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Inflatables


Chris B
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So I've read a couple of conflicting items and I would like to get the story straight. I read on this forum that the light controllers do not put out a pure sine wave and should not be used for anything but lights. However I have recently purchased 6 G3 controllers and it says something about specifying channels in the sequencer for on/off control only for items such as inflatables. I have purchased 7 inflatables in after christmas specials in an attempt to get a display going for next year. Can someone please tell me if I can control inflatables via controllers control or will I have to add relays - using the triacs to turn the relays on to blow up the inflatables? Thanks.



Chris

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Not real sure as I don't have any, but I think most just power the motor from a receptacle with a timer and wire the lights into the controller.

Tom Straub

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Yup. It can be done fairly easily.
Cut the wire coming out of the blower that goes to the lights. You can run the blower from its own outlet.

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well dont know if i should, but i do power one direct from the LOR controller. its a frosty the snowman and turn it on for that song only. 2 yrs now, and no issues so far.

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If you're talking about using LOR controllers to turn on the blowers for your inflatables then no...they should not be used for that purpose. You are correct though..you can have LOR send a command to a relay that then turns on the blower.

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I use an optical relay and 1 lor channel for my inflatables. They do take about 90 sec to come all the way up so if you are looking to blink them, then as others have said, cut the wire to the lights and splice in an old extension cord made end. Then you can use a channel to blink the lights while leaving the fan running and the inflatable up.
Also be warned, some of the new stuff is 12vdc and using leds.

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I use an optical relay and 1 lor channel for my inflatables. They do take about 90 sec to come all the way up so if you are looking to blink them, then as others have said, cut the wire to the lights and splice in an old extension cord made end. Then you can use a channel to blink the lights while leaving the fan running and the inflatable up.
Also be warned, some of the new stuff is 12vdc and using leds.

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Christopher2113

Hmmm I just used lor controller and didn't think I had any problem I just made sure that the channel that they were plugged into stayed completly on

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LightsinMaine

olmsb4d2 wrote:

If you're talking about using LOR controllers to turn on the blowers for your inflatables then no...they should not be used for that purpose.  You are correct though..you can have LOR send a command to a relay that then turns on the blower.


Do we know why this is? I had never seen this before. I have (2) blowups that are on channels and only come on during certain songs. Been that way for 4 years now without any trouble. But if there is an issue I may need to change how I do those......
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A couple of reasons why you should not use the LOR controller directly would be:
1. When the fan motor for the inflatable starts up, there is a fairly large inrush of current to the motor that can produce a large draw on the controller triac and possibly burn it out. The startup current draw can get larger if it is very cold out and the motor has not run in awhile. It takes some extra force to get the cold motor to turn and get going.

2. When your inflatable is running and there is a fair amount of wind blowing. then the motor can draw a larger current than normal due to the pressure of the wind that is trying to cause the inflatable to deflate which causes the motor to try harder to keep it inflated. I have had inflatables that will blow the fuse if the wind is blowing too strong out.

That is why you should use the controller to run a relay for the inflatable. That way any higher current draw is only through the relay and not through the LOR controller triac. It is very easy to set up a relay for the power and not that complex if you wanted to cut the wire for the lights and run them off the LOR controller. The lights cause no trouble for the controller but the motor can.

Okay, that is the science portion of this thread for today.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program already in progress.

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Darn no edit!!

I also would add that it is possible that you can get your inflatable to run from a controller but I would not recommend it.
If you have been, then you are probably lucky although I would think that the triacs in these controllers would be able to handle the fan on an inflatable as long as there is not problem with it. But as the inflatable gets older, the motor will take a little more current with age to get going and keep going.
So you are somewhat playing the odds game as to when the motor will draw more than the triac will let it have.

Motors are a different sort of animal in their operating mode than lights are and require different engineering to make them operate correctly. The LOR controllers were just not designed to run a motor, just lights that require a more constant current to operate.

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LightsinMaine

do you think my luck has been because I run all leds that I haven't run into triac trouble yet? I will need to look into getting some relays and make something happen that way.....

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In contrast to what others (except chipwdw) say, I have run not one, but 2 inflatables connected to a single LOR channel for the past 5 years with no problems at all.

One inflatable is a carousal, about 5 feet high, and the other is a Grinch that pokes his head out the chimney. The lights for these inflatables are also left connected to the same channel (because they are not my inflatables, but are the neighbor's, and he didn't want to dissect them to find the lamp). I also have an old FM receiver on the same channel.

The channel turns on when the show starts, and stays on during the entire show.

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I haven't done it yet, so I wouldn't know if the start up draw that the motor has, would blow a fuse or not.
I'm using all LED's, so I suspect that it would be ok.

BUT....
I don't want my inflatables deflating when they are not turned on.
My plan is to have the lights go on and off in the sequence. So they will not be on all the time. The short time that they are on, the prop should be upright, not laying on the ground. So the blower needs to stay running.

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David Rise wrote:

I haven't done it yet, so I wouldn't know if the start up draw that the motor has, would blow a fuse or not.
I'm using all LED's, so I suspect that it would be ok.

BUT....
I don't want my inflatables deflating when they are not turned on.
My plan is to have the lights go on and off in the sequence. So they will not be on all the time. The short time that they are on, the prop should be upright, not laying on the ground. So the blower needs to stay running.


That was what I ended up doing with a couple of inflatables that I used with my display.
I cut the leads so that the lights were on a seperate plug and then ran the lights from the LOR controller and let the inflatable fan just run all the time.
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beeiilll wrote:

David Rise wrote:
I haven't done it yet, so I wouldn't know if the start up draw that the motor has, would blow a fuse or not.
I'm using all LED's, so I suspect that it would be ok.

BUT....
I don't want my inflatables deflating when they are not turned on.
My plan is to have the lights go on and off in the sequence. So they will not be on all the time. The short time that they are on, the prop should be upright, not laying on the ground. So the blower needs to stay running.


That was what I ended up doing with a couple of inflatables that I used with my display.
I cut the leads so that the lights were on a seperate plug and then ran the lights from the LOR controller and let the inflatable fan just run all the time.


I did this same thing with my Halloween display this year and it worked perfectly. When you cut the wire going from the blower to the lights in the inflatable, just leave about an inch still connected to the blower so that you can easily cap the wires to insulate their ends. For the other end that goes to the lights, you just add a vampire plug and you're good.

I found that my blowers actually had an extra hole in their plastic enclosures that I was able to feed the light wire out of before adding the plug. That helped keep things nice and tidy. What's more, by attaching the plug directly that way rather than splicing more wire in I had a benefit in that the plug was nicely protected from the weather.
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