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a31ford

2 Different MEGA-Trees, One set of controllers (48ch.)

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Greetings all, 

Gona try something VERY radical.... the wife has just purchased 3 PC16 boards for me, (just boards, DIY), I'm gona attempt a dedicated box with some large contactors to switch the neutral side of a pair of outlets for each channel.

HOLD ON, I will be using 16 duplex outlets for each board, and breaking the tab on the white side of each, (somewhat like a reverse kitchen outlet 2 neutrals and one hot, the whites will be switched with a contactor for each (2 mass 40amp contactors.

Here's the thing.... on the 2 channels that will be controlling the contactors, I am changing the opto-couplers from MOC-3023's to MOC-3031's, these are ONLY on, or off opto's,  AND, only turn on when the AC cycle crosses 0 volts, thereby safely running relays on a LOR channel.

The ENTIRE tree is LED, AND, runs from one 15 amp outlet (single power cord input) the contactors arrive tomorrow, will post my findings later this week..

 

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NEVER switch a Neutral without switching the HOT at the same time. This is Dangerous. That is one reason, for Wide prongs and the 'rib' on cords: so you connect the switch and the lamp 'base shell' correctly.

This violates the NEC and is very unsafe as you can have a LIVE without a safe return.

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26 minutes ago, a31ford said:

Greetings all, 

Gona try something VERY radical.... the wife has just purchased 3 PC16 boards for me, (just boards, DIY), I'm gona attempt a dedicated box with some large contactors to switch the neutral side of a pair of outlets for each channel.

HOLD ON, I will be using 16 duplex outlets for each board, and breaking the tab on the white side of each, (somewhat like a reverse kitchen outlet 2 neutrals and one hot, the whites will be switched with a contactor for each (2 mass 40amp contactors.

Here's the thing.... on the 2 channels that will be controlling the contactors, I am changing the opto-couplers from MOC-3023's to MOC-3031's, these are ONLY on, or off opto's,  AND, only turn on when the AC cycle crosses 0 volts, thereby safely running relays on a LOR channel.

The ENTIRE tree is LED, AND, runs from one 15 amp outlet (single power cord input) the contactors arrive tomorrow, will post my findings later this week..

 

Besides what TheDucks points out, I'm confused on what you are actually trying to gain from this....

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Using two channels to double the remaining 46?   Seems easier and safer to just get three more boards

Edited by ItsMeBobO

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18 minutes ago, ItsMeBobO said:

Using two channels to double the remaining 46?   Seems easier and safer to just get three more boards

I'm a poor Canadian,  once you convert, and pay the shipping on 3 boards, it's over $ 570.00 bucks !! (these are the basic DIY board only small heatsink, 104.95 USD also, the wife would never say yes....

 

EVERYTHING is in the same box running from one power cable,

and yes, 2 to double up 46, three extra boards is out of the budget, however, the outlets and such I already have.

 

As far as NEC, it all is controlled from one box.... MY box...  I am the only one touching and/or using, I am both an electrician AND an electronics tech.

I posted here, instead of DIY, as this is discussion, not anything else.

Edited by a31ford

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That concept has been done before.  In essence you have controller output channel 1 goes to two separate lights (or strings).  Only one of those will have a neutral at any given time.  It does work just fine.  One of the first displays I visited (and spent part of a day helping set up) did that exact thing on 15 mini-trees.  Each tree had two strings of lights (one white and one green if I remember right).  Controller channel 1 went to both strings on tree one, channel 2 went to both strings on tree two, etc.  Channel 16 controlled a double throw relay that switched the neutral.  When channel 16 was not energized, all the trees had one color enabled, and when channel 16 was energized, all the trees had the other color enabled.  It only takes one relay to double (unless you want to retain the ability to have both on at the same time - in which case it does take 2 channels to control it). 

Personally I would not bother changing the opto-couplers - you just have to remember to always sequence it as on or off.  I have several channels that control relays and another that supplies power to a 12 volt 4 amp DC linear power supply.  As pointed out, a little bit of care is required to be safe - but very doable.

