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Wesley

HUGE Fading Problem, Please Help

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Here is the set up. I have all LED lights with the exception of 8 flood lights.

Icicle lights - 4 channels - 15 strings per channel

White from walmart

Blue from target

Red and Green from CDI

Lawn lights (net lights) - 4 channels - approx 15-18 strings per channel

White from walmart

Blue from target

Red and Green from CDI

6 5ft Christmas trees - 24 channels (4 per tree) - 4 strings per channel

White, Blue, Red, and Green from target

Mega tree - 18 channels - 3-5 strings per channel

Red, Green, and White from target

Flood lights - 8 channels - 1 buld per channel

Strobe (C9) - 1 channel - 1 string per channel

I have started setting up and my first year, 2010, I had problems with fading on the lawn lights, icicle lights, and the red and green mega tree. I tried the plug in air freshener and the C9 bulb pluged in at the end of the light string and neither worked. I ended up changing my sequences and deleting all the fades on the channels that were not fading which took a lot away from the display.

This year, I am using the same set up (I added a controler, blue, and floods this year) and decided to test the fading of all the lights before they went up on the house. I hooked up all 15 strands of the icicle lights together and connected them to the controler. Everything worked like a charm. I did the same for green, red, and blue. They all worked perfectly. Fade up, fade down, shimmer fades, twinkle fades, everything. I then connected each set of 15 into the controller at the same time on unit 1, channel 1-4 and everything still worked perfectly.

I went ahead and installed them on the house. When finished with the icicles I decided to test them again and BAM, no fades. The only color to fade this far is the green from CDI. I pluged in a C9 bulb in every available slot on the red icicles and still no fading. I haven't tested the lawn lights yet but I'm sure I will get the same results.

Could this issue be due to the extension cords somehow? I only ask because the worked fine before I put them up and used the extension cords. Should I take one channel of the icicle lights and split them into 2 channels? Would that work? I don't know what to do. I have 10 sequences that I have done that rely heavily on fading in and out and the whole show would look like crap if I can't fade. I saw the setup of the snubber from the "crazy light lady" but isn't a C9 bulb plugged into the string just as good? I can't stress this enough, before I installed the lights, they worked just fine, all 60 strings connected to a single controler faded perfectly.

Any insight is greatly needed and would be greatly appreciated. I have searched this sight and the PC site and can't find a solution.

Wes

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Can you describe what you mean buy" no fade?"

is it just an ON/OFF or something else?

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I would be interested to see what the voltage is during the fades. That would help you narrow it down between a light/ controller issue.

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I think I might be having the same problem. Ran my complete show & all my led tomato cage trees worked fine. Left it running & went to dinner. When we got back on all four trees some strands would shimmer on fade or blink intermittently. Each tree has about 200 led's. any thoughts would great! Thanks!

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Wesley, there are a lot of things that could cause control problems, noisy power, interference on the communication lines, issues with the configuration (hardware or sequence), etc. The LED issue is the most common. A C9 should be as good as (or better then) a resistor snubber. I think cords will exaggerate the issue with LEDs. But I doubt it would make every one stop dimming. If you are only adding a C9 at a couple places, you might want to do an entire controller before you give up on them.

Maybe you have an issue with your sequences or a controller setup issue (like having one running in stand alone mode). Try shutting off all but one controller and see what happens. If you are running from a PC, try using the hardware utility to fade the lights.

A lot of us try to keep our CAT5 away from any extension cords by at least 6”. But that’s seldom a real problem. You might try separating your wiring some. There are thoughts that fluorescent lights on the controller (or even on the same breaker) can be an issue. Maybe pick one controller and use a long cord to power it from a different outlet.

Good luck.

frozentundra52, search the forum for snubbers (or try some C9s or plug-in air fresheners)

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Thanks for the info rwertz. Still trying to understand all of this. Do I only need to put 1 strand of C9's per tree? And where in the strands?

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Thanks for the info rwertz. Still trying to understand all of this. Do I only need to put 1 strand of C9's per tree? And where in the strands?

