The Electrical Power Working Group, part of ESTA's Technical Standards Program, has started a project to create an American National Standard E1.24-200x, Dimensional Requirements for Stage Pin Connectors. The standard will specify the dimensional requirements for a range of different ampacity stage pin connectors (also known as Bates plugs) and also will give the general conventions of use for the connectors. The starting point for the standard-drafting project will the USITT connector standard, USITT S3-1997, the maintenance of which the United States Institute for Theatre Technology has agreed to turn over to ESTA.

The project is being undertaken because the USITT standard does not appear to be being used by nationally recognized testing laboratories in their safety tests for pin connectors. The USITT standard specifies the size and placement of connector pins so that male and female connectors by different manufacturers will reliably fit together. However, testing labs have been testing the mating of the male and female connectors of a particular manufacturer with other connectors from that same manufacturer only, and have not been testing them to see if they conform to a non-manufacturer-specific configuration standard such as USITT's. The result has been connectors in the field that will not mate with connectors from other manufacturers without overheating. It is hoped that having an American National Standard for connector compatibility will promote safety and convenience by ensuring that connectors from different manufacturers intermate reliably.

People and organizations that might be affected by the development of the pin connector configuration standard are invited to become involved in the project by joining the Electrical Power Working Group or by offering comments when the draft standard is ready for public review. Information about getting involved in the Working Group is available at http://www.esta.org/tsp/tscinvolved.html or can be obtained by contacting Karl G. Ruling, ESTA's Technical Standards manager. Membership in ESTA is not a requirement for membership in the Electrical Power Working Group or for participation in any public review.

For more information, please contact:

Karl G. Ruling, Technical Standards manager
ESTA
875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1005
New York, NY 10001
fax 1-212-244-1502
standards@esta.org