Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
Sign in to follow this  
bkdraft

Weather shut down

Recommended Posts

Had to shut down tonight. Freezing rain kept tripping the GFI's. Suppose to do this all night and through Tuesday.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear some people never have problems with rain. I wonder how. The Disney display shuts down because of rain. I have never survived rain. I have had static displays in the past. This is my first year animated. I am writing a show that is music only with an announcement that weather conditions are not cooperating with the display.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, I have never had trouble with rain in all the 16 years I've being doing outdoor displays, and we have some fairly bad rain during the month of December every year.

I'm wondering if there is something about the way you are connecting things up that cause the GFCIs to trip?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ran a test in the summer becuase my mini trees kept tripping the gfci. my minis are made on chicken wire. after painting i tiewrap the lights to the tree. i sprayed with wire drier and it still tripped. than i put the mini on a milkcrate and my gfci didnt trip. so i just have to find a way to keep my minis off the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard,

Is there anything you do extra? I've heard of people who wrap all their connections in a plastic bag. Besides keeping sockets out of puddles, that's as far as my knowledge goes to prevent trips. I haven't had a year yet, without a trip. I don't do anything out of the oridinary. I follow the 3 rule. I check not to use more than 80% of allowed amps per line. The house I moved from was owned by a welder, and I had more than enough power. I'm anticipating what I always get. Wet=no show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it sound funny, but electrical ground is different in every location so that could be part of the reason some people have problems and some don't.

I work for a telco and we have a heck of a problem out in some of the farm lands because of bad grounds. It's strange but just because you have something that is supposed to be a ground, don't assume it actually *is* a ground. :)

-Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

bossgroove wrote:

Richard,

Is there anything you do extra? I've heard of people who wrap all their connections in a plastic bag. Besides keeping sockets out of puddles, that's as far as my knowledge goes to prevent trips. I haven't had a year yet, without a trip. I don't do anything out of the oridinary. I follow the 3 rule. I check not to use more than 80% of allowed amps per line. The house I moved from was owned by a welder, and I had more than enough power. I'm anticipating what I always get. Wet=no show.


boss, I am not so sure that I do anything extra. I am a proponent of wrapping many of my connections in plastic bags, but there are just as many people on here who say it can also cause problems. Lots of discussion exist about this elsewhere in the forum. I think the effectivness or faults of wrapping connections comes down to how you do it, where you do it, and what the weather is like in your area. All I can say is that it works for me, but I don't do it everywhere in my display. Some people say moisture builds up in the bag anyway, but for me, the connections are dry when I take down my display in January. I'd guess that I do it in about half of my locations (places where wires run along the ground and lights are almost on the ground.

A second point is to keep in mind (as you likely know by your comment) that we could be talking about two different issues. A GFCI could trip because of over-current or because of excess leakage current. Based on your symptoms, I'm going to assume your tripping is not due to excessive current draw on an outlet, but instead is due to leakage current.

One minor thing to keep in mind is that the more lights and connections you have on a controller, the more probability you have of leakage current. Sometimes it can be difficult to troubleshoot where the leakage to ground is occurring when lights are running all over the place... especially on hedges and bushes near the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last year I bagged all connections and didn't have one failure the entire time the display ran. What I did do is figure out the number of people that came to see the display on a normal night and a night with rain. This year I figured I am not going to run the display during heavy rains. I didn't have many people duing heaby rain storms so in order to save on electric consumption I am going to try this approach this year and see how it goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg wrote:

Last year I bagged all connections and didn't have one failure the entire time the display ran. What I did do is figure out the number of people that came to see the display on a normal night and a night with rain. This year I figured I am not going to run the display during heavy rains. I didn't have many people duing heaby rain storms so in order to save on electric consumption I am going to try this approach this year and see how it goes.

I run my display through all kinds of weather. It seems that I don't get much fewer people when it rains. They just stay in their car instead of getting out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

for those who don't know who Kevin is. he is the the demented elf.
he does a professional voice intro and jokes with your name for your display. He will work very well with you and gives you a really great price.