No, just one bulb. LEDs look like a capacitor to the triac. This cause the wave form to get screwed up. By adding a resistor load helps bleed off the voltage faster. Thus the wave form returns to something more normal. Hence why you can either use a resistor or a ican lamp.

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Can you describe what you mean buy" no fade?"

is it just an ON/OFF or something else?

What I mean is when I go to the HU and test fade 0-100% or 100-0% @ 1, 2, 4, and 6 seconds the white blue and red icicle lights are either on or off, there is no fading curve. But when I tested them before I put them on the house they all faded just fine. The only change from test to instal on the house is the addition of 2 extension cords (to connect a seperate gable).

I'm using a CTB16pc running ver 4.40. Like I said earlier, I have plugged in 6 individual C9 bulbs along the red set of icicle lights and it isn't changing anything.

I'm at a loss. What should I try next?

Wes

I had a "shimmer" on a set of "Snowflake" LED lights and all I needed was to add a "snubber" I found this to work quite well. http://forums.planet...ubbers-to-make/

Tom Straub

This is the set up I am using except that in place of the resistor I have a C9 socket with ican bulb and it's not changing anything

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I had a issue in 2010 with my LED floods. As soon as the fades kicked it...everything on the PC controller would flicker or not fade. The problem was solved by updating my firmware. But if your running 4.40...that is a higher version then I was running at that time.

Edited by CLD Kevin

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I think I'm running 3.8. How do I check again?I got my controller last December so I think it's Gen 3. How do yo tell on that to? Sorry for all the newbie questions.

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Gen 3 boards have the latest firmware. No new updates exist.

Are you using grounded extension cords? If so, and your lights don't use the ground, can you try some cords without the ground wire?

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I had a issue in 2010 with my LED floods. As soon as the fades kicked it...everything on the PC controller would flicker or not fade. The problem was solved by updating my firmware. But if your running 4.40...that is a higher version then I was running at that time.

I wouldn’t rule out firmware. One of the first two LOR controllers I owned had a flicker. During my second year it got the best of me and I set out to fix it. After a week of trying things I reinstalled the same FW version because I was running out of ideas and it fixed it. The original FW image must have been corrupted somehow.

Earle’s suggestion to reset the controllers is a good thing to try also (and a little easier than dumping firmware).

frozentundra52, your best bet is to start with some kind of snubber (on every LED channel on a given controller) even if you have to plug a string of incandescent minis into every channel as a trial (along with the LED string). Unfortunately for Wesley, it sounds like his issue might be more complicated than that.

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You need one on every channel that is flickering. I think there is a preference to where you place them. But I just put mine wherever it fits.

For 47K Ohm the power dissipation at 120V is 0.3W. That typically assumes you haven’t restricted the heat dissipation (like placing it inside a plug). I used 1W resistors to be safe. You could also hook two 100K Ohm 1/2 Watt resistors in parallel (pairing up both ends) to get the same effective resistance and the higher power rating.

Here’s the resistor I used:

http://www.mouser.co...ey71-CPF1-J-51K

In Post 8 above Tom posted a link to a great idea for connecting them. I followed that article when I did mine.

I still think the first step is proving you need them before you spend the time and money (even thought you probably do). If you plug in any incandescent string or night light to a few LED channels you should see a strong improvement on those strings.

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120V / 47000 = .0026 amps. We'll call it .003. 120V x .003A = .36W

Yep, looks like you should be good to go with that resistance value and wattage.

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I just fired the lights up without the incans on & none of them are flicking while testing each channel fading up and down right now. Does it take a while for them to say warm up? I picked up some incans for tonight to try.

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Can the snubber expert let a newbie know if I made them right and can i place at the end of the strand. Just want to be safe and make sure it wont blow my controller. Pics in previous post. Thanks.

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I’m not familiar with that plug. But if the resistors are screwed to the two prongs, it looks good to me.

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Can the snubber expert let a newbie know if I made them right and can i place at the end of the strand. Just want to be safe and make sure it wont blow my controller. Pics in previous post. Thanks.

Your good to go. Plug the snubber anywhere on the string connection, can even go to the ouput channel plug on each channel. Anywhere is is convienent

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