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JPat

Up and Running, couple of gremlins...

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We are up and running with 64 channels this year but having issue with 2 channels.

Controller 2, channels 13 and 14 are not lighting but when I slightly move/bend the dongle, they function fine.  I only have to bend it 45* and all good, let it go and the channel is not firing.  I currently have zip tied the dongle to another holding the position it likes, but obviously that is not my preference.  I purchased the controllers two years ago Thanksgiving weekend.

Thoughts on what it could be or a more permanent fix?

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Just to verify, you are talking about the AC pigtail on those two channels?  Also assuming that these are the black three wire pigtails about a foot and a half long with a molded female AC receptacle that LOR uses.  Assuming that's the case, UNPLUG THE CONTROLLER, then verify that the female terminals on the end of the pigtail are fully seated on the spade lugs on the controller.  Verify both the black (hot) wire and the White (Neutral).  If on the other hand, these are pigtails that you built, again UNPLUG THE CONTROLLER and verify that the female terminals are fully seated and that the terminals are tightly crimped onto the ends of the wire.

This sounds like a mechanical issue and not an electronic issue.  If I missed on what you are talking about, please explain in more detail.

 

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I agree wit K6CCC,

Bbending the cord near the outlet should not strain the connections to the board if they were properly clamped. There should have been a bit of slack.

With All wall cords pulled: give each wire a gentle tug near the Faston connections.  I would be surprised if it was a bad crimp, but NOT  finding a loose connector if you frequently removed the connection from the board. With the connector NOT on the blade, gently squeeze with  pliers so the 2 fingers are closer (not touching, or you wont get the connector to mate) to the flat side

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1 hour ago, k6ccc said:

Just to verify, you are talking about the AC pigtail on those two channels?  Also assuming that these are the black three wire pigtails about a foot and a half long with a molded female AC receptacle that LOR uses.  Assuming that's the case, UNPLUG THE CONTROLLER, then verify that the female terminals on the end of the pigtail are fully seated on the spade lugs on the controller.  Verify both the black (hot) wire and the White (Neutral).  If on the other hand, these are pigtails that you built, again UNPLUG THE CONTROLLER and verify that the female terminals are fully seated and that the terminals are tightly crimped onto the ends of the wire.

This sounds like a mechanical issue and not an electronic issue.  If I missed on what you are talking about, please explain in more detail.

 

Yes, these are the hanging black 3 prong dongles out of the bottom of the controller.  Hanging straight, they do not power the channel.  Slighly bent at the very end (where the female end is) they light the channel.  I don't think that it has anything the do with the connection in the controller box, as we are talking about no movement at all from 99% of the remainder of the wiring other than the end...?  I will try the above mentioned.

EDIT:  Yes, these are also the Gen 3 controllers fully assembled from LOR.

Edited by JPat

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Damage to the cable is the only thing that comes to mind, and that should be obvious.

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6 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

Damage to the cable is the only thing that comes to mind, and that should be obvious.

No damage sir, as they are identical to all other dongles from a visual standpoint.   Regarding care, I treat these guys like gold when handling them as well.

It is very odd that a minor movement (bending) of the dongle will make it work.  Earlier I had the issue and moved these channels away from each other (while hanging) and also worked flawlessly for hours while I was finishing up the display this afternoon.

I will take a look tomorrow in daylight again and also show you guys a picture of the two positions I am speaking of.

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I know this may be real hard to see, but if you can see into the female receptacle, do the metal contact look normal, or could they be either damaged or corroded?  Especially with you in humid Florida, corrosion could be part of the issue...

 

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Jim IS correct, I live in Florida and CORROSION can and will occur.  This is why when I have UNUSED Dangles, the female plug is capped off with those little plastic Child Proof Outlet Covers.   It keeps moisture out and water from rain or sprinkler splatter, as well as dirt, mud or other debris that could get inside and foul the plug, which is actually quite common if your controller dangles are near ground level or close enough where this could possibly occur and not protected in some manner.   Been using these on my controllers for 8 years now, never had an issue you're describing.

However, I did have an issue with one controller {ready to go CTB16PC older V2 version} that the solder had worked loos on the Neutral contacts and flexing the dangle made it work as well, but in time it failed again, a very short time.  I tried the method you're using, worked for a brief time.  So I had to take the controller apart and resolder all the Neutrals {white wire contacts} on the PC Board.  Took me more time to take the unit apart than to re-flow the solder and add a little more solder to make a good connection.   Back together and been working reliably for over 4 years after that repair.  This could be the cause, not saying it is definitely the cause, but something to look into.   If the lug on the PCB is loose and can be moved by hand easily and not stiff{no movement should occur} and straight, you may have some loose PCB Neutral spade lugs that need this re-soldering technique done.  But just don't hold it to the white Neutrals, check the black{Hot} spade lugs on the PC Board as well, could be one or more of those, if it's not the neutral{s}.  

