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nmonkman

Using Relays with LOR

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Okay, they say the only dumb question is the one you never ask so here goes....



I have been reading alot of posts about using relays with LOR controllers to turn one channel into several. I posted this question on another web site and got some strange answers so maybe I am not understanding how they work.

So let's start with a simple question and we can take it from there.

Exactly what is a "relay" and if what I have read is true, how can they turn one channel into several?

Let The Edification Begin:],

Neil

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First, there's Two types of relays - electronic and mechanical. Both do the same thing. I've used mechanical relays for lots of things, so I can talk more about them... Basically, it's an electro-magnet that 'pulls' a contact arm between two contacts.

In simple form, there's two leads on one side that power the magnet.

There's 3 leads on the other side... One is the 'arm', and the other two are the contacts on each side... One is connected while the magnet is off, then the other one is connected when power is applied. This is SPDT (Single Pole, Double Throw) The most common is DPDT, where there are two 'arms' and sets of contacts.

The power (versions for 110vAC, 12vDC etc) is applied to the magnet and it pulls the arm(s) to 'switch' the circuit. The circuit can be anything, up to the rated capacity of the contacts.

In my example post on the other board, I proposed the onorthodox idea of 'switching' the neutral with a relay... The main circuits on the controller would each go to two colors, then the relay control circuit would switch the neutral between the two strings. A neutral would come off the board to the 'arm' terminal, then the two strings neutrals would be connected to the contacts on either side... The relay is either on or off, selecting the color Red or Green, then the channels could do whatever you want to circuits- Red or Green.

I'm building a Firework, Channel 1 will toggle between Red and Blue, Channel 2 will toggle between Green and Yellow. 3-7 will control Red/Blue bands, 8-12 will control Yellow/Blue. Now I'll be able to shoot Red or Blue or Yellow or Green firwork, or fade from Red to Yellow, Blue to Green etc.. It then takes 12 channels, instead of 20 if all colors were hooked up normal. I'm building 5, so I'm saving 40 channels.

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Hey!

I am glad it was you that responded. I think I stepped off into the deep end by posting my question in the thread on PC and that is what confused me. Granted I am still a little confused, so bear with me.

So I have channel 1 that I want to toggle between two colors. I will call red 1A and blue 1B.

Now I understand the concept of the leads and the arm. As the arm moves back and forth the lights will change from red to blue.

How do you or can you control the duration of red or blue being on? Is that where the difference between a mechanical and electronic relay comes into play?

Note this is the first of many and I GREATLY appreciate the help!

Neil

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Give this PDF a look.

http://www.autoshop101.com/forms/hweb2.pdf

It has diagrams as well as pictures and does a decent job explaining the way relays work. When you get to page 9 or 10, you'll see the double throw relays that randall is explaining in his post. So, if you would use one LOR channel to energize the coils of several relays, you would be getting the extra capacity, i.e. "channels", you are asking about.

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That was a great article and I thought that the pictures would be very helpful. However, I guess electronics really isn't my field or at least advanced electronics.

Perhaps I need to pick up a Electronics 101 book and start from the beginning. Or maybe just keep buying more controllers. I know Dan would love the latter.

LOL

Neil

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I've been working on first firework assbly.. When I get a little more done, I'm going to do a short video on how I've done it, and show a close up of LOR box and relays.. Will also draw a simple diagram.. (no electical icons... only ones I knew were + and - and neither of those apply to my life anymore....

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Maybe that is where my problem is......trying to hard to know EVERYTHING onhow they work instead of the basics.

I started thinking about this last night. Take my controllers for example. I know that when I power them up an run a sequence, they do what I ask them to. I don't know exactly HOW they do it, but they work.

Instead of focusing on every detail of how a relay works perhaps I should just learn the right ones to use and the proper place to hook wires to. If they do what I want, who cares how they do it, right? LOL. Kind of like driving a car. When I step on the gas I know the basics of what happens (feeds gas to engine, cylinders fire, crank turns, car goes) Obviously there is alot more to it than that but if I try to analyze every step I wouldn't get anywhere.

I will watch for the videos and pics.

Neil

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I finished one spoke of my first firework last night and wired it so I could use relays to switch neutrals going to different colors..

I tested it first on the bench with direct power..... As some other posts suggest, there is voltage leaking somewhere.. Does not work like I wanted it too!

