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Thread: Uh Oh Troubles Already

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    Space rented from Al SWood's Avatar
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    Default Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Lite up my mega tree and sat in the car to see it in action, first thing i notice no dimming. So I jump on the hardware utility go to the console and sure enough, no dimming there either. I tested the lights inside the house over the summer no problems. I disconnected everything and brought my unit back inside, then decided to try the night light on the end of the string idea. So I drug it back out connected all the cords and without the night light on it it worked perfectly. Ran through a couple of songs, no problem. So my question is what caused this? Is there a proper startup or connect procedure and should I and how do you reset a controller? Thanks!
    Shannon Wood
    XLights 4 User with 40,000 channels and 60,000 lights.
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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    1) was the LED inside the enclosure blinking or solid? You should look at that LED first.
    2) was this the first time that you used the hardware editor?
    3) was both sides of the controller power plugged in?


    How you reset depends on the controller.

    If the controller has Unit ID switches on it (i.e. Showtime 1600 series):
    Power off, Set the Unit ID switches to "00"
    Power on for 1-2 seconds (until you see the LED blink fast)
    Power off, Set the Unit ID back to the original value

    If the controller does not have Unit ID switches then (i.e. PC controllers):
    Power off, Remove the jumper from the 2nd row of the 18 pin header
    Power on for 1-2 seconds (until you see the LED blink fast)
    Power off, Replace the jumper on the SECOND ROW

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    Space rented from Al SWood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Quote Originally Posted by Al in Raleigh View Post
    1) was the LED inside the enclosure blinking or solid? You should look at that LED first. Yes led was solid
    2) was this the first time that you used the hardware editor? No
    3) was both sides of the controller power plugged in? Yes


    How you reset depends on the controller.

    If the controller has Unit ID switches on it (i.e. Showtime 1600 series):
    Power off, Set the Unit ID switches to "00"
    Power on for 1-2 seconds (until you see the LED blink fast)
    Power off, Set the Unit ID back to the original value

    If the controller does not have Unit ID switches then (i.e. PC controllers):
    Power off, Remove the jumper from the 2nd row of the 18 pin header
    Power on for 1-2 seconds (until you see the LED blink fast)
    Power off, Replace the jumper on the SECOND ROW
    I have PC controllers, forgot to mention that. If I reset it does that mean it has to be reconfigured?

    I'm gonna finish setting it up today and reconnect the 3 controllers to see if the problem comes back. If, I can see them in the day time lol.
    Shannon Wood
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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    You shouldn't need to reset the controllers. I don't remember if hardware reset does actually reset the controller's address but that is easy to set again. The only thing that I could guess that went wrong is the controller's electronics went bonkers and cutting the power to it forced a power on rest to occur. If it halts again post the results.
    Al

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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Ok will do. Thank ya sir!

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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Ok it must be the drop cords, when i connect the strand straight to the controller it dims fine, when i connect the drop cord it won't dim smoothly. The drop cords are 100' long with 2, 100 count strings attached. Any suggestion?
    Shannon Wood
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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    You are using LEDs correct? With a low current draw the distance shouldn't be a problem. Even if you aren't using LEDs and are using incandescents the current draw per extension cord should be adequate at that distance. Wait, are you connecting 100' drop cords to the output of the controllers or to the supplies to the controllers? If you are connecting to the output of the controller the impedance of the cord itself might effect the high speed switching characteristics. I am going to have to think about this some.

    1) are you using SPT cable or store bought extension cords?
    2) Try dimming the lights at say 90% and then at say 25%. If you go slowly from 90% to 25$ does the dimming act weird?
    Al

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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Yes LEDs connecting to the output 100' 16 gauge store bought cord. If I dim slowly it dims down to about 49 then blinks a couple of times then off. Same way dimming from off to 100%. Like I said when I connect straight to the controller it's perfect. I'm testing my mini trees now with the same lights but different cords. I'm gonna see if they do the same thing. Thanks

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    Senior Member mpurser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    sounds like a possible case for the portable power panel i take it from what im reading your controllers arn t where the action is?
    are you sure we checked every pixel?The Home of North Carolina's Largest tomato cage pixel tree.http://www.thelightsonpurserroad.com

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    You might need a resistive load (some folks call a snubber) at the end of the LEDs. Try putting a multitap connector at the end of the extension cord. Then plug in the leds into the multitap, then plug in another incandescent light. It can be a trouble light or lamp. I want to see the effect of adding a current path besides the LEDs. If the addition of the incandescent makes the LEDs dim properly, you simply need a small incandescent on the LEDs or simple add a small resistor instead of the incandescent. Some people don't want to see the light from the incandescent.

    This sounds like the triacs in the controller don't have enough current to do what is called Pulse Width Modulated switching. I won't go into details, but when you added resistance with the extension cords, you decreased the amount of current that will flow through the LEDs and according starved the triacs of enough current flow to properly function. What is worse is that colder weather would have made the switching better and warm weather would make it worse.

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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Ok Ill try that, i tried a different brand of lights and had the same result. I did notice a time or two the lights on my bushes that are on the same controller doing the same thing. the controller is very close to the bushes so short drop cords. I may try to swich controllers just to be sure the controller aint bad.

    On another note i connected my 8 mini trees different controller same type of lights except there are 3 strands per channel (instead of two strands on my mega) 75' store bought cords and it works perfect.

    I'll check back with results. Thanks
    Shannon Wood
    XLights 4 User with 40,000 channels and 60,000 lights.
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Yes sir night light done the trick! Air freshner worked too LoL Now, could I make one with a resistor and a plug or should I just go buy some night lights? Thanks!
    Shannon Wood
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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    The resistor trick would be my choice. You can actually put the resistor in a connector--maybe an SPT connector if there is room for air circulation. This is a resistor value that should work. http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...QICVM6slHes%3d

    You do not need to put the resistor on the LED string as some geniuses said in another forum that I read a while back. The resistor has to be on the LOR output somewhere--anywhere. It can be in the enclosure if you have room. The resistor's purpose is to force a minimum value of current through the triac. You could hook a blowmold to it and get the same results. A nightlight works really good too if you don't mind the light.

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    Default Re: Uh Oh Troubles Already

    Ok Al thanks for all your help I really appreciate it! I'll give one of these ideas a shot. Thanks again!
    Shannon Wood
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