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Two-Timing On Your Effects

I just flew back from Chicago, and boy...no, that joke's been done. Theatre Effects was in Chicago, though, for the National Halloween Costume & Party Show. We met lots of our customers and showed off many of our new and exciting products. However, one of the most effective devices we brought to the show was barely noticed -- something I'd like to remedy this week.

The Dual Cycle Timer is a nifty device that switches between two standard AC outlets at a preset interval. When the device is first plugged in, the first outlet (channel one) receives power, after a preset interval (from 15 seconds to 15 minutes) channel one is turned off and the second outlet (channel two) is turned on. The device switches back to channel one after the same interval has passed. This allows you to plug an effect into each outlet and have them switch back and forth throughout the course of your show or event.

For example, both the Double Derby and the Firecracker are great-looking party lights. However, simply plugging either of them in and letting it run all night long presents two problems. First, your audience will get bored with even the best-looking effect if they see it long enough. Second, most party lights need a "cool-down" period every fifteen minutes or so to prevent premature lamp failure and other problems. By switching between two effects, the Dual Cycle Timer preserves the life of your lights and keeps your audience from becoming bored.

The Dual Cycle Timer doesn't have to be used with two lights however, which brings us back to the Halloween expo. If you plug an effect into channel one and leave channel two empty, you can cycle one effect on and off at a set interval. This is a great way to control lighting and effects for outdoor displays, window displays and even trade show booths. We used a three-way outlet expander (available at most home centers) to plug both our Snow Machine and Power Flash strobe light into channel one of the timer and left channel two empty. That way, we could attract attention to the snow effect (and our booth, consequently) every few minutes without having to run it all day long, putting more wear and tear on the Snow Machine and the strobe. This also prevented those of us working in the booth from going insane from constantly flashing lights and falling snow. A similar set-up could have been used to periodically demonstrate most of our electrical devices, from police beacons to bubble machines!

The Dual Cycle Timer is invaluable to nightclub owners and mobile DJ's who want to provide an exciting light show with their music. After all, when you've invested your money in a great-looking light, you want to ensure that it keeps working for as long as possible and that the crowd doesn't get tired of seeing it. Multiple cycle timers controlling lights and effects all over the dance floor can provide an ever-changing light show that never looks the same twice!

Additionally, rental shops that rent party lights may want to include a timer with every rental as a way to ensure that the client doesn't overuse the light. This simple step could reduce costs of repair and replacement of lights dramatically! Rental shops that have stayed away from party lights for fear of high repair costs might consider purchasing a timer with every light. Party planners and organizers want to add party lights to their shows, and the Dual Cycle Timer allows you to rent to them with less risk.

I have to say that I really do love the Dual Cycle Timer even if it's not the sexiest item I've ever discussed here. That honor would have to go to the Electronic Flash Gun, or maybe the Pocket Cannon, ooh, or maybe....  


Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579


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