1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

How do BigW LED lights work

Discussion in 'Lights - Store Bought and Home Made' started by BundyRoy, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,026
    Likes Received:
    9
    In the process of getting my LOR controller to work last night I had some time to look at my bigW lights. I had always assumed the transformer went from 240V AC to say 12V DC. I now don't think this is the case. The transformer says AC-AC. I assume this means the transformer is going from 240V AC to 22V AC (stated output on transformer is 22V).

    From what I've read LED's operate in DC. So reading between the lines I'm assuming the multifunction controller (MFC) coverts from AC to DC as well as doing the flash operation. Seems like a long winded way of doing things to me but I guess being bigW and china it is the cheapest way to do it.

    I was hoping to just cut out the MFC and rejoin the wires. If all my assumptions are right I won't be able to do that now and will have to put a bridge on the MFC board like shown in the Wiki.

    I was told last night by a trusted source that using the dimming function on the LOR controller with lights that have transformers is not good for the controller. I have sent an email to LOR to get their opinion. I'm not too stressed about using the lights as just on/off.

    Has anybody out their got a LOR 240V controller they use with lights on a transformer and had any issues.

    PS. I got the LOR controller to work. It was the network cable. I was using a cat6 and then whilst waiting tried the cat5e they sent with the gear and it worked. Not sure if the cat6/cat5e is the difference or maybe my network cable is just stuffed. Still waiting on LOR for that response. Damn that 14 hour time difference. Frustrating at times. Good news is it works though. :D
     
  2. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,501
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Albion Park NSW
    Find Me On:
    The bigW lights to my knowledge have a AC to DC rectifier built into the controller. without the rectifier you then run your lights on AC. Now LEDs are DC devices meaning they only operate with the flow of electricity going one way only and with AC the flow of electricity alternates at 50HZ. So you will see a very high speed flickering of your lights if you remove the controller and run as AC

    So the best method if using an AC LOR controller is to bridge out the controller outputs so the controller always operates but you get to use the inbuilt DC bridge rectifier. Info on doing this is in the wiki
    http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Bypassing_Multi_Function_Controllers

    Now the issue with dimming with transformers. You will find that the older iron core transformer type power supplies will dim somewhat without too much issue as long as you dont dim or turn off and on too quickly, but the newer switch mode supplies will not dim and do not like being switched on and off to much.

    So the best method to run BigW lights is to chop off the controller and use a DC controller with a DC power supply and connect the string directly to the controller. If the original output of the power supply for the lights says 22volts AC then i would be looking at running these at around 27 volts DC.
     
  3. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kingaroy
    From my understanding eddy is correct, your better off using a dc controller with big w LEDs. When I used LOR I was using specific lights for my AC controllers, I used MyTbrite lights. And for my icicles I had one with a multi function controller that had a memory function that I kept on (ON)
     
  4. OP
    OP
    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,026
    Likes Received:
    9
    Got a response back from LOR. They said what Eddy and Dale have said. If it is a linear transformer should be okay, if it is a switching transformer it will damage the transformer. They didn't say anything about damaging the LOR controller.
     
  5. Jago

    Jago New Elf

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Townsville
    I have a heap of lights from bunnings, I am replacing the transformers and going to switch the DC side of them.

    Problem being same type will be same voltage but a different strings will be a different voltage :(
    Eg icicles are 31v 2 channels. Where other strings and ropes are different again.

    I am thinking of building a small controller with either DMX or E1.31 to do these. So I can control each channel and dim. So I would have to build a 31v controller and one for each other voltage :(
     
  6. SmartAlecLights

    SmartAlecLights Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,205
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    S.A.
    Find Me On:
    eddy an dale are correct.
    i still run many big-w strings, an also have hacked them to do fancy things..
    but you do have to chop off that nasty controller they use on them,
    then use around a 26v-28v DC transformer to power them all..

    one 27v dc transformer from ray powers like 30 of my hacked up big-w strings fine.

    my fav hack is where i turn the 2ch icle strings into 20ch ones
     
  7. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,536
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Victoria Point (Brisbane)
    Find Me On:
    Attempting to dim some switch-mode power supplies can result in a blown output on the LOR controller as well as destruction of the power supply.

    Some iron core transformers will dim perfectly fine while others will heat up and die.
     
  8. Habbosrus

    Habbosrus New house (again) 2017

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Swansea, NSW
    Find Me On:
    Hey Roy, you have some 2811 strip that you're planning to run via an e6804 aren't you? Get one of Alan's (AAH) 2811DC15 or 30 to run your BigW lights. They work great.
    See post here.
    I ran 2 full sets of icicles and a full set of fairy lights off mine and it worked a treat.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,026
    Likes Received:
    9
    Thanks habbosrus. Had a look at them in my desperate state today. I ended up getting the pixlite 16 not the e6804.

    Wasn't sure how alans gear connects up to everything as it didn't have a network port.
     
  10. Jago

    Jago New Elf

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Townsville
    The pixlit16 and 6804 are pixel controllers. They control smart pixels (like 2801, 2811) They will not drive dumb pixels.

    The 2811DC15/2811DC30 are dumb rgb controllers (they can control non rgb as well)

    The way they work is they connect to a port on the pixlite16 since they are really just smart pixels controlling a bank of mosfets.


    So your network would look like this.

    [Computer] ------ Ethernet E1.31 ------- Pixlite ------------ 2811DC15 ---------- Dumb lights
    \--------------- Smart pixels strings
     
  11. davrus

    davrus Silent Elf

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Whitianga
    If your PixLite 16 is a recent model, then it is hardware enabled to have 4 x DMX output ports. The Firmware upgrade to get them to work is coming any-day-real-soon. This would enable you to use DMX from the PixLite to drive cheap DMX-RGB mini controllers, and you hook each one of your "dumb" lights to them. The RGB controller has 3 outputs (R. G. B) so you can hook up 3 different strings to each controller.


    Have a separate power supply to drive them. If they need different voltages, then get a power supply that will power the highest, and use DC power regulators to lower the voltage for the others. You get 10 of these for $16 from Ray, so $1.60 for the power regulator for each string.


    I am using this to drive "solar powered fairy lights" (chopped the solar units off).


    Pixlite = DMX output =====> DMX/RGB controller R= ------------ one light string
    G= ----------------- 2nd light string
    B = ----------------- 3rd light string
     

Share This Page