Power cords in CA

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
NJ
Occupation
Electrical and Automation Designer
I have a job coming up installing lighting and automation equipment in a TV studio in California, and one of my equipment vendors asked if molded plugs on equipment power cords is a requirement in California (vendor is on NY). I don't think so, and I sure hope not, as it'll wildly complicate my job scope.

Barring something in the job spec (and there is nothing), does CA have any blanket requirement for molded plugs? I've seen this type of requirement in job specs for places like high school theaters, where they want to eliminate the possibility of a kid trying to repair a plug on a cable or lighting instrument but never for a TV studio operated by professional stagehands. Thoughts?



Thanks,

SceneryDriver
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
I don’t see anything like that in the Calif. Electric Code. There are rules on temporary power cords that allow for repairing them if the repair restores them to their previous level of insulation etc., so that would imply that non-molded attachment plugs would be permissible. There is also a requirement that the ends of cord caps have an integral “dead front” construction, which would outlaw the el-cheapo devices with the little fiber covers that go around the prongs or slots, probably because those can fall out and leave exposed terminals. Basic common sense stuff (although I still see those sold in HW stores).
 

Meltric_South

Member
Location
Austin, TX
Occupation
Regional Sales Manager
I'm not too familiar with the California Code, but NEC has a section that covers plugs and receptacles in studios.

Article 530.21 Plugs and Receptacles for Motion Picture and TV Studios.

I can't see anywhere that requires over-molded plugs. As Jraef mentioned, there are requirements of enclosing or guarding live parts to prevent accidental contact, but is suspect that if you ever walk on an active set you will see covers not in use.
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
I have a job coming up installing lighting and automation equipment in a TV studio in California, and one of my equipment vendors asked if molded plugs on equipment power cords is a requirement in California (vendor is on NY). I don't think so, and I sure hope not, as it'll wildly complicate my job scope.

Barring something in the job spec (and there is nothing), does CA have any blanket requirement for molded plugs? I've seen this type of requirement in job specs for places like high school theaters, where they want to eliminate the possibility of a kid trying to repair a plug on a cable or lighting instrument but never for a TV studio operated by professional stagehands. Thoughts?



Thanks,

SceneryDriver
Assuming we're referring to 5-15 'edison plugs'. Being in that field in California I can state that 90% of the cables we see are made up from SJOOW or SOOW cord and assembly type connectors, usually hubbell. Theaters under 520 use SOOW and TV studios and productions under 530 use SJOOW.

Overmolded Socapex has become popular however.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Assuming we're referring to 5-15 'edison plugs'. Being in that field in California I can state that 90% of the cables we see are made up from SJOOW or SOOW cord and assembly type connectors, usually hubbell. Theaters under 520 use SOOW and TV studios and productions under 530 use SJOOW.

Overmolded Socapex has become popular however.
When I was active in community theater 3-pin stage connectors were popular in some houses. Are they still used professionally?

 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
NJ
Occupation
Electrical and Automation Designer
Assuming we're referring to 5-15 'edison plugs'. Being in that field in California I can state that 90% of the cables we see are made up from SJOOW or SOOW cord and assembly type connectors, usually hubbell. Theaters under 520 use SOOW and TV studios and productions under 530 use SJOOW.

Overmolded Socapex has become popular however.
Likely a mixture of L5-20, L15-30, "California Style" 50A 3ph twist, and lots of other cable types that don't lend themselves to molded connectors.


SceneryDriver
 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
NJ
Occupation
Electrical and Automation Designer
When I was active in community theater 3-pin stage connectors were popular in some houses. Are they still used professionally?

They're still widely used in existing installations, and they're still available. That said, L5-20 has become the preferred solution for new TV studios and theaters.


SceneryDriver
 

norcal

Senior Member
I don’t see anything like that in the Calif. Electric Code. There are rules on temporary power cords that allow for repairing them if the repair restores them to their previous level of insulation etc., so that would imply that non-molded attachment plugs would be permissible. There is also a requirement that the ends of cord caps have an integral “dead front” construction, which would outlaw the el-cheapo devices with the little fiber covers that go around the prongs or slots, probably because those can fall out and leave exposed terminals. Basic common sense stuff (although I still see those sold in HW stores).
The live front attachment plugs were prohibited by the NEC in 1978. They were still in hardware stores for many years.
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
I lived through many non-NEMA 20amp plugs in theaters.
I worked in a theater that had those. It was the worst. All the extension cords had the hard bakelite females on them, anytime someone would drop the end on the floor it would crack or shatter. Then we would have to rob one off a disused circuit on a connector strip. For whatever reason they couldn't source or buy us replacements.
 

Marko66

New User
Location
Tucson, AZ
I don’t see anything like that in the Calif. Electric Code. There are rules on temporary power cords that allow for repairing them if the repair restores them to their previous level of insulation etc., so that would imply that non-molded attachment plugs would be permissible. There is also a requirement that the ends of cord caps have an integral “dead front” construction, which would outlaw the el-cheapo devices with the little fiber covers that go around the prongs or slots, probably because those can fall out and leave exposed terminals. Basic common sense stuff (although I still see those sold in HW stores).
In the theatre and studios, it is always 'portable' NEVER 'temporary' it is a different animal, and one does not want to confuse the AHJ. Look around 518- 520 in the National code. Most of the info for studios and theatres is there.
 
I worked in a theater that had those. It was the worst. All the extension cords had the hard bakelite females on them, anytime someone would drop the end on the floor it would crack or shatter.
Most of ours had white nylon connectors, the trick was getting "ground in" or "ground out" replacements. A couple of places I convinced to convert to the more usual stage pin (aka "bates") which was well worth the time and effort. And "stage plugs" (aka paddles)? They were more fun that should be allowed, especially when they had an internal fuse and loose screws.
 
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