Attached files 160265=9310-hijacked.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in South Missisippi and had BAD weather last Christmas and my display never shut down once due to rain. I SHUT IT down on one particularly bad night because people park on an empty lot across the street to watch and it gets MUDDY! To keep them from getting stuck, I shut down so people would not get in it.
I had about 120 channels on last year.
RW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FBW4 wrote:

I SHUT IT down on one particularly bad night because people park on an empty lot across the street to watch and it gets MUDDY! To keep them from getting stuck, I shut down so people would not get in it.

Hmmm, it reminds me that EVERY YEAR, at least one person knocks on the door to ask for help with a dead battery. Even though we announce people to turn off the car headheads and take their feet off the brake, they still do it. I guess they are in a trance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station that runs VWS that sends data to my weather page on my Christmas site in real time for various weather conditions live here at the display. I have wrote a script that contains several configurable thresholds that will shut LOR down and activate my OTS DJ software with Christmas music and announcements stating why the display has been shut down the the night. So guests can check the real time conditions here at the display before they come out.

A couple of the thresholds which would trigger this is if it detects a certain amount of rainfall in set amount of time or a certain rain rate. Also if the temp is below freezing and it detects precipe it will shut down also. This allows me to have the display fully automated so I don't have to monitor the weather or if I am not home to turn it off. It also monitors a lot of other things as well. It can also restart LOR and the display if no precipe has been detected in a set time. Also when it shuts the display down it will display a banner on the web site home page that the display is currently offline due to weather. If it the display comes back online the banner will disappear. Nobody every wants to make a drive to a display to find out it is not running so I thought this would be a nice addition. This is just a small taste of what it can do though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Texan78 wrote:

I have a Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station that runs VWS that sends data to my weather page on my Christmas site in real time for various weather conditions live here at the display. I have wrote a script that contains several configurable thresholds that will shut LOR down and activate my OTS DJ software with Christmas music and announcements stating why the display has been shut down the the night. So guests can check the real time conditions here at the display before they come out.

A couple of the thresholds which would trigger this is if it detects a certain amount of rainfall in set amount of time or a certain rain rate. Also if the temp is below freezing and it detects precipe it will shut down also. This allows me to have the display fully automated so I don't have to monitor the weather or if I am not home to turn it off. It also monitors a lot of other things as well. It can also restart LOR and the display if no precipe has been detected in a set time. Also when it shuts the display down it will display a banner on the web site home page that the display is currently offline due to weather. If it the display comes back online the banner will disappear. Nobody every wants to make a drive to a display to find out it is not running so I thought this would be a nice addition. This is just a small taste of what it can do though.

I took a MUCH simpler approach - I use a Sprinkler System rain gauge as a trigger on my director card; Simple and works.

Harrison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The equipment was something I already had being a Skywarn storm spotter. So it wasn't something I did just for my display. Since I have the equipment I decided to utilize it and incorporate it into my display. It gives me a lot more control then just a Sprinkler System rain sensor. With a Sprinkler System rain sensor you can not set the rain threshold. So you are pretty much stuck with when and if it detects precipe and the amount it detects. Also something as small as fog or dew will trigger the rain sensor and could shut your display off for the night when it doesn't actually need to be off. Where with mine, precipe actually has to tip the scale within the rain bucket. You also don't have the ability to follow up to see if the precipe has stopped and set a threshold to turn the display back on. You have to wait for the sensor to dry which could lead to false readings. It you receive a .10 of rain it will turn the display off and probably won't turn it back on if use the rain sensor. .10 of rain is not a lot and not enough to turn it off and that is the advanatage I have is I can set the precipe amount and have it recheck at a set time frame to see if the precipe is still occuring it it has trigger a set rain threshold to set off at. The rain sensor doesn't have the ability to detect froze precipe or temp changes where I can. I also have a Boltek Lightning Detector that will detech strikes up to 300 miles. I have it set at a threshold of 50 miles from my location to shut off the display as well to protect guests that might be standing outside watching the display. The rain sensor can not do that. In addition it will display a banner on the web page or remove it to alert guests that might be planning a visit that the display is off due to weather and this is all automated. I do not have to do a thing, the PWS and script does it all. All the information is published in real time of current conditions on the sites weather conditions section.

