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Spray Park - DC controller


NoBadDays
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Let me start by saying I am new to Light-O-Rama but I know it can solve this problem the question is how best to do it. I am creating a spray park in my neighborhood and need a good way to control the valves (24V DC) so that they appear random. I have two thoughts on how to do this but think there must be a better way. Here are the project requirements.

1. Park is only active between 8 am and 10 pm

2. Pushbutton activates park for ten minutes

3. The jets appear random

Plan 1.

My first thought was to use the DC-MP3 show time director with an external power supply. I would then connect this to a CMB-16D. The Director could be set with a 3 hour sequence then ran repeatedly between 8 am and 10 pm. The CMB would have its power controlled by an aux timing relay that was activated by the pushbutton and held power to it for 10 minutes. This way when the pushbutton was pressed the show would be at some random part and would only be active for ten minutes. I have not found this aux relay yet.

Plan 2.

Use just the CMB-16D and have the input on that be connected to the pushbutton. The CMB has 6 inputs if I could fine a way to sequence the wiring using latches so that it switched inputs I would have six programs that could run. I don't know if this is even possible.

Plan 3.

Any ideas?

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Assuming that you have the programming under control, I would suggest a single animation (non-musical) sequence that can be downloaded into the DC controller and set to run whenever there is power supplied. You do not need an MP3 Director for this application. Just the CMB-16D.

 

For the day/time control, see here or here.

 

For the 10 minute runtime, see here or here or here.

 

To protect your equipment, I'd suggest a solid state DC relay that's triggered by your LOR DC controller.

You might want to put protection diodes across the outputs to minimize any inductive kickbacks.

 

12 volt power supply for the logic boards here.

 

24 volt power supply for the water valves here.

 

This solution might be pricey, but it will be very reliable and you won't have to worry about getting calls to repair it.

 

 

Keep in mind that there's a new DC controller card (24 channels) that will be announced by LOR soon.

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Ken,

Thank you for your insight. I have not figured out the programming yet but wanted to get the hardware on order. I only have 11 channels so the 16 outputs should be sufficient. I have tried to summarize my understanding of what you said below.

Assuming that you have the programming under control, I would suggest a single animation (non-musical) sequence that can be downloaded into the DC controller and set to run whenever there is power supplied. You do not need an MP3 Director for this application. Just the CMB-16D.

I think this would be ideal but the challenge I had was trying to randomize it. To be honest with you I am new to LOR. I have had experience with Vixen and Renerd controllers but I wanted something more robust for this application. My understanding of what you said would be to use the day time timer below to power the controller only during valid times. The CMB would then run a program continuously. Would you then use 1 timer module per channel so that the program appeared random and wire the push button into the trigger of all 11 channels so that the all circuits closed there path when pushed? This would make the program appear random. Is there a wa to do this with only one timer relay and I am just missing it?

Sorry if this is a dumb question.

 

For the day/time control, see here or here.

 

For the 10 minute runtime, see here or here or here.

 

To protect your equipment, I'd suggest a solid state DC relay that's triggered by your LOR DC controller.

You might want to put protection diodes across the outputs to minimize any inductive kickbacks.

 

12 volt power supply for the logic boards here.

 

24 volt power supply for the water valves here.

 

This solution might be pricey, but it will be very reliable and you won't have to worry about getting calls to repair it.

 

 

Keep in mind that there's a new DC controller card (24 channels) that will be announced by LOR soon.

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I don't know if it's still a product or has been shelved by LOR, but they came out with a MLC-100 Fountain Controller some time back.

 

It may have been a one-off development, like the Chime-o-Matic, which originally appeared in 2006.

Edited by Ken Benedict
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The day/time board would be first, then to the 10 minute board then to the LOR DC controller, which would do it's thing for 10 minutes when someone presses the button. The button is connected to the 10 minute board. Then each of the 11 channels would go to 11 of the solid state switches, which would then go to the water valves.

 

I wouldn't worry so much about the randomization; start off with rapid sequences at first and not many people will recognize the sequence.

 

After all that and you're STILL determined to randomize, you can put a circuit onto the input triggers on the DC controller card that will pick another sequence.

But that gets even more complicated.

