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what controller do I need to get started?


JoshPoget
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I have 14 jets for a water show run by sprinkley valves (24 volt). I am looking to program a sequence to music, what all do I need.

The way I understand it is I can get one of these:

CMB-16D-QC Deluxe DC Card

and then add the Mini Director with MP3 Player so that I can save my show onto an sd card (or without it I could still use the

laptop directly to the DC card?).

Is this everything I would need? I have an outlet with power that I plan to tie into, will that be enough?
 

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I have 14 jets for a water show run by sprinkley valves (24 volt). I am
looking to program a sequence to music, what all do I need. The way I
understand it is I can get one of these:

CMB-16D-QC Deluxe DC Card

and then add the Mini Director with MP3 Player so that I can save my
show onto an sd card (or without it I could still use the laptop
directly to the DC card?).

Is this everything I would need? I have an outlet with power that I plan to tie into, will that be enough?

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Try out your 24v sprinkler valves before committing to them; many of them have a built-in delay of 0.5 seconds to 2 seconds, which might mess up your timing.

 

Yes the LOR DC controller can be used, but try a push button first to see how quickly the valve responds.

 

More information in this thread: http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/26514-amps-question-for-water-pumps/?p=250222

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I have experimented with the Rainbird sprinkler valve last summer using a DMX Relay card with 8 Relays.

It did work pretty well. The delays mentioned are more controller based than valve based.

One item I still have to resolve is the current draw. The standard 24V transformer is not able to power all 8 possible valves at the same time.

I did opt for the relays since the valves are AC powered, not DC...

I did get timings down to .5 seconds. Not sure if more makes sense...

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Sprinkler valves are designed to work with AC (24v). While they will work with DC, there are some issues, one being that they will draw more current on DC. This could cause them to overheat if the channel is left on for a longer time. This is a bit off subject, but I have seen the circuitry in an old pinball machine that used a switch attached to the solenoids that would put a resistor in series when the solenoid was fully activated to make it draw less current after the initial pulse. I have also read in another forum about a concern that using DC for an extended time could magnetize the solenoid, causing the water to not shut off.

 

An effective way of dealing with these potential problems is to use the DC cord to drive relays, which will switch AC to the valves. You could also experiment with a lower DC voltage, to eliminate some of these concerns.

 

and then add the Mini Director with MP3 Player so that I can save my
show onto an sd card (or without it I could still use the laptop
directly to the DC card?).

You can use the director or laptop. They will all control any controller, including AC controllers, DC  controllers, or servo controllers. Everything is compatible.

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Ok, so you are saying that if I wanted all 14 open at once then it would draw too much current and not work? When you say standard 24V transformer do you mean what is built into LOR or your DMX relay card?

Hi Josh - yes, I was referring to all 14 valves open.

 

For the transformer I was refring to the standard Rainbird transformer (http://www.rainbird.com/homeowner/products/parts/ut-1.htm) which provides 650 mA. The valve model I use (CPF series since they allow flow control as well) is specified for 300 mA inrush (during switching) and 190 mA for holding. This would mean one of those transformers could power 3 valves if they are turned on sequentially (or 2 at the same time).

 

If you would want to turn on all 14 valves at the same time, you would need a 4.2 A transformer with 24 V, or better go with a 5 A transformer to have some buffer.

 

To answer one more question: the valves are AC. Switching AC with the DC board will not work. With solenoids it is a funny thing - have had success and fails running some on DC. I have not tested the Rainbird valves yet. I am also not sure how well the LOR board would deal with inductive loads. The high voltage boards have a clear label for "resistive load sonly" and I do not see any parts on the DC board to handle inductive or capacitive load.

 

BTW: here is a link to the relay board I have used: http://www.newark.com/milford-instruments/1d493/dmx-relay-board/dp/39K0582

 

Only catch is, that it also requires a DMX dongle.

 

Hope this helps :-) Let me know if you have more questions, I can draw a diagram of my setup if needed...

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Thanks Bob - this is a great link. I need to look around their site a bit more. Even though the Rainbird valves did work, I was not completly happy with them and I was worried that the frequent switching would cause a reliability issue...

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Ya, maybe show me a drawing of everything you are using to get this working. You said also a DMX dongle, do you mean the LOR IDMX1000? Also, I checked that site and I don't see the valves for sale on their own.
 

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Although not an LOR product, there's a reliable DMX relay with 8 channels of "dry contact" relays for $105: http://www.northlightdmx.com/DMXtoRelay.htm

 

I have two of the 4 channel models and they work great for controlling either AC or DC loads and either low voltage or 120 volts.

 

Yes, you would need a iDMX1000 or equivalent.

 

Keep in mind that the iDMX1000 is supported by the Hardware Utility when you are testing individual channels.

 

Non-LOR products would need some external software to test with.

 

After testing, the lighting sequence you have created will use the water relays just like you programmed them.

 

This is assuming you have the Advanced version of S3.

 

 

Sample valve: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-4-Electric-Solenoid-Valve-120-volt-Air-Water-BBTF-/290657793099?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43ac8df44b

Edited by Ken Benedict
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Here is the promised drawing. I have tried to use colors to indicate the different signal types involved.

 

I am using the ENTTEC PRO USB DMX Adapter to generate the DMX signal. The drawing does include a DMX Splitter, this is optional and is only required if you are trying to do multiple DMX runs, so you can skip it.

 

The part on the water control is mostly in the lower right corner of the drawing.

