Automation is a hands-on craft as well as an engineering discipline. The previous chapters dealt with the engineering and design portion of stage automation; now we are going to take a few pages to examine the craft. Because automation moves scenery around the stage, it is often under the purview of the scene shop, but this is a bit of an odd tradition. Automation is as much about electricity and IT as mechanics, and as such it requires fastidious electrical skill to do well.

Many, if not most, automation troubles are a result of improper wiring, bad cable construction, or loose panel connections. A brother-in-arms who spent years traveling the globe as an emergency automation technician once told me the ...

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