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How would you do this? Need 2 to 8 channel 40A setup


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I have LOR running this year, but something hit me. On the roof, I run around 15 strands of C9 bulbs to frame the ridges and the edges of the house and then I run what seems like a mile of icicle lights (ok it is probably 400 feet) on the edge of the house, doubled up for light density. All of that pulls around 35A, I have it on two 20A breakers that I wired up this year. I didn't hook it up to LOR because I only had enough money to get two controllers this year and they are tied up with a ton of other stuff (using 32 channels).

So, the question is, next year, I'm realizing that I would like to have the ability to turn those lights on and off with the computer. I really don't like X-10 much, so I was thinking, what about using solid state relays? I have seen talk about this in a few forums and started reading through a bunch of the posts the last week or so, but it seems like most people are trying to use many channels, smaller current, dimming, etc etc. I just want what could be as few as two solid state relays, like these Crydom's:

http://cgi.ebay.com/solid-state-relay-20A-ac-120-220-4-28-DC-control-2_W0QQitemZ320058169112QQihZ011QQcategoryZ78207QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

that can switch 20A at 120V on and off with a 3-28V signal. Now, when I was in grad school, I built a huge control box (one 3 phase 208 circuit and one single phase 220V circuit with four 30A 240V SSRs to control 6400W of heaters). But the difference there is that I had a $2,000 National Instruments board and Visual Basic to control the damn thing..... so, does LOR have some 5V outputs that could be made to switch these on and off through the software (I could simply make one of my LOR boxes a bit larger, incorporate the two SSRs and a couple of 5V trigger wires, then a few more outlets to turn the (1) icicles and (2) C9's on and off at will (wouldn't need to be fast or dimmable, or anything fancy, just want on and off)?

Any thoughts or insight is appreciated!

-Louie in Melbourne, FL

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That is a really good idea, Dan. I had to think about what you were saying, but it totally makes sense.

So I wouldn't be limited by the current of the board, just taking up one channel, which I can "afford" to do. I think I have one channel open right now on my front yard display.

So, I could run a really long extension cord from that channel, up to the roof (it could be really fine gauge wire because it is only sending the control signal at 120V, no heavy current). Run that into a weather proof box with the SSR's (could split that one control signal cable to control two 20A SSRs or later just run two long cables taking up two channels of LOR, one for the 15 strands of C9's and one for all the icicle lights).

Great, I think I'm all set, thanks again!

-Louie in Melbourne, FL

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Ok found some relays I'm going to order (Crydom 120VAC line, 120VAC switching voltage, 25A current) off eBay new in box.....

Anyway, one other quick question (hopefully Dan sees this). So I am going to write a routine to just turn on these lights, that is all I want to do is have the turn on and turn off at the end of the show controlled by the software. So when I write a short sequence and put it in the 'Background' section of the show editor, it will just loop through continuously. My question is related to the activity of looping and it's effect on the SSR, should I make the loop long to minimize the amount of looping or will the signal be seen as continuous on?

Thanks,

Louie

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The signal is a continuous on.... 1 minute is good BECAUSE if something should happen to your PC during a show and it was to freeze up for a few seconds, the light controllers would kick into failsafe mode and shut down. If this was to happen, the background lights would be re-started within 1 minute.

Make sure you are running 1.6.1 of the software because there are some potential issues in the background section on 1.5.0...

One other thing.... You may need a small load on the LOR channel (more that the SSR) to get the triac to trigger. It could be a string of mini lights or a couple of C7/9 bulbs.

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Also remember that if you use relays, you will not be able to dim. You can just to ON or OFF. I was thinking of using some relays also because I wanted to control all my C9's which used around 13 amps per color. What I ended up doing was splitting it up so each color takes two channels so the load is only 6.5 amps per channel. Now I can fade them :)

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Ok thanks for the replies....this is easiest for this year.... Maybe I can hook up a couple lights to the power box I'm going to build to house the SSRs, those should take some current and help trigger the Triac, no?

Thanks again,

-Louie in Melbourne, FL

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  • 1 month later...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one!!! This is my first year with LOR and my 16 channel's got used quickly. So after spending a ton of money on lights and display's my wife ask if we could use these large G-40 bulbs. Big, bulky, high amp bulbs. What am I gonna do say "No"!!!

Since I had no more channels left I had 8 strings of G-40's, icicle lights and 600 mini's all to use with only one channel left. So I used a Allen Bradley relay (3 actually) with 110 coil's. Piggybacked 3 relay's off 1 channel. Wired the input to the relay's using 2-20a breakers so the controller never saw the 18amp load of the big bulbs. I had them firing pretty quick 2-3 times per second on some songs and didn't have any problems. The coils were enough load for the triacs. The only "bad" thing is using you can't fade. On or Off only. The good thing is these are normally open and normally closed so you can have 2 displays and turn one on and the other off with only 1 output, and you can have very high amp loads. 1 relay = 2 x 10 amps N.O. 10 amps N.C. Next year I'm gonna use them for static display's since I'm upgrading to 64 channels. (Since I have room left in the enclosure)

Hope this helps!! If you have any other question let me know.

Scott



Attached files 118495=7055-LOR controller.JPG

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