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Controller working, but only as 1 unit


ClydeL
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I'll try to describe what's going on here as best as I can. I have built custom set-ups for my display. While testing 2 boards(CTB16PC), they acted just fine using the LOR Hardware utility. I used the "hot jump" so I only needed one plug to run the entire controller. This year, I removed the hot jump + neutral jump and added a second power cord so I wouldn't max out the total amps on the card. Now, every time I begin to run a sequence, the GFCI trips. If I just plug it in, the GFCI does not trip.

My solution was to replace the hot and neutral jump, removing the second plug. The controller operates fine. Luckily I have 2 spare controllers and was able to build another one, assign it the same controller number and hook up the last of the display. The show runs fine now.

Last year, I was having the same problem with the same controller assignment number (0A) where as soon as I ran a show, the GFCI would trip. I did the same thing last year and used the spare controllers to help with the problem. That controller last year was removed from setup and is currently in my shop chilling for the season. I though it might be a wiring issue, so I inspected all the connections I had made, and everything is as the other controllers I've built (three units have 2 separate power cords and are operating normally with no GFCI issues). This issue is very confusing as there are no problems with the other 2-plug controllers and they were all wired the exact same.

Any help/explanation would be appreciated.

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And as a side note, these are the CTB16PC cards only. They were pre-built and ordered during the Feb/summer sales 2 years ago. One unit is low power heat sink, and the other is high power heat sink.

I only wire the card to my controller board, no soldering for me. In fact, 4 of the solder kits I purchased last year are now being built for me by a friend.

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Are you plugging the 2 cords in to the same GFCI?

Couple of things to check:
1: White to White, Black to Black
reversing the White (neutral) and Black (hot) wire can cause the GFCI to fault
2: there might be a slight back current across the neutral wires. Check to see if it faults with no output load. (one of the lights strings may be faulting back when split)
3: You did remove the hot jumper?
4: Faulty CFCI? (check it's wiring)

On faulty CFCI I had one in the bathroom once that would trip out when the timer would kick on the fan light. For some reason it thought it was a fault! :)

If you are not running more than 15A one cord should be enough.

M.

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mikeosf wrote:

Are you plugging the 2 cords in to the same GFCI?

Couple of things to check:
1: White to White, Black to Black
reversing the White (neutral) and Black (hot) wire can cause the GFCI to fault
2: there might be a slight back current across the neutral wires. Check to see if it faults with no output load. (one of the lights strings may be faulting back when split)
3: You did remove the hot jumper?
4: Faulty CFCI? (check it's wiring)

On faulty CFCI I had one in the bathroom once that would trip out when the timer would kick on the fan light. For some reason it thought it was a fault! :)

If you are not running more than 15A one cord should be enough.

M.
1. Yes, first thing I checked was the power cord plug Black to black... etc...

2. The unit is currently operating fully on 1 power cord. No issues with it working on one cord. All 9 channels that are being used work correctly. I didn't hook anything up to the other channels (10-16) yet.

3. Yes, I removed the jumper. I thought that was my problem after checking the power cord wires.

4. GFCI is currently working with other controllers. No tips yet from any prior years. I did pull the GFCI and inspect it to see if it was wired backwards.

I'm running around 10.5amps on both sides of the controller, around 3,300 minis on one side of the card. It's a total of 21.4 amps (simple math using excel) if I were to turn them all on at once, and I do. I definitely needed them to be split. Thankfully I have 3 controllers with mostly LED's and they are sharing 1 15amp breaker.
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Clyde,

On of the things that comes to mind that would cause this behavior. Since prior to removing the jumpers all worked fine. But now after you remover the jumpers and install a second input cord you trip a GFCI. Since a GFCI works by monitoring the current out on the hot (black) wire and compares to the current returned on the neutral (white) wire. Does the controller only fault the GFCI when you are commanding lights to turnon? This would be my guess.

Make sure that all your hots and neutrals for each side are isolated on the respective side. The whites for the 9-16 side are only plugged to the neutrals on the right side on the board. the whites for the 1-8 side are only plugged to the neutral on the left side of the board. My guess is you have at least one neutral that is on the improper side from where it should be.

Chuck

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Chuck,

I looked at the neutrals. They are in fact separated out to the respective neutral side that they correspond to.

Also, you are correct. The moment the computer sends the command to the controller, the GFCI trips... not a moment till then. It could stay plugged in for days without tripping and then when it receives the command to turn CH 1 on, well "pop" goes the GFCI.

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Try firing the channels with no load. (unplug the lights) If it still trips it has to be something in the controller that is causing the fault. If not it's something in the load that is crossing current from one side to the other.

m.

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