 

Best to get the basics worked out first.

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  • 1 month later...

Ken,

 

The whole thing worked.  Thanks for your help.  One problem after we got the show running I noticed the solenoid's were getting hot.  I pulled the part number and they ordered a different part number.  They ordered AC solenoid's.  To replace the solenoid's is going to be 600 dollars.  So I am looking at changing to an AC controller.  I believe the DIO32 motherboard could do what I need with the DIO16 daughterboard.  This would run on the 24VAC that is currently on the pump and could power the solenoid's.  Based on the datasheet it looks like the motherboard could monitor the input switch and then start the sequence on the rising edge trigger of the NO contact.  This seems like a pretty good solution since the controllers are 300 dollars verse the 600 dollars to replace the solenoids.  This would work right?  Any help is appreciated.

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Ken,

 

The whole thing worked.  Thanks for your help.  One problem after we got the show running I noticed the solenoid's were getting hot.  I pulled the part number and they ordered a different part number.  They ordered AC solenoid's.  To replace the solenoid's is going to be 600 dollars.  So I am looking at changing to an AC controller.  I believe the DIO32 motherboard could do what I need with the DIO16 daughterboard.  This would run on the 24VAC that is currently on the pump and could power the solenoid's.  Based on the datasheet it looks like the motherboard could monitor the input switch and then start the sequence on the rising edge trigger of the NO contact.  This seems like a pretty good solution since the controllers are 300 dollars verse the 600 dollars to replace the solenoids.  This would work right?  Any help is appreciated.

 

Cheaper solution is to install Solid State Relays between your DC board and the AC valves.

 

You need 11 of these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CRYDOM-D2425-SOLID-STATE-RELAY-240VAC-25AMP-/111126504509?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19dfa7e43d

 

Or the equivalent. Crydom is the best, in my opinion and stay away from the imports, which fail too often.

 

And a hefty 24vac transformer like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/SQUARE-D-9070-T100D23-INDUSTRIAL-100VA-120-240V-AC-24V-AC-TRANSFORMER-B215360-/380668338414?pt=BI_Circuit_Breakers_Transformers&hash=item58a199e0ee

 

Or a landscape version would do too.

 

Total cost would be about $150

Edited by Ken Benedict
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Another thing to try with the CMB24D is to use a reduced intensity to  turn on the valves. If you were to try 60% for ON, this would still give the full 24vdc swing to activate the valve, but would lower the amount of energy to it and may fix your heating problem. You may have to experiment with the percentage on to be used to turn on the valve. This isn't as good a solution as using ac which the valves are designed to work with.

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Another idea is to take a standard CTB16PC board and hack the board to isolate the logic power from the triacs, and use that to power 24VAC directly. You could probably also remove the transformer and hack the logic power to run on 24VAC, but that would need a bit of thinking first.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ken,

 

I took your advice and put in the SSR's.  They are working great.  However, the transformer I ordered was a different transformer because I got it off of mouser.  The transformer was mouser part number 655-4000-08J41K999.  It is a 75VA transformer which should carry my 55W of loading.  However, the interesting thing is that the transformer runs hot to the touch under no load.  I am used to large transformers which normally do not run hot with no load.  Is this normal for a class 2 transformer.  Sorry about my ignorance on this issue.

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Ken,

 

I took your advice and put in the SSR's.  They are working great.  However, the transformer I ordered was a different transformer because I got it off of mouser.  The transformer was mouser part number 655-4000-08J41K999.  It is a 75VA transformer which should carry my 55W of loading.  However, the interesting thing is that the transformer runs hot to the touch under no load.  I am used to large transformers which normally do not run hot with no load.  Is this normal for a class 2 transformer.  Sorry about my ignorance on this issue.

 

Looking at the PDF for the transformer, you should be connecting your 120VAC to the black lead and the white lead only; put wire nuts on the unused leads. Your 24VAC should be on the Blue and Yellow wires. Without any load, it should not run that hot.

 

Disconnect any load and measure the output leads (blue and yellow) to see what you're getting. Let it set for a while to see if it gets hot. If so, maybe the transformer is bad. If it stays cool, check your loads one at a time. If you have a bad SSR, it may connect a load (your water valves) all the time.

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