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Circuit 1 On solid not running programmed sequence Circuit 2 runs fine


Darius Upshaw
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I need some help on where to start looking to troubleshoot what is going on.

first some necessary info..

CTB16DV6 (Kit that I assembled)
Firmware: 4.30
Lights: Incandescent 50lt strands

Long Story Short
I programmed quite a few sequences sitting in my apartment and ran them with a strand plugged into each channel got them all the way I wanted.

I took the unit to a site (where we want to do a demo of its capabilities) and plugged in all the harnesses.

We ran the sequence when it was light out, and it seemed as if circuit 1 was just not fading as much as circuit 2. So I tried changing the input powers. no difference. after switching back the inputs We noticed that..

Circuit 1 stayed on solid, and circuit 2 ran its part of the sequences..

I put one strand per channel on circuit 1 and that side still stayed on solid.

Where should I start looking to see whats happening. It ran fine in the apartment, and on site for a short time.

Now next day here in my apartment, it seems to be running fine . I am going to leave it plugged in for a while to see if that changes (will keep updated) I can't really just take it back to the site again (its a 1.5hr drive).

Any ideas where to start would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you

-Darius

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Is the site a commercial building, or one that otherwise may have three phase power? If so, you have to ensure that both inlets are on the same power phase..

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This might be just a doggy bone to throw out there. But I would also take one of those circuit testers that you plug into the outlet and make sure that the outlet is wired correctly. The hot to the hot side of the plug, and netural to the neutral side of the outlet. And ground is where it is supposed to be.

Again this might not be it, just a thought.

Max

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We switched the inputs at one point to see if it was a power thing.. and that didn't change anything.

And the outlets we plug into are GFIs.

What about too much draw? I don't know if that's feasible and the fuse not pop, and maybe heating up one component too much?


-Darius

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Over current issues would be permanent, and would not reset themselves when you got home.. They also would not happen when testing with just 50 count strings... Also, the fast acting ceramic fuses are pretty reliable, and that card is rated for up to 20A per inlet with the proper cords and fuses...

As for swapping things around, are you saying that with the left inlet plugged into either circuit 1 or 2, and the right inlet plugged into the other circuit, that channels 1-8 are misbehaving? That is fully consistent with three phase power issues...

Is your misbehavior essentially channels staying full on, if programmed for any intensity over 0? If 0 does not turn them off, does the controller have a minimum brightness configured?

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I think you can be sure klb is right on with his 3 phase power thoughts. In a normal house you have one phase, and each one side of the 120 volt line is 180 degrees from each other. That is, when one side of the line goes through 0 volts so is the other, but one side is going positive in voltage at the same time the other is going negative. Dimming is accomplished by delaying the turning on of the triacs for a set period of time after zero crossing.

In a 3 phase power system, each phase crosses zero 120 degrees from one another. So if the LOR board is set say to check zero crossing on the one power input, the other phase will either be at 120 degrees into the line cycle or 240 degrees before the end. Dimming is set to the one input only. The other phase will not be at the right point in time (from zero crossing) so dimming will be wrong.

Easy way to determine if this is the problem - plug BOTH power cords into the same outlet at the site (you may have to unplug some loads if you are exceeding the rating of the circuit).

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-klb- wrote:

Is your misbehavior essentially channels staying full on, if programmed for any intensity over 0? If 0 does not turn them off, does the controller have a minimum brightness configured?


Thinking about this while away from the PC, 3 phase would not necessarily be full on all the time on 1-8.. Depending on how the optos are triggered, and which inlet is leading, you could get large portions of the dimming range converted to full on, while other portions behave oddly, or large portions of the dimming range behaving oddly.. Full intensity might give something less for example..

However it would always be channels 1-8 misbehaving, and 9-16 working correctly..

Resetting the controller won't hurt, and is definitely a good first step for any odd behavior, but I'm not sure it will help, since the controller was working fine later, back at the apartment. Which would also tend to rule out a damaged triac.
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I didn't realize that you could have 3phase power to a GFI.



I will have to make another trip to try just the one circuit (and remove some load)


Is there a way to compensate for three phase?

We would like to use this device at this location and a lot of the circuits we have to split up to have enough power. (and there would be more potential for this issue around the property.

Thanks again for all your help.

-Darius

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Any given outlet will only be connected to one phase. The issue is that in a single phase environment, any two outlets can only be 0 or 180 degrees from each other, which puts the zero crossings at the same time.. In a three phase Y system, any two outlets can be 0, 120, or 240 degrees apart. As long as both inlet cords on the controller are on outlets that are powered from the same phase, LOR will be fine..

One option would be to have an electrician come out and label all the outlets with their phase. (usually A, B, or C) and then you just need to match them on the same controller...