Not saying the Sprinkler System rain sesnor won't work. You just won't have complete control over it and the sensitive of it like I do. So you might get false triggers using it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I took a MUCH simpler approach - I use a Sprinkler System rain gauge as a trigger on my director card; Simple and works.

Harrison


That's a cute idea. I like that. However, if I did that in California, the display would neve come on! :shock: We get too much rain in December. That's why I run the display anyway, and people keep coming.

By the way, doesn't the rain gauge have too much of a delayed effect? By the time it triggers, it would have been raining an hour or more. I guess it depends on the type you use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard Hamilton wrote:

By the way, doesn't the rain gauge have too much of a delayed effect? By the time it triggers, it would have been raining an hour or more. I guess it depends on the type you use.


You are absolutely correct. There are 3 basic types of those sensors that use a collection cup and they will not open the circuit again until the collection cup is dry. This is to prevent over watering of lawns. Also they are known to get stuck, clogged with debris and not very effective. The most common type used is the expansion disk device which will allow you to select between 1/4-1/2" totals. Those also tend to get clogged as well. An since they use cork disks that expand to close the circuit it will have to dry before it opens the circuit again. So they will definitely shut your display off in the event of rain. When it will shut it off no one knows, then you will have to wait for it to dry out before it opens the circuit again. It could take up to an inch of rain and by then and it could be to late. It also won't detect frozen precipe ether. To manually override it means you would have to go disconnect it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Texan78 wrote:

Richard Hamilton wrote:
By the way, doesn't the rain gauge have too much of a delayed effect? By the time it triggers, it would have been raining an hour or more. I guess it depends on the type you use.


To manually override it means you would have to go disconnect it.


I wired in a bypass switch - for this exact reason.

Harrison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Texan78 wrote:

You still have to manually flip the switch.

Have you ever used this method before?

What a switch - It's like sliced bread. If ALL else fails I can always remote in and disable the director (Change the time) and have the system do what I want. I typically go overly technical but it is just Christmas lights - but why.

Harrison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it may as simple as a switch, but you still have to manually flip it. What I am saying is compared to my set up lets say you are not home. The sensor triggers it prematurely or doesn't trigger until it is to late, etc. You have no way to know this if you are not home and the sensor is not going to recheck the conditions and turn it back on. High humidity with fog a mist can trigger those sensors. In my set up I don't warrant mist heavy enough to turn the display off unless the visibility is an issue and it becomes a safety concerned with guests. Those sensors also take a couple of days to dry out. So if you can a good rain one night and it shuts the display off it could take 3 days for it to dry out by design. Remember what you are dealing with, a sensor for your sprinkler system so you don't waste or over water your lawn. So on the day after it rains you disconnect it because there is no rain for that night and the system wont come one because it hasn't dried out. Then the next day it rains again, but the sensor is turned off because it hasn't dried out from the rain two days ago and you don't notice it or you are not home, your display will run in the rain until you manually have to shut it home. Another thing you have to worry about is if it is raining during the day and and everything drys up and clears up but the disks are still wet and then it gets below freezing that night. Those disks will expand and shut your system over that way too so your sprinklers don't come on while it is freezing.

It is a good idea, don't get me wrong, but you can not control every aspect like I can with my PWS and program. It is FULLY automated and I don't have to be at home at all and I have the comfort to know that it will go off and/or come back on if it needs to. Just because I have a $600 PWS, doesn't mean this same method can not be done with a simple PWS that is under $100 and it will be more effective then a rain sensor that you can not control.

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.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...