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DIY stage lighting - wiring/parts help needed (pics)

I play in a three piece sludge metal band and I am in the process of making some portable footswitchable stage lighting. I want it to be safe and convenient, however I'm not toooo knowledgable when it comes to electrical wiring/ideal parts for ideal application, etc...
Below are two images of my plans so far, but I could reeeeeally use some help in the issues/questions addressed in the images. If anyone can shed some light (no pun intended) on this I would greatly appreciate it. Please be as specific as possible.


Portable footswitchable Stage Lighting for my band.
I think we will be using 65-100watt incandescent lights.
4 momentary white lights (2 per side)
+ 4 on/off white lights (2 per side)
+ 2 color lights (1 per side).


- What wire to be used to connect couple labeled sockets?
(two momentary, two on/off in each side box. both sides
triggered at same time)
- How do I wire the labeled sockets?
Are they connected just like how it’s drawn?
- Can those footswitches be used with this set up/light sockets?Or do I need a different type/rated footswitch to do this?
- How can I connect and disconnect (for transport) RIGHT BOX to LEFT BOX and power both sides to one footswitch?

ALL help and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Posted 2012-09-14T18:13:17+0000  by MattS MattS

Hey Matt,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


I must say you really have quite a set-up going on your band. I know lighting can really be a big difference when it comes to setting up the right mood for a concert. I keep thinking of the GWAR concert I went to a few years back here in Atlanta...but I digress :smileyhappy:


It sounds like you have a good grasp on electrical know-how already to make it work. With that said, most of our knowledge here on the community is generally relegated to household know-how and not stage set-up equipment. However, there are some basic things you can do through us, and if you already have the foot switches then that is a great start.


I am by no means a sound and stage organizer, but I'll try to answer the questions in which you asked them. Always refer to a professional lighting tech if you need any specific questions that deal with just the stage lighting aspects, i.e. codes.


What wire to be used to connect couple labeled sockets?


I'd go with SJOW or SOOW rated wire sold through us in our store. It looks and feels like black matte-finish extension cord cable...because that is what it is. A 14- gauge wire should be sufficient to carry the electricity through the lights, foot switch and to the receptacle. It would a better bet for your money just to buy an entire roll of it (usually 100') instead of buying it per foot, which is more expensive if you need a lot. The SJO rated cord is somewhat thinner but not as durable for traffic on-stage as an SO grade cord. It's the same gauge, but the outer jacket is thicker, which is what I would recommend.  Come into your local Home Depot and see the difference between them as well as other materials for the job.

Southwire 14-3 SOOW 100' Cord

How do I wire the labeled sockets?

Depending on how you will set your wiring system/lightbox  up will determine how they will be installed. By that, I mean your footswitch should have contacts to place your hot, neutral, and ground leads. Since the Home Depot doesn't sell or are into the stage lighting market, I honestly don't know how these would be assembled, but for the plugs and light socket I do. 


If you carefully inspect the male end of the extension cords you'll need to purchase as well as the socket you have, you'll notice screws have a brass and a silver. There maybe a green screw, that is for the ground. The brass screw will go to the black wire from your SOOW cord(shown above), and the silver screw goes to the white wire. 


Are they connected just like how it’s drawn?


As I stated before, we at The Home Depot doesn't sell or get into stage lighting components, such everyday home improvment products. I would refer to a professional lighting tech at this stage for connections to the foot pedals, but the lights and male end plugs can easily be assembled as I stated above in this post.


Can those footswitches be used with this set up/light sockets? Or do I need a different type/rated footswitch to do this?
- How can I connect and disconnect (for transport) RIGHT BOX to LEFT BOX and power both sides to one footswitch?



This would be something that no one except a lighting techician or someone who is professional in this field of lighting setup could answer. I'll tell you the same thing I tell my customers in the store, "If we don't sell it, then I don't know about it." I really wish I could help you out further, but without seeing the specs or more information in the foot switches, I couldn't answer any of these questions. The disconnect/connect should all be on the foot switch to make it easier for transport as you stated. Any further connections, like an RCA/amp type plug we do carry in our stores, but I need to see the foot switch to see if its good for that. 


This is one of those projects where I'd get as much assistance from any friends or people in the music/concert industry as well as just browsing our aisles at The Home Depot. We will carry almost everything in your diagram at our store, save for the foot switches.


Lastly, you aren't using 1000+ watt light bulbs for this. Judging by your images, it looks like you'd be using a BR30 or PAR38 light bulb, which is a pretty safe and low wattage compared to other large lighting setups.


However, if you plan out, layout the wiring, and consult a professional lighting tech, this project can be done. 



Be safe and rock on,


Posted 2012-09-17T19:52:30+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

hey matt - not an electrical specialist, nor do i have any idea how to help you. however i've seen many local bands do similar things with lighting, but in a different way.  instead of having a footswitch off to the side of the lightbox, they had a pad/button of some sort on TOP of the box.  so when they stood/powerstance on them, the light illuminated them from below, making it look totally br00tal.


basically, i'm thinking it'd be easier to set up 2-3 seperate boxes with a switch on each that would complete the individual circuit of the box, rather than connecting each fixture into the same system. just a thought.

Posted 2012-09-21T17:17:52+0000  by squids

also \m/

Posted 2012-09-21T17:18:57+0000  by squids
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