Do make sure POWER is OFF and Controller UNPLUGGED before touching or messing with the internal wiring spades on the PCB!

But if you don't feel comfortable making the repair or not sure, then your best bet is open a Help Desk ticket and you may need to send the controller back to LOR for examination and repair.

Best of Luck.

 

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JPat

 

One more thing I just thought of, look at the male receptacle you are plugging into the LOR female, sometimes a spread of the male ends or the receptacle it self is at issue.

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Thanks for all the advice.  I will look into corrosion, but these dongle have always been used and never exposed to the element.

I appreciate all of the help and will try and diagnose further this afternoon after work.  Kapkirk brought up a good point, as I recall these channels (my firesticks) had dull male prongs when plugging them in.  

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Another thing to look at on the male plugs, since they are outside and copper, they will also corrode.  Sometimes it's not very noticeable, sometimes they are practically green and gray or a combination of green/gray in color.  If they have any signs of this, they are starting to or have corroded enough that electrical contact is intermittent and sometimes not at all.

There are several methods to cleaning it off, you can try using a cleaning agent like the product called  CLR and dip the male prongs in that, but requires rinsing with water, then drying off thoroughly. 

The method I use is a very small file, like a fingernail file or a fine sandpaper, like emery cloth and lightly sand the corrosion off.  Unfortunately this opens the prongs back up to corroding a little faster as now the copper is or gets small scratches in it.  But there is good news, if you go to an automotive store and buy a tube of the type of Dielectric Grease used in Automobile light sockets, you can coat the prongs and that will help slow any corrosion down quite a bit.  You may want to coat all your male prongs with this, it won't keep the prop/light from lighting, it just helps with corrosion issues.  And you may want or need to coat your male prongs as you pull items out to plug in each year.  It doesn't take much, just a light wipe on the male prongs.  I've actually added a little dab in each female receptacle dangle on yur controllers, as I had to replace one that got internally corroded real bad, used this and I've never had another intermittent problem with my dangles off the controller.

Even if the controllers are inside, there is still a possibility of corrosion, in Florida that issue seems to be worse because of the high humidity we have.  A lot of other states don't have the same type humid climate we have, so we have to take a few more steps in Florida to keep things working that may be outside for any length of time, and things that are used in an non-air conditioned environment like a garage or storage shed in the yard.  As well as capping off unused dangles, this helps to prevent that as well.

Good luck and hope these suggestions may help you with your issues since you live in Florida as I do.

p.s. I also coat light strands{replaceable bulbs - sealed strands don't have this issue} with the Dielectric Grease to help with this issue as well.  I also put it in all my C7/C9 and lamp sockets that are in things like Blow Molds.  haven't had electrical contact issues in years using it.  It's not that expensive, just time consuming to treat plugs, receptacles and light sockets, but well worth the time to do it.  Again, Especially in FLORIDA!

Edited by Orville

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2 hours ago, Orville said:

Another thing to look at on the male plugs, since they are outside and copper, they will also corrode.  Sometimes it's not very noticeable, sometimes they are practically green and gray or a combination of green/gray in color.  If they have any signs of this, they are starting to or have corroded enough that electrical contact is intermittent and sometimes not at all.

There are several methods to cleaning it off, you can try using a cleaning agent like the product called  CLR and dip the male prongs in that, but requires rinsing with water, then drying off thoroughly. 

The method I use is a very small file, like a fingernail file or a fine sandpaper, like emery cloth and lightly sand the corrosion off.  Unfortunately this opens the prongs back up to corroding a little faster as now the copper is or gets small scratches in it.  But there is good news, if you go to an automotive store and buy a tube of the type of Dielectric Grease used in Automobile light sockets, you can coat the prongs and that will help slow any corrosion down quite a bit.  You may want to coat all your male prongs with this, it won't keep the prop/light from lighting, it just helps with corrosion issues.  And you may want or need to coat your male prongs as you pull items out to plug in each year.  It doesn't take much, just a light wipe on the male prongs.  I've actually added a little dab in each female receptacle dangle on yur controllers, as I had to replace one that got internally corroded real bad, used this and I've never had another intermittent problem with my dangles off the controller.

