The Retro Roadshow is a labour of love for me….
It’s hot (around 2.5Kw in total for the full 16ft roadshow), it’s heavy (it weighs in at around a metric tonne), but it’s how I and many of my customers remember the disco of their youth….I love it with a passion.
It’s also the Heath Robinson of disco lighting. It’s held together by duct tape, carpet, sticky-backed-plastic….and an lot of love.
However – in it’s current format of 35w incandescent light bulbs and 1980s technology controllers…it’s becoming unreliable and inefficient to run. Real light bulbs are expensive now, and the Retro Roadshow eats them by the dozen (especially when venues are in a hurry for me to be out of the door and the lamps haven’t had the chance to cool down properly). As for the controllers…they’re becoming rarer than hen’s teeth.
To an extent, the Retro Roadshow is also fairly dangerous in the wrong circumstances. The screens are controlled by 8 pin “bulgin” plugs which literally shunt 250v into 7 of the pins (the 8th being common). Whilst you can’t get your fingers to them….liquids such as beer present a very real problem (and beer unfortunately does get spilled on the equipment at most parties…not by me I might add…I don’t waste beer in that way 😉 ).
As much as I love the simplicity of the technology….it’s sadly becoming harder to maintain 🙁
So…it’s time to modernise.
The Retro Roadshow is going LED powered (hopefully). It’s going to be complicated, it’s going to be expensive in the short term (around £100 per screen and there are 9 of them)…but it’s going to have so many benefits that I wish I’d thought of it a lot sooner.
I have a spare light screen which rarely goes out on the road. This will be the first to be converted to LED. There is much wiring and configuring to be done, and believe me the entire roadshow won’t be converted unless I’m happy with the results of this single screen.
The benefits? It’ll be lighter, cooler, more energy efficient, less likely to blow your venue’s power when a bulb pops, much more controllable (more than the 4 colours it currently provides), and most importantly will be usable for many more years to come. It will also be much safer both for myself and for you and your guests as it will run on 24v instead of 240v.
I should also be able to control the entire show wirelessly to provide more spectacular effects from these old relics of disco lighting….think of it as a Steampunk project 🙂
To the purists….this is sacrilege in it’s highest form. However, lamps are becoming more and more expensive (and actually harder to come by since recent EU law changes).
Will it look the same? I really hope so. I love what the Retro Roadshow represents in disco technology and believe me unless I’m happy with the result of the test screen converting to LED in terms of colour temperature, the rest won’t follow suit.
However – if it works……..