ETC is combing the field for empirical data and asking for the input of dimmer-users for a new online survey, the first-ever “Connected Load Survey,” to begin the process of determining whether the lighting community is oversizing, undersizing, or rightsizing dimmer systems.

The company’s goal is to gather connected-load information on 100,000 channels of dimming in venues ranging from opera houses, to regional theatres, TV studios, Broadway shows, community theatres, performing arts centers, concerts halls, to educational facilities.

The entertainment lighting industry has grappled with defining the power requirements and typical connected loads for different types of dimmer-per-circuit systems for many years. Previous efforts to define these parameters have involved feeder-current measurements during performances and have not yielded good information. The task of sending measurement teams out to a sufficiently wide sampling of performance venues has just not been practical.

Fifteen years after the question “How much power is necessary?” first came up, much more needs to be known about the actual loads connected to dimming systems, and the number of loads turned on during any given performance.

Lower wattage lamps are now the norm, but system power feeds, dimmer sizes, and cooling systems haven’t changed much. Are we perhaps spending a great deal of money without getting maximum performance out of our lighting systems?

To be part of ETC’s Connected Load Survey, visit their Web site at and fill out the painless dimmer-load survey form. The survey will be going on until the end of July 2005. Participants will receive a thank-you gift and be entered in a drawing to win a SmartFade® console.