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So am I "all wet" on this idea?


radioguy1007

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I'm just sitting here thinking of some way to add a new light feature to the 4th of July fireworks at our family lake property this year and this idea came up.  I have a 24 channel DC controller with 8 of the 10 watt RGB floods from my show.  Has anyone ran them off a car battery?  Here is my thought - mount them to a pole in an octagon fashion, place the pole on a raft or boat anchored in the lake, and control them from the shore using a ELL.  I'm a bit concerned that running them off 13.8 volts instead of 12 from a regulated power supply would not be good.  Has anyone done something like this (DC controller on vehicle power supply)?

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Should not be a problem at all.  Keep in mind that most "12 volt" power supplies really supply around 13.5 (plus or minus a couple tenths), and your 12 volt battery will start out maybe in the mid 13.x range right after it's charged, but drop below 13 volts fairly quickly if you're drawing much load.  The DC controller will run well below 12 volts.  A 12 volt battery is considered to be fully discharged at about 10.5 volts.  Can't say that I have tried either a DC controller card nor the 10W RGB floods that low, but I am guessing that they will work that low.

Also remember that unless you NEED remote control of the lights, you can just download a standalone sequence into the controller and forget the ELL.

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Keep in mind that most "12 volt" power supplies really supply around 13.5 (plus or minus a couple tenths),.

This is true of cheap wall wart type power supplies.  However the ones we supply, as well as the ones we recommend, are properly voltage regulated to 12V no matter the current drawn.

 

http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/33029-the-cheap-transformer-and-why-you-shouldnt-use-it/

 

The CMB itself will run perfectly fine.  However, the LEDs in the floodlights don't like being hit with over-voltage.  I would put a power regulator on the battery.

 

I did a couple of quick searches for a power regulator for you, but didn't find any 'cost effective' ones with high enough amperage.  You could use 8 of these small ones on the + side of each flood, but that's kind of stupid....  http://www.ebay.com/itm/LM2596S-ADJ-DC-DC-Buck-Regulator-Power-Module-3A-Adjustable-5V-12V-24V-/191095436739?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c7e2cf5c3

 

If you already have our 110V power supply you may instead want to use that with a power inverter.  Yes, it makes no sense to change 12V DC to 110V AC back to 12V DC, but doing it that way will mean you have a regulated power supply in the line.  BUT You'll also have to deal with a not-very-efficient setup.

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Thanks guys.  I was especially concerned about the LED floods and overvoltage not knowing what kind of current limiting inside.  If the stack of LED's is say 10 volts, then 2 volts have to be dropped across a limiting resistor and the resistor value determines the current if it is a simple series circuit.  But increase that by another 1.5 volts the LED voltage stays constant (relatively) but now the voltage across the resistor nearly doubles at 13.5 volts supply and the current nearly doubles - not good.  I was hoping to run this thing "stealth" until it fires on - I do have a 120 volt generator that could be used but that would not be quiet.  The inverter has already crossed my mind - I have a 200 watt one in my car.  As to running it remotely, there are other residents around the shore that put on a real (illegal in Wisconsin) fireworks show - and I thought having some triggers onshore with an ELL I could make a couple RWB (Red, White & Blue) animations for "dud", "nice" and "WOW" response from the floods and not just running one animation. 

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I would go with a couple marine batteries and not car batteries and connect them in a series ( negative to negative/positive to positive)... still have the 12 volts but the amperage would be higher and the lights would run about or at least twice as long..  the reasons being..

 

A car battery is primarily designed to provide a large amount of current to get an engine started, and that's pretty much it. Once started, the battery just sits there being fed by the charging system to supply it with the energy that was lost during the starting (cranking) process. Dave, this is why they are called cranking batteries or engine start batteries. They can pump out large amounts of energy or current or amperes very quickly - but only for a short time. They supply little if any energy once the engine is running.

On the other hand, a Marine battery is designed for a couple of purposes - some call it a hybrid - a cross between a cranking and a "house" battery.

 

House batteries are used extensively in recreational vehicles of all types and are not expected to supply large amounts of cranking energy. However, they are capable of supplying energy (or discharging) over very long periods of time.

 

Not only are marine batteries expected to crank over an engine, they are also required to supply energy for lighting, pumps, sound systems and anything else that might be essential for comfort or safety while out on the water. As might be expected, these batteries can supply a combination of large amounts of cranking energy followed by a continuous supply of energy to keep accessories running.

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I would go with a couple marine batteries and not car batteries and connect them in a series ( negative to negative/positive to positive)... still have the 12 volts but the amperage would be higher and the lights would run about or at least twice as long..  the reasons being..

 

That would be in parallel, not in series.

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my mistake its been a while...lol at least I said neg to neg and pos to pos in my description..

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What lake do you go up to up north?  My in-laws have a place on Minocqua so we go up there for the 4th every year.

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We're not "up north" - but the place is out in East Troy (Potter's lake). 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The "Lite boat" got a few strange looks as boats went by it before it got dark out - but it did worked great using the ELL's, deep cycle battery, 150 watt inverter, and CMD24 with 8 10 watt floods.  I also had three 50 watt floods on the shoreline which worked together with the boat anchored out in the lake.  Just did some simple animations with the floods - did not have time to do much more. 

post-100-0-40029200-1436204232_thumb.jpg

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And out in the water.....

post-100-0-91182400-1436204697_thumb.jpg

Edited by radioguy1007
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Sorry, the video I took really did not show the colors very well out in the water.  I did not know if this would even work out so I did a few simple animations.  One thing I did learn is to not mount the 10 watt floods so close to each other.  From a distance they looked like one light and the color changes were not all that visible because of that. 

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