Power Runs: Connecting & Disconnecting 5 Wire Banded

August 29, 2017

When working on a film set, there are few issues more important than ensuring ample electricity is available to all departments. One of the most common ways to power a set or studio is with a 5 Wire Banded with Cam Lock Connectors. This cable will allow you to run power to all of your gear on set in an efficient manner.

5 Wire Banded

Three Phase Power Run

One feature that remains consistent are the color phases for a three phase power run. There are 5 separate cables strung together, each has its own color on the male and female Cam Lock Connector. Green is ground, White is neutral, Red, Blue, and Black are the (hot legs), or power cables.

5 Wire banded is often referred to as “Feeder Cable” and is typically availble in 25’ and 50’ lengths as well as two diameters.

2/0 cable is generally rated to carry up to 200amps and is 0.3648 inches in diameter.

While the larger 4/0 cable is rated for up to 400amps and is 0.4600 inches in diameter.

Safety First

When connecting 5 Wire Banded, first be sure the breaker is turned off at the power source. Then get into the habit of connecting in the following order:

  • 1. Ground (Green)
  • 2. Neutral (White)
  • 3. Then the three hot legs (Black, Blue, Red)

When disconnecting, be sure the breaker is off at the power source, then reverse the process:

  • 1. Disconnect the three hot legs first (Black, Blue, Red)
  • 2. Followed by the Neutral (White)
  • 3. Then remove the Ground (Green) last

Its important to remember that if the neutral gets pulled out of the connection it can result in serious damage to equipment and personel on set. Never discount the Neutral (White) until the hot legs (Black, Blue, Red) have been disconnected.

Line Loss

One issue with running power over large distances is line loss. The further you run your power from its initial source, the more line loss or “voltage drop” you will experience. Be sure to meter your furthest cable and the power source to determine if you have the proper amount of voltage. It may require jumping up to a larger cable that can carry the voltage further like 2/0 or 4/0 cable. Both still use the Cam Lock Connections.

How Much Power Can You Get?

The three hot legs; black, blue, and red, each carry 120Volts when paired with the neutral leg (white). You can combine two hot legs together, which creates 240Volts which is ideal for running larger units on a set like HMI’s

Ultimately the amount of power you get depends on the size of the power source. Be sure to always follow the proper volt and amp capacity and always seek professional consulting if any questions arise.