Even if the controllers are inside, there is still a possibility of corrosion, in Florida that issue seems to be worse because of the high humidity we have.  A lot of other states don't have the same type humid climate we have, so we have to take a few more steps in Florida to keep things working that may be outside for any length of time, and things that are used in an non-air conditioned environment like a garage or storage shed in the yard.  As well as capping off unused dangles, this helps to prevent that as well.

Good luck and hope these suggestions may help you with your issues since you live in Florida as I do.

p.s. I also coat light strands{replaceable bulbs - sealed strands don't have this issue} with the Dielectric Grease to help with this issue as well.  I also put it in all my C7/C9 and lamp sockets that are in things like Blow Molds.  haven't had electrical contact issues in years using it.  It's not that expensive, just time consuming to treat plugs, receptacles and light sockets, but well worth the time to do it.  Again, Especially in FLORIDA!

Thanks for the detailed response above, it is appreciated.   If the male connectors are bad (which I really thinking is the case), I will simple change out the vampire plugs are these are cords that I made.  The plugs look different in color from others as the green is more of a lighter color than all of my other plugs used throughout the display.  I even made note of the color yesterday when plugging them in saying to myself, why do these look so different.  

Again, thanks for all the replies to those in this thread.  I always say it but will again, I love forums for this reason.

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1 hour ago, JPat said:

Thanks for the detailed response above, it is appreciated.   If the male connectors are bad (which I really thinking is the case), I will simple change out the vampire plugs are these are cords that I made.  The plugs look different in color from others as the green is more of a lighter color than all of my other plugs used throughout the display.  I even made note of the color yesterday when plugging them in saying to myself, why do these look so different.  

Again, thanks for all the replies to those in this thread.  I always say it but will again, I love forums for this reason.

Vampire plugs are very sensitive to corrosion at the pierced location, as it is a simple pressure fit. 

BE SURE ALL POWER IS REMOVED

Snip off about an inch, inspect the 'teeth', replace if damaged, otherwise, just make it up again.  (a little dielectric grease might hold the next time at bay.

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1 hour ago, TheDucks said:

Vampire plugs are very sensitive to corrosion at the pierced location, as it is a simple pressure fit. 

BE SURE ALL POWER IS REMOVED

Snip off about an inch, inspect the 'teeth', replace if damaged, otherwise, just make it up again.  (a little dielectric grease might hold the next time at bay.

Yes, they sure are.  I use a combination of them or old Christmas light pass through male to female plugs and female ends to make up some of my extension cords and I've notice the slide on vampire plugs tend to more sensitive at the pressure points where the teeth bite into the wire to make electrical contact.   Any yes, put a little dielectric grease on the teeth and thar will definitely help.

Glad you mentioned this as that's one area I actually forgot about myself, although I have treated them, just forgot when I was writing my suggestions and fixes I use above about the internal corrosion in slide over plugs {vampire plugs or even the type that press on}.

 

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It has been raining since I got home from work, so no update. 

 

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53 minutes ago, JPat said:

It has been raining since I got home from work, so no update. 

 

Same in my area too in Florida.   Wanted to check on some things and pull a bad extension cord I'd already unplugged and disengaged, but needed to cut the zip ties off of so I could get it in.  Too wet and muddy where it's at and I have to get underneath my handicap ramp to get to some of the zip ties and the boards are all soaked and covered in water, dripping through the cracks.  Hopefully I can get it in tomorrow if it doesn't rain again!  Has a bad female end I need to replace before I can put it back into service again.  Just glad I had another about the same length and got it replaced Sunday evening after church or I'd have some lights out tonight with the rain we had this evening.

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18 hours ago, Orville said:

Same in my area too in Florida.   Wanted to check on some things and pull a bad extension cord I'd already unplugged and disengaged, but needed to cut the zip ties off of so I could get it in.  Too wet and muddy where it's at and I have to get underneath my handicap ramp to get to some of the zip ties and the boards are all soaked and covered in water, dripping through the cracks.  Hopefully I can get it in tomorrow if it doesn't rain again!  Has a bad female end I need to replace before I can put it back into service again.  Just glad I had another about the same length and got it replaced Sunday evening after church or I'd have some lights out tonight with the rain we had this evening.

Looks like we are good to go for a few days and welcomed cooler temps as well.  I have a meeting tonight, but may unplug these two channels and just replace the male ends when I get home.

 

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