new life into mining rig at the silver legacy

Breathing New Life into the Silver Legacy Mining Rig

At 42 stories, the Silver Legacy Resort Casino is the tallest building in downtown Reno, NV. For over 20 years it has been at the heart of the city’s hospitality scene, welcoming locals and tourists alike for dining, entertainment, gambling and overnight stays. Named to pay homage to Nevada’s silver mining heritage, the resort is anchored by a huge replica of a turn-of-the-century silver mining rig that is housed in the world’s largest composite dome. This impressive installation has wowed resort visitors for decades and, following a lighting overhaul that exclusively utilized 228 ADJ LED-powered fixtures, it is set to continue to do so for a long time to come.

Standing 120ft tall, the Silver Legacy mining rig really is a sight to behold, however the resort’s technical team recently decided that for maximum wow-factor it was time for the lighting system that illuminates it to be replaced. Installed back when the complex first opened in 1995, the previous system made use of conventional par cans fitted with color gels. This setup not only required a lot of power to run continuously day-in, day-out, but also presented a maintenance challenge as access for changing lamps and gels required riggers with specialist climbing equipment.

Realizing that a move to LED-based illumination would be the logical choice, the Silver Legacy team approached Troy Berry at Starsound Audio, Inc. Established in the Reno/Tahoe area for over 40 years and headed up by President and Founder Scott Bergstrom, the company provides audio, lighting, and video equipment for many venue installs and one-off events in Reno each year.

“They came to us and said that they were looking at getting rid of all the conventionals and upgrading the Mining Rig,” says Troy. “So, obviously, LED was the first choice because of the energy saving potential and the reduced maintenance. That was the problem with the old system, the expense of constantly sending people to climb up for replacing blown lamps and burned-out gels was becoming unmanageable.”

Having gained a clear idea of what was required, Troy arranged a demo for the Silver Legacy team of a variety of different fixtures that could be used for the job. Through this process three different ADJ products came out as the clear best choices for the various different lighting requirements of the project. This decision was made based both on the performance and effectivity of the fixtures as well as their affordability and reliability.

The first fixture selected was ADJ’s Par Z4. Powered by 4 x 15-Watt quad-color RGBW LEDs, this compact yet flexible fixture offers a manual zoom function that allows its beam angle to be altered between 60- and 10-degrees. This meant the Par Z4 fixtures could be used to illuminate the narrow I-beams at the top of the mining rig structure. “With the zoom dialed right in,” explains Troy, “we were able to shoot a beam of light right up a 6-inch piece of steel and really accent it, without any over spill of the light.”

Par Z4 units were also chosen to up-light a series thick columns which run up the front of the mining rig. Four fixtures have been positioned around each column, allowing them to be fully illuminated with no light spilling off on to other parts of the rig. This allows the columns to be lit in a different color to the main structure, causing them to stand out in a way that creates real impact.

The main structure of the mining rig comprises a steel truss frame which was previously lit from within by a series of Par 46s. To replace these old fixtures, ADJ’s 5P Hex LED pars were selected and fitted at either side of each length of truss. Utilizing 5 x 10-Watt 6-in-1 hex LEDs, these modern pars not only allow the trusses to be effectively illuminated, but for any imaginable color hue to be easily selected remotely via DMX.

“The casino people really like the dynamics of the color changing,” enthuses Troy. “As different seasons come upon us – Halloween, Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, and so on – the marketing department love the ability to change the colors easily so that the rig display can be tied in with special campaigns and promotions.”

The final new fixture selected for the mining rig’s lighting re-vamp was ADJ’s COB Cannon Wash. This potent fixture makes uses of a 150-Watt RGBA COB LED to create immensely powerful color washes. For this installation, a series of these fixtures were chosen to illuminate some of the larger features of the rig, such as the drive wheels and bellows. Further units were then also deployed to wash the walkways around the structure.

With a standard beam angle of 80-degrees, the COB Cannon Wash is ideal for covering a large area with evenly-distributed colored light. However, in some cases, either the 40- or 50-degree optional lenses (which are both provided as standard with the fixture) were utilized in order to draw in the beam to concentrate on specific features of the rig.

The task of programming the new lighting system fell to the Silver Legacy’s Entertainment Lighting Designer, Eric Pobert, who was extremely pleased with the installation. “Programming has been very easy and everything worked exactly as it should. The color mixing features of the LED units allow us to do much more than we could with the old conventional system and right now we’re actually in the process of setting up time-coded shows with color changes and different elements of the rig highlighted at different times. Management love the new setup and especially its flexibility. Recently, we turned the whole rig green for St. Patrick’s Day, and then we made it blue when our local college basketball team went to the playoffs!”

Now that the project has been completed, the advantages of the new technology are plain for all to see. Not only does the LED system offer far more flexibly, but the power draw is a fraction of what it used to be, while lamp and gel replacements are a thing of the past. Everyone involved is pleased with the decision to choose ADJ fixtures, and plans are already in place for Starsound Audio to supply additional 5P Hex and COB Cannon Wash fixtures to illuminate the adjacent miner’s shack structure that is now slated for its own re-vamp.

While the power saving and maintenance reducing benefits of LED were the driving force behind this upgrade, the ADJ fixtures used also provided other benefits. “We were all very impressed by the brightness of these fixtures,” says Troy, “and the other thing that struck us was the vividness of the color. Now that we’re not having to gel a bunch of white light, the reds, the greens, the blues, all look much more vivid and punchy. It’s really breathed new life into the whole dome section of the resort!”


Silver Legacy Resort Casino
407 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89501

ADJ Dealer and Lighting Installer:

Starsound Audio


Lighting Designer: Eric Pobert, Silver Legacy Casino

Photography: Brian Dowdle

Article Written by: Brian Dowdle

Original Article Location: ADJ’s Website

ADJ Gear List:

32x ADJ COB Cannon Wash

107x ADJ 5P Hex

89x ADJ Par Z4

See the Silver Legacy Mining Rig in action:

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