Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
Trasher74

Lights stay on - 2 channels

Recommended Posts

I am running a simple, 32 channel, 2 controller Christmas show.  The basic "Wowlights" sequences, including the MegaTree.

Anyway, 2 channels are staying on all of the time.  Replacing Triacs was suggested, which I did.  That did not solve the issue.

Installing a new board was recommended.  $155 dollars later, and a couple hours time, I have installed the new g3 board.  

The same two channels still remain on.

Any suggestions......... Please?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dennis,

I appreciate your response, however, it makes me think that you are leaning towards this being a software problem.  I don't think so.  I have completely unplugged everything.  I installed the new g3 circuit board.  I've reassigned the unit IDs, I've done resets, etc. etc.  

If I completely disconnect the network cables, all I have to do is supply the power and the same two channel light immediately.

I just ordered new network cables thinking that might be the problem, but again, just supplying power, without the network cables even attached, I have the same issue.

Any more ideas, Dennis, anyone?  Thanks in advance for any assistance that you are able to offer.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Factory built or assembly required controllers? Sounds like the positive is immediately connecting to the 2 circuits. If assembled by individual and not LOR, highly possible solder spilled on back of board. Or wrong jumpers used or something. 

However, what Dennis is suggesting has to do with the sequencing. Turning the channels completely off at the end of the sequence can often solve the stuck on problem. I’d start there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was factory built.  This problem started with my original generation 1 controller.  That is why I installed a new, g3 board, but it has the same exact problem.  

I'm not understanding what you guys mean by "turning the channels off a few cells before song ends", or "Turning the channels completely off at the end of the sequence can often solve the stuck on problem"

Please explain.......again, thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this in a LOR factory case?

What channel #s  (position might be a clue)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Trasher74 said:

 

I'm not understanding what you guys mean by "turning the channels off a few cells before song ends", or "Turning the channels completely off at the end of the sequence can often solve the stuck on problem"

Please explain.......again, thanks.

Open the sequence up in SE. Click on the off icon. Go to the very far right side (end of song). Click the last few cells from the right. Making sure no commands are there at all. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Mega Arch said:

Open the sequence up in SE. Click on the off icon. Go to the very far right side (end of song). Click the last few cells from the right. Making sure no commands are there at all. 

Okay, tried that.........unfortunately, it did not help.    :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Trasher74 said:

Yes to factory case question.

It's #s 11 & 12.

I just looked at my 2, Wow, the board layout (for those)  of a Gen 2 and Gen 3 are different (but still on the right)

Could your power cords be crushed in the clamp (a real long shot. I would expect a Hot-Neutral befor 2 channels)?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

Could your power cords be crushed in the clamp

It almost seems like it could be something as basic as this.  I agree though...... long shot.

"Hot-Neutral"?   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Trasher74 said:

It almost seems like it could be something as basic as this.  I agree though...... long shot.

"Hot-Neutral"?   

Black to white = dead short would be the most common as they are inside the same jacket.

OTOH something sharp, that pierced 2 cords. Again a real long shot that it only hit the Hots ( higher odds than the Lottery :) )

Lets drop back. Could it be that you are frying Triacs with those 2  loads? Have you measured the power draw on them when PLUGGED DIRECT INTO the wall (or extension cord).  Is anything different about those strings?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The symptoms are definitely similar to fried Triacs.  The 2 circuits that stay on all the time only stay on at partial intensity.  And they only "kind of" react to the sequences.  This really sounds like Triac issue from the research that I have done.   

So, if it is a Triac issue, then what ever fried them on the first controller must have immediately fried them on the new circuit board.  

My electrical knowledge is limited.   Can you please walk me through measuring "the power draw on them when PLUGGED DIRECT INTO the wall (or extension cord)"

Again.......Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Trasher74 said:

The symptoms are definitely similar to fried Triacs.  The 2 circuits that stay on all the time only stay on at partial intensity.  And they only "kind of" react to the sequences.  This really sounds like Triac issue from the research that I have done.   

So, if it is a Triac issue, then what ever fried them on the first controller must have immediately fried them on the new circuit board.  

My electrical knowledge is limited.   Can you please walk me through measuring "the power draw on them when PLUGGED DIRECT INTO the wall (or extension cord)"

Again.......Thanks!

Symptoms = blown triac

Do you have a Kill-a-watt (brand) power meter (easy-peasy to use. Just plug it in, then plug the load into the test outlet). or

Clamp-on AZ Ammeter (requires a test loop or splitting an short extension cord so the clamp goes around only 1 wire (and not the Green-safety ground wire).  If you lamps have exposed (not bare :D )wires, clamp on the one that goes to the first bulb.

