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

How do I improve my boxes.

Discussion in 'How is your display put together...' started by caffeine, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. caffeine

    caffeine Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne (Wantirna)
    I'm envious of the electrical and handy folk here. I love the lights and the sequencing, the electronics are only a means to an ends.

    I confess most of my 8 or so boxes are REALLY basic. PSU's connected with wires (just stripped to terminate, no connectors) to a controller then pigtails out. Very crude, but they work.

    This setup was a bit more complicated. Basically:

    • 4 PSU's.
    • Daisy chained 240V
    • Daisy chained -ve to ensure common 0v
    • 2 PSU's going direct to a Pix16 board (one each side, using double 2.5mm2)
    • Other 2 PSU's going to fuse block/negative busbar.
    • 4 pigtails each side direct to board.
    • Other 4 pigtails each side with data to the board, -ve/+ve to fuse block.
    Ends up being a lot of cables. I tried to be better, I at least used fork connectors, I tried to lay things out in a sane fashion. In the end though it still ends up looking like a rats nest of wires.

    I mean it probably doesn't really matter in the scheme of things. I'm quite confident it will work, but I'm keen to understand the art of the neat, clean, safe controller box. What can I do different/better in future?

    20181116_002342.jpg
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,007
    Likes Received:
    219
    Location:
    Eaglehawk
    Find Me On:
    I don't have much of a problem with messy wiring. They're there to do a job not to be looked at.
    The wire sizes used from the power supply to the boards and fuses concern me a bit. Daisychaining your 0V connection means that the first wire run is carrying all the current for all/both power supplies. With what looks to be 4 320W 12V power supplies which have a rated output current of about 26A each it will be necessary to have at least 2.5mm2 cable running from the power supplies to the fuse panels and Pixlite. Looking at the picture it's a little hard to make out but it looks more like the power supply 0V connections are looped/bridged rather than daisy chained. If they were daisychained then there's the possibility that 1 wire could be required to carry more than 100A.
     
  3. shraps

    shraps New Elf

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tamworth NSW
    several options:
    • Separate lights into power districts. Distribute power supplies closer to your models away from the controller. run cat 5 for data to power supply and then combine data and power into your pigtails.
    • Give yourself room. space it out power supplies and fuse boxes more so that you have room for the wiring and cable tie together and label. cable ducting will hide the messy wiring but not necessary.
    • run separate power and data to each set of lights (how I am running my lights) run CAT 5 for data to model Group and power separately and distribute power supplies to minimise voltage drop.
     
  4. Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Munno Para
    Personally, I wouldn't be daisy chaining all 4 power supplies from the 1 mains cable, as Alan mentioned when you daisy chain all of the load comes through the main connection and then gets lower as you go along, so if those 4 power supplies are in fact 320w then that is 1280w that could be drawn through the 1 main power cable if all 4 power supplies were running at full power, this would be like running a 1200w heater and we all know how warm a heater power cord gets, I would break it up so that you have 2 power supplies per mains cable, I would run the mains power in from the right and along the bottom between the 2 power supplies that it powers and then have it daisy-chain to those, that cleans up the mains power.

    As for the other wiring that's where things get tricky, for all my pigtails I have a single cable gland for each pigtail, that separates each pigtail and I try and line it up so that the cable gland lines up with the connector on the board so that it is nice straight lines. as for the wiring from the fuse blocks to the pigtails, things can get a bit messy, but placing the fuse blocks closer to the cable glands means you can "hide" the power wire under the pigtail which can tidy things up a little more.

    To me cable tidying is a bit of an art form, you can either do it well or you can have all the great intention of doing it well and still have it end up looking like a dogs breakfast, planning it all out before you start is my key to having everything neat, work out the best placement for all your stuff and how much wiring needs to be done and then start wiring things up one at a time e.g. Positive wires first for everything and then negative wires and then data wires this way you can keep all positive together all negative together and all data together.

    Those server room cabling phots that show perfect wiring is like hard core p to me hahaha.
     
    battle79 likes this.
  5. David_AVD

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

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,865
    Likes Received:
    218
    Location:
    Victoria Point (Brisbane)
    Find Me On:
    I don't see any issue with the mains cable looping to the 4 power supplies. The max current draw in the feed is still way below the cable rating and is no different to having a single 1280W power supply in that regard.
     
  6. Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Munno Para
    That's why I said personally hahaha, I used to run a desktop computer with a 1200w power supply and that was on one power cable, made a lovely room heater especially when there were 2 desktops both with 1200w power supplies.
     
  7. the grinch

    the grinch I guess I could use a little social interaction

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    angle vale s.a.
    Ah yeah its medical term is OCD! I believe
    It does take time and patience.
    But basically no1 concern must be safety ! An to be honest doesnt really matter how it looks as long as its safe functional and practical once the lids on or door shut no one can see and everyone comes too see the lights not the wires ! . But I cant help myself ?
    So I group wires and route the same way also cutting to same lengths and also colors. Then cable tie or cable clamps , saddles the groups of wires together! So eg. Mains wires together as a group ,earths as a group, 12v wires another group, data another etc etc
    Myself feel its important to have appropriate color wires for each application definitely for 240v! Or in desperation as I have done in the past heatshrink of appropriate color on each end of the particular wire I do this when using outdoor garden wire as both cables are black . Also will help if ever need to faultfind will simply things .
    Everyone does what works for themselves no real rules!
    Thats my story
    Cheeers and goodluck
     
  8. OP
    OP
    caffeine

    caffeine Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Melbourne (Wantirna)
    Yeah, hard to tell with the messiness. The setup is thus:
    For the 240v side it comes in to PSU 1, chained to PSU 2 which is chained to PSU 3 and then to 4. Not too stressed about that, still about 5A absolute max.
    For the +ve and -ve I have double 2.5mm for each between each PSU and Pixlite or Fuse Panel. 0v is also connected via a daisy chain between the 4 PSU's similar to the 240v. My understanding is that the majority of the current will pass back to the source PSU, and the smaller connections between PSU's are only to ensure a common reference.

    Basically it's hooked up as follows (locations may have moved, but connections not so):
    4psu.jpg
     
  9. David_AVD

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

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,865
    Likes Received:
    218
    Location:
    Victoria Point (Brisbane)
    Find Me On:
    I would have a wire going from the -ve of each fuse block (for PSUs 3 and 4) to the PSU1 terminal on the PIX16 controller. That will ensure the pixels connected to those outputs have the correct -ve reference. No need for extra -ve wires on PSU 1 and 2 as the pixels for those are powered from the PIX16.
     
  10. rjt65

    rjt65 New Elf

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used an old ATX computer power supply to run my 2 LOR 24ch controllers, all mounted into 1 box. I have included a couple of old cpu fans, 1 mounted to draw heat out, and 1 to draw air in, to keep things cool inside. I have also included a switch on the power on wire out of the power supply so as I can turn it on or off without having to unplug (no power switch on the supply). I plan to add my pixi16 controller into it next year (once I work out how it works, new to this lol). Have had no problems with it, 2nd year using this setup now. I used this type of supply so as to run multiple controllers from the one supply (5v and 12v)
     

Share This Page