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Controller Madness/What the !!!!!!!


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WE have 6 16 channel ac controllers.   The display is up and doing testing ,Saturday  night things worked great. Sunday night things got weird.  We have a lot of net lites some old some new this year.  There are 32 sets on the big hedge 16 blue/16 multi, mated together, same for the hedges on the island on the drive way .  Sunday night, as the sequence played the nets went on /off fine BUT when they dimmed they got about half way and started to flicker, that's when I started to flicker, it was late turned all off went in. Monday I thought maybe an AC problem. Three of the controllers including the one that does the nets and a few other things , were on one AC strip, so I put the net controller on it's own GFCI with only one flood on the Palm tree at the very front of the house. Still had the flicker, so speaking with a neighbor who is also a LOR guy,he said do snubber/incans, give that a try. Quick trip to the depot for some incans , solved the problem ,no flicker. Last nite it was wonderful ,until the sequence stopped. We were watching from across the street, John says why are  all of the nets lites were still on, very very  dim you had to get close to see.  Again it was late, we went in. I left all the controllers on as they are on the garden lite ac.  The nets were still lit very very dim. At 2:35 am I get up ,don't sleep well.  Went to the bay window looked out they were all off, as was the flood on the palm tree, GEZZZZZ, GFCI good friend worst enemy.  I got dressed and went out , It had come a good rain, puddles in the street, A HA , this must have been the controller that caused so much problem last year.  I have seen a post about dim lites before but don't remember the out come.  Does anyone out there have a solution or idea, short on time here show starts Thursday at 7 PM, Just about to go out and see if the controller will come back on, trusty chopstik in hand for the outlet, as I crawl under the big hedge.

David L Hardin   DLH LITES

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I assume from your description that all of your net lights are LED's - correct?  Also, what's the exact model and generation of the controller for the net lights?  If it's a G3, you might look into changing the dimming curves.

 

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J,  all lites are leds yes.  The controller CTB16PC V1 is four years old this year and was a kit ,I have built four so far, none of the others have this problem.,  it has worked fine for the last three years, well at least I think so. Last year we had an unusual amount of rain here in Fort lauderdale , one rain drop and it all shut down ,in all I missed about 9 days no show.  I had a very hard time trying to figure out  what was causing the shut down , now I think it was this one controller.   The rain here is like a fire hose, everything was drenched last year . There I was with the leaf blower trying to dry the connections.  I did go out this am reset the GFCI re plugged  in the controller and  it came right up and played a sequence. It is to bright here to see if the nets are dim. Thanks for your note.

David

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I would first do a factory reset to see if that solves the problem.  If that doesn't work, then because it was a kit, I think you're going to have to pull the card out of the enclosure and carefully inspect both the front & back sides for any burns, marks, etc. as well as any cracks or breaks in any of the solder joints.  While you've got it out you could also reflow the solder joints (specifically on the triacs) for the channels that are having the problems.

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Are your female ends and the male/female pass through plugs on your net lights covered with a child proof outlet cover?  

I had similar issues with net lights years ago, and water was getting into the female end connectors, as well as the male/female pass through plugs. 

I installed the Child Outlet Protector caps and never had any further issues with them.   So I use these on all my extension cord connections that aren't used, as well as any light stands that have those type plugs on them.   Haven't had any issues in many, many years after I started using these.

They might help, they might not.

 

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I had an issue with one of three LED strings connected together with one staying on very dim. One of your problems MIGHT be the connection. Someone here in LOR world, suggested unplugging the one that is on, rotate one plug 180 and re-plug. They had no explanation 'cause it is AC but it worked.

I didn't have any of the other issues you commented on. Hope you figure it out. Good luck.

 

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28 minutes ago, James Hill said:

I had an issue with one of three LED strings connected together with one staying on very dim. One of your problems MIGHT be the connection. Someone here in LOR world, suggested unplugging the one that is on, rotate one plug 180 and re-plug. They had no explanation 'cause it is AC but it worked.

I didn't have any of the other issues you commented on. Hope you figure it out. Good luck.

 

Cheaper LED strings have 1/2 wave rectifiers   , so the polarity  match / or mismatch, may help snub. Pro grade/Commercial have Full wave rectification, so flipping the plug would probably not have any difference

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well,Well,Well   net lites were still on very very dim.  GFCI clicking now and then.  Gezzzzzzzz,    It went off near the end of show Saturday nite. UGH.

Couldn't sleep--HMMMMM try the spare controller , changed the ID  went out behind the bushes at 4:45 am ,hooked it up plugged in the blue nets that were on very dim ,same thing , I dont have much hair but would swear there was a small plie on the ground.   

OK this one controller is hooked to a grounded 15 foot ext cord into it's own outlet .   It has a cube tape on the end which both cords from the controller are in and all lites are led.  Some of the other lites on channels 1-8 were also very dim.. I was ,gezzzz.  It was still dark, I wonder ???????? I changed the ext cord ,problem solved. The cord I was using had been shortened in a tangle with the hedge clippers,oppps ,put a new end on it, it was miss wired neutral /hot were swapped, so These controllers are very picky about that. Another lesson for an old dawg.  So if anyone out there is using a ext cord make sure it's wired right . Last night it was all hunky dunky!!!

Old Dawg  David

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I was just about to suggest checking the extension cord. I had a problem like that last year and it turned out there was small break in the extension cord. It was VERY hard to find. I didn't find it until I brought the net inside and plugged in directly to an outlet and it lit up fine. Then I tried a different extension and it worked fine. So I put it back out with the new extension and it was fine the rest of the season.  It took me  while to find the break in the old cord. I think a squirrel got to it because I had a string with round bulbs on a tree that was out and found a couple of them on the ground and could see that they had been chewed off. 

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29 minutes ago, DLH lites said:

put a new end on it, it was miss wired neutral /hot were swapped,

Swapping neutral and hot is a really good way to kill yourself or equipment.  You were lucky that a few lights not quite off was your only symptom.

Don't make that mistake again!

 

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