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lstewartff

Inverter for power

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Has anyone tried to run a light controller off of a power inverter in a vehicle? 

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37 minutes ago, lstewartff said:

Has anyone tried to run a light controller off of a power inverter in a vehicle? 

Are you talking about the AC models (CTB16) ?  I suspect you need a Sine wave inverter. Dimming is done by shaping the output waveform. Besides I remember a note that the residential models can even be affected by running from a 3 phase systems.

Pixie or CMB24: Why not run native 12V (assumed strings are 12V). Fat wire, proper fuse  at the feed point (near Battery/alternator. The AMPS can be sizable depending on the lights

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Can't be one of those 'cheap-o" inverters, I'm talking an inverter with a cost of at least a minimum of $125-$200 for it to be able to run a controller like a CTB16PC and the lights off a 12VDC Vehicle battery.  I used one once, paid around $150 for it and it worked fine as long as the vehicle was running.  If the vehicle isn't running, it may drain your battery very quickly depending on type of lighrs used {Incandescent bulbs, mini's C7, etc.} or L.E.D. strands or retrofit L.E.D. C7/C9 bulbs, the drain on the battery won't be as significant with L.E.D.'s, but it'll still drain the vehicle battery over a little time if the vehicle is not running.

But, yes, it can be done.

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Posted (edited)

A couple members I helped sequence or set up their controllers use their displays on boats. 

And another member had his in a parade float.

Maybe they will chime in here and inform others how they do it.

Very nice displays.

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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Thanks for the replies. I am using the CTB17PC. I am actually wanting to use it on a firetruck in a parade. All of our local departments compete for the best decorated firetruck in our Christmas parade. 

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42 minutes ago, lstewartff said:

Thanks for the replies. I am using the CTB17PC. I am actually wanting to use it on a firetruck in a parade. All of our local departments compete for the best decorated firetruck in our Christmas parade. 

Doesn't most Fire trucks HAVE 120V outlets? Or are the a thing of the past (when Incan floods were king). LED makes high power portables easy. No messy cords

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Posted (edited)

I am trying to figure out the face sequences I did for the member that used on his truck in a parade.

I will pm you the user name once I figure it out and you can ask him for advice.

Its been quite a while and 100’s of sequences since.

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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Hawk7 is the user name. Here is the link to his story.It was for controllers on his fathers old military 5 ton.

JR

 

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Here is another Forum user who has a trailer setup for a parade. He does not mention details but I am sure if you pm he would offer his knowledge.

Alan...

 

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The secret sauce is:

TRUE SINE WAVE.  Your inverter or generator MUST output true sine wave.  Not 'Modified Sine Wave', not 'Square Wave', not 'Safe for electronics'.  

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Sorry for the late reply but it was a really hectic weekend. So I didn't run an inverter, I ran a generator. I used 3 pixie16s with a little over 5000 pixels on a single network, running at 30% brightness. All the lights and a complete DJ system were run from that generator, hope that helps a little. Didn't know anything about the sine waves going to check that out..

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1 hour ago, Zeuqsim said:

Sorry for the late reply but it was a really hectic weekend. So I didn't run an inverter, I ran a generator. I used 3 pixie16s with a little over 5000 pixels on a single network, running at 30% brightness. All the lights and a complete DJ system were run from that generator, hope that helps a little. Didn't know anything about the sine waves going to check that out..

Since you were running Pixie controllers, you were powering those from DC power supplies, so most of the discussion about pure sine waves does not apply.  The AC controllers are what needs the clean sine wave.  If the DC power supply is a linear supply, they can take massively non-sine wave AC power in.  Switching supplies CAN be a lot more picky, or just as forgiving as a linear supply (or somewhere in between) - depending on the design.  Note that almost all the power supplies we are dealing with in this field are switching supplies.  In other words, try it and see.  You are not going to damage anything.

 

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1 hour ago, Zeuqsim said:

Sorry for the late reply but it was a really hectic weekend. So I didn't run an inverter, I ran a generator. I used 3 pixie16s with a little over 5000 pixels on a single network, running at 30% brightness. All the lights and a complete DJ system were run from that generator, hope that helps a little. Didn't know anything about the sine waves going to check that out..

If your LED's were 12V, you can run the Pixies DIRECTLY connected to the battery (assumes the Fire trucks were not 24V. If they were, there are BUCK inverters that reduce 24 to 12V efficiently). There is no need to even have 120V (for the Pixies-LEDS) available (your DJ system probably did need 120V)..

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About the TRUE SINE WAVE:

I have a problem with it last year: i have a tree with 1533 lights. The light were 24V and about 1W each.

