Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
TJ Hvasta

CTB-16PC Murder-suicide pact..

Recommended Posts

For those of you not on FB.. seems one of my AC controller boards ('first one I started LOR with 4+yrs ago) that doubles for landscape lighting, decided to form a murder-suicide pact with the DC controller board and RS485.. The partially assembled, Showtime -16PC board caught fire Friday evening, somehow spiking the DC board (cat5 cable connected) and the RS485 converter (several yards away). Luckily, the severest damage (the ac board itself) was contained inside the enclosure, the -16PC and 16QC were outside, the -485, inside the house, so if it had become uncontained, just wudda burned the grass and bush in the planter. No, the 15a fuse never blew, it's still good. :blink:

To save the myriad of questions.. this board was sitting on a large flat stone, in the planter bed (irrigation was shut off, 'long time ago, thank you very much), the DC card case was on top of it. The AC board had 18' lengths of red, white ropelight in ch 1-6, and one 18' blue in ch 7. (I originally thot it was chs 1-3, but remembered the other planter). Ch's 8-16 were not used, the empty dongles were raised off the ground, clean, shiny, cells for those channels were empty in the seq that was running from 7pm to 3am. The cat5 socket is bent up from my trying to remove the melted boot from the socket. The cases being raised up doesnt lead me to bug/slugs or geckos... (tho I havent seen a Geico gecko commerical since Friday night.. jus' sayin'... ) Being a Showtime residential controller, it's only a 1yr warranty (long gone) and the LOR Tech wrote back this morning saying I can sent it in to get a repair estimate.. Well, I estimate it'll be the cost of a new Showtime -16PC partially assembled controller. ^_^

Bein' th' Boy Scout I was (outta respect, dont ask how long ago), taught me one thing, "Be Prepared". I have a spare RS485, already had a spare DC board on order from the Summer Sale, and I can double up up of my yard props to cover the AC board, which, now, along with the brain-dead DC board (wont respond to repeated resets), has gone to the "Great Circuit Breaker Panel In The Sky". I'd post some more pix, but my 500k is all used up. If yer on FB, its in a folder in the LORUG. :o

This was a 4yr old board. Was it just it's time? I dont know.. I hope this doesnt give anyone nightmares.. :ph34r:

Edited by TJ Hvasta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks....my nightmares have begun :wacko:

Let's hope this is an isolated case for you and the rest of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spontaneous combustion from the intense Arizona heat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'happened between 7 and 8:19pm Friday night.. The wife came back from an errand at 7, saw the lights going normally.. I came home at 8:20p, saw the lights weren't going.. the normal irrigation and sprinklers dont go off until 2am.. and the planter where these are is bare (dirt), and the bubblers are shut off. Wasnt that hot anyway.. I think it made it to 104F..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry for your loss. RIP my friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooooh, that looked ugly!

Sorry to hear about the failure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, it's sitting on the bench right here next to me.. along with the DC board.. that one might have a chance with a comm chip transplant.. just waiting for a donor..

Edited by TJ Hvasta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooooh, that looked ugly!

Sorry to hear about the failure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forget the details, but don't they have a 60% of new cost replacement program?

I can't tell for sure where that started from the photos. I'm wondering if a triac failed such that it was drawing current through the gate, burning up the gate resistor, and getting a chain reaction going. Obviously, somehow 110V crossed over from the isolated side to the logic side of the triacs, putting serious voltage out the data cable, causing issues for the rest of the chain. Of course, if that gecko is really gone, my wife might chip in for the replacement cost....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the board was having serious psychological issues about only controlling the landscape lights, while his brothers were getting all the attention that Christmas demands! It is poosible that some kind of intervention should have been foreseen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That must be it.. Ch10 & 12 wanted a bigger role in the spotlight, when they didnt get it, they staged a coup. Which was actually a feat as they werent invited to the party to start with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rope light does suck up some amps. Possibly got a little warm from that? Did you connect anything new to it that would drive high amperage on any of the channels?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TJ, Sorry to hear about the failure but glad it did not extend into the bushes or house.

