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Being SAFE with 240v

Discussion in 'LOR 240V AC' started by coopz05, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. OP
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    coopz05

    coopz05 Apprentice Elf

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    Im reading your comments and looking at the pic and have no idea what Im looking at...


    I will definitely head to the mini. That pic has what seems to be multiple inputs. Does that mean you can run a few lights through the one controller?


    This all seems very fidgety and a lot of tech knowledge required. I thought the 240v would be as simple as plugging an extension lead from my lights into the LOR power cables coming from the box (same channel as I've allocated in the software suite) and then its ready to receive commands from my sequence... Is this not the case?


    with a 1yr old at home, I just don't have hours and hours to be re wiring 50+ lights. But I do want to be safe. I guess the mini will show me whether it is an easy process for me to convert to DC.


    The main negative about AC, is going to be the $600+ Im gonna spend on extension leads :-\


    I am looking at adding 7x these 100m LED strings, can you tell me if they are already DC too?
    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390578429432&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:AU:1123


    If they are suitable, I would like to get them in my hands before the mini, so that if I do go DC, I can bring these along to try it out on.
     
  2. ryanschristmaslights

    ryanschristmaslights Senior Elf Administrator

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    I'm going to keep this message short and sweet:

    For your own safety please steer well clear of eBay Christmas lights that are listed as 240v. They are quite dangerous, and wouldn't pass regulations for being sold in bricks and mortar stores here in Australia. Some fellow decorators can answer to that.



    In terms of DC Christmas lights, a number of people here buy the Big W extension sets of lights - these are DC right out of the box. Of course some wiring from power supply to controller is required, and some output cables from controller are needed too, but if you can get a connector match for the light string, it is just a matter of plugging the extension set into the controller output cable.
     
  3. OP
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    coopz05

    coopz05 Apprentice Elf

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    Because I am going to be building my display at the new home we are building, it is essentially going to be done from scratch, to match the house. So this means I need a few months to build all the frames etc, so waiting til Big W get them in is probably not a viable option.


    Can you recommend anywhere I can 7x 100m strings? 4x cool white, and 7x blue.


    Im basically going to make frames the same size as the windows, doors, garage etc, place the lights on them, and then when xmas comes, I just cart them out ready to roll, then when xmas is over, I can just throw the frames complete with lights into the garage for next year. This should save me time on set up every year. I don't think I will grow it from where I plan to have it in the first year.
     
  4. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass! Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    Maybe post in the Buy/Sell section asking if anyone has new strings they bought last year that they aren't going to use?
     
  5. Karob

    Karob Let there be Light!

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    Hi Spirit.
    The best thing that you have done before going too far in this hobby is to come on here looking for advice, something I wish I had done.
    I purchased from a unknown supplier in China some 10m LED strings with a AU plug for my first year doing animated lights, unfortuantley for me I did this purchase before speaking to people about the dangers of these lights. Unpacking these lights and testing for the 2nd display I was lucky enough to get a small shock,, not a big one, I will admit I still used these lights in the last display out of need but these were placed on frames and out of reach from the public.
    I have seen other members purchase from a www.mysolarled.com, I have spoken to them about lights but found the cost of freight being the hurdle from purchasing.
    Maybe some other members here have any other options of purchasing.
     
  6. mborg10

    mborg10 Michael Borg

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    Definitely go to the mini and asks lots of questions.


    Don't worry if you don't know anything about electricity. You will.



    Just remember Christmas lights is a hobby and we are all here for the same reason. FUN the more questions you ask, the more answers.


    Ok I'm no expert, but I'll give you some things to look at.


    If you want to know the easiest way to identify what lights you have, have a look at the cords. If it has a standard wall plug (240v) and the cord goes all the way to the first light with the same thickness cord, about as thick as a pencil. These are probably 240v. Typical these are motifs, eg spiral tees, Santa reindeer etc. not saying these cant be modified ( I don't know how) but they are best controlled with an AC controller.


    If your lights have a transformer/wall pack, the black boxes that plug into the wall. Then a thin pair of wires that go to your lights. Similar to speaker cable. These typical can be modified for dc. These are usually icicles, string lights or LEDs. On the back of the pack it should tell you what power it uses. Eg 12vdc 24vdc 5vdc and how many amps. Most of these can be modified simply by cutting the wires. Removing the plastic coating to bare the copper wires and plugging the positive and negative into the dc controller. You then plug a power supply into the controller. The power supply is determined by that figure on the back of the transformer. 5vdc 12vdc 24dc


    All this is a good place to start but there are smarter people on here than me and I have only described it in simple terms cause I'm a simple man.


    240vac = 240 volts alternating current
    12vdc = 12 volt direct current


    I think we use AC because its more efficient to transfer power across long distances and the voltage can be changed by a transformer up or down, but also more dangerous. Hence why power cables are out of reach and you need a license to work with it.
    Dc Can be stored in batteries so the supply is close to whatever its powering and is much safer hence why anyone can buy batteries.
     
  7. penguineer

    penguineer Full Time Elf

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    A couple of basic things here - I think you've got the same problems with understanding the basics that I struggled with.

    Sticking with LOR stuff here - I'm sure someone will show you what DMX can do at the mini!!!

    On a basic level a "controller" is a box containing a bunch of switches to turn lights on or off.

    AC controllers run off 240V AC power from the wall and runs that through the switches to the lights.
    DC controllers connect to a power supply that gives you DC power(similar to a battery) that runs the lights.
    Both types of controllers are told what to do by the computer in the same way.

    In most cases a "channel" refers to a single thing that can be controlled, or think of it as a switch. So the LOR unit you were looking at is a 16channel AC controller able to control 16 sets of lights. There are also 16ch DC units available.

    The BigW type lights usually need modifications to work one way or the other, but modifying for DC is by far the easiest.

    A lot of it didn't really "gel" for me until I was able to see another members setup(thanks Bevo!!) and see how it fit together.

    Does that help at all?

    Cheers!
     
  8. OP
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    coopz05

    coopz05 Apprentice Elf

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    Thanks Penguineer, dumbing it down like that, has made things a lot clearer now.


    I have also read the lighting 101 guide, which too, was very helpful at putting things in relatable terms.


    I may know nothing about electricity itself, but I consider myself tech-saavy, so Im sure when I actually SEE it in action, it will be even more clearer to me.
     
  9. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    As penguineer said, modifying a string to run to DC is actually easier than to modify for AC. Only 240V ropelights or 240V lights with no plugpack can be used by plugging in with no other work required.

    Anything with a plugpack can be a problem as the plugpacks don't like being dimmed, The have to be full on or full off. If you dim them they get really hot and the magic smoke usually escapes. Also, you have to remove/rewire the controller also.
    This means you have to be extra carefull when sequencing in the software to only turn these channels on or off.

    With DC you just chop it just before the controller and wire it straight to your DC controller directly, plugpack and original controller gone in one fel swoop.

    Soldering is not scary and you can screw it up lots of times and simply cut the wire a little shorter and try again. Give it an hour or two and you will be more than good enough.

    As alway keep asking questions, we never get sick of them.

    Regards,
    Rowan
     
  10. penguineer

    penguineer Full Time Elf

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    So - did the mini help?

    Or has the project just doubled in size? :D

    Cheers!
     

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