So i used 2 1kW  transformers, that gave me 24VAC, and i used a little 4A AC-DC rectifiers (1 for each string of 73 pixels). I ran the tree for test from generator and it worked well. I was glad.

Next day i ran the tree from the usual electric socket and it worked improper: none of my sequences worked well. I tryed to do everithing to fix it, but i got nothing. Finally i ran the tree from generator again and it worked well again. I was glad because i thaught that the problem is in AC quality.

Next day i tryed to use stabilizer, UPS, etc., etc., but i got nothing. Even when i ran the tree from generator, i got nothing.

Than i started to check and change everything:

first i changed rectifiers (50A from each transformer) - it didn't help.

second: i installed an electric capacitor after each 50A rectifier and the tree became to work well. if I removed the capacitor, the tree worked bad.

 

I think the capacitor improves power quality regardless of the source.

And some times, when i used generator, SINE WAVE was TRUE, but at other time (after turning off and then turning on) it was not really TRUE.

So the power supply quality (not only current strength and voltage) plays a big role. And in the case of powering the lights from the vehicle, i think better use the battery-controller-lights instead of battery - inverter - ACDC pover supply-controller-lights

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Valentin, Short answer is that a transformer and rectifier will result in DC with a massive amount of AC hum on it.  All you end up with AC with all the pulses in one direction.  Part of what a DC power supply does is to smooth out the pulses so that you get a smooth DC voltage.  The capacitor is there to smooth out the pulses.  Switching power supplies are able to use a fairly small capacitor, but simple linear power supplies, and a simple non-regulated transformer and rectifier (such as what you describe), require large capacitors.  The general rule of them back in the day was about 1,000 microfarads per amp of load.

You were kind of vague about your config.  At one point you refer to your tree as having "lights" and in another you call them pixels.  Big difference.  A plain old incandescent light bulb will take almost anything of the right voltage.  Dumb LED lights are more particular because there is a power supply in each bulb that is expecting a certain power to start with.  I'm referring to the LED bulbs that most of us have used in our house to replace incandescent or compact florescent lights.  Dumb RGB lights that we use in light shows are also pretty forgiving, HOWEVER that is NOT true for the controller driving them (such as a CMB24D).  They require a reasonably clean DC power source.  Smart pixels (and their associated controller) also require a reasonably clean DC power source.  Personally I would NOT run any electronic controller from a non-regulated DC power source.

Yourfinal statement about using the vehicle DC directly is correct as long as the lights and controller are intended to (and will) operate properly at anywhere from 11 to 14 volts.  Some pixels in particular really want 12 volts and don't tolerate the 13.5 to 14 volts that a vehicle electrical system provides when the engine is running.

 

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8 hours ago, k6ccc said:

Valentin, Short answer is that a transformer and rectifier will result in DC with a massive amount of AC hum on it.  All you end up with AC with all the pulses in one direction.  Part of what a DC power supply does is to smooth out the pulses so that you get a smooth DC voltage.  The capacitor is there to smooth out the pulses.  Switching power supplies are able to use a fairly small capacitor, but simple linear power supplies, and a simple non-regulated transformer and rectifier (such as what you describe), require large capacitors.  The general rule of them back in the day was about 1,000 microfarads per amp of load.

You were kind of vague about your config.  At one point you refer to your tree as having "lights" and in another you call them pixels.  Big difference.  A plain old incandescent light bulb will take almost anything of the right voltage.  Dumb LED lights are more particular because there is a power supply in each bulb that is expecting a certain power to start with.  I'm referring to the LED bulbs that most of us have used in our house to replace incandescent or compact florescent lights.  Dumb RGB lights that we use in light shows are also pretty forgiving, HOWEVER that is NOT true for the controller driving them (such as a CMB24D).  They require a reasonably clean DC power source.  Smart pixels (and their associated controller) also require a reasonably clean DC power source.  Personally I would NOT run any electronic controller from a non-regulated DC power source.

Yourfinal statement about using the vehicle DC directly is correct as long as the lights and controller are intended to (and will) operate properly at anywhere from 11 to 14 volts.  Some pixels in particular really want 12 volts and don't tolerate the 13.5 to 14 volts that a vehicle electrical system provides when the engine is running.

 

Sorry for my english. 

I used 1533 smart pixels that were installed on the megatree. And the result is that capacitor decreased a lot of pulses from the AC.

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35 minutes ago, Valentin said:

I used 1533 smart pixels that were installed on the megatree. And the result is that capacitor decreased a lot of pulses from the AC.

Yes, in that case, the cap was a major help.

 

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