 

Let me now if you have more questions.

post-10124-0-15201000-1367413041_thumb.p

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Thank you viennaxmas!

 

So all I would need is:

 

8 output DMX Relay board (2 of these)

http://www.alliedelec.com/search/productdetail.aspx?sku=R1033372&gclid=CPDBqe-N9rYCFct7QgodUWsAiw

 

ENTTEC PRO USB DMX Adapter

http://www.fullcompass.com/product/420359.html?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=googleps&gclid=CJbR5JKO9rYCFQSCQgodGnIA1A

 

Then purchase the $49.95 LOR software and run it?

 

What if I decide to switch to a directory powered by an sd card. Will these components all still be compatible?
 

Also, on my link above to the relay board, does that look like the right thing, seems to be half the price as others want.

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Hi Josh -

 

the relay board you picked is identical to the one I have.

 

If you have a computer to run the LOR software on, you would be all set - except that you would need the Advanced License to connect the Enttec Pro.

 

Regarding the Show Director with SD card - I unfortunately do not know much about these. I did scan through the manual, and it does seem like they can only output LOR protocol, so you would need a relay device capable of accepting the LOR protocol.

 

http://www.lightorama.com/DigitalIO.html

 

Light-O-Rama does offer a Digital I/O card which allows to connect "daughter boards", one of which is a relay board.

 

For your shopping list, this would change a few things:

 

1 x DIO main board (~$ 150)

2 x Relay Daughter Board (~$ 90 each)

1 x USB Communications Adapter (~$30 - ~ $ 90)

1 x LOR Software (in this case Basic is enough, however a lot of people would recommend Advanced even for starter.) (~ $ 50)

 

Then you can later add the Show Time Director without any compatibility issues. Considering that you can do this way with the Basic Version vs. requiring the Advanced S3 software for DMX, cost should be almost identical... The other advantage to using all LOR is their support - if something does not work in the entire chain, it is one support call, not 5 different ones :-)

 

The other possibility is the Milford DMX Relay board and a LOR iDMX 1000 device to convert LOR into DMX. However then it would be better staying native LOR from the get go.

 

Are you planning to run the show the entire year?

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Hi Josh - good point. The starter package includes the comm adapter.

Great idea running the show all year. Please keep us posted how your project goes. I am especially interested to see how the Rainbird valves are holding up with constant switching.

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So, here is how I understand it:

 

Option #1

DIO32 Ribbon Cable - 2 @ $5.00
DIO32 Mainboard - 1 @ $136.00
DIO32 Relay Card - 2 @ $90.00
SPK-ST Generic Starter Package - 1 @ $44.00


Total: $380.00 (2 to 3 weeks to ship)


Option #2

DMX USB Pro Adapter - 1 @ $162.00
8 output DMX Relay board - 2 @ $84.00 (8 to 10 days)
Advanced S3 software - 1 @ $140.00

5 Rainbird Transformers (or one 5 AMP) - 5 @ $17.00

 

Total: $555.00 (8 to 10 days to ship relay board)

 

 

With Option 1 I won't need a transformer for the valves, since they will plug directly into and be powered by the daugher

relay card right?

 

Seems like Option 1 makes the most sense, other than it takes 2 to 3 weeks before they even ship it. I really need it sooner

than that. Does anyone have a DIO 32 Mainboard and Relay cards for sale?

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Option 1 certainly sounds like an easier option.

 

You will still need the 24V transformer to drive the valves. Usually relays are dry contacts, so there is no power on the switching side of the relay. I also doubt that any LOR device can provide 5 A @ 24 V....

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Ok, I think there is an Option #3:

 

CMB-16D-QC Deluxe DC Card - 1 @ $100.00
SPK-ST Generic Starter Package - 1 @ $44.00

 

Toro EZF series valve dc AZF-21-94 - 14 @ $21

 

These valves are DC (I think 12 Volt) so the DC card should power these fine right?

 

This solution seems so much simpler and the card only takes a few days to ship.

 

One thing I noticed is that the DC card requires DC power input? What would I need to power it with

a 20 AMP outlet? Seems like I would just need 2 12V transformers each providing 2.5 Amps, I would just

feed those to the 2 inputs on the card right?

 

Or just one 5 Amp supply that I would split the wire to each input on the card:

Something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-Volt-DC-Power-Supply-5-Amp-5A-12V-Adapter-Charger-LCD-Monitor-TV-Screen-/270881839053#vi-content

Edited by JoshPoget
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I am not sure the DC card can handle inductive load like the solenoids very well. They have very specific characteristics. Maybe someone else on the forum has tried that and can shed some light on it or you could ask LOR via a support ticket.

 

In order to power the DC card, you need a transformer with a rectifier (similar to a cell phone charger or laptop PSU). Those are usually available from a lot of online stores...

 

For the 20 Amps - not really needed... if your system consumes 5 A @ 12 W, this would relate to about 0.5 A on 110 V..

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I have been talking with LOR and it sounds like a 24 volt DC valve can be connected to the DC board without any problems.

My next task is to figure out how to turn on the pool pump I have plumbed into. It is currently connected to a relay controlled by a Pentair IntelliSense controller and load center.

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One other thing I haven't finalized is the power supply. It seems that DC valves use a lot less power than AC solenoid valves. So before we talked about needing 5 Amps, I will have to find out exactly what the inrush amp draw is for these. I have been looking at this one and just want to know if something like this will work:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Adapter-15V-18-5V-19-5V/dp/B004I5ERUW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1368000404&sr=1-1&keywords=ac+adapter+24v

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