View Full Version : Electrical wiring question

04-14-2009, 07:50 PM
So, I'm pretty sure we are gonna get the haunt going this year again. Everything with the building is coming together just fine so far.

The question I have is:

From what I can gather from our fire marshall, is that we will need to have everything wired so that at the flip of a switch... all effects and lighting shut off, and simultaneously, all emergency lighting and signals turn on.

What is the best/easiest/most effective way of wiring everything up to allow this to happen?

It should be wired so that any actor in any room, can activate this change over. I think all wiring should go to one "control box", which would be one main breaker of some sort.

Electrical wiring is not anything I'm familiar with, and I want to make sure I understand what I'm getting into with this situation.

Thanks in advance.

04-14-2009, 09:34 PM
You should clarify with your fire inspector.

That is asking for the world handed to him on a platinum platter. How big is your haunt? How many circuits do you run? How many amps is your service?

That is a SERIOUS undertaking and what he's asking, IMO is absolutely outrageous.

04-14-2009, 09:40 PM
Okay. Well, again I dont know much about electrical work, so I dont know about the watts and amperage I will be using.

The building is 12,000 sq.ft., and I will be using around 8,000 to 9,000 sq.ft.

He briefly talked about this.

And I agree with you. This sounds like a lot more than what I've dealt with before.

I think that if I were to put a switch in every room, an actor can turn on all the overhead lights, but the effects lights would still stay on. This way... overhead lights come on, and even though the effects lights are still on, it's obvious that something is out-of-the-norm.

I'm gonna talk with him again soon, to clarify this.

04-14-2009, 09:51 PM
If I remember right, Frightworld had this set-up... all the electrical went to ONE breaker box with ONE... BIG switch, once flipped... all show lighting, animations, effects, fog, etc... were shut off and overhead and emergency lights (extras) came on... this was also wired into the heat detectors, so if they went off... same thing happened!

I'll try to talk to Ron about it and see what he says. But NY may be different than TX! -Tyler

04-14-2009, 09:54 PM
Thank you Tyler!!!!! I was thinking about a system like this as I was typing out the first post.

I will deffinately look into this. It will look great to have a setup like this, pre-built, rather than to walk in and try to do something like this by ourselves.

And Tyler, just an FYI, the haunt will be in Shreveprot, Louisiana, in case anyone asks.

Allen H
04-14-2009, 10:07 PM
I have started using battery powered emergency lighting, you just plug them into breaker and when the power goes out, they come on. That way when breakers trip or power goes out they come on.
They are not hard to find.
Allen H

04-14-2009, 10:16 PM
Kind of a pain in the ass but not unheard of. If you run the circuits that need to be shut down of a seperate sub panel, then there are many disconnect options, both local and remote that would do the job fairly cheaply. I agree the on the inverse of the battery back up emergancy lights.

04-21-2009, 09:10 PM

I'm an Electrical Controls Engineer by day and work as a sub-contractor for a local haunt during Halloween (15 years). Last year our haunt was required to do the same as what you have been asked. At first we thought what a pain, as many others have stated.

I designed a master control circuit that solved this problem. We truly feel that after we installed the new safety control circuit our haunt is very safe in the event of an emergency.

The system I designed interfaces with the fire panel, emergency lighting, main house sound and emergency exit sound system/public address system and loss of main power.

If you would like I can help you with your needs and design you or build a system that would meet your local fire marshal requirements. I would need information about your haunt, as every haunt would have different requirements.

Send me an email if you still need assistance.


Boo Crew Production
04-22-2009, 06:18 AM
We were required to put in a similar system. Although our system was required to be automatic in the case of fire. We had to install heat risers (fire detectors). When these sensors, sense 140 degrees these sensors send a signal to the control box, at which time it shuts off outlets to all show effects. The battery back-up emergency lights, that are on the same circuit come on. very simple system, only issue is this all had to be installed by certified installation company and crew. This system is also required to have battery back up.

04-22-2009, 09:12 AM
The last time I read the code book the switch to emergency lighting and turning off the effects lighting/sounds etc is supposed to happen automatically linked to the fire suppression system with verbal announcements blah, blah, blah.

How that is normally done is with special breakers that detect a signal from the alarm system. I have a crappy memory and can not remember the name of the signaling but SDI sticks in my head for some reason. That may be totally wrong. If my weak memory servers me I think the signaling is sent through the same power wiring and is received by these special breakers kind of like how X-10 junk works.

I donít think many fire marshals hold haunts to this code but it might be an easy way to go or if you are ever held to this code you would not have to wire things twice like doing the multiple sub panels.

Hope that helps.

04-22-2009, 09:16 AM
For our haunt last year the switch was just the main breaker in the panel. When this was shut off all of the emergency lighting came on automatically. Our fire chief was good with it but every
chief is different.

04-25-2009, 06:27 PM
Thanks for all the input guys.

Here's the new info:

We are ably to label ourselves as a "temporary" haunt this year, and this gets up out of a lot of things to do.

We will no longer have to deal with this electrical problem I was asking about.

This year is going to be extremely easy to put everything together.

All we have to do now is have the inspectors come out before we start building to make sure everything is ok.

Thanks again for all the input. It will come in handy for us next year.