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During the winter sale I bought three of the pixel trees.  I put one together and put it on a plywood base so I could test it inside my lanai which has pavers.  During the Christmas season I plan to move them to the lawn and use the stakes that came with them.  I created several sequences and began testing.  After three weeks of testing the lights stopped working.  I determined that the power supply was bad.  It was not putting out 5.0 VDC but rather was oscillating between 0 and 0.3 VDC.

I contacted LOR and they immediately sent a RMA so I could replace it.  Not wanting to wait for the replacement, I just replaced the controller/power supply with one of the others that I had bought.  I tested for another three weeks and this power supply went bad!

Obviously, I am not putting in another power supply until we can figure this out.  I have talked with LOR and they say no one else has had a power supply go bad.  They have send one of the poer supplies back to the manufacturer to see if they can figure out what happened.  I have sent LOR pictures of my setup and they do not see anything wrong with it.

By the way, in both cases the power supply was plugged in 24 hours a day before it failed and it did not fail during the middle of my testing (when there would be a load on it).  Each one took almost exactly three weeks of use before it failed.

So my question is:  Has anyone else testing a pixel tree bought during the winter sale?  Has anyone had any problems with the power supplies?

I can't see how building it on the plywood could cause this, but that seems to be the one thing that I have done differently.  I would like to build another one and put it in the yard with the stakes but I really don't want to blow another power supply.  At this point LOR is saying to wait to see what the manufacturer says, but they have not gotten back and it has been several weeks now.

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No, putting on plywood should not be an issue.  My first guess would be something to do with the power source on your lanai or lightning (you are in Florida during the summer after all).  Was there a lightning storm, or better yet, a near strike at the time of each failure?  Was there something else in common electrically that could cause a voltage issue?  Along that line, I'm wondering if you have a wiring problem that is resulting in substantial voltage excursions when something else happens.  A poor connection or open / poor neutral connection somewhere can cause a problem elsewhere in the house.  For example, an open neutral could cause the 120 volt power to radically change when some other 120 volt load is used (welder, large pump, air conditioner, etc).

BTW, my guess is the three week time interval is more of a coincidence.  but I could be wrong...

 

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Jim,

I thought about that and used a receptacle tester on the outlet and it said everything was fine.  The voltage reads 102.8 but that is not to say that it can't have a spike.  As far as rain is concerned, we did have a lot during one three week period but very little during the other (these tests occurred in April and May).  No lighting in the area. The outdoor outlet has very seldom been used.

I want to switch to the circuit that I normally use for my lights (I have a 50 amp subpanel in my garage) but I really don't look forward to blowing another one if that isn't the problem.  I'm hoping the manufacturer would get back and say it was a $5.00 part that blew.  Then I could try several things.

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My CCR tree has been running 24 hours a day in this Alabama sweltering heat for just over 2 months. No problems as far as lights or controllers. I will admit this is the first time I have ever heard my controller ps fan running. 104 degrees a few days in a row last week was doing something and heard a loud noise in back yard. It was the power supply fan. That think is loud.

My first pixie controller had been running since April - mid June before replacing it with another pixie16, it never skipped a beat.

JR

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12 minutes ago, rick gurnee said:

I thought about that and used a receptacle tester on the outlet and it said everything was fine.  The voltage reads 102.8 but that is not to say that it can't have a spike.

102 is REALLY low for a 120V AC circuit (also commonly referred to as 117V or 110V - generally somewhere between 110 and 120 volts).  Start looking for electrical problems.  If you do not understand what I'm talking about, hire an electrician to check this out.  This CAN be serious - like, burn your house down serious.

 I'm going to assume for the rest of this discussion that your power is 120/240V (as opposed to just 120V).  That means that there is three wires coming into the house.  They are two hot wires and a neutral.  There is 120V between the neutral and either hot wire, and 240 volts between the two hots.  Normally about half your 120V breakers will be on one side of the 240V and the other half will be on the other side.  Start off by making sure you understand what circuits are on which side.  Next step is to measure the voltage on both sides of the 240 while changing large 120V loads (a blow dryer on high works well for a portable load).  The really big danger sign is if you turn on a large load and you see the voltage on the other side of the 240 goes up.  For example if you are measuring 115 volts on some outlet and it goes up to 125 when you turn on the blow dryer on a circuit on the other side of the breaker panel.  That is an indication of an open neutral and should be taken EXTREMELY seriously.  This can damage lots of your electrical devices, start fires, etc.

At the very least, check the voltage on the lanai outlet multiple times at various times of the day and when different things are happening elsewhere in the house (for example when your wife is blow drying her hair, a 120V air conditioner is operating, the microwave is in use, etc).

 

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27 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

My CCR tree has been running 24 hours a day in this Alabama sweltering heat for just over 2 months. No problems as far as lights or controllers. I will admit this is the first time I have ever heard my controller ps fan running. 104 degrees a few days in a row last week was doing something and heard a loud noise in back yard. It was the power supply fan. That think is loud.

My first pixie controller had been running since April - mid June before replacing it with another pixie16, it never skipped a beat.

JR

You leave your tree up year round or have just been testing it?

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1 minute ago, k6ccc said:

102 is REALLY low for a 120V AC circuit (also commonly referred to as 117V or 110V - generally somewhere between 110 and 120 volts).  Start looking for electrical problems.  If you do not understand what I'm talking about, hire an electrician to check this out.  This CAN be serious - like, burn your house down serious.

I agree 102V is low for a 120V AC house circuit.

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1 minute ago, B.Y.R.G. said:

You leave your tree up year round or have just been testing it?

Well , pixels are new to me so when I received the tree I set it up. Its been testing since. I have a huge wooded lot so it sits there and its good to be able to test sequences for others as well as something to watch while having a beer.

Anyone out there have an affect they want to test can send it my way. I have skyped with some.

JR

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1 hour ago, dibblejr said:

Well , pixels are new to me so when I received the tree I set it up. Its been testing since. I have a huge wooded lot so it sits there and its good to be able to test sequences for others as well as something to watch while having a beer.

Cool........I'm liking the entertainment during beverage time.

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102v is extremely low  (105-125 is considered standard operational range for most 120V electronics .  Was this with No Load (or <5A) on the outlet branch circuit.

Do you see this voltage in various other places in your house

By any chance is your place wired with Aluminum wire?  :o  If yes, you need immediate remedial action as this is a know to cause FIRES issue

 

<bulb> Is some voltage in your house above 120V?  That is an indication of a "floating neutral" :o at the mains feed.  This needs to be troubleshot (is it your Panel, branch or the Feed to your house. This determines who fixes that issue.)

 

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5 hours ago, rick gurnee said:

As I stated earlier, I misstyped. The actual voltage was 120 not 102.

Wheew, lots better.   I have run into 2 floating neutrals. It ain't pretty if a big load (Blow dry,window AC)  switches on on the low phase.

There is still a lot of Aluminum wire in walls and we wont cover the owner built room wired with SPT1 :o

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