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First time moving from static display to synchronised light show

Discussion in 'How is your display put together...' started by Brett Douglas, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Brett Douglas

    Brett Douglas New Elf

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    Hello,

    This is quote a long post, I'm just hoping to get some input from experienced installers to see how my project is develpping.

    I've decided to bite the bullet and move forward from static display, which I've been growing and replacing over the last 8 years to a controlled setup. I've got an idea in plan I just wanted to run it by a third party to see if there is anything I'm missing or mistakes I'm likely to make.

    I'll be starting my display a bit different it seems from alot of people, I won't be doing pixels or RGB (this year) I want to use as much of my static display items as I can, and over the years as it breaks down I'll replace it with pixel controllers and pixel lights. For now I want to use my current display because I have spent a bit on it over the years. It will consist of static rope light motifs, strings lights, net light, assorted other LED setups

    I'm going to be using the silicone chip Christmas lights master controller available from Altronics and 3 x slave units. I've already successfully assembled and tested the master controller and I'll be building the slave units this weekend. I've chosen these controllers because I have a wholesale account with Altronics so it's cheap and it seemed like an easy place to start, the software looks very straight forward to use, it looks old and dated, but it looks inviting and not intimating for an entry level!

    The 3 slave units will be powered by Mean Well power supplies, the HLG range, and they'll provide enough current and voltage to drive the slave units. Each slave controller will be a different output voltage, 12VDC, 24VDC and 31VDC.

    I've had to setup the controllers with 3 different voltage because, wow, there is NO standardized output for Christmas lights, I've never thought to look before because I just whacked it into a power board. Now that I'm going the controller solution I've started to record all the output voltages from each transformer and corresponding light it goes with, 31VAC, 36VDC, 12VDC, 31VAC, 24VDC, 43VDC, it really is all over the place!

    A big hurdle I've run into is the AC voltage lights, some I've been able to modify and get working with DC voltage, but others , like all my string lights and rope light, if you apply DC voltage straight to it, bypassing the controller, only half of the lights illuminate. If you then swap the DC voltage then only the other half will illuminate. I don't have a solution here yet, any suggestions?

    One idea was to buy solar string lights cut off the solar panel and drive that on the 12VDC controller with a DC-DC buck converter in the circuit to lower the voltage to about 4VDC. Is this a likely solution?

    Would anyone care to share their opinions of constructive criticism?
     
  2. keithsw1111

    keithsw1111 Senior Elf

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    Wow ... they are not cheap for DC controllers ... you must be getting one heck of a discount. You can pick up 30 channel DMX controlled DC controllers for about AUD$50 ex china and they work with any of the software packages. @AAH here also has a bunch of options much cheaper and more flexible. They dont come in the nice box though.
     
  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    The 2 wire 2 channel lights are a major pain compared to pretty well all other lights. I make 2 boards that will control them (DMX2-18 and 2811DC2-30) but neither of those options will suit the Altronics gear as it's all a non standard data format. Xlights is the sequencer of choice and the ease of use and power of it is amazing compared to the Silicon Chip software. I'm pretty sure that I have the software filed away somewhere and have at least some of the controllers as someone gave them to me ages ago. They weren't worth the hassle of connecting up to my own lights because of the non standard format and also because I make all my own controllers.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Brett Douglas

    Brett Douglas New Elf

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    Hi, yes the wholesale price was pretty decent, they set me back $30 each. I get support for these as well through the kit manager at Altronics, I'm happy with the purchase. The Mean Well power supplies were much more expensive at $100 a pop through Mouser. If this project works out this year I'm not one to stick to it, but advance along as my knowledge on the subject increases.

    I've looked pretty hard for solution to power rope light or string lights with a 31VDC to 31VAC,inverter/convertor, nothing like this seems to exist. Some options for 31VAC to 31VDC though.
     
  5. OP
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    Brett Douglas

    Brett Douglas New Elf

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    Thanks for your input AAH, I'll keep your controllers in mind. Since I'm brand spanking new, and I've already purchased the controller, I'm gonna give them a crack. I'll book mark your details and perhaps in time I'll move to them, or perhaps sooner if I find these Altronics controllers to limiting. Yes 2 wire systems has its hurdles and limitations as I'm fining out!
     

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