Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
stanward

How often do your triacs go bad?

Recommended Posts

Six years, 20 controllers, never a single triac failure. Only 1 COMM chip after a lightning storm.

All but 1 were built from kits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What years were each of the controllers purchased?

Tim Benson wrote:

Six years, 20 controllers, never a single triac failure.  Only 1 COMM chip after a lightning storm.

All but 1 were built from kits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Bought 4 generation 2 CTB16PC controllers and have had one Triac go bad apparently on Controller #3 Channel 5, stays on around 40-75%, HW can set the intensity to 100%, but 0% will always have it go no lower than the 40% intensity on an incandescent C7 bulb. LED strings those intensities don't seem to be much of a difference, but some of my LED strings I can REVERSE the male plug and it will turn off, fade, shimmer, etc. But doesn't always do that with some of the LED strings I have.

So I'll be sending my controller in after the season for repair to LOR, I'd just change the Triac out myself if that were possible, but due to my inherrent vision problems, that would not be wise of me to do to try and disassemble and reassemble what was bought as a FULLY ASSEMBLED CTB16PC Controller.

So I'll open up a support ticket for mine after I get them all unmounted and the decor down. Fortunately I have only lost one channel and mine were also purchased and received in or around Feb-March 2010 timeframe.

Was thinking of buying a few more controllers (Gen3) in a few months, but if these are all failing like this, think I may rethink buying any for little longer.

I run my controllers off seaason 24/7 by using them in my test area for working on my sequences before the regular display goes out.

I have one used Gen1 controller I bought and it has worked very well with one exception, I didn't close the box fully and it got wet inside, once it dried out, it was back up and running fine, still is.

Would be also nice if LOR had a trade in program where you could swap out your older controllers for the latest ones with a little price reduction and then LOR sell these as refurbished units at a lower cost for new folks coming in that didn't have a lot of $$ to spend. Now I doubt that will ever happen, but it'd be nice if there were such a program in existence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if it would be wise to trade-in the older controllers for newer ones. The Gen-3 controllers seem to have the failing triac problems as well.

The controllers purchased in 2008 and 2009 seem to be doing great compared to the 2010 and 2011.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

stanward wrote:

Not sure if it would be wise to trade-in the older controllers for newer ones. The Gen-3 controllers seem to have the failing triac problems as well.

The controllers purchased in 2008 and 2009 seem to be doing great compared to the 2010 and 2011.

Currently yes, I agree. It's just something I thought would be great if there were such a program and I'll be watching to see how many more GEN3 controllers fail before I decide to initiate any additional controller purchases to see how many folks are having these issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just blew another triac from a controller that was built/purchased this year.

Small load on the triac, a 70ct LED icicle light strand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have 5 bad triacs this year. i only had one last year, and that was from a 2009 purchase. this year, 5 new ones, they are all on my 2010 purchased controllers. so far my gen3 controllers are running fine. these are all the pc version prebuilt kits, i just assembled the pigtails.

loads on these controllers are at most 2 strands of 100 count m5 or c6 led's from cdi or mits.

luckily i have always had spare channels fairly close to redirect to. we have had a crap load of rain here 2010 and 2011, all of my controllers are outside, but mounted inside of "presents" or under cover.

i have tried the "reset" method to no avail, will do more troubleshooting and repair after the season! already have purchased spare triacs from mouser...

-troy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I forget, anyone with triac issues on a gen 3 board, probably needs to check the part numbers.. I think they went to a higher rated triac on the 3rd gen..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

If I were to replace a bad triac on a LOR Board, I'd personally prefer to get them from LOR since I would get the same part they used.

But, then again, with all the failures, the triacs they have may not be up to par and just fail shortly after.

What a dilema!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Orville, if you're anywhere near the Rosen/Convention Centre on I-Drive, I can swap out the triac if you want to bring it by the hotel on the 30th.. I'm doing a Orlando overnight (on 29th), getting in abt 8pm, going out at 4 the next afternoon.. but I'm free in the morning (30th) I think I can even bring my soldering junk with me..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Actually TJ, I am over near the University of Central Florida off University Blvd in Orlando. I'm about 5 miles West of the main UCF Campus.

More or less the other side of town from where you are on I-Drive.

Thanks for the offer though. But think you may be too far out for me this time around.
You'd definitely need the soldering stuff, currently I have to buy a replacement soldering iron and don't have one.


Won't get my first SS check until 18th Jan. And the wife uses the only working car we have to get to/from work. Her position ends on 1/6/2012.

Unfortunately she has to work the 30th and so leaves me without a useable vehicle until she gets home around the 6-6:30pm timeframe, again, too late, as you'd already be heading out and gone.

Otherwise would have definitely taken you up on the offer of the repair as well as get to meet another forum member in person.

Maybe next time you're in the Orlando area we can meet-up for coffee or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a part number (say from Mouser) of the triacs for the AC and DC boards. I thinking it may be cheaper in the long run (on shipping)if I just order a dozen to keep on hand and replace them myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if it is this years controlers or the difference between the CTB16 and LOR1602. I have 12 LOR1602 which operated flawlessly for the pass two years with zero failures. I purchased 10 CTB16 because the LOR1602s weren't available and most of them have one and most more channel failures.

