LynTec power control solution provides easy-to-use, affordable control to fit Northstar Church’s vision
For almost 20 years, Northstar Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been faithful to its vision of growth. The church was founded in early 2003 in the backyard of its small group of followers. In 2010, its west campus’ Sprung Structure (called the Bubble) opened, with an occupancy of 525, to almost 1,000 people in attendance for its Sunday services. The church continued to grow quickly and four years later opened a second campus on the south side of Knoxville. Today, almost 10 years after opening the Bubble, which serves as its broadcast location, Northstar moved into a new building on its west campus. The new building provides double the occupancy of the Bubble and is outfitted with a full suite of audio, video, and lighting (AVL) components designed and installed by E2i Design.
"We did the design for Northstar from the ground up," said Josh Holowicki, the founder and CEO of E2i Design. "Northstar includes AVL in the main worship center as well as distributed audio and video throughout the building. It was a vast job that would require robust but affordable and easy-to-use power control solutions to get comprehensive control over the entire system."
The main house audio is provided by a L-Acoustics Kara line array run from a Midas Pro2-CL main audio console. Harman JBL and Crown amplification with Harman BSS Control Solutions are used for the distributed audio while Shure wireless microphones are used for music and voice. GrandMA2 is used for lighting control. The lighting kit also includes CHAUVET Professional R2 spots, R1 spots, and R2 wash fixtures as well as Martin RUSH MH 6 CT series fixtures, Chroma-Q Studio Force LED fixtures, and MDG hazers. House lights are Chroma-Q Inspire. Pathway Pathport gateway provides the lighting network infrastructure, while the Acuity Brand’s Vignette digital wall station offers lighting controller. For trussing motor control, E2i selected an SSRC switch for power distribution and Skjonberg Controls for motor controllers. Clear-Com is used throughout the facility for communication. A Ross Carbonite Black Solo is used for main production switcher with Ross PIVOTcams for remote camera control. For video, E2i installed two Epson Pro 1505 12,000-lumen projectors in the space. In addition, the church has a full broadcast audio and video system that includes with a separate monitor mix station for audio. There are also Samsung displays throughout the facility.
In addition to the need for a comprehensive power control solution for the facility, the church also required a system with room to support the AV needs of touring Christian artists. The right solution would meet that long-term vision while still supporting Northstar’s weekly broadcast and live experience.
For E2i, selecting such a power control system was an easy task. The design and integration firm has relied on LynTec power control solutions as the standard for vast majority of its AV designs and installations for houses of worship. For Northstar, LynTec’s power control panels would allow the organization to build a system ready to scale to future needs.
"It’s becoming a trend for houses of worship to be more forward-looking, and at E2i, that’s something we talk organizations through. We want them to think not only beyond their needs today but also how their AVL budget and equipment can serve them well into the future," said Holowicki. "Northstar’s future vision was unique. They wanted the infrastructure to support touring Christian artists and potential video upgrades. LynTec is built not just for small houses of worship with modest AVL investment but for scalability."
E2i installed the RPC 365 master remote control breaker panel along with the RPS 385 slave panel. Built on the industry-accepted G3 Powerlink hardware platform by Square D, the patented RPC family combines circuit protection and power management, on/off control, and power sequencing in one affordable and scalable panel. For Northstar, the panel was perfectly suited for Northstar’s equipment requirements — from the audio to the lighting and video components — needs while meeting its budget. On the audio side, the panel provides customized circuit-level sequencing, which eliminates the challenges of properly powering on digital audio systems with a separate sequencer. Northstar only has a couple members of its technical staff and requires systems that can not only cut down on setup tasks such as sequencing but also simplify them for its largely volunteer crew. With customized sequencing step rates built into the system, the church doesn’t have to worry out the proper order of turning on and off components; the system allows each circuit to be set with the exact number of seconds — anywhere between 1 and 999 seconds — to allow digital equipment to fully boot up before the next step of the sequence fires.
The panel was also critical to protecting the church’s stage and house lighting. For many houses of worship, LEDs are a large investment meant to eliminate the high cost of bulbs and maintenance with the promise of maximum brightness lasting anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 hours. But to reap the cost savings, the lighting systems must be powered completely down at the source, so they don’t draw current and shorten the lifespan of individual instruments. The RPC panel provides remote power control down to the circuit level, providing staff with an easy-to-use system to power on and off its array of LED fixtures.
The RPC panel also supported Northstar’s current and future video requirements. In addition to the church’s two projectors and inventory of video displays throughout the building, the church is planning to add a video wall to support onstage graphics. Heat is a natural enemy of electronics and when left in standby mode, can build-up and shorten the life. The LynTec panel cycles off video equipment when it’s not in use and properly sequences them on, protecting against damage caused by inrush.
Northstar also benefits on the installation side. Using an RPC panel instead of a separate relay panel means that there are fewer points of contact to wire upon installation. The labor involved to install a LynTec panel is the same as to wire a standard breaker panel. Less to install equals reduced costs.
"By design, we did not fill those panels to the brim with breakers right out of the gate," said Holowicki. "It’s a 32-breaker panel, which we installed with 20 breakers to cover what they need now. The labor of wiring is already done, so when more components are added to the system, it’s as simple and affordable as adding more breakers. This ensures future value for the next couple of years of growth without additional financial investment and only minimal investment for 5 to 7 years beyond that."
When it came to controlling the LynTec panels, it couldn’t be simpler. E2i Design ran everything back to a single control button at the front of house. With a simple push, it properly sequences on the AVL equipment the church needs for its Sunday services.
When Northstar’s new location was opened in November, the staff and crew could see the difference right away. At their old location, they controlled everything by flipping breakers. LynTec’s RPC panel offers not on the ease of operation but also the peace of mind that they’re turning on the right equipment and that everything is sequenced on correctly.
"Their previous system was pieced together over many years and assembled by different people," said Holowicki. "It was an incredibly disjointed experience. Now they have comprehensive power control with a cohesive plan for the future that’s simple, scalable, and affordable."