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Jerry Ludy

Traics continue to FAIL, why?

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Jerry Ludy    0

Why does it always seem that when I start up each year, that I have traics failing and causing issues?  What causes traics to start failing and eventually not responding?

 

I have purchased over the past 7 years, LOR controllers from various generations.  Each year, I end up having to change up a program and reassign channels to other legs of a controller, because a traic is failing or completely stopped responding.

 

Is there something that I am doing to cause this reaction to the controller or is the lifespan of a traic only for a couple of years?  Are these components that sensitive that they breakdown and have to be changed out frequently?  I really enjoy the LOR controllers, but here lately, I really am concerned of their life expectency, once purchased.

 

I only operate 22 - 16 channel controllers with 8 CCR's.  This year alone, I have a total of 8 traics that have failed or on their way of not responding.  Even though I leave an extra channel vacant in close proximity to another controller, just in case of failure, I still have to reprogram the configuration to each song. 

 

Will LOR provide these replacement traics at no charge?  How easy is the replacement of these traics, if done on my own?

 

Curious Minds want to know.

 

Jerry

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plasmadrive    318

This has been discussed ad nauseam... The answers are there... you just need to search the threads..

 

Sorry.. I just don't want to do it yet again.. :wacko:

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plasmadrive    318

Thanks for putting the link up Ken.....  I have only had one triac that was iffy over the last 3 years with 15 controllers. 

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Tim Fischer    194

If you're blowing that many triacs, you're either overloading them, or shorting them out. 

I don't remember blowing a single triac in whole time I've been doing this (11th season with LOR now) although I bought some used controllers that I had to replace them on.

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thevikester    19

I've had 2 go bad in 5 years,  a tutorial on replacement would be great, but I'm just going to send them in at the end of the season, which gives plenty of time to get them back  : )

Thx for that link Ken

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plasmadrive    318

I've had 2 go bad in 5 years,  a tutorial on replacement would be great, but I'm just going to send them in at the end of the season, which gives plenty of time to get them back  : )

Thx for that link Ken

I am sure that is a liability that no one wants.. a single solder bridge on the high voltage part could cause bad things to happen.   I suspect in the case of "blown" triacs there would be carbon tracking and you would have to be able to deal with that and measure afterwards... If you could do that.... you would not need a video as to how to replace them...

 

So, one more things this country's lawyers have done for us...

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Tim Fischer    194

I am sure that is a liability that no one wants.. a single solder bridge on the high voltage part could cause bad things to happen.   I suspect in the case of "blown" triacs there would be carbon tracking and you would have to be able to deal with that and measure afterwards... If you could do that.... you would not need a video as to how to replace them...

 

So, one more things this country's lawyers have done for us...

I seriously doubt that.  We have tutorials for all kinds of things, the last thing I'd be worried about is liability from a video I posted in a forum.  I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had a triac to replace.

You can't live in fear of being sued in the most improbable of cases.

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plasmadrive    318

I seriously doubt that.  We have tutorials for all kinds of things, the last thing I'd be worried about is liability from a video I posted in a forum.  I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had a triac to replace.

You can't live in fear of being sued in the most improbable of cases.

You should not doubt it.   You can put a hobby video out .. but as far as LOR or any other company doing it.. they would be nuts.  I have had three industrial controls companies and I can tell you horror stories about your "most improbable of cases" that you would not believe.  Some of the low life lawyers out there will sue for any reason if they think they can get money.... it's always someone elses fault but their clients.  Kinda like hot coffee, removing the lid, putting it between your legs in a car a squeezing.. yeah.. Most improbable...

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Jim Hans    49

I've lost between 1 and 3 every year. I'm all LED so I'm not overloading them and I doubt I'm shorting them out because when I move them to a new channel all works great for weeks (shorts don't heal themselves). I've just come to think it is a fact of life and live with it. Having LOR come up with an automated routine that would change a channel assignment to all my sequences would at least take the big pain in the butt out of it anyway

Lost one on the first night this year already.

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Tim Fischer    194

Kinda like hot coffee, removing the lid, putting it between your legs in a car a squeezing.. yeah.. Most improbable...

