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Bob Hall

I believe I need a snubber/terminator

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The last week of my display last year I noticed something unusual after we had several days of rain. The 7th channel of my #3 controller was 'on' around 10%. So, I just packed it up and put it away and hoped that maybe it was just wet. Fast forward to tonight (My first night) and everything appeared to work correctly on the blinky end of things. My LOR laptop that won't boot, the dead WD Passport drive that was the backup and a missing SD card being the exceptions. But I digress, back to the controller everything worked tonight on the few songs that were luckily on another SD card. I pulled the plug on the mini mp3 director at 10:30 turning the show off and looked over at my tree with the troublesome channel from last year. I saw that all the lights were completely off and said to myself, "sweet, it was just a fluke." and went back inside to finish working for the night. FYI, the lights attached to that channel are LED.

Around 11:30 I got done with work, clocked out and went outside to check on the connections to make sure they weren't on the ground because my wife and I just got done finishing the display tonight. So, I open up the door and what do I see before me? Drizzling rain. My eyes slowly move to the left and there it is. My Nemesis, Channel #7 cloaked in a pale green light. I mutter "F#$%@g green lights" and walk up to the tree. Yep, they're on. Remembering what I've read on here, I go back inside and look for a night light. Not one of them is an incandescent type, all LED. So, with that option exhausted, I remember reading about Glade plug-ins. Crap! All of ours are Febreeze brand. So, I figured, it should work anyway. I unplug one and take it out and I try to plug it in to the LED strand. Crap! It won't fit. Why not? Crap! Polarized plug. So, I go back inside and check all of our plug ins. Yep, they're all Polarized. Any other time, I'd be ok, I'll sacrifice this plug in to the bench grinder and we'll see if it works. Well, the rain and the time of night stopped me from trying that. My bench grinder is on the back wall to the left of the tool box. I've learned from an unfortunate experience, the cars need to be out of the garage when I'm using the grinder, no matter how small or quick it will take.
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As you can imagine, at 11:45 at night, my wife nor the neighbors would appreciate me pulling both cars out of the garage. So, almost admitting defeat, I look around and I found a string of coincidentally green incandescent lights. I trudge over there and plug that string right into the end of my Nemesis string and Viola!, that string goes dark. I unplug the incandescent string from it again and the lights come on. Plug them back in and it goes dark. Unfortunately, the green isn't the 'same' between the two types and I feel it would be noticeable if I left them hooked up together even though that solves my problem. So, am I correct in my thinking that I need a snubber?

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Sounds like you might have nailed your problem.

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Whats the trick I keep reading, a vampire c7 socket and bulb close to the controller. I got lucky, my first year. went all LED and not a single bleed, fade, shimmer issue.

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I am having same problem with a couple of g3 controllers. Trident plugging a 40 watt build to string and it did not help me.

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am having the same issue with two different 1602W. Snubbers are on both. They are helping with the leak a bit, but not resolving it. :D Worked fine for the past week, now this.

*knock on wood* the CTBPC's are working like champs. until of course, I hit the reply button down there I'm sure.

I'm a little beyond aggravated.

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scubado wrote:

Check out this thread, then follow link in post 2
http://forums.lightorama.com/forum80/29854.html

I spent a few hours last night looking at that thread before I made my post. Armed with the info from the first post, I went to 2 different Radio Shacks the next town over (Hanover) after my day job today. They are the closest to me. Neither had the 47K 1 watt resistors. All they had were 47K 1/2 watt resistors. I'm not sure if they would do the job. I got home and looked up other Radio Shack's in the area. All at least 30 miles from me. None of them have resistors in the 1 watt configuration. Most have them in 1/2 watt.

Will they work? or will they just burn up. I'm not entirely clear on that even after reading that thread.

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There are reasons that no good answers are coming..

1) an optimistic answer may work out OK, or it may go really, really really wrong.

2) the power ratings of resistors make some assumptions about the conditions in which they are used. Typically they presume up against some fiberglass laminate, with reasonably air temperature around, and reasonable space for convection currents. Putting the resistor in any kind of plug end will violate all these parameters, likely resulting in the resistor running warmer than it was expected to under the design load. This is one of the key reasons for trying to find the 1W versions.

Better yet, try to find flameproof versions. They are supposed to be able to fail, without lighting the components around them on fire.

Digi Key has 47K, 1W flameproof resistors, that are surprisingly small. Closer in size to what I normally think of as a 1/4 watt unit.

http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/FMP100JR-52-47K/47KWCT-ND/2058927

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Bob, if you're in a pinch, just go to walmart and find a plug in air freshener that isn't polarized until you can build one. They pull about 2 watts. My wife wonders where all of hers went!

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James Hawke wrote:

Bob, if you're in a pinch, just go to walmart and find a plug in air freshener that isn't polarized until you can build one. They pull about 2 watts. My wife wonders where all of hers went!

