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sibbs

music but no lights and generator power

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Hi,  I recently had a light show setup at our Rock Fest campsites.  Seemed like every night (4 nights total)  we ran into a glitch when first starting it up.   The music was there but no lights.   There's little you can do on the unit itself for resetting other than power off, pop the  card and put it back in or unplug it but seemed like different combinations of those did finally work and it was working.    I've read a few on here that SanDisk cards could be a problem, and that's what I was using.    If that's the case then I'll get some Kingston cards that LOR recommends for next year.   My concert was our power feeding it,  there's no electricity at these campsites so it's generator power.   We have a 7500 RV generator and a 5000W portable so plenty of power,  is the power coming off that generator "clean" enough for that unit, or is it just maybe a problem with SanDisk cards?    Is there some kind of unit that the generators can feed, which I can draw power off for the unit if it's a problem with my power input?

Great times and great fun,  we had the most rockin party campsite at the Fest and the light show was great!   Thanks LOR and everyone that answered questions for me in getting this set up in a fairly short amount of time.   

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Unless your generator outputs TRUE sine wave (and only very expensive ones do), that is most likely the issue.  Our controllers do NOT work well with 'square wave' or 'modified sine wave' generators.

The only way to tell is to contact the mfg of the generator if it is not specified in the manual.

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Thanks,  is there such thing as a unit that accepts power input from whatever wave and outputs true sine wave power that the controller likes?    I don't have specs on the generator's we use, if anything I'd say the RV generator may be putting out the right power as it did work every night.   It didn't seem like anything consistent we did corrected the problem,  what worked one night didn't the next but after restarting and unplugging, a few times it started working.   Once we got it working it ran continuous with no problem. 

 

 

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Is your RV Generator a 4 pole (1800 RPM) or a 2 pole (3600 RPM). The later suffers from 'cycle sag' (uneven waveform).

I have not run into any 'inverter' based generators (yet). Onan and Kolher (both common in RV's) are traditional alternators.

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Powerhouse Generators are Inverter style and should work well. But like Mike said they are rather expensive.

 

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Would a true sine wave UPS be what I need?  Feed the UPS with power from the generator, and feed the controller from the UPS?

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4 hours ago, sibbs said:

Would a true sine wave UPS be what I need?  Feed the UPS with power from the generator, and feed the controller from the UPS?

My experience is: 

1) a alternator type generator will drive the UPS crazy. (frequency drift)

2)If the generator is powering the UPS, it is in standby (maybe AVR mode)

Many years ago, I put a scope on the output of a Generator my dad was going to use for Ham Radio 'field day'.  The voltage and frequency were decent... BUT

there was a nasty spike on every cycle due to poor field pole transition .  Motors don't care, but electronics do. Honda make a good, electronics safe generator. The are not at the cheap end :) of the catalog

 

 

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TTT,  once again, rock fest is coming up again and this may be a problem yet again.   

Is there anything I can put in between the generator and the controller so that the controller gets the reliable power it needs?

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1 hour ago, sibbs said:

TTT,  once again, rock fest is coming up again and this may be a problem yet again.   

Is there anything I can put in between the generator and the controller so that the controller gets the reliable power it needs?

You need to look at each source with an o-scope to see what THAT unit is doing to the waveform, then select the corrective action for THAT case.

There is no magic 'fix' that works for all cases. And usually, these are never the cheap ones. ?

An HIGH QUALITY 'Isolation Transformer'  might help clean small waveform errors. A cheap one, won't, not enough Iron

Now, if you have a Surplus Electronics warehouse handy. A multi-stage powerline EMI/RFI  filter might remove some hash from the line (we are not talking about the cheaper 'common mode' versions the keep RF from leaking out of equipment.

BTW I am assuming this is for AC type lights, which is CONTROLLED by modifying the waveform that reaches the lights. 

DC (RGB) controllers, may just need a higher quality power supply that can handle poor input waveforms better.

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Posted (edited)

No standard power outlets = very expensive generator{s} to run light displays using controllers.

As for your other question about SD Cards, I ran my first LOR Shows off an older DC-MP3 Director unit and I had a lot of San Disk SD Cards, 512K to 4GB range, the 4GB wouldn't work at all in the DC-MP3 Director I had, the newer ones I think can handle much larger SD Cards. 

However, the 2GB San Disk cards both worked fine and I used them for almost 4 years running shows in my Director.  Never had a problem with them at all.  

Now if the SD Card has had a lot of usage, it may not work reliably, if at all, or it could be intermittent or just be completely worn out for that kind of use.  I did wear mine out and had to replace them with new ones for running shows, but they still worked for small data transfers of photo's or music files, but the Director just wouldn't read them any longer.  

Best bet is always use new cards and use the smallest size SD Card you can get away with, if you only need 512K, that works better than putting a show that's only 300K on a 2GB SD Card, the bigger the card, the more a Director unit has to.possibly read, which can sometimes slow loading down.

Just my experiences when I ran my shows from an DC-MP3 Director.   Using a computer I don't usually have issues running shows since I'm not running them off an SD Card, but I didn't have very many issues when I did run shows off an SD card.

Good Luck!

 

Edited by Orville

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