LOR/Other Controller Choices for various 24V lights

Porsche

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Nov 7, 2012
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Perth, Piara Waters
HI Grant, I have just become a member today. I too am going to join the madness with christmas lighting.
Ive been looking at the LOR setups and ive downloaded the trial version of S3 software.
I understand now how all that comes together (just). but what im concerned with is can our lighting here in Aus be compatible with the say ShowTime PC CTB16PC controller. Ive got heaps of different fairy lights, string lights etc with 24V AC transformers. Will the LOR controller run these lights?? what do we need to do to/add to use our lighting on their controllers?
If not, could you please advise on one that will?
I just didnt want to go out and spend money on a controller thats not compatible with our lights.
Ive put a few trial sequences together on the software to music and they seem to have come up ok.
I would muchly appreciate your guidence and advice

Thanks, Phil
 

macflea

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Nov 27, 2011
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Roxby Downs South Australia
Hi Phil
I ordered 4 controlers this year and they work great they are compatable with our 240v power supply as they have a 110v-240v switch in them that come set to Aust power supply and with Aus plugs. If you havent orded yet i would advise to keep asking questions and im sure you will find a cheaper alternative here in oz as we have some very talented people here make and producing some low voltage boards that will run your lights that you already own.
 

ryanschristmaslights

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As Grant says, the CTB16PC is designed to run with either 110v or 240v. This controller is split into two banks (groups) of 8 channels. Channels 9-16 on the right side of the board also power the brains of the controller. Channels 1-8 only power the corresponding channels. For this reason it IS possible to run channels 1-8 on a lower AC voltage if you want to, be wiring in a suitably rated AC step-down transformer to the inputs on the side of channels 1-8. This would need to be rated high enough to run whichever you decide to connect to channels 1-8.

BUT if you have mostly LED lights, another LOR product called the CMB16D(-QC) is more appropriate. This is a DC controller designed for LED lights. There are other DMX-based products that will do pretty well the same thing as the CMB16D(-QC), too.

Feel free to jump onto the chat where I'm sure fellow decorators will be more than willing to get you on the right foot :)
 

Porsche

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Thanks guys appreciate the advice.
yeah I do have mainly LED strings, icicles, and LED rope lights.
So maybe start with CMB16D(-QC)? this will run the lights we have here?
I dont really understand this AC and DC stuff. is our standard string LED lights from BIGW or bunnings DC??
 

ryanschristmaslights

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LED's, light emitting diodes, are naturally DC. They only emit a bright light when the power goes one way (DC). Shop bought strings typically have an AC adapter which then runs to a multifunction flashing box, and inside this box is also a rectifier which converts that led string to "full wave" (remembering leds only light up with power running one way). Without the rectifier the leds would appear to flicker/strobe as they would only light half the time. With DC, you don't get the halfwave problems. Of course, if AC controlling is a must those multifunction flashers can be "disabled" (bypassed) without disabling the recifier.
 

penguineer

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Porsche said:
Thanks guys appreciate the advice.
yeah I do have mainly LED strings, icicles, and LED rope lights.
So maybe start with CMB16D(-QC)? this will run the lights we have here?
I dont really understand this AC and DC stuff. is our standard string LED lights from BIGW or bunnings DC??
marquisite said:
LED's, light emitting diodes, are naturally DC. They only emit a bright light when the power goes one way (DC). Shop bought strings typically have an AC adapter which then runs to a multifunction flashing box, and inside this box is also a rectifier which converts that led string to "full wave" (remembering leds only light up with power running one way). Without the rectifier the leds would appear to flicker/strobe as they would only light half the time. With DC, you don't get the halfwave problems. Of course, if AC controlling is a must those multifunction flashers can be "disabled" (bypassed) without disabling the recifier.
Taking it to the level that I needed to understand it when I started, lets start with a set of lights(LED) off the shef from Bunnings/BigW/ChristmasShop:

The lights have a standard 3-pin plug on a transformer and maybe an 8-way control box.