The other way to identify pairs of circuits on the same phase is purely at your own risk, using a volt meter.. Measuring from the narrow blade of the outlet, to the narrow bland of another outlet will give 0 volts AC if they are 0 degrees apart, around 208 VAC if they are 120 or 240 (-120) degrees, and 220 to 240 VAC if they are 180 degrees apart... (180 would be back to single phase power)

However, remember it is a little too easy to cook yourself or others if you are not careful taking these measurements...

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This seems pretty easy. I really has nothing to do with your power input...especially because it is only effecting one channel. Your problem (at least from my experience) is a bad triac. That will cause the funky fades and then eventually leave the channel stuck in the on position.

Change the triac and I bet you it will work fine.

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Ponddude wrote:

Here is my post from last year. I set up my display and this happened...

http://lightorama.mywowbb.com/forum76/17780.html

Dan emailed me back personally and told me what triac to get. I got it at a local store and things were fine. A very simple fix.


Ponddude, I went there to read your earlier post. And I quote your very first words here "Well I got the show going tonight, but one of my controllers has just one channel....channel 1...which stays lit.".
Now go back up to the top and read what the OP says. But to make it clear here. He says that at home all is good. But on site CIRCUIT 1 is always on. And he also makes reference to CIRCUIT 2 working normal. He has chosen to use the word CIRCUIT over CHANNEL for a reason. And that reason is that he has installed both of the input power leads so that 8 channesl are fed from one power lead. And the other 8 channels are fed from another power lead.

So, tell me this. Why would a Triac act up at one location and not another? Why would one Triac cause all 8 channels on the same side of the board to turn on and wont turn off?

Enlighten me.

Max
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Well Max, let me explain this a little further...seeing as apparently I pissed you off by offering a way to try and resolve Darius's problem.

Darius says...and I quote..."Circuit 1 stayed on solid, and circuit 2 ran its part of the sequences.." Now, at no point in his original post did he say anything about it having to do with power input. He just said what I quoted. Kib then asked about the commercial building, then bringing up the whole idea of a power input problem. A triac is basically a circuit in itself that either sends or stops power from going through it.

Now, lets think about this logically for just one second. Why would a power input problem effect just one channel on a controller? Because of the nature of the board design, and the fact he is using two inputs, divides the boards essentially in half. If it was an input problem, I ask you, wouldn't it effect the entire side of the board?

Every channel has a triac, and that triac has a job to do. It is to transfer the heat as well as turn the channel on and off...essentially. (without going to the particulars) Now when the channel is stuck on, the first logically place would be to look at the unit electrical component that is responsible for opening and closing the channel...ie the triac.

Now, I am pulling this out of the air, but that triac could have be rattled in some way during the trip...he did say it was an 1.5hr drive...and now it working correctly. The three phase would and should cause an issue, but can be rectified the way radioguy said.

If this was my problem, I would replace the triac. Just seems the most logical thing to me...but I guess opinions aren't allowed here anymore.:)

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It sounds here like there is a misunderstanding at to what Darius said - Ponddude, please read the line in the original post "I put one strand per channel on circuit 1 and that side still stayed on solid". By that sentence I think he was saying a whole side of 8 channels, not just one. I thought that meant a group, bank, or 8 channel section of a 16 channel controller with the power inputs separate fed. That was my take on the setup. I guess I would also find it hard to belive somebody would be using a controller with only 2 outputs wired, but it is possible I guess depending on the application. I think we just have to wait for Darius to chime back in and clear this up.

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Ponddude,

First I am not pissed as you put it. You got to remember, this is the internet, and no body is going to [Foul Language Used] me off. But you seem to be a bit defensive.

What he said and I admit I had to read it closely is:

"We ran the sequence when it was light out, and it seemed as if circuit 1 was just not fading as much as circuit 2. So I tried changing the input powers. no difference. after switching back the inputs We noticed that..

Circuit 1 stayed on solid, and circuit 2 ran its part of the sequences..

I put one strand per channel on circuit 1 and that side still stayed on solid."

Now do you see in the text both "Circuit" and later "Channel"? He is making it clear by using two different words what he is talking about. Hence why I admonished you and your single Triac suggestion. But left an opening by asking you to enlighten me. Hell I have screwed up with suggestions here in the past. Just buck up and realize that you missed the boat this time and move on, as I will.

Max

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Hey why not just try one power input for all 16 channel and see what happen at the site. If they all work then it would be a phase problem. Does everyone agree to that.

Thomas

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Darius,

It sounds like you do have more load on there than I first realized.. Unless you have a ton of LED's on the first 8 channels, and none, or not so much on the last 8, I don' think it is related to the behavior you are seeing..

But, I was going to suggest that if you aren't sure how much load you have, it might be a good idea to take a Kill-a-Watt, or a clamp on amp meter and adapter, so you can measure what your real loads are... That way you can make sure you are within the real limits of the card and the circuits..