Note BTW, that there is no way to accurately visualize it in the LOR software, so you do need to try to remember that when the "control" light in visualizer is green for example, then all the mini-trees are green, and when the "control" is white (or off), then all the mini-trees are white.  Of course that depends on how you wire it.

 

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I just recently found out with a Gen 3 board, you CAN configure channels to be only ON/OFF using the HW utility (it is where you set dimming curves)

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The op mentioned that they purchased the board only, if I am not mistaken the board only versions are older and NOT the gen 3.

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20 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

The op mentioned that they purchased the board only, if I am not mistaken the board only versions are older and NOT the gen 3.

correct. these are PC (Planet Christmas) versions that are as old as I am (gen 1).

The reason for the opto change is  load spike,  I'm doing each "bank" of 46 channels on it's own relay A or B or A+B they are LED lamps.

the relay will only close during an AC "null". the spike is moreso for the input draw, and not the channel draw.

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SO... A small update, the neutrals are split on the silver screw side of the duplex's, 2 bundles 2 relays (not finished yet...)

options.. bank A, or bank B, or both banks (main reason is the song dueling banjos) mega tree A , mega tree B, or both....

20181115_215546_zpsnefybhaw.jpg

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a31ford

What are/ where to get,  those 'rails'? Are there spring nuts , just like super strut, but just smaller or did you drill and tap?

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Back plate, and rails are 12 ga. aluminum I had sheared and broke( brake ?) at a local metal fab place 3/4 x 1-1/2 x 3/4  sheet is 24 x 12 (all in inches). holes are 1/8" and I did on drill press, outlets are 2" apart, with a 1/2" offset from end, rails are 15" long.

#6 screws (the ones that come with the outlet) simply screw into the holes (no tap), the end ones I used a #8 x 1/2" drill screw (didn't need to) found out afterward that the duplex screws fit....

 

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44 minutes ago, a31ford said:

Back plate, and rails are 12 ga. aluminum I had sheared and broke( brake ?) at a local metal fab place 3/4 x 1-1/2 x 3/4  sheet is 24 x 12 (all in inches). holes are 1/8" and I did on drill press, outlets are 2" apart, with a 1/2" offset from end, rails are 15" long.

#6 screws (the ones that come with the outlet) simply screw into the holes (no tap), the end ones I used a #8 x 1/2" drill screw (didn't need to) found out afterward that the duplex screws fit....

 

Tnx

I think you bend on a brake  (I've made chassis and other stuff before in the companies model shop (I was on good terms withe the model maker and could use anything except his Bridgeport.  Using the Millright was OK. Those were the 'good old days')

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Nice construction job!  What are you going to use for the connections for the neutral commons (all your white wires) in order to connect to to the relays?  Obviously something in that empty space below the controller - based on the wire lengths.  Please post a photo when it is completed.

 

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Was going to use the neutral buss-bars like in a breaker panel, UNTIL I found out the cost of them...Thinking soldering a large bundle and heat shrink, then a nylon cable clamp..

YOU GOT ANY IDEAS ??

 

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Just waiting for 2 relays that where Back Ordered....

48 channels for 2 trees each !

20181127_132433_zps8y3ze128.jpg

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On 11/18/2018 at 11:41 AM, a31ford said:

Was going to use the neutral buss-bars like in a breaker panel, UNTIL I found out the cost of them...Thinking soldering a large bundle and heat shrink, then a nylon cable clamp..

YOU GOT ANY IDEAS ??

I use breaker box buss bars such as:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-18-Terminal-Ground-Bar-Kit-PK18GTACP/100195248

 

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1 hour ago, a31ford said:

Just waiting for 2 relays that where Back Ordered....

48 channels for 2 trees each !

 

Purdy 😃

I assume there will be a finger guard to keep folks from contacting lethal voltages

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ALL 3 sit in a plastic tote, that has a padlock, I'm the only one, that will be in there.

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