If you lights are standard store bought strings with fuse plugs, forget the test. The fuse would blow first unless you are stacking multiple plugs (The fuse protects end to end and lights) as the fuse is less than the Triac rating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might’ve got onto something though. Have you switched the light strings to other channels and visaversa? Just to rule out the light strands.

I have some LED strobes that when they get to end of life they stay on - even look lit for several minutes with no power possibly applied. When shows running, always on. I have about 4 a year do this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Mega Arch said:

Have you switched the light strings to other channels and visaversa? Just to rule out the light strands.

 

19 hours ago, TheDucks said:

Do you have a Kill-a-watt (brand) power meter (easy-peasy to use. Just plug it in, then plug the load into the test outlet)

Okay, interesting!  It might be the strands.  As suggested by Mega Arch, I switched strings to different circuits; at the box for one test, and at the light strand for another test.  The same two strands (2-11 & 2-12 on the MegaTree) light-up when I plug them into other circuits at the control box or when I try differently circuited cords at the light strand.  

All 16 strands are the same brand (whatever Home Depot sells), 100 light LED mini lights.  I would expect they would all be the same, but it kind of sounds like identical lights may function differently as per what Mega Arch says.  

I wonder if replacing those two strands will solve the problem?  

It's been raining and i don't much feel like lowering all the lights on the MegaTree (which is gonna be a pain in the .....).   So, I ran to Home Depot and got the Kill-a-Watt.  It was a good excuse to avoid working on the lights; again.

Do you think that I have narrowed it down to the individual strands, or is there something I can do (using the Kill-a-Watt or whatever?) in the mean time to confirm the problem?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ugh....... it's the two individual light strands!  I remembered that I have two new in the box of the same brand.  I plugged them into the two circuits in question, and they did NOT light.  And that's the good news.  The bad news is......... I have 16 strands of lights on my 26 foot flag pole.  This is not going to be easy!

MegaTree.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are all the strands Incan or LED?

I have a few strands of 100ct Green Incan, Home Accents Brand, from the depot (they was dirt cheap) in the branches of the real tree. They behave fine.

My Reg-tree (12') is made from 50ct  LEDS from Wallgreens.

 

And would you send some of that rain down here please. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

Are all the strands Incan or LED?

They are all 100 count LED. 

Are you in California? When you live in the Pacific Northwest you don't hear people ask for rain often!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Trasher74 said:

They are all 100 count LED. 

Are you in California? When you live in the Pacific Northwest you don't hear people ask for rain often!

Yep, South of SF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep that rain coming south.   We need it even more in southern California...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

put snubbers on those two strands... problem fixed... 

 

Snubber... a ONE WATT not 1/2 or 1/4 a ONE WATT, 6.4 K ohm resistor (that is 6400 ohms) in short hand, across the two wires of a strand (can simply be an end with the resistor installed on the two screws of that plug, make sure that it is NOT out in the open (put the rear cap back on), and plug it into the female on the end of that strand of lights.

If the lights are left on for long periods of time (like over 1 minute), make sure the resistor does not get too hot, it will get warm though.

Another way is to make a short male / female cord with the resistor in one of those ends and simply plug it in anywhere ON THAT STRINGS POWER (NOT THE CONTROLLERS POWER, IT HAS TO BE ON THAT CHANNEL THAT IS CONTROLLING THAT STRING.)

I Would NOT recommend installing it in the controller, as this would leave live wires and might cause a heat problem....

 

The reason that string (or strings) are is/are causing this problem is "capacitive loading effect" on the Triac(s) in question.

Triac's love a resistive load, are somewhat finicky with inductive, and downright confused with capacitive loads.

Some light string mfg's use a capacitor in place of a loading resistor to set the milliamp draw for the lamps of that string (capacitors run cooler) also a cap will not burn out the way a resistor will.. HOWEVER these strings are considered "cheap" as they will be only half wave rectified and will shimmer or blink as you drive by.

A proper string will be fullwave (or dual-diode in each light) fullwave generally requires a bridge rectifier in the plug (built in by the mfg) or dual opposite biased LED's in each light on the string.

 

 

Edited by a31ford
sorry for the long winded answer......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope you guys in California aren't too close to all of the fires.  What a horrible year it's been.

a31ford....... thanks for offering a solution.  Unfortunately, you lost me in the first sentence.  If this is an easier solution than replacing the lights, I wish I understood!!!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

do you have any vampire plugs and access the the "far end" of those 2 strands of lights ??

if you do, simply get a couple of 1 watt 6.4k resistors (note the decimal in there) and have a buddy solder the resistor across the 2 pins of the plug, once done, cover the resistor and back end of the plug with 5 min. epoxy.. plug the "snubber" into the female end of the string that is giving you issues...  do one for each channel that is staying on...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you’re getting it narrowed down. Also, in addition to the great advice above, this seems ridiculous, but work with me here. 

Turn the plug over - reversing the polarity of how plugged in. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×