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wlcarr

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About wlcarr

  • Rank
    New Forum User

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Raleigh, NC
  • Occupation
    Retired

More About Me

  • Interests
    Reading, Home Theater, Astronomy
  • How I learned about Light-O-Rama -
    YouTube videos and a friend who built a Christmas lights display.
  • Favorite Decorating Holiday?
    Christmas
  1. I thought it might be advisable to provide an update on my issue. After I considered the GCFI Tripping issue closed (see my previous post), my display ran flawlessly for 5 nights ... then we had a soaking rain, and the problem started again. I spent a full day troubleshooting the issue and once again determined that the issue was centered in channels 1-8 of the LOR Controller, which was running my SuperStar (channels 1-6). So, I isolated the star (disconnected it from the controller), and the GCFI breaker tripped on 4 out of the 6 star circuits. I opened the "waterproof" connectors on those 4 circuits, and they were completely full of water. The connectors on the two circuits that worked were "mostly" dry. So, I completely removed the "waterproof" connectors and just connected the extension cords coming from the controller to the wires coming from the SuperStar using "Wire Nuts"; then oriented them pointing up and covered them with a heavy plastic bag. I haven't had a single GCFI trip incident since ... and it's rained almost every night. I had suspected the connectors earlier, and had covered both ends (where the wires enter) with silicone sealant, but that apparently didn't work. The wire nuts solution was easy, cheap, removable, and completely reliable (at least for the past 2 weeks. Just thought I'd pass this along in case anyone else has the same issue. Apparently "waterproof" means something different to the manufacturer in Taiwan. Hope you all had a great holiday lights season. Wayne
  2. AT LAST SUCCESS !!! I spent most of last Saturday (beautiful 70+ degree weather here in Raleigh) trying various circuit configurations, and determined that the GFCI breaker tripped as a result of something on the Channels 1-8 side of the LOR Controller ... 1-6 of which run my SuperStar. The problem was not with the Channels 9-16 side, which is the assumption I had been making due to the higher amperage on that side (although still less than 5 amps). Then I remembered something that Jerry and Cotopay said about features with that had metal contacting the ground. My SuperStar sits atop a 10', 1.5" EMT Conduit, which sits in a wooden pole support ... it doesn't have any contact with the ground ... BUT, there are three guy wires attached to the pole that are attached to anchors screwed into the ground. And the 6 extension cords from the LOR Controller to the SuperStar were strapped directly to the pole for almost the entire length. So, I disconnected the cords and strapped rubber insulating strips to the pole, then strapped the cords over the rubber insulation. Voile ... My entire 5 hour program has run flawlessly for 3 full nights, without the GCFI circuit breaker tripping even once. I still can't come up with a logical explanation why my program would run through several 1/2 hour cycles with no problem then start tripping the GCFI circuit breaker over and over. But, I'm not going to dwell on that, as long as the show goes on. Thanks again for your assistance and advice ... it was very helpful in creating a process for tracking down the issue, and resulted in an easy (if somewhat perplexing) solution. I consider this topic closed.
  3. I've been mulling this issue over today, and believe that the problem has to be in the LOR Controller ... and not the wet ground, or metal structures touching the ground. When my display has been failing due to the GFCI tripping, and tripping, and tripping; I've just shut the whole thing down for the night, and moved all the yard features to a Stanley 6 outlet sensor/timer (I've had for years) ... just to keep some lights on in the yard. And everything works perfectly ... that is, all six of the yard features go on, and stay on, for hours and hours.. So if the GFCI breaker doesn't trip while all the lights are on at 100% using the timer, it has to be something with the Controller causing the issue. Of course, the lights are on steady with the timer, and they're ramping up and down using the controller ... which could be a factor in the issue. Does my reasoning make any sense? I've still disconnected one major current eater, out of the system for tonight, and we'll see what happens ... maybe this .92A feature might just be enough to make a difference. Wayne
  4. Hi Guys, and THANKS so much for all the input. To answer your questions, To RAYBURN: I've connected the LOR Controller both ways ... both plugs on one circuit, and split between circuits ... with the same result. However, I have a SuperStar (LEDs) on channels 1-6 ... the other yard elements (combinations of Incandescent and (mostly) LEDs) are on 9-14. It seems to be the 9-14 side that always trips the circuit breaker. I'm going to split them up again ... see my note at the bottom of this post. To JERRY, and MPHA9C: I do have one element that is constructed of wire, and is sitting on the ground and zip tied to a small tree (a snowman, about 7 years old). Could be the culprit ... and also uses .92 amps when 100% on). I'll disconnect him from the sequence and see what happens. To GMACW: I have two, independent, 15A GFCI circuit breaker controlled circuits for the outside outlets on my house ... 