ETA: Or 2008 CDI LEDs on 1-8 and not on 9-16, or retrofit C7/C9 LEDs...

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Lots of great brain power ideas here..

I first want to say I'm sorry if I confused anyone with my using the names circuit and channel..

I only was trying to use what the board is labeled as Circuit 1 and Circuit 2 for the inputs, and then Channel since it is referred to as a 16 channel controller
again sorry for any confusion.

I am using only 6 Channels Per Circuit, so that I could load each side almost similarly.

To clear up.. Channels 1-6(Circuit 1) are on solid, and Channels 10-15(Circuit 2) run their sequence. (other channels were not used, and have no load, along with no commands in the sequence)

I did not pay any attention to, or even think to plug into 7 and 8 on Circuit 1 (I was frustrated it was late).


My sequence does not have an off in it, only fades to lower intensities, and I do not have a minimum brightness configured, however I may add that to keep from having to redo all my fades..

Next trip I will put one strand per channel (8 per circuit), plug into the same 2 different outlets that were used before, and see if my problem still exists.

If not...

I will Amp each tree and see what the load per channel would be. Max 8A per tree, 20A per Circuit

I will also try to VoltMeter the circuits per klb's fry myself instruction :D

I will make sure to report my findings, and any others for future reference :)

Again thank everyone so much for your help.

-Darius

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Hi Darius,

Someone contacted me off-line and we chatted back and forth a few times. In one of his messages, he states that he had a very simular problem, with an easier fix. I am surprised he has not posted this to this thread. Now I have not ran a complete show yet, just some testing in the back yard with ony one controller so far. He told me this "My system (believe speaking of one controller) worked fine inside the house. But when I took it outside, it messed up. Took it back inside and worked fine (repeated this seq one more time). On the third trip outside I reset the controller and everything worked fine."

If all else fails while your at the remote site. I would try the controller reset procedure. Sounds like at times, these controllers get wonked. Strange how something that is supposed to only be able to do "1s" and "0s" can give totally different responces.

Good luck

Max

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Darius Upshaw wrote:

Lots of great brain power ideas here..

I first want to say I'm sorry if I confused anyone with my using the names circuit and channel..

I only was trying to use what the board is labeled as Circuit 1 and Circuit 2 for the inputs, and then Channel since it is referred to as a 16 channel controller
again sorry for any confusion. 

I am using only 6 Channels Per Circuit, so that I could load each side almost similarly.

To clear up.. Channels 1-6(Circuit 1) are on solid, and Channels 10-15(Circuit 2) run their sequence.  (other channels were not used, and have no load, along with no commands in the sequence)

I did not pay any attention to, or even think to plug into 7 and 8 on Circuit 1 (I was frustrated it was late).    


My sequence does not have an off in it, only fades to lower intensities, and I do not have a minimum brightness configured, however I may add that to keep from having to redo all my fades.. 

Next trip I will put one strand per channel  (8 per circuit), plug into the same 2 different outlets that were used before,  and see if my problem still exists.

If not...

I will Amp each tree and see what the load per channel would be. Max 8A per tree, 20A per Circuit

I will also try to VoltMeter the circuits per klb's fry myself instruction ;) 

I will make sure to report my findings, and any others for future reference  :)

Again thank everyone so much for your help.

-Darius






Well that certainly is where my confusion came from. I had thought u meant just one channel, not an entire side of the controller. Lingo will also be the death of us.

Anyway, I would try what Max said. Have you contacted LOR Support?
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Guest wbottomley

Try resetting the controller at the remote location. If that doesn't work, check to see if the power circuit has something on it that could be causing noise (CFL). In your sequences, change the intensity by 1% every few seconds. For example, 100% 1-3 seconds, 99% 4-6 seconds.

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I will Amp each tree and see what the load per channel would be. Max 8A per tree, 20A per Circuit

Amped all trees.. max draw was right around 3A so that put around 18A on Circuit 1, and Circuit 2 was a little less at about 16A.. Not an issue..


I will also try to Volt Meter the circuits per klb's fry myself instruction :D

-klb- made me fry myself,

OK not really but his diagnosis was right on there was three phase spread around the property. There was a most definite voltage difference between my two GFIs (208V if anyone cares )

Again thank everyone so much for your help, and I actually enjoyed this learning experience.

-Darius

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Glad we did not do this to your hair!!

Bad-Hair-Day.jpg

The good news is that you've identified the problem. The bad news is that now you have to figure out how to work around it. Either getting one of the circuits moved to the same phase as the other one, or maybe putting a second controller there, and only powering one controller per circuit... Unfortunately, neither one is free... Not sure what other creative ideas are out there...

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Darius,

So, did you run an extention cord to another outlet, different breaker, same phase and get your controller to work as expected?

Or you only identified that there is 3 phase power, but have not yet tired the controller?

Inquiring minds would like to know. :)

Thanks

Max

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