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jkroha

Leaving Controllers powered 24/7?

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I have a mix of LOR PC16 controllers and pixel controllers, and have always left them powered 24/7 from about Oct 1-Jan 1st.  The light show itself only runs from say 6pm-midnight....  Is this the norm?  Or do people kill power to the control units until before the show?  I could automate this with simple extension cord timers, just not sure if it is better to leave power on (I think of keeping them dry through waste heat, and reducing start/stop inrush failures) or kill power for 14 hours to extend the life of the unit (if it does extend life.... kind of my question).  For some reason I never really questioned this before, but this year I had to add my first power injection, using some outdoor rates 12V supplies and it made me think about the fans running 24/7....

 

 

 

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Going on ten years of light shows always leave power on to controllers .

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The six LOR controllers and two E1.31 controllers that are used for my year round landscape lighting are powered 24 x 7 x 365.  One more E1.31 controller will get powered up in mid October and all the rest of the Christmas controllers will get powered up in early November.  They will stay powered until January when they are taken down.

With most electronics, the most stressful condition (and most likely time to fail) is power up.  Leave them powered.

 

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Leave them on from Dec 1 to Jan 1

the only issue I have run into is bearings in cooling fans on cheap pixel power supplies but they are cheap on eBay.

For us cold weather folk, as mentioned, it’s less stressful on components leaving them on versus warm/cold cycles.  Or when you leave your enclosure open and it fills with snow 

Edited by sticks4legs

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We recommend you keep them powered up if possible.  The tiny amount of heat generated by transformers or power supplies is usually juuuust enough to keep condensation inside the enclosure at bay.  

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Agree with others.  I leave my own during the Christmas season, but speaking from an electronics engineering perspective, I don't leave them on all year.  Especially up here where it can get to 105 on some days in the summer, I don't want to generate even more internal heat in the units, nor want any unnecessary voltage spikes going into the units during the rest of the year.   Heat is the #1 enemy of electronics.  Power up and down is second.   The amount of wattage drawn from most of these devices is barely even noticeable on an electric bill.    I installed 120V outlets up under the eves of the house, and the CCR controllers are near by.  All I have to do to power them up in for the season is to step on a short ladder for a few steps and press the reset button on the GFCI outlet.  End of season, I hit the trip button.

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My Showtime Central mini director. FM transmitter was left in my back yard from testing last July. Went to use it for testing last weekend at my FM transmitter bit the dust. Over 100 degree heat here in AL I also would not leave my controllers plugged in year round. I forgot all about the mini director. I still test my props minus the music.

Now I have to order a new transmitter since I do not intend moving my show computer and all network stuff to the back yard. Its convenient for me to have everything mounted on my fence for testing.

JR

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18 hours ago, dibblejr said:

My Showtime Central mini director. FM transmitter was left in my back yard from testing last July. Went to use it for testing last weekend at my FM transmitter bit the dust. Over 100 degree heat here in AL I also would not leave my controllers plugged in year round. I forgot all about the mini director. I still test my props minus the music.

Now I have to order a new transmitter since I do not intend moving my show computer and all network stuff to the back yard. Its convenient for me to have everything mounted on my fence for testing.

JR

Take your transmitter inside and let it cool down to room temperature and try it again.  Had a EDM transmitter that did like temps about 90 degrees, but worked well for many seasons, not in late summer or early fall.

Edited by Dennis Cherry
Typos

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4 hours ago, Dennis Cherry said:

Take your transmitter inside and let it cool down to room temperature and try it again.  Had a EDM transmitter that did like temps about 90 degrees, but worked well for many seasons, not in late summer or early fall.

Its DOA for now. The antenna solder melted. When I went to check it out the antenna came right off, just opened the door. I could have sworn I plugged the antenna in but it appears the antenna is actually part of the unit.

This weekend I will attempt to repair it with an extra FM antenna. I have a reflow/ soldering station so should be easy work.

JR

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FWIW, I am now rethinking my "leave it on" policy.

While doing some work this summer with LOR5 and a pixel array, I noticed that my controller box was getting quite hot when not in use.  Some level of actual measurement and critical thinking was suggesting that the pixels were drawing a significant amount of power when the LED's were not lit.  In California (probably some other states as well), it can be warm in winter,  and I could easily see power supplies, boxes, or controllers overheating during the day when not in use.

As I already have home automation that can easily drive AC power to controllers or power supplies, future work is likely to include small supplies specifically for the controllers, and all pixels will be injected with power that is only available during the time of my shows.

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I live in sunny southern California and leave the controllers for my year round landscape lighting powered up 24 x 7 x 365.  That's one 8 channel AC controller, one 16 channel AC controller, three 16 channel DC controllers, one InputPut, and two SanDevices pixel controllers.  The 16 channel AC controller is in my attic where I measured a high this past summer of 149 degrees.  Personally that is hotter than I would like to see, but the equipment is working fine after that.  It took a 117 degree day to do that  BTW.  I am planning on adding some ventilation to that part of the attic this winter so next year's high should be quite a bit lower.

I recently did some measuring and determined that my 24 x 100 pixel tree will draw about 100 watts with the lights off.  Most of that is in the pixel strips so it will not contribute to the heat in the controller box.  I do plan on having temperature probes in the box that will have the two SanDevices controllers and a LAN switch, and the box that will have the four power supplies.  If they get hot, I will get notified.  The power supply box will have a thermostat controlled vent fan.

I plan to leave everything powered...

 

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