1) for a 1 car garage, and outlets (3) at the rear of the house and 2) for a 2 car garage and the outlets (2) in front of the house. I'm using one outlet from each circuit for my display. No other exterior GFCI outlets are in use. (I had the LOR Controller running from the back of the house, using a 100' 12 gauge extension cord (lying along side the West side of the house, but switched it to the front outlets (under a covered porch) using a 50' 12 gauge cord. I got an extra 30 minute cycle after that move, but still had the tripping problem ... only later in the evening. To JERRY, and COPOTAY: We had a bunch of rain around Thanksgiving, and the ground got pretty saturated here in Raleigh, NC. But, it's been mostly dry since I set up my display ... except for a few days with evening and early morning fog. Otherwise, humidity has been around 45%. I have waterproof connectors on the SuperStar and the MegaTree LED Pixels, and Twist & Seal "Torpedos" on all the 120v connections. Most of the wires are laying on the ground, but I've wrapped the connectors in plastic sheeting where exposed to the elements. Final Thoughts: I was as a Christmas party on Wednesday night, and met an Electrical Engineer who showed a lot of interest in both my display and the GFCI problem. He's volunteered to come by my home tonight, or tomorrow and bring some of his troubleshooting equipment. I've only got a "Kill-A-Watt" unit, and have been using it to measure amperage trying to balance the load. Thinking about moving the SuperStar side of the LOR Controller onto the circuit that handles all my MegaTree LED Pixels ... although I'm already pretty sure the problem is somewhere with the other side (feature side) of the LOR Controller). That would put Controller channels 9-16 on a circuit all by itself. Does anyone know if a TRIAC can heat up and fail after a time period, only to be back to normal after a cool down period? (Seem Reasonable?) Thanks again, guys for taking this newbie under your "wing" ... your interest, in helping me resolve this issue is INSPIRING.
  5. Thanks for your response Jerry. I have two GFCI circuits (breakers, not outlets) with multiple outside outlets. One that covers my one-car garage (but not the garage door) and the outside outlets at the rear of the house. And, another that covers my two-car garage (but not the garage door) and outside outlets at the front of the house. None of the other GFCI outlets are in use. However, I have run a 100' heavy duty extension cord from an outlet at the back of the house to the front, and the LOR controller is on that circuit ... the length of that cord is suspect, but everything seems to work fine when I just have the lights on that circuit, without the LOR controller. It's the only way I can use both GFCI circuits for my display. (I tried using only the GFCI outlets at the front of the house (just one GFCI circuit), but that also blew the circuit breaker ... at about the same place in my show. I ran a test last night by dropping the intensity of the 6 feature connections (channels 9-14) to 60% ... but the circuit breaker tripped on the 4th cycle. For tonight's run, I've dropped the intensity to 50%, and removed most of the music synchronization ... just to see if the show will run the full schedule without tripping the circuit breaker. The show won't be as interesting, but right now I'm trying to get through the night. My next step, I guess, is to call in an electrician and have the circuits (and breakers) checked. I have no idea how to troubleshoot the LOR controller, at this point. Besides it works fine for the first couple of cycles ... Wayne
  6. Hi guys ... 73 year-old "newbie" here ... first season ... mostly having fun, but with one issue that is "testing my sanity". These forums have been invaluable to me in setting up my display. Thanks for all the great advice you've provided. I hope you can provide some useful tips on my issue. I've reviewed other topics on GFCI issues, but none seem to cover my issue. I have a Christmas "show" with 6 songs that lasts about 22 minutes followed by an 8-minute "intermission" ... so the show repeats in 30 minute cycles. The show runs PERFECTLY for the first couple of cycles, then the GFCI circuit breaker begins tripping on the circuit running my LOR Controller. Sometimes this happens on the third cycle, but usually always by the 4th cycle, and later. I'm running a "megatree" with 12 "rays" of 50 LED Pixels each (using a non-LOR 12-volt controller) and one LOR controller running channels 1-6 for a SuperStar and channels 9-14 for 3 Incandescent strings and 3 LED strings on features in the front yard. These 6 features are sync'ed with the music ... so they ramp up and down, frequently. Every outdoor extension cord (16 gauge - 13 amp rated, or better) out of the LOR controller is protected by a "Twist and Seal" "torpedo", and are staying very dry. On one "excessive tripping" occasion, I removed the 6 feature connections from the LOR controller, and plugged them into a 6 outlet timer I have, and ran the show successfully through all half hour cycles, but obviously without them being sync'ed with the music (very boring). So the load on the circuit was about the same, although constant, and not ramping up and down. My house is only 5 years old, and the two GFCI circuits I'm using are both listed as 15 amp. I've used a "Kill-A-Watt" meter to check each circuit to see if I'm overstressing them, but the amperage doesn't appear to exceed 5-6 amps on either circuit ... less than half their rated capacity. I don't even know where to begin troubleshooting this issue ... since everything works fine for the first few cycles, then falls apart. What could be happening? Where do I begin troubleshooting?
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