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Air Props

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Hello all,

I have been using LOR for about 3 years and am excited at the thought of incorporating my controllers into a home haunt that some of my friends run. I know virtually nothing about air cylinders etc and am hoping to get some rock solid guidance from ye wise sages. Does anybody have experience controlling kickers, low boys, can poppers etc etc?? If so, I am in need of some advice and direction when it comes to having LOR control these things. The aforementioned friends are NOT controlling within a DMX universe so I am assuming that DMX would not be required but could be used. I know that this is not a lot of info to go on but I am REALLY a noob when it comes to air. ANY help is much appreciated

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It may be over kill to use a LOR setup to control air props. You should be able to do it for $50 with no software or PC connected.

Before I graduated to LOR and AC, I was using this small dc device. It has a trigger for a button or mat and controls 7 cylinders. The programming is like basic.

http://www.efx-tek.com/topics/prop-1.html

It sounds like you are wanting to use your existing LOR AC controller to avoid any additional purchase. I am sure this can be done but I never tried it. A controller only has two trigger inputs. So your air scenes can be very elaborate with multiple scares timed in sequence if you have that many pop-ups.

One AC project I always wanted to try was a simulated spinning tunnel. Walk through with lights chasing around you.

Good luck. We would like to hear what you come up with.

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Thanks for the links and insight. I will keep everyone updated on our progress.

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Ok, after reading the pneumatics guide for beginners and looking at different controllers I still have a few questions. It appears that most if not all of the props within my friends haunt are AC driven sooo...

1) If I have a 110/120 VAC 11 Amp solenoid can I use my LOR box to trigger this without any further modifications?

2) What are the hurdles that I may need to overcome when powering AC props/cylinders/solenoids with LOR controllers?

Sorry for being such a pain but I want to be 100% sure about this endeavor before I start hooking up potential box killers.

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I have driven both relays and valves off of my LOR controllers. I use a relay to run my inflatable motors. I use solenoid valves for my flaming Jack O Lanterns.
http://www.bazillionlights.com/Images/2009%20Halloween/The%20Devil%20Went%20Down%20To%20Georgia.wmv

The only thing I have had to do is add (2) C7 light bulbs(nightlights) to each channel/circuit with a relay or solenoid. Otherwise they buzz terribly. With the lights on the circuit everything works great! I have done the inflatable relay box for 4 years now and the solenoids for 1 season. I have not had any communications issues or channels blowing out using this method. Some people recommend using a snubber to take care of electricity generated with the collapsing magnetic field from a solenoid or relay. I guess I do to, but have never used one. So far I have had no problems but I understand I have been taking my chances...Plus I have enough spare parts to completely rebuild a controller if need be:p

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If you think about how a TRIAC works, you’ll realize that a snubber wouldn’t be needed for a collapsing magnetic field from a solenoid or relay.



A snubber isn’t there to prevent the kickback form a collapsing magnetic field since a TRAIC would turn off at zero current. It’s there because the inductance of the coil causes the current to shift slightly behind the voltage. It’s exactly the opposite of capacitance. A capacitor stores voltage and an inductor stores current.



A TRIAC turns on with voltage and off when the current is near zero. When a coil is in series, at the point when the current is low enough that the TRIAC would turn off, the voltage is still high enough that the TRIAC stays on. By the time the voltage drops to zero, the current is sufficient and the TRIAC just stays on. A true snubber would add capacitance to counter the inductance.



In paralleling a resistor (C7 light bulb) you’re providing a discharge path for the current.

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Thanks gentlemen.

So, If I am reading this correctly, all that I "should" need to do is ensure that I have a discharge path on the same circuit as the prop. Cant I just use a resistor rather than a C7? Should I be using two C7's? And finally, where are the C7(s)/resistor placed...prior to OR after the prop? I believe that I may be guilty of over-thinking this but I have never controlled anything other than lights and for some unknown reason I am having a issue with getting my head around this. :?

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Logicon wrote:

Cant I just use a resistor rather than a C7?

You could but I couldn't tell you what value because it would depend on the coil. A resistor is a fixed value and would have to be a high enough value so it doesn't just waste power and get really hot and low enough that it does the job.

An incandescent light bulb on the other hand will start out around 20Ω when it's cold and increase to about 2880Ω when it's fully on. Kind of self regulating.

Logicon wrote:
Should I be using two C7's?

Well as we all know, light bulbs burn out and no one knows when. The odds of two burning out is pretty low and will certainly give you enough time to replace the bad one.

Logicon wrote:
And finally, where are the C7(s)/resistor placed...prior to OR after the prop?

In reality it probably doesn't really matter unless the power cord is really long. Electrically, right at the source (the coil) would the best place. If you would prefer it to be near the controller, I would just try it. If it works, then leave it.

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Ernie,

A million thank yous to you and the rest of the members helping me sort through this. I really appreciate your knowledge and time. I will keep everyone updated on the progress. Ohhh, and I may have a few more questions in the future. Again thank you.

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ErnieHorning wrote:
An incandescent light bulb on the other hand will start out around 20Ω when it's cold and increase to about 2880Ω when it's fully on. Kind of self regulating.

Logicon wrote:

Should I be using two C7's?
ErnieHorning wrote:
Well as we all know, light bulbs burn out and no one knows when. The odds of two burning out is pretty low and will certainly give you enough time to replace the bad one.




One thing I will do is paint my C7's with flat black paint (Christmas display use), this way they aren't as noticeable as a glowing or fully lit C7 bulb at the end of a LED string when used as a "snubber" for them. (Of course this also makes it a little more difficult to tell when they burn out, but if you're close enough to them {like immediately right next to them}, then you can tell if the "black painted" C7 is lit or not as the bulb will light the black paint, but very, very dimly. Painting them black is great for strings that are a distance away from your audience.



However, since these C7's are going to be utilized as a snubber for a Halloween prop, there is a chance they could be painted with some type of acrylic paint and become a part of the prop scene. This way the C7's are utilized in a manner that would not make them "stand out" as they might in another type of display element, like when used at the end of Christmas light strings.



So I'd paint the C7's a light Orange, light Purple, light Green or a light Red depending on the prop and what it does, other colors could be considered, these here are just to give you some idea as to how to "blend in" your C7's so they become one with your display element and not stick out like a sore thumb.



Good luck and ~Happy Hauntings~!

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So is it correct to assume that for the application that's being talked about here, it would strictly be a timer-based prop? It would go off at the intervals programmed into the sequence?

I was hoping there was a way to start a sequence from a trigger. Thinking it through though, you would probably need a separate computer for each prop since I'm guessing you couldn't have two sequences triggered and running at the same time even if it is possible to run a sequence from a trigger (mat switch, motion sensor, etc.). Is this correct?

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You can start seq. with a trigger, and you can run multiple seq. at the same time.as long as they don't share channels. I used this last year for Halloween. I had 5 triggers controlling 64 channels (lights, fog machines, fan motors, air props.)

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Well that's great news. Where would I find out more about how to set this up? I've got 32 channels right now, and would like to expand to 80 this year. If I can use these for my Halloween display as well as Christmas, it will be a much easier sell to the wife!

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