I'm beginning to agree that this is a BAD idea and opens the door to TOO many other problems... Bottom line -- LOR = Reliable Show .... Cutting Corners = Disaster

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Randall,

First let me say that you have a beautiful display based upon the pic in your profile.

Second, let me share a couple of ideas with you. I built a fireworks display this year which I used for the "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" finale'.

Here is a link to a very short version of the fireworks:



I had (3) groups of (4) "shafts" each with 4ch of 100ct. clear minis. I had (4) total Storms from Action Lighting which depicted the "explosion" part of the firework and finally I had 16 red and green strobes which were the "fallout" part of the fireworks

All together I used 53 channels for this one effect.
_______________________________

Here is a pic of a dual relay set-up I used to raise and lower an angel from my 30' tree. The link to that short version video is:



Charles


Attached files 148181=8683-relays.gif

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I got to talking with one of our subcontractors yesterday about this.

The guy I talked to is a master electrician. I was explaining about how my LOR controllers work.

To him, a board is a board is a board. He says there should be no reason you couldn't use relays, it is just HOW you use them.

I am going to keep studying up on them. In the interim I'll just plan on a couple more controllers. If not this year, there is always next year.

Neil

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Charles:

You were posting at the same time I was.

I can only think of one word for your angel

AWESOME, OUTSTANDING, AMAZING, UNBELIEVABLE, STUPENDOUS, INCREDIBLE, TERRIFIC, MAGNIFICENT.........

okay, so I actually had 8.

That is really phenomenol!

oops....9

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Charles Belcher wrote:

Here is a pic of a dual relay set-up I used to raise and lower an angel from my 30' tree. The link to that short version video is:

Charles, could you explain more (pics are aways welcome :P) about your angel?

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Charles Belcher wrote:

Randall,

First let me say that you have a beautiful display based upon the pic in your profile.

Second, let me share a couple of ideas with you. I built a fireworks display this year which I used for the "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" finale'.

Here is a link to a very short version of the fireworks:



I had (3) groups of (4) "shafts" each with 4ch of 100ct. clear minis. I had (4) total Storms from Action Lighting which depicted the "explosion" part of the firework and finally I had 16 red and green strobes which were the "fallout" part of the fireworks

All together I used 53 channels for this one effect.
_______________________________

Here is a pic of a dual relay set-up I used to raise and lower an angel from my 30' tree. The link to that short version video is:



Charles



Charles,

Question about the fireworks effect, (the light storms), are they the mult1 or mult2's, and since they have different effects, when you switch the power back on to them, do you get the same effect as when you shut them off. ( I know with some items that have multiple effects, you shut power off, it starts from the beginning.

Scott

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Scott,

I had two of each just to break it up a bit. Yes, when you apply power they start from the beginning which was an inward to outward concentric circle expansion, which happened to be what I needed for the effect.

If you let it run too long, it starts doing all that disco stuff and doesn't look like fireworks.

I talked with Jeff at Action Lighting when I bought those and we talked about me doing a mod on the units whereby, I would bypass the internal controller and just grab the wires connecting to the lights I needed in the units and hooking them directly to a LOR controller.

After I received the units and played with them, I ended up with the setting you see in the video and did not do the mod. It wouldn't be hard to do it.

The units have a speed control knob on them. I set it and never touched it again for 5 weeks. They held up in the weather and the speed never varied from my initial setting.

Charles

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morningsidemustangs,

I would guess Sioux City?


The angel is 72" high with one head, one body, two sets of arms and wings for motion. I made her with 1/2" rope light from Action Lighting, tie wrapped to a wire mesh they use in concrete. The mesh wire size is about like a floral easel wire and is welded on 6" centers.

The motor is a 12v dc motor so that it can be reversed. One LOR channel is up and another is down via the relays shown in the pic. The battery is a 12v battery I took out of an old motor scooter. I have two batteries and would rotate one while charging the other.

If you decide to do something like this, you have to do a lot of research in order to get the proper rpm's needed for the speed you want. I needed one that would travel 24' in 12 seconds so you have to play with motor RPM, torque, foot lbs., wheel diameter, etc. in order to get it right.

I mounted the motor/battery combo in the plastic tub for weatherproofing and used 60lb Spider Wire from Walmart as the line. There was one double pulley dead hung from the tree branch and one on the angel wire frame. This gave me a 4:1 mechanical advantage and eased up the torque requirement on the motor.

That's all I can think of. It sounds easy. It wasn't.

Charles

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