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I guess I will start.. 1st triac failure of the season

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Have run my display many many times over the last month.. no issues what so ever.. This morning I woke up and sure enough, one triac stuck half on.  No overload, no power surges, no rain, no nothing.... just sometimes electronics fail.  It is the nature of the beast..

 

I run 16 of the CTB16PCs and last year I had one triac fail, and the year before that, one triac fail (if memory serves).  Today is my one for this season I think.  Each time the failures occurred with channels that were slightly loaded but no program content running..... They are just powered up and sitting. Each time were on clear days or nights with no rain.

 

No fault, no blame.. it just happens..  I will swap controllers and do the triac dance to fix it.. 

 

Better now than during a run..

 

Craig

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Triac Failures with no known cause used to really offend my sensibilities.  There has to be a reason, but we will never know....

 

It was the same thing when I was cutting my teeth on IBM Mainframes back in the day.  Inevitably you would look something up and there would be the famous words if you did something wrong:  "Results will be unpredictable".  How can they be UNPREDICTABLE?!  This is a computer, it only does what we tell it.  What you mean to say is 'we don't want to be bothered telling you what actually happens'.

 

Then I discovered the magic that is Prozac.  :P

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Triac Failures with no known cause used to really offend my sensibilities.  There has to be a reason, but we will never know....

 

snip.............

 

Then I discovered the magic that is Prozac.   :P

"The magic that is Prozac"    ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!  

 

Yeah.. sometime triacs just fail.  just like voltage regulators.. those should last forever given all the internal protections.. but sometimes they just fail.  Everyone is looking for a reason to blame triac failures on.. but the circuit design is solid, there were only about 50 or less incans on this one.. and they all still work so that is not the cause.  the ground is dry, the controller is actually covered with plastic... We had no power surges that I know of.. I have surge arrestors on the power panel....  There was no program material running.. I assume it just popped on like what happened last year... Last year the load was 50 LEDs, it was the middle of a sunny day and it just came on and stuck.  No rain for days prior.  All the LEDs were in a small tree and off the ground.. This time in a Costco present and off the ground by about 18".   Off when I went to bed and on when I woke up.. still dark outside is the only reason I noticed..

 

So hopefully this is my one and only this year.  ha ha..

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I had a channle die after muliple nights of halloween sequences testing.  The dead channle was one of the 8 I was using  for single color element on a cmb24d.  Remembered I had unused channel 9 so I simply moved a wire between channels and changed my sequences with the channel change.  

Some have suggest having excess capabilities in your controller but alway felt this was a waste of money...not any more. Now considering getting an extra cmb24d just for backup.

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Some have suggest having excess capabilities in your controller but alway felt this was a waste of money...not any more. Now considering getting an extra cmb24d just for backup.

 

I highly suggest the same thing.

I have extra controllers, transmitters, usb adapters and so on. I even have a box of triacs. :)

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I always have spares.. that's why I just swap controllers.. then I can change the triac at my leisure. 

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Edit:  I'll take that back.  It was an attempt at humor (and I thought it was VERY funny), but I could see where that could have offended.

 

Carry on. 

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Here is an update... I went out to replace the board (because that is the easiest for this one and it turns out there was some burning going on.    The PCB around Triac 5 looks to have been smoldering for weeks.  I started to clear away the carbon tracking and wound up losing the PCB all the way thru around 2 pins on the triac and under the main trace on the bottom of the board.  This time there appears to be a reason.  I believe it was a very small worm shorted across the triac leads.  The rest of the controller is fine.. that one part of the PCB is no more. 

 

Hey Mike, what is the replacement cost warranty thingy? 

 

Craig


Edit:  I'll take that back.  It was an attempt at humor (and I thought it was VERY funny), but I could see where that could have offended.

 

Carry on. 

don't take it back.. it was funny.. very funny in fact.. people need to learn to get some thickness to their skin again..

Edited by plasmadrive

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If you have a controller that is out of warranty, or a competitors product where we have something similar, and want to 'turn it in' we can give you 40% off the list price of the same/similar controller no matter what is wrong.

 

You have to send the other unit in to us (where we dispose of it in a fitting fashion, usually involving C4).  You need an RMA to do it, and it typically takes a couple of weeks - since it's the repair department that handles them.

 

Full details are available on the website.

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If you have a controller that is out of warranty, or a competitors product where we have something similar, and want to 'turn it in' we can give you 40% off the list price of the same/similar controller no matter what is wrong.

