18.13
->> I use wire safety cables passed through the umbrella slot on my WL Ultra Zaps...
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Randy Vanderveen, Photographer
Grande Prairie | AB | Canada | Posted: 10:15 AM on 11.19.13
->> Just make sure the power is off and strobe unplugged when you put the metal cable through the umbrella hole. It can enter right into the guts of the flash when you are installing it. Randy
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Jeffrey Nycz, Photographer
Warsaw | IN | USA | Posted: 12:45 PM on 11.19.13
->> The ties I use have a tensile strength of 250 Lbs. If something over 250 pounds falls on a strobe you have more of a problem than a 10 lb strobe falling. The strobe itself would be destroyed but the tie would remain in place, not to mention a 250 Lb object traversing to the floor.
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Jack Arent, Photographer, Assistant
Alameda | CA | | Posted: 2:05 PM on 11.19.13
->> Let me suggest you use a rubber coated safety cable. I have a set of 1600's and made my original cables without the rubber sheath option, I learned my lesson, you'll stab and prick your fingers till you bleed without it.
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Tim Hynds, Photo Editor, Photographer
Sioux City | IA | USA | Posted: 2:27 PM on 11.19.13
->> Jeffrey,

Zip ties are great for extra security, But never as a substitute for a real safety cable.

When I used to hang White Lightings we used a safety cable through the umbrella mount and then would use heavy duty (the 1/4 wide stuff) zip ties to further secure the super clamp to the railing. We did, however, use (heavy duty) zip ties to secure mounted pocket Wizards to the mounting rail, using one zip tie on the wizard strap loop and another on the super clamp.

My rule of thumb is, "how good would I feel about sitting underneath my strobe?"
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G.M. Andrews, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 6:58 PM on 11.19.13
->> The newspaper I used to work for had a set of White Lighting 1200's that were installed at the local arena for college basketball, then for minor league hockey.

We had our maintenance shop fabricate a mounting set up for the strobes to hang in a catwalk setting.

If I remember correctly, the shop welded one half of a pipe clamp (similar to this:
http://www.globalindustrial.com/g/plumbing/pipe-tube-bending-cutting/pipe-a...) to the end of a two-foot or so rod.

The other pipe clamp half went over one of the hand rails of the catwalk, and when the clamp was put together,the whole assembly would hang with the rod heading downward.

The White Lightnings were installed upside down with the light stand bracket on the top of the unit. The unit would go on to the rod from the pipe clamps and be tightened down. The bracket would allow for some adjustment and aiming of the strobe.

The shop also took aluminum bar stock that measured the length of the unit's body. The stock was about a half to 3/4" thick, and not much wider that the outside of the channels on the strobe's sides.

One side of the bar stock were then milled along its length to a "T"-shape to fit in to the grooves or channels on the White Lightnings like the flash bracket's foot does.

The bar stock was drilled and threaded for screws or nuts to lock the bar stock securely to the strobe, and also for a large eye hook which was screwed in to the aluminum.

Two of these bar stock pieces were made for each White Lighting.

When the strobes were installed at the arena, the White Lightnings were attached to the pipe clamp/rod units by mounting the strobe's mounting bracket to the rod.

Then security cables with snap links were locked in to the eye hook on the bar stock of one side of the strobe, then looped up and around the catwalk handrail, then brought down and snapped in to the eye hook on the bar stock on the other side of the White Lightning.

These units were installed at the arena for about ten years and we never had a problem with the mounting. The only problem with the set up was that the older model radio slaves were very susceptible to radio interference, a problem that exhibited itself during a Mardi Gras ball.

The paper wasn't covering the event, but the strobes and radio slaves were all plugged in to an AC circuit that was turned on before the ball, and the wireless microphones and two-way radios used by arena workers and security triggered the strobes - over and over and over.

The arena electrical crew had to kill the circuit to stop the lights...
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Guy Rhodes, Photographer
East Chicago | IN | USA | Posted: 4:43 AM on 11.20.13
->> As many of you know, I'm a lighting designer when I'm not behind the camera. I touch a hundred or more safety cables on an average theatrical show (yes, we use them as well on each and every instrument rigged overhead).

