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LOR channels - switching bank control


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Not easy to explain, so bear with me.

I want to build an outline of a keyboard to place on my front bank (4 foot angled drop to road, rest of yard is flat). I only want to control the keyboard lights in certain songs (specifically "Linus and Lucy (Charlie Brown Them Song)), and would like to re-use those channels. Is there a way to use one channel as a "control" channel to send trigger relays to bring groups of switches attached in parallel on-line? I haven't read much about X-10 integration capabilities within LOR, but this could be one way to trigger X-10 switches to turn on and turn off.

What I want, is bank A and bank B of lights to be attached to Channels 1-16 on a controller, and be able to control turning off Bank A or Bank B via programming.

As I type this, I think I need to search the forums for more info on how LOR works with X-10.

Any thoughts on how to do this? It may work out to where the costs to this this "right" might approach the cost of an additional controller or two.

Any resource you could point me to would be greatly appreciated.

Moving Target in NC

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If I understand you correctly, you want to have 16 channels of LOR switch between 2 banks of lights. If so, I can think of an easy and inexpensive way that this would be possible using one SPDT AC relay and one X-10 appliance module (less than $20 combined). If bank A has 16 channels hooked up to lights, I would do the following provided the current loads for the lights you are controlling will not exceed the LOR or wire rating you are using:

First of all, hook up all of the hot wires of the lights on bank A to the 16 LOR channels on the controller. Tie all of the neutral wires from the lights together, but do not hook them up to the LOR controller.

Now take all of the hot wires of the lights on bank B and put them in parallel to those you connected from bank A to the controller. Tie each of the neutral wires on bank B together but do not hook them up to the LOR controller.

Hook up all the combined neutral wires from bank A to the normally closed contact on a properly rated SPDT AC relay. Hook up all of the combined neutral wires from bank B to the normally open relay contact. Now take the center contact of the relay and connect it to the neutral output of the LOR controller. LOR had all of its neutrals connected together even though there are separate screw terminals for each channel output. This is for convenience and to not overload any common neutral wire. As long as you do not exceed the current capacity of the common neutral wire and you keep all of the polarities in check, combining the neutrals should be no problem.

Now, hook up the output of an X-10 appliance module to the relay coils. With no X-10 command being sent from the LOR program, bank A will be electrically connected by default. When an X-10 command is sent to the X-10 appliance module, it will switch the neutral wire connection from bank A to bank B, therefore these channels will now be active. So, you could get 32 channels out of a 16 channel controller but never at the same time.

Programming a sequence to do this would be fairly easy provided you don't have to constantly switch back and forth between bank A and B lights.

The module and relay should be under $20, add a weatherproof case, extension cords or wire, it will definately be cheaper than buying an additional 16 channels, but of you wanted to have the flexibility of having both bank A and B lights on at once or if they are constantly being switched, it may really make more sense to just buy the additional channels and have complete control over the lights.

Let me know what you decide, either way.

Glenn Koenig

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Glenn's solution sounds reasonable. Normally switching neutrals is considered bad form, but in this case it makes for a pretty clean solution.

-Tim

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I did something very similar to this. I have a channel on one LOR controller that was to supply power to a second controller running a standalone sequence. I was having problems with the controller not supplying power correctly, so I wired up the one channel to supply power to a SSR via a 9 VDC adapter. The Relay ties into the power feed into the LOR board to send the "clean" power directly to the standalone board. I'm actually going to clean this up a bit - constantly powering the 2nd controller, but using the relay to trigger the standalone sequence by the input instead of actually applying power to the board.

When I first read this question, I was thinking one relay per channel, but as Tim said, the solution suggested is not technically a great idea, but makes for a very clean solution.

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Glenn's idea is a good one. Here is one additional thing to look out for. If you are going to do this with a 16 channel card then either use only one input line and jump power to the other side of the card OR use a DPDT (double pole) relay and switch the neutrals on each side of the card.

If you have two power feeds to a card NEVER tie the two neutrals together and never create a common neutral (multi conductor cord) and have output from different (banks) of the card mixed...

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