 

You have to send the other unit in to us (where we dispose of it in a fitting fashion, usually involving C4).  You need an RMA to do it, and it typically takes a couple of weeks - since it's the repair department that handles them.

 

Full details are available on the website.

That is what I wanted to know.. I could not find that info on the web site.. but I already have a ticket in. 

 

I also explained to Chuck that this can't be a free warranty because it was NOT a defect.  It was a worm not a defect... This particular controller board is really only about 3 months old usage wise.  I bought it as a backup should it be needed, and it was needed last year.. Just my luck my newest board would be the one that got fried..

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There in lies the problem.. I never looked under "about".  I've never seen a warranty policy under "about", usually under "support" me thinks. 

 

Anyway.. Thanks Mike..

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For out of warrenty boards, Just curious what it takes to replace a triac versus the typical LOR repair charge?

Guessing it's a little more straight forward on DC boards verus AC controller.  Saw a video on doing it for AC controller and lots of screws to remove to get board and heatsink separated.  Obviously less shipping cost involved with a DC boards versus an entire AC controller.

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For out of warrenty boards, Just curious what it takes to replace a triac versus the typical LOR repair charge?

Guessing it's a little more straight forward on DC boards verus AC controller.  Saw a video on doing it for AC controller and lots of screws to remove to get board and heatsink separated.  Obviously less shipping cost involved with a DC boards versus an entire AC controller.

Replacing triacs is not a hard thing to do, but because the boards are so thick, you better know what you are doing and have a good solder station, or you could damage the PCB.   

 

This particular case for me, the PCB is literally gone. Arcing has been so long and slow that it carbonized the PCB around the triac and it is now history.

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For out of warrenty boards, Just curious what it takes to replace a triac versus the typical LOR repair charge?

Guessing it's a little more straight forward on DC boards verus AC controller.  Saw a video on doing it for AC controller and lots of screws to remove to get board and heatsink separated.  Obviously less shipping cost involved with a DC boards versus an entire AC controller.

 

As said, replacing a triac is not hard, but it does take experience and proper tools to do it.  The longest time is getting the board to the point where you can actually do the work - yes there are a zillion screws.

 

Once you get it down to the point you can work on it, the secret is getting the old triac out without killing the board.  For that, you need some skill or some (moderately) expensive tools.  Taking solder OUT of a hole is a whole lot more difficult than putting it IN :)   

 

  • You need to get ALL the solder out.  If you are using cheap tools (like solder wick or a manual solder sucker) it is VERY easy to overheat the pad and have it pop off on you ruining that channel.  This isn't a logic connection, it handles amps of power so it is bigger with more solder.
  • You get what you think is all the solder out, but the pin is still attached ever so slightly.  You wiggle the triac and pop off the pad or rip off the trace.  Again ruined.  Never wiggle parts.
  • You decide that it may be easier to cut the triac off and then desolder 3 individual pins.  Many times that is the best way of doing things, but probably not here.  The pins are designed to handle many amps of power and are thus thick and hard to cut.  If you don't have a set of good cutters and some fine motor control skills you can rip the pads off just by cutting wrong.

A good through-hole rework station makes things easy.  A desoldering gun with a constant running vac pump makes cleaning out the hole easy.  But then again, you are talking a minimum of $300 for something you may only use once or twice.  (I have the linked station and love it.  It's no top of the line thing, but it wasn't $1000 either!)

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newbie question. Does a triad just make one channel be bad or the whole controller won't work properly? Can you use controller still but just be short one channel? I have one extra channel between the two controllers I just purchased. Can I just change sequence and use it till end of season then get repaired ?

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newbie question. Does a triad just make one channel be bad or the whole controller won't work properly? Can you use controller still but just be short one channel? I have one extra channel between the two controllers I just purchased. Can I just change sequence and use it till end of season then get repaired ?

 

Yes, affects one channel only. Yes, you can still use the controller but will be short the bad channel. Yes, just change the channel on the sequence.

Edited by Santas Helper

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Here is an update... I went out to replace the board (because that is the easiest for this one and it turns out there was some burning going on.    The PCB around Triac 5 looks to have been smoldering for weeks.  I started to clear away the carbon tracking and wound up losing the PCB all the way thru around 2 pins on the triac and under the main trace on the bottom of the board.  This time there appears to be a reason.  I believe it was a very small worm shorted across the triac leads.  The rest of the controller is fine.. that one part of the PCB is no more. 

 

Hey Mike, what is the replacement cost warranty thingy? 

 

Craig

don't take it back.. it was funny.. very funny in fact.. people need to learn to get some thickness to their skin again..

 

Is the worm OK?

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