• "Vista not only delivered on time, but their design and installation of energy-efficient lighting systems turned out to be a real money-saver....
    Lawrence Baldini, Facilities Manager

    Instrumentation Laboratory U.S.
  • "....I want to thank you for your timely attention to my RFQ. This project was delayed at least twice, yet you accommodated the schedule changes without issue."
    Potters Industries

  • " I want to thank you and your crew for the successful and timely completion of the electrical portion of our project. Throughout the entire process....
    Hyundai of Nanuet

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    HESS Microgen

  • "Thank you so much for all of your help with our new office. Everyone from Vista was so helpful....
    Kelly Orthodontics

  • "We are in the last few days of acceptance here on Eagle 3 and I want to say that the accuracy of Vista electrical wiring has been excellent."
    ALD Vacuum Technologies, Inc

  • "Just wanted to let you know the new fixtures are a success!  I'm getting many compliments.  I was here last night and saw them in action and they make such a difference."
    New City Library




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T: 845-353-3313
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Relighting and Converting

A Restaurant into a Dinner Theater

Here's how a one-time speakeasy was converted into a modern, flexible dining and theater facility on a modest budget.

The Parkway Casino in Tuckahoe, N.Y., built some 50 years ago, has undergone many changes since it was a prohibition-era speakeasy. Most recently, it has become a dinner theater, fully equipped with the lighting, power, communications, and audio systems needed to meet the exacting and varied demands of today's theatrical productions.

The owners were anxious to preserve as much of the interesting interior architecture and decorative lighting as possible, so planning for new power and lighting circuits had to take this into account. A further restraint was posed by limited service entrance capacity. The owners' available budget could not pay for a complete new service. Because of this and local inspection restrictions, pracReWiring a Dinner Theatertically no changes could be made to the building's main service. All new loads and wiring had to be confined to the sub panel and branch-circuit levels, and loads had to be carefully matched to available capacity.

With adjacent 8-receptacle strips are mounted between the mezzanine arches along the north and south walls of the theater area. The photo on the right shows why columns must be heavy-duty and welded to building steel. It's common practice for theater-people to stand on the column while adjusting lamps.

The central open area of the theater measures 24 by 64 It and is surrounded on all sides by a balcony12 to 16 ft wide. Centered in this area is a 12-by-16-ft raised stage. The building, which also has apartments on upper floors, is served at 208/120volts, 3 phase. All theater lighting is fed from a single 200-amp panel. A new 10-kw, solid-state dimmer controls the lighting level of the 60-year old but attractive fixtures, each phase being controlled independently.

The accompanying schematic points out the details of the wiring done by Vista Electrical Contractors, Inc.:
CircuitsOne detail of the wiring deserves further comment. You'll note in the diagram that Vista Electric ran 64 conductors out to feed each bank of 32 dimmer-controlled receptacles rather than permitting a single neutral conductor to serve more than one receptacle. This is not required by the NECode or any local code and may seem like an unnecessary use of copper, but it is common practice in theater lighting.

Part of the problem is the need for stable and predictable voltage at spot or flood lamps, particularly when dimmed. Consider the problem on a three-wire, single-phase circuit with no load on one of the hot conductors, and the other loaded with a 500-watt lamp dimmed to the point where lumen output is at 80%. This occurs when voltage at the lamp is 93%. This 7% voltage drop is made up of drops in the dimmer, the hot conductor, and the neutral conductor. The neutral drop represents perhaps 1½ to 2%.Now if the lamp on the other half of the circuit is turned on, the voltage drop in the neutral will be reduced, disappearing entirely if exactly the same current flows in through both lamps. At this point the first lamp is now operating at roughly 95% voltage. But because lumen output of incandescent lamps changes as the 3.38power of the voltage, the lamp is now at 84% lumen output. This jump in lighting level can be distracting during critical scenes. It cannot be assumed that such a small jump would be masked by the turning on of another lamp. The second lamp may be carrying a filter so deeply colored that its light can barely be seen on stage, even at full wattage. Color filters add another complication to the lamp voltage problem. A small voltage (and filament temperature) change can result in change of on-stage color rendition that is quite noticeable. When each hot conductor carries its own neutral, voltage drop and consequently lamp color remain unchanged whether other lamps are on or off.

Use of individual neutral conductors also reduces the magnetic noise that accompanies SCR-controlled dimmers. In spite of improved filter circuits in modern solid-state dimmers, the sharp current rise during each pulse-width-modulated half cycle can cause conduit or fittings or trough and covers to vibrate and lamp filaments that are not rigidly supported to "sing." During critical moments in a stage production, any noise emanating from the lighting system can be very distracting.