Code:
+-----+        +-----+
|plug|--------|8-way|-------------------*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
+-----+        +-----+
If I go AC, I need to nobble the 8-way box so that when the power is on the lights stay on when using a normal power point, no flashing effects - just ON.
- The control box needs to stay as it is cleaning up the power for the lights.
- Once I have done the nobbling I can connect the lights into a three-pin power connection on the AC controller and it all works.
- the AC controller connects into a normal 240V AC power point(or RCD powerboard)
- depending on the type of transformer dimming may not be advised(so just use on-off)

If I go DC, I remove all the 240V and AC stuff - so I cut off the control box and am left with a string of lights on a long wire.
Code:
-------------------*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
The wire connects directly into DC controller, BUT we have to power the controller. An external power supply connects to your normal 240AC power and provides DC power to your controller and the controller connects to the lights. The power supply is matched to the lights.

Each approach has advantages and disadvantages:

AC:
- minimal setup or changes to store bought lights
- always-on elements just plug straight in
- no need for another power supply
- may be needed for sealed stuff like rope lights

DC
- lower power use
- better dimming effects on the lights
- safer as no need to run 240V all around the yard, just low voltage DC

I'm sure someone will correct me if that's not quite right......

Does that help?

Cheers!
 

Porsche

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Perth, Piara Waters
That is great. very well explained. Now I understand. Thank u.......
This maybe a dumb question, but when we cut a set of string lights we end up with 3 wires.
well the ones I do have 3 wires coming out of the control box.
How are these hooked up to the DC48 controller.
https://www.audiovisualdevices.com.au/viewprod.php?catid=&productid=DC48
Im just not sure what wire is for what and where they are to go into the controller??
I am sorry bout the million questions and appreciate your advice
Phil
 

penguineer

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Porsche said:
That is great. very well explained. Now I understand. Thank u.......
This maybe a dumb question, but when we cut a set of string lights we end up with 3 wires.
well the ones I do have 3 wires coming out of the control box.
How are these hooked up to the DC48 controller.
https://www.audiovisualdevices.com.au/viewprod.php?catid=&productid=DC48
Im just not sure what wire is for what and where they are to go into the controller??
I am sorry bout the million questions and appreciate your advice
Phil
With DC power you only have a positive and negative wire and the LEDs will only work when connected around the right way.

With your normal off the shelf LED strings you actually have *two* strings alternated and wrapped together. This gives you two negative wires and a common positive. If you wanted, you could hook up each of these strings as seperate channels - by alternating them you get the "marching ants" effect.

A-A-A-A-A-A
-B-B-B-B-B-
A-A-A-A-A-A
....etc

Or you could just do what I do and twist the negatives together and treat the whole lot as one string, which is effectively the way the AC setup does it by default (all LEDs on). This is the easiest.....
ABABABABABA

Cheers!

[Note - corrected as per Geoff and David below, I had managed to get positive and negatives mixed up.]
 

David_AVD

Bite my shiny metal ass!
Community project designer
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penguineer said:
With your normal off the shelf LED strings you actually have *two* strings alternated and wrapped together. This gives you two positive wires and a common negative.
Just a minor correction here - the wires are a common positive and two channel negatives. This suits 99% of the DC controllers on the market including the DC48.
 

aussiexmas

Sinnamon Lights
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May 10, 2010
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Brisbane - Australia
penguineer said:
With DC power you only have a positive and negative wire and the LEDs will only work when connected around the right way.

With your normal off the shelf LED strings you actually have *two* strings alternated and wrapped together. This gives you two positive wires and a common negative. If you wanted, you could hook up each of these strings as seperate channels - by alternating them you get the "marching ants" effect.
Careful!
All Australian LED lights I have used are actually 2 negatives and a common positive.
 

penguineer

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Mount Tamborine, Qld
aussiexmas said:
Careful!
All Australian LED lights I have used are actually 2 negatives and a common positive.
David_AVD said:
Just a minor correction here - the wires are a common positive and two channel negatives. This suits 99% of the DC controllers on the market including the DC48.
Thanks guys - I knew I'd bugger something simple up! I'll correct it above in case anyone actually finds it and reads it in a future time......

Cheers!
 
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