Did you know that McDonalds at that time served their coffee over 190 degrees, and most restaurants serve it 30 or more degrees cooler?  Did you know that the woman was in the hospital for over a week with massive burns, and the extra 30 degrees was directly the cause of it?

There are a lot of stupid lawsuits out there, but the poor McDonalds lady actually had a decent claim.

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plasmadrive    318

Did you know that McDonalds at that time served their coffee over 190 degrees, and most restaurants serve it 30 or more degrees cooler?  Did you know that the woman was in the hospital for over a week with massive burns, and the extra 30 degrees was directly the cause of it?

There are a lot of stupid lawsuits out there, but the poor McDonalds lady actually had a decent claim.

Did you know that according to the National Coffee Assoc. the perfect water temp for brewing coffee is between 195-205 deg?  The perfect drinking temp is considered between 180-185 deg.  Most restaurants NOW lowered the temp because of this law suit... I ran two of them for my dad and one was a truck stop.  Coffee that was not around 185 was considered cold by the customers.  It doesn't stay as hot when you pour it after just a short time.

She took the lid off and put it between her legs and squeezed. She caused her own burns..  That was not a decent claim.  She should have taken responsibility for her own actions.. Now we all have to have colder coffee because of the fear of law suits...ain't it funny how all the  millions billions of cups of coffee before her, were just fine..  One spoils it for all ...  I feel sorry for her burns.. but it was her own fault... no one elses. 

 

But yes.. a lot of stupid law suits.. I agree....

 

 

Also, I have taken us way off topic... Sorry. 

 

Think about this though... if someone tells you how to replace a triac and you don't explain about carbon tracking and there is some.... and then someone that has little knowledge about any of it follows that video and and they either get shocked, start a fire or blow something up again.. such as a triac and they get it in the face or eyes.. who do you think they would go after?  I'm just saying... do a hobby video and you should be fine.. do a commercially sponsored one and it can be a problem.   That is most likely why you wont' see one from a business... But hey.. ya never know.. someone might get brave..

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jeffl    20

Soldering station, solder sucker and some copper braid for removing solder and replacements.  The most work is taking it all apart.  Depending on the controller is probably 1.5 hours by the time you pull it from the yard and finish everything.

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JeffF    64

This is our sixth year with LOR and for some reason is the year of the failing triac. Have had four fail in the past week spread out over two controllers. Funny thing is they are the least loaded channels... with either 20 or 100 minis on them(candy canes and arches).

Never had any blow before this year. And in my case, no... LOR will not provide them for free which is pretty cheap of them imho. Sending a few links for me to buy them? I could have looked that up myself thank you.

The couple times I've written them in the past they have sent things without question(broken fuse clips that I asked about buying). Not sure why this changed except for maybe the person that wrote me back...

At any rate... I've gotten good at importing channel configurations. :D

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DevMike    429

This is our sixth year with LOR and for some reason is the year of the failing triac. Have had four fail in the past week spread out over two controllers. Funny thing is they are the least loaded channels... with either 20 or 100 minis on them(candy canes and arches).

Never had any blow before this year. And in my case, no... LOR will not provide them for free which is pretty cheap of them imho. Sending a few links for me to buy them? I could have looked that up myself thank you.

The couple times I've written them in the past they have sent things without question(broken fuse clips that I asked about buying). Not sure why this changed except for maybe the person that wrote me back...

At any rate... I've gotten good at importing channel configurations. :D

 

We certainly do send triacs out when requested.  One of the few times we don't is when the person either specifically asks for links on where to purchase them, or if they are asking for an inordinate amount of them.

 

What was your trouble ticket number so I can look up what exactly happened?

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JeffF    64

PM heading your way. Thanks a lot for the offer to look into it.

Although I do have a 10 pack of triacs and MOPs inbound already.

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DevMike    429

I got your PM with the ticket number, and you are absolutely correct -- rather than offer to send you some, we only gave you some links to buy them.  We really dropped the ball, I apologize for that.

 

I'm going to re-open your ticket and get some sent to you.  

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JeffF    64

I got your PM with the ticket number, and you are absolutely correct -- rather than offer to send you some, we only gave you some links to buy them.  We really dropped the ball, I apologize for that.

