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Case Studies

Casa da Música, Porto – Installation of a weight monitoring system for the lighting structure

19 November, 2018

Envisioned to mark the festive year of 2001, in which the city of Porto was elected European Capital of Culture, Casa da Música is the first Portuguese building dedicated exclusively to Music, both in terms of performances for audiences and artistic training and creation.



Entertainment venues are the only entities that have permission to have suspended loads over artists and the audience.

Since its establishment, Casa da Música has always ensured that the artists and the audience are safe, which is why it has acquired systems that monitor suspended loads, such as theatrical lighting and speakers. The previous system installed in Casa da Música was a battery-powered Wi-Fi communication system, which ended up showing its weaknesses, namely regular malfunctions, until it stopped working completely.

The frequency spectre used by this system was taken up by other surrounding equipment and communications that interfered with the system and the battery duration was always a worry factor, as it implied having a permanent stock of batteries available.


Cachapuz’s solution

Implementation of a lighting equipment weight monitoring system in the Suggia room.

Cachapuz’s solution provides a strong and reliable registry system, and real-time monitoring of the weight of the three lighting platforms in the room. This solution’s system, as well as its hardware architecture, were designed and developed from scratch by Cachapuz, ensuring that all the specific needs required by the structure were fulfilled. The software enables creating a visual representation of the structures and record the load for each point, as well as the total weight of the suspended structure.


The installed solution comprises:

  • individual load cells for each of the structure’s suspension points;
  • quick link connectors for load cells;
  • a compact weighing reader for each load cell, installed to estimate the weight, transmitted via Ethernet.


Main features:

  • ability to resize and move each platform inside the room;
  • association of a weighing point to each platform and the total weight point for the platform;
  • creation of a registry anytime a there is a change in one of the load points;
  • analysis of the different status changes according to the following information: identification of the room, platform and point; duration of the status change; maximum weight; status variations; date of occurrence.


Main advantages:

  • precise weighing of suspended equipment;
  • safety for artists and/or audience under the structure;
  • real-time recording and monitoring of the weight of the lighting platforms inside the Suggia room;
  • the system’s easy maintenance and diagnostics enables every feature for its monitoring;
  • weighing kit per load monitoring point with Ethernet communication and a software inspection system; this enables creating a visual representation of the lighting structures, allowing the visualisation and load registry in each point and the platform’s suspended total.
  • Simple architecture that allowed eliminating wireless communication and battery-powered equipment existing in traditional and current market solutions, thus eliminating interference from other devices that are vital for the show;
  • Complete registry of weight changes in each event performed in the room, which can be viewed and consulted via reports.


System’s architecture

The next image depicts a sketch of the system implemented, with the location of the elements installed to obtain the registry and weight monitoring system for the suspended structures.

Each weighing monitoring unit (W) can accomodate two or three independent weighing readers, each one connected to just one load cell (LC). Each monitoring unit needs a 230Vac power supply cable and an Ethernet network cable


Load Cells

The load cells selected for this project have a unit capacity of 2000 kg. The suggested suspension shackle for this model and capacity is the 3.5 t SBX. The cells are certified under OIML, EC and RoHS.


Weighing readers

Compact, accurate and fast weighing readers. The proposed model has a 0.1 µV resolution and makes 90 conversions per second. This module is protected against voltage reversal and overvoltage.

The weighing readers include the RS422 or RS485 communication protocol. RS422/RS485 to Ethernet converters

Communications converter from RS422 or RS485 protocol to TCP/IP Ethernet protocol. This converter as an automatic Ethernet flow detector of 10/100 Mbps and baud rate series up to 230.4 Kbps.


Switch Ethernet

5-port Ethernet switch that provides a connection to the RS422/RS485 converter modules, connected to customer’s data network.


Monitoring software

The load monitoring software will allow viewing the load on each of the structure’s suspension points and simultaneously show the total suspended weight on each platform.

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