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GFCI trips on Sequence but not on HU


Brian W
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I am way behind, but that is what happens when your mega tree goes Swinder! I finally got everything fixed and ready to finally run a show last night. I had used the HU to light things up during the reconstruction period with no problems. About a minute into the first sequence, the GFCI trips. Several resets and several trips. I shut down the show and went back to the HU and everything lights up and stays on. Am I wrong to think that if I had a grounding issue it would trip the GFCI whether I am running a show or just using the HU.

Another oddity is that I have one channel that never fully shuts off. Once all lights are supposed to be off, this one channel is on. This is a problem in itself, but wondered if it could be related to the above problem.

Any thoughts or is there any dditional information that I need to provide?

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6 - 16 Channel controllers, approximately 20 K lights - all LED. #1: 4,800, 300 per Ch., #2: 2,400, 100 or 200 per Ch., #3: 2,800, 100 or 200 per Ch., #4: 4,800, 300 per Ch., #5: 4,800, 300 per Ch., #6: 4,400, 10 strobes, 3D star. The channel that stays lit is on controller number 3 with one strand of 100. Controller 1 is conected via an ELL and 4 and 5 connect to 1. Controller 2 is connected by an ELL and 6 is connected to 2. Controller 3 is connected by an ELL with no other controllers connected.

In regard to checking the cat5, I have not.

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Wow that's a lot of channels. HWU only runs one controller at a time. Your trip is from the combination of two or more.

How many controllers on each GFCI? Since you are using ELLs do you also have a remote sub panel? Or long extension cords?

Its would be hard to use process of elimination to narrow trip down to set of controllers, but you could still try. I suggest splitting power among as many GFCIs as you can.

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I would try and narrow it down to what sector of the yard is causing the issue. Agree with above, move things around. Its probably my imagination, but I think that some cfgi are more sensitive than others. Also they can go bad. All in all though the HU does the same as the shows.

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Wow that's a lot of channels. HWU only runs one controller at a time. Your trip is from the combination of two or more.

How many controllers on each GFCI? Since you are using ELLs do you also have a remote sub panel? Or long extension cords?

Its would be hard to use process of elimination to narrow trip down to set of controllers, but you could still try. I suggest splitting power among as many GFCIs as you can.

I can have all of my lights on from 4 controllers using the hardware utility. You just click to the next unit number and what the previous was set as will stay on.

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I appreciate all of the feedback. It sounds like too many controllers per GFCI? If so, is there a rule of thumb for number of controllers per circuit? I have the same number of controllers and set up as last year although I have added some lights, not a lot. I was looking at load from the lights but had not taken into consideration the controllers.

No sub panel. Some "long" extension cords, not many. Regarding the ELLs, just didn't want to run cat5 out of the house (that makes my wife happy!)

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The rule of thumb is for any outlet. Do not go above 80% max load. Yes a 20a outlet will supply 20a, but its better to only go 80% of that. It doesn't matter how many controllers are on a circuit as long as you do not exceed the max of the outlet.

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Brian, if it were me I would have each controller on its own GFCI device, even if it was all being served by the same circuit from the panel. Ideally each bank on it's own GFCI, but that is really overkill unless there is a large load on the controller. The reason is in the event of a trip, you would automatically know which controller was at fault and already have the problem narrowed to a certain degree. It does not take much bleed over current to trip a GFCI device, so by splitting things up you also reduce the amount of potential built up bleed current by a factor of up to 6 in your case. If you have multiple controllers serve a single display element, things can get a little more complex for troubleshooting purposes.

As for circuit loading, 80% of the circuit's rating is what electrical code allows for continuous loads (on for 3hrs or more). That equates to 12A for a 15A rated circuit (#14 wire) and 16A for a 20A rated circuit (#12 wire).

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you should also check the outlet, during my Halloween show I was having the same issue on an outlet that I had used successfully before. Replaced the GFCI and all is good. Or at least until I decided to add a second fog machine but that is a different story for another day.

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Usually either a bad triac, or hot and neutral swapped to the controller.

BTW, GFCI doesn't require the fault be to ground. It could even be to hot on a different circuit.

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Thanks for all the feedback. How about the channel dimmly staying on even after the show is off? Is that indicative of a problem with that controller?

Brian,

Yeah, thats very indicative of a bad Triac... I had two last year that needed replacing, and have another one this year

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Brian,

Yeah, thats very indicative of a bad Triac... I had two last year that needed replacing, and have another one this year

Brian,

Yeah, thats very indicative of a bad Triac... I had two last year that needed replacing, and have another one this year

True of a few channels, but if it is all 16 channels, then I am going to throw my hat in the ring for swapped hot and neutral at the controller power input.

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It is just one channel. I opened a ticket with the help desk and they suggest doing a reset of the controller.

"Since it's a 1600 series Generation 1 or 2 (metal enclosure and no LED display inside), disconnect the power, set the unit ID switches to 0-0, and reapply power. The status light will blink very fast. Wait a few seconds, remove power, change the Unit ID switches back to where they were and reapply power. You've reset the board.

Now, run your tests again."

Got home too late to do this. I will do this Saturday and follow up with results.

Thanks to everyone on their input. I have learned a lot. I have now separated all the controllers onto their own circuits utilizing inline gfci adapters and the show is running without fail. Hopefully, the reset will solve my other problem.

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Update: Appears to be hardware, see help desk response:

"

When a channel refuses to turn off after a board reset and insists on staying turned on at about 50% it means half the triac for that channel is cooked. If the channel stays on at 100%, the entire triac is zapped. The triac is the gizmo that switches the high voltage to your lights."

I have a spare channel, so I will have this corrected later on. Thank you again for everyone's help on my two problems.

Brian

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