 

I'm going to re-open your ticket and get some sent to you.

Heh... now that is the kind of response I am used to seeing from the LOR folks! Thank you Mike!

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-klb-    41

Will note that in all (roughly 4 or 5) failed triacs I have, not one has visibly damaged its case, let alone left a carbon trail.

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Max-Paul    282

Right a ruptured case and carbon trails is usually when a electronic part fails open like a fuse. When something fails in a closed manner, it is more like a melt down not an arc or explosion.

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DevMike    429

A little more food for thought.  Please note that we are talking simplistically here.  Any/All/None of these things may apply to a particular triac failure, nor does any of this speak to the fitness of one product over another.  I am not an electronic engineer.  

 

Triacs are little more than gates for electrons.  They really are nothing more than miniature relays except they are 100% solid state and can be switched on/off, opened/closed if we stick with the gate analogy, VERY quickly.  

 

99% of the time, a Triac blows because it has been over-heated.  All electronics generate some heat since there are no 'perfect conductors' (or at least ones you could afford!).  Being VERY simplistic here:  Triacs have a 'max amperage' because they need to be able to dissipate that amount of heat without damage.  Overloading a Triac, by trying to pass more current through the device than it is rated for, generates more heat than the device can dissipate, and kaboom - blown triac.

 

The amount of current a Triac can handle is usually predicated on using a proper heat sink.  The object of the heat sink is to drain away (see?  sink) the heat from the Triac.  That's why an 8A triac can be blown with only a couple of amps --> IF you don't use a proper heat sink.

 

So why does a Traic normally fail at around 50%?  A Triac is actually 2 thyristors back to back.  As you know, AC is 'Alternating' current.  That means for 1/2 the cycle electrons flow in 1 direction, and then flow in the opposite direction for the other half.  A thyristor can only conduct in 1 direction, so we use 2:  one for the positive direction, one for the negative direction.  When a Triac blows, it usually does so with only 1 of the thyristors going bad.  Since the Triac is now conducting at all times on 1/2 the cycle, you see the typical 50% brightness fail.

 

Can you blow a Triac with a correct or even undersized load?  Yes you can, and very easily.  Take for example controlling a motor or transformer.  Each motor will have a different 'starting' value, but that value can be quite high.  Sometimes 7 or even MORE times the running current of  a motor.  In that case, a 5A motor would actually draw 35A at startup.  That inrush current should only last for a a few hundred milliseconds (more correctly:  however long it takes the motor to start up), so you won't blow a fuse or breaker.  However that much current could cause enough sudden heat within the Triac to blow it.

 

Rarely, a short can blow up a triac, even under the rated current.  Let's say you have a string of Mini lights that shorts out.  The fuse in the string is rated for 3A and should protect your Triac.  However, fuses are 'slow' to blow.  It takes time for the small piece of metal in the fuse to heat up and melt.  That time could be just long enough to kill a Triac.

 

So heat, generally by overloading, causes 99% of the Triac failures we see overall.  Ah, but there is that other 1%......

 

There was a case several years back where a major manufacturer of Triacs (ST Micro) made several bad batches at a plant in China.  Those should all have made their way through the supply chain by now.

 

Since these are semi conductors we are talking about, they are subject to damage by ESD - Electro-Static Discharge.  I suppose some could be damaged this way.  Nearby thunderstorms can produce HUGE static charges and inductive loads.  Long extension cords, and long light strings make for excellent antennas to pick up these loads and transmit them back to the poor Triac.

 

.....But I'll bet the greater majority of this 1% you would never find a reason.  It's the same for the 1% of people who blow a fuse on something.  There's no overload, it's been working for quite and while, and then POOF.  Fuse goes bad.  The best thing you can do is be prepared.  It isn't so much a question of 'if', it is a question of 'when'.

 

 

Did you know (I learned this today too!) -->

Triac is actually a now generic trade name, much like we refer to tissues as 'Kleenex' or adhesive bandages as 'Band-Aid's?  They are really called "bidirectional triode thyristors"

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jerrymac    77

Great examples.  LOVE the real world example rather than the techno geek.  Helped me understand what these things do and how.

 

 

WOW  GREAT JOB !!!!

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