Not sure if the board is that different between the residential and the Pro or what is driving the failures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just a quick post and an update ... 2 more bad triacs from two different controllers. these were already soldered kits purchased last year, i just had to assemble the cords. maybe it was just all the rain this year. (dont know.) but have plenty to fix for 2012... good thing i bought a solder station that someone here recommended. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 bad triac last year (purchased in late 2009), 1 bad triac this year purchased this summmer 2011. Both are CTB16PC's and both Gen 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any idea on what LOR support charges to replace triacs besides shipping. I've got a channel stuck in the on position and two with bad RG45 sockets? I could only use one of the controllers with the bad RG45 socket since you can only have one controller at the end of the daisy-chained line.

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those that have lost triacs and can't or don't want to solder, if your units are not under warranty try going to the local high school or college and get a "tech in training" (mini geek) to do it for you. Pay em a bit to be fair. Those kids are pretty smart and many are pretty good at fixing, soldering and so on.

Just a thought.. Beats sending controllers back to LOR and paying shipping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

because of all the triacs going bad (particularly in the G3 boards), LOR has been sending out replacements for free, quick too..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's other threads that discuss triac replacement, but most of those people are experienced in soldering and such. It's one of those technical things that if it goes wrong, you could cause some damage to your controller and let out some of that Secret Smoke.

If you can't find some technical person to help, you might want to send your controller in to LOR and have their techs fix it. That's what they do all day long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just had another triac go out tonight. A CTB16PC controller purchased this year (gen 2).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

ngoodart wrote:

Dont Forget could be the Opto as well, This is my first year running 32 channels. Dropped a channel right away. If youhave access to the board in the enlosure you can "short" the Triac legs together to see if its the Triac or the opto causing you difficulties.... This information came from the help desk: here is thier reply to my Ticket...You can check the triac as follows but be very careful. The center pin of the triac get power in. One side (the gate side) is attached to the opto isolator via a resistor and the other side is output. If you use a small screw driver and carefully make sure you are only touching the insulated handle you can connect the center pin to the gate pin. If the triac is working then this will trigger the gate and the output will come on.

HTH

Somehow I missed the above the first time through.

First off I can't believe someone at a help desk would actually recommend doing something like this! I've worked at help desks, and if anyone gave out info to do something like this, well that would make the company liable for a persons death if they did it and cooked themselves. I really have a hard time believing anyone at LOR would tell someone to do this.

I'm not and wouldn't even try this one and I'm comfortable with working with 120VAC LIVE current! (I did something similar on a job a long time ago, see the end of this post for what happened).

How would someone know which pin is which on a Triac? Is it labeled where you can read/see it on the PCB in the enclosure in the case of a purchased fully assembled unit?

Most folks don't know this stuff unless they've worked in the electronics field or do a lot of electronics kit building to learn electronics skills on their own. Many wouldn't even know how to locate or find the information on electronic components.

The left side and right side the triacs are mounted opposite each other, so how would someone know which two pins they should be shorting?

Which I'd never recommend anyone try this myself, not unless you are well insulated with insulated gloves, shoes and tool used to do the shorting. And are comfortable working with LIVE 120VAC Voltages. Otherwise, if you don't know what you're doing or are uncomfortable working with LIVE 120VAC or higher Voltages you're liable to meet your maker doing this! Again, absolutely NOT RECOMMENDED!)

If one purchased fully assembled controllers, then they may not know which side is which on a Triac, those that built their own controllers probably do know what a Triacs pin out actually is.

And what happens if you were to short the "output" to the center pin instead of the gate? Just a blown triac or worse? I'm thinking a lot worse if the incorrect pins were shorted, mainly because of experiences from my work in electronics in the past.(see below for what happened on a job I was on years ago)

I did something very similar to this at work many years ago under a technicians guidance, and he got the pin out wrong. Fried the whole damn board, was a nice fireworks show, let out a whole lot of that secret smoke that doesn't smell too good when it escapes. Popped and blew diodes, capacitors, IC chips, resistors and anything else that got in it's path. Burnt the board to a crisp, total destruction of the PCB, traces and a wide assortment of components as well as fried any boards attached to it. And Yes, I was well insulated and so were the tools used, but shorting out the wrong pins on some things can cause bigger issues or worse, start a fire or possibly even kill you if you don't really know what you're doing. Needless to say, that Tech lost his job that day.

And I never did that again!

That was very scary having parts blowing up, yes, literally exploding, sparks and flames shooting out and off that circuit card everywhere! And there was smoke everywhere too! The smell was so bad that we had to evacuate the building. It took several hours to air it out with hurricae type exhaust fans before we could go back in and get back to work.

That's why I'm really hard pressed to believe anyone at LOR would actually tell someone to do this type of thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Guys
my season has now ended and I have checked all of my controllers and I have 27 failed triac's and they are all on the new G3 CPB16's my 2 1602 controllers were running the same lights and they worked perfectly.
also the CPB16's will not reset, I have tried several times with no success,has anyone else tried resetting the G3 controllers :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That can't be attributed to rain alone. It has to be a manufacture defect. Why did LOR lie to me about the manufacture defect? 27 failed triacs is terrible for one year alone! I had about 12 or so failed triacs this year.

Richard R wrote:

Hi Guys
my season has now ended and I have checked all of my controllers and I have 27 failed triac's and they are all on the new G3 CPB16's my 2 1602 controllers were running the same lights and they worked perfectly.
also the CPB16's will not reset, I have tried several times with no success,has anyone else tried resetting the G3 controllers :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you can't be attributed it to rain at all, as where I live in New Zealand we have had little rain and as I said my 1602's had NO problem at all

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...