Zip ties are never, EVER an option for a safety. As others have said, the shock load (that's the force of a falling object being caught by the safety and coming to a dead stop) is the problem with zip ties. We can argue all day the weight rating for the zip ties, etc. etc., but in the end, is this really worth the money saved on some plastic ties that *should* work vs. the catastrophic risk if they don't?

The standard theatrical safety cable is made of 1/8th inch aircraft cable with dual ferels at each end to make loops (one loop has a carabiner permanently enclosed).
http://stagerightlighting.com/media/catalog/category/safety_cable_1.jpg

If you didn't foresee using the umbrella hole on your fixtures again, you could do as Shane suggested and make a permanent loop of aircraft cable through the hole, using a dual ferel to crimp and close the loop. The safety cable would attach through this cable.

This would mean that your reflector would be permanently attached to the head via this cable loop, which is the downside.

Another option is building a safety cable like the one in the picture I linked to, but permanently within umbrella hole (carabiner side on the back of the unit, loop on the front), allowing you to open the cable up and remove the reflector for transport.

Steel safety cables, whether you purchase them pre-made or build your own with parts, are stupid cheap. Anything else isn't worth the risk.

Especially in a large arena, when you show up with the same safety gear and practices that the riggers and electricians there use every day, you'll likely get more respect / help from them to accomplish your vision.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 12:08 PM on 11.20.13
->> If you don't mind buying from eBay, go to the link below and order these cables. Perfect for putting through umbrella holes in White Lightning's and Elinchrom's. I have bought several from these people and they are good to work with on eBay - they only sell through them.

I would send them a message first, especially if you are going to buy a number at a time as they will give you free cables depending on the size of your order. Buy 6 get 3 free kind of deals.

If you message them, mention Tim Cowie referred you to them and they may improve your pricing or extra free (no guarantee). They can be linked together to make them longer. I link two together and loop them. Then I run a regular safety cable that I attach to the beam through these cables that run through my strobe.

Hope this helps!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261236869222?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_482wt_610
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Jeffrey Nycz, Photographer
Warsaw | IN | USA | Posted: 10:53 PM on 11.20.13
->> When considering shock load, how would a strobe ever fall more than a few inches when safety cabled to some structure? When setting up remotes for basketball, my safety cabling for both the strobe and the mounting device are only a few inches in length, not several feet. Seems odd discussing the strength of materials (I've been an engineer for over 30 years) yet we trust the clamping strength of the the ferrule (especially in home made cables) to some degree of shock load. All of this shock load stuff isn't relevant unless your cables are 20 feet long. A strobe falling more than a few inches is irresponsible.
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Guy Rhodes, Photographer
East Chicago | IN | USA | Posted: 2:41 AM on 11.21.13
->> Jeffrey:

What you say may very well be true, but what I posted in the last paragraph is key.
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Shane Bevel, Photographer
Tulsa | OK | USA | Posted: 3:09 PM on 11.22.13
->> What Guy posted is correct. Not only will you get their respect, but if the rigging looks familiar to the building guy/fire marshall/safety officers they are less likely to question what you are doing up there.

I hand make my safety cables and test them here with weight. Just like sync cables, I trust them more if I make them and test them than if I have someone else do it.

While it's neat that more and more people are starting to hang remotes and lights, it's also a bit disconcerting at times, a local hobbyist emailed me the other day to ask what he needed to hang a remote over the ice during a hockey game. I started by telling him he needed a 2 million dollar insurance policy. He laughed and I made it clear that I wasn't kidding. Then we went over exactly what he needed to hang it. I also told him that if he drops something practicing his hobby, he will likely affect my ability to do my job... he seemed to understand that.

For the record. I cut my safety cables fairly long (and some short ones as well) to insure that I can always get attached to something stable that won't let loose on it's own. So yes, sometimes things can fall and swing a couple feet. It also allows you to cable the gear BEFORE you hang it and later, after you unclamp it. Which honestly is the time it's most likely to fall.

Last thing, I did end up running through the umbrella tube with bare 1/8" safely wire and then attaching ferrels and a quick link. It works well and I can alway cut the safety cable off if I need to for some reason.
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Thread Title: Safety cables for White Lightings
Thread Started By: Shane Bevel
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