- Draper’s Smart Gym Control System can save electrical installation costs.
One of the currently hot products in the gymnasium equipment industry is gym control systems. Gym control systems have been on the market for 12 to 15 years, but are starting to show up in more projects. Gym control systems replace traditional key switches to operate motorized gymnasium equipment products like basketball backstops, gymnasium divider curtains, electric height adjusters, overhead volleyball systems, practice cages, mat lifters as well as other electrical equipment like lights, PA systems, projection screens, window shades and on some projects even bleachers. The interface with gym control systems is normally low voltage and can be a numerical touchpad or a touch screen. Almost all gym control systems require the use of a password to begin operating equipment to prevent unauthorized operation by untrained individuals.
Most recognized gymnasium equipment manufacturers have some type of gym control system. Draper offers two systems; EZ-Pad, a numerical touch pad system and Smart Gym, a more powerful and flexible touch screen system. Every manufacturer will tout the advantages and benefits of their particular system–things like no keys to lose, a safer low voltage interface, a neater appearance, less wall space required for controls, or the ability to simultaneously operate multiple items to reduce gym set up time.
All of the above are nice advantages, but one advantage that goes straight to the project bottom line is often ignored. The advantage that is often missed is the ability to share circuits among multiple pieces of equipment. Traditionally, each backstop, divider, height adjuster, overhead volleyball system or practice cage has required a dedicated 15 to 20 amp circuit. Each circuit requires it own breaker in the load center, wiring from the load center to the key switch and then more wiring to the piece of equipment being operated. With most gym control systems, the number of circuits can be greatly reduced which saves on the electrical wiring costs. Savings with the electrical contractor can easily pay for the cost of the gym control system.
To take advantage of this benefit requires some planning and forethought. Sharing circuits is made possible through the gym control system programming. Programs are written to insure that each circuit is only drawn on once during each operation insuring that a circuit is never overloaded. In a typical gym with six backstops and a divider curtain, all equipment can be run from a single circuit if group control is not required. The number of items to be run simultaneously will determine the number of circuits required. Draper participated in one project where 26 gymnasium divider curtains were operated from just two circuits. Imagine the savings in just circuit breaker for this project!
To take advantage of the full benefits of gym control systems, specifiers and designers need to plan carefully and should probably consult with the specified gym equipment manufacturer for full details. For assistance in specifying or planning for a Draper EZ-Pad or Smart Gym control system on future projects, please contact Draper or your local Draper Gymnasium Equipment Dealer for assistance.