This may be a "newbies" stupid question. Are the controllers rated for continous duty throughout the year or are they more designed for a non-permanent (seasonal) installation? Would that even be a factor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW. That was definitely scary TJ! Now that's going to have me watching my #01 controller that I currently use through the year for landscape lighting in my flower garden {although it's not rope light, but a 200 ct strand of White LED lights in my flower garden}.

My controller Isn't on the ground, it's bolted to the back of my staircase, which is made of wood, but even though mine isn't on the ground, I'm going to have to keep a watch on it after your experience. Especially since the controller is mounted very close to the house, may be about a 2-3' gap at most between it and the house wall.

Hope your DC transplant works out and still works.

But I'd definitely say that controller has gone to the great controller graveyard in the sky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Orv, I would seriously consider adding some sheetmetal against the wood behind and above your card, then mount your card spaced out from the metal. the metal works as a heat shield just in case. I also have a smoke alarm near the controllers to let me know if something's up. The smoke alarm did go off once a Mosfet fried. The card is still under warranty, just haven't gotten around to pulling it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wrote to the Trouble Desk, they are as stumped as I am, but said I can send them in (the -16PC -16QC and the USB485) for the 40% off warranty.. The warranty is supposed to be for the exact same item, but for the -16PC, the case is still good, I'd be ok with just swapping the controller card.. the -16QC I dont know whats wrong with that, it isnt detected by the HU (might be comm chip) and the -485 that these were plugged into also stopped working (glad I have a spare!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I remember correctly, Ernie H (can't remember his full name for the life of me) does failure analysis for a living. He's around here if I am not mistaken.

Some detailed pics to him may reveal what happened. It won't fix your controller, but you'll get a better idea of what went kaboom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mike, I'll PM him and see if he'd like to take a look at the pix I have. I'll be packing up the controllers and sending them off to NY this week..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Orv, I would seriously consider adding some sheetmetal against the wood behind and above your card, then mount your card spaced out from the metal. the metal works as a heat shield just in case. I also have a smoke alarm near the controllers to let me know if something's up. The smoke alarm did go off once a Mosfet fried. The card is still under warranty, just haven't gotten around to pulling it out.

I'd have to do that to ALL 5 of my controllers! Since each controller is mounted on a wood panel, which is screwed to the wooden porch railing, well 3 will be, 1 is on stakes mounted to it's wood back, but the one controller is directly mounted to the back of the staircase.

I'm thinking {and hoping} this is just a fluke that happened with TJ's hardware as I've never had any issues with mounting my controllers to the wooden siding for 2 years at the old home, but the new one, got to make some changes on where the controllers get mounted this year.

So I'm not even sure a metal plate between the back of the controller and the wooden panel, mounted to a wooden staircase structure would actually prevent anything if any controller decided to do a Human Torch impression and Flame On!

Edited by Orville

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually it did! I guess after the initial flare up and blaze, it used up any oxygen that was in the case and went out.. I was really stunned how hot the plastic was, and yet, not warped, melted or twisted (unlike myself).. The dongles on those channels were burned thru, insulation melted around the spade lugs.. I think I'll be able to scrub the char off the inside of the case, sand down the blackened marks and reuse it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I had a similar issue except not so extreme. I had 5 of my dumb strips hooked up to the DC board, all the connections were tight, all cords were tested with volt meter, the power supply turned to 115 and lowest setting and the mosfets at Q12 started that electrical bad smell and turning grey/black. The only reason we noticed was the strip started acting weird when we were testing it so we went up to the controller and smelled fried board....What's up Doc ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I had a similar issue except not so extreme. I had 5 of my dumb strips hooked up to the DC board, ... the power supply turned to 115 and lowest setting and the mosfets at Q12 started that electrical bad smell and turning grey/black. ... What's up Doc ?

You've seen the Farmers Insurance commercials?

Teacher: What are the points here, Class?

Student 1. He.. uh.. was using a DC Board? :unsure:

Student 2. With 115v power? :huh:

Teacher: Good, anything else?

Student 3: The MOSFETs turning black are... bad? :unsure:

Teacher: Good points all.. moving on.. ^_^

Edited by TJ Hvasta

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...