Please don’t buy “a distro”

fire distro box
employee marketing

Published by Milla Randjelovic


20 August, 2021


Some people believe that all power distribution products are basically the same and that the choice comes down to price and availability.

This is absolutely not correct. Some people also believe that if they buy a distro that conforms to all the relevant standards, then they have got the best possible protection.


Again, not correct.

The published standards, whether international or national, only sets the minimum requirements; what is needed to be allowed to plug into the electrical supply. These standards are only concerned with protecting electrical wiring from damage and to some extent people from electric shock.

But note; these standards make absolutely no provisions or requirements for protecting the connected equipment. Such as your video screen, lights, lighting control console, or power amps.



The electrical standards for temporary power distribution are derived from those for domestic power distribution, such as those used in your home or office. Those are cosy and dry environments with the wiring fixed and fully tested. Not quite the complex and hectic live show environment.

Naturally, you want to have a distro that conforms to the standards required by law. However, that is only the starting point. You also want a well-engineered solution that provides you with the best possible protection for people as well as equipment – and your reputation!

Most manufacturers of power distribution systems are assembling perfectly legal but, in many ways, rather incomplete products. Assembled from ‘consumer grades’ parts intended for electrical distribution in homes and offices. Legal, yes but rather disappointing.



At StageSmarts, we love a challenge and that’s why we’ve reinvented power distribution. That includes introducing features and functionality that increase flexibility, improves electrical safety, and speeds up the setup and fault-finding processes. And while we were at it, we also raised the bar on build quality and aesthetics – who said distros need to be ugly?

We’re proud to be first to bring event power distribution up to the requirements of today (not yesterday). Hopefully, other manufacturers will join us.

The stakes are higher than ever before. The equipment used at shows and events represents very significant investments. It needs and deserves the best possible power distribution to not only supply the power but also protect all connected equipment and crews when (not if) something goes wrong. Electrical safety is of much greater concern today than it was yesterday.



Think about it – how much will a failure cost you? A delayed or cancelled show? Can you recover from it, will your reputation recover from it, will your financials handle it?

So please, do yourself a favour and don’t just buy “a distro” – you’ll have to live with its limited protection and shortcomings for many years.

Get it right the first time around. Get StageSmarts!


Written by Mats Karlsson; CEO at StageSmarts AB

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