I might have to do this. I wonder if people will stare at me as I'm opening up the boxes to check the plugs.

I hope my problem is just a matter of resistance and not a triac going bad. It only manifests when the cords get wet. The Controller is dry.

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I ordered a 100 resistors from Mouser and received them in less than a week. I just soldered them to any cut off plugs I had some heat shrink tubing. Really cheap and very easy.

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I ordered a 100 resistors from Mouser and received them in less than a week. I just soldered them to any cut off plugs I had some heat shrink tubing. Really cheap and very easy.

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I need to order some resistors. I clicked the link from klb and was amazed at the $9 shipping just for 50 of them. In the interim, I think I just might hook up the string of green incandescent lights and just hide them behind the trunk of the tree. Hopefully it won't be too noticeable between the 2 greens if anyone does happen to spy it.

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scubado wrote:

I ordered a 100 resistors from Mouser and received them in less than a week. I just soldered them to any cut off plugs I had some heat shrink tubing. Really cheap and very easy.

Last week I threw away about 75 male ends I had cut off light strings. I wish I had thought of what you did before I threw them away. Oh well, live and learn, right?

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Bob Hall wrote:

I need to order some resistors. I clicked the link from klb and was amazed at the $9 shipping just for 50 of them. In the interim, I think I just might hook up the string of green incandescent lights and just hide them behind the trunk of the tree. Hopefully it won't be too noticeable between the 2 greens if anyone does happen to spy it.

I couldn't do the 2 different greens. Put a Glade Plug in on it, lol.

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Ah, a new challenger has emerged! I got home a little after 7 pm tonight and I see Red lights are on while the rest of the display is off. Now the 10th channel of that 3rd controller is on and about 30-40% bright. I had just came from the store and I didn't have time to go back before I had to clock in for the evening job, so I just turned the show on and watched for a few minutes. The channel stayed on the whole time, so in mid show I swiped the glade plug in from the 7th channel and put it on the 10th, and presto, it went out and behaved normally. I guess I'm buying another one until I get resistors. I'm also wondering which channel will vex me tomorrow night?

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Keep going Bob. I think I'll go buy some SC Johnson (Glade) stock on Monday :)

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Hang in there Bob, the resistors are in the mail and on their way to you as of yesterday morning!

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Actually it sounds like you have a "ghosting" triac. If you pull main power from the controller the light should turn off, correct?
If that is your problem then to fix it just replace the Triac. LOR is really good about shipping out parts to fix items like this, or you can send it back and have them to the repair.
Though of course as a catch all you can use a dummy load. Aa snubber is probably not what you want, look for the C7 solution.

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morte615 wrote:

Actually it sounds like you have a "ghosting" triac. If you pull main power from the controller the light should turn off, correct?
If that is your problem then to fix it just replace the Triac. LOR is really good about shipping out parts to fix items like this, or you can send it back and have them to the repair.
Though of course as a catch all you can use a dummy load. Aa snubber is probably not what you want, look for the C7 solution.

That is correct, if I pull the power cords for the controller the light goes out. Replacing the triac myself isn't an option. I can't hold my hands steady enough to solder, and without taking medicine, they shake. Does LOR charge for the repair? It should be noted that my controller #3 has all LEDs connected to it. Whereas the other 2 are a majority of LEDs, but still have a few incandescent lights on them.

I'm not sure how the C7 solution will help over the snubber, but as for buying a string of C7 incandescent lights within 35 miles of me is not an option since no store has them. All of their C7 are LEDs

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A couple years ago I purchased a bunch of night lights at the dollar store (believe it or not they were only a dollar). I use mine for trouble shooting. But they would work as a "snubber" also. I think you can put a colored C7 bulb in them if they are going to be visible.

If you do end up looking for non-LED C7s or C9s, there are a couple hardware stores that usually sell incandescent string around here. Maybe try an Ace Hardware.

We might even have some extra C7 / C9 bulbs and maybe a string if you wanted to cut it up to connect them somehow. If you think you might head this direction let me know. I'll see what we can dig up.

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rwertz wrote:

Keep going Bob. I think I'll go buy some SC Johnson (Glade) stock on Monday :P

Ahhh, save your money Reg. I bought out Gettysburg's Walmart's stock on Saturday night. All two of them, lol. Here's a tip. Go buy some Leviton stock on Tuesday.

As of tonight, thanks to Beeiilll, 99% of my problem is gone. Thanks again.

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you can also use a 4 watt or 7 watt "night light" I get those for 99 cents at wal-mart

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PMC wrote:

you can also use a 4 watt or 7 watt "night light" I get those for 99 cents at wal-mart

I did consider those at well, but all the Gettysburg Wal-mart had in stock were LED night lights. The grocery store I shop in as well only had LED night lights in stock as well. Night lights were a last resort in my mind though because of the light.

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