Mega tree newbie needs advice

Discussion in 'Mega, Mini, Spiral & Pixel Trees' started by toxicturbo, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. toxicturbo

    toxicturbo New Elf

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    Hi All,

    I have seen some posts on the constraints with Litworxs lights and have also seen that people are working on this.

    What I have is 30 sets of single colour 220 led string lights (10.9m per string), at $5 a set I could not walk past them up.

    I am looking for a way to control them from a single controller and power source approx. Found a 110w 24v PSU on Ebay and I am happy to run them at 24v as 6,600 leds at full power is going to be to bright for the rest of my display.

    The current controllers are a 2 wire setup offer 8 functions, all leds on static (not sure how this is achieved) fad, twinkle, alternating options ect.

    I'm not to crash on electronics, and need any advice I can get.

    Either looking for how to build the same controller beefed up to run all of the lights in the same sequence ( I have not come across a controller supplied with lights that have the exact timing, they all seem to get out of sync during the night.

    Ideally I would like to be able to control all 30 strands separately but still be able to have the twinkle ect when all 30 strands are on.

    Yes this 2nd option would require some expense and software. (I Guess it's about time I to start learning how to start programing light sequences)

    Oh yea, this is for a tree 9.5m, was only 6.5m this year (just rope light and a star, already have the other 3m section to bolt on, just didn't have the budget for the addition guy wires and turn buckles ect, to support the addition 3m.

    Any advice, ideas would be welcome.

    Brian
     
  2. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    There is currently no way to control these lights unless you're happy with a single channel per light set and the other half of the lights staying off. Because of this there hasn't been much discussion on what voltage they actually require. With the old 3 wire strings it often differed from the voltage stated on the original plugpack.

    You can't have all LEDs on with a 2 wire setup. The polarity is reversed to power the other half of the lights but this is done too quickly to see without waving the LEDs around. The computer control hardware is incapable of reversing the polarity.

    This is just a thought but you might be able to find a way to modify one of the 8 function controllers to handle enough current for all of the strings together. I don't know how to do this myself or whether it is possible. You're likely to need a new plugpack assuming they're separate and not a combined unit because the original one wont be powerful enough. This could be a problem in itself as the controller may not be compatible with a different plugpack.

    Wait around though as there are solutions being developed. They may well be ready in time for December 2016.
     
  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    If you completely remove the controller and hook up to the 24V transformer you will have what appears to be static lights for all the lights.
    I've got a dmx controlled board underway for controlling these style of lights, 1 of the other guys on ACL had a play with a board but I'm not if if he's tested it yet and David_AVD has had success with 1 board and may have another on the way.
     
  4. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Good point actually. If you have an AC power source then you'll get close to an all on effect. There will still be a slight flicker though. You could then get ON and OFF control of each light set using a DC controller and relays.

    It would have been worth ordering some that are wired correctly for DC controllers even if it meant paying a little bit more as you would save by not needing relays. You'd also get full control over them too.

    As I said before, wait around as there may be a controller that can run these light sets in future.
     
  5. OP
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    toxicturbo

    toxicturbo New Elf

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    Thax Guys,

    Thought this maybe the case, cant to wait to see how the new controller works out.
    But will look at any options as I only have 10 mths to solve the problem.

    As a backup I will start on striping the controller form the intergrated power supply and see if it can be beefed up to run a 110w.

    Brian
     
  6. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    It won't need to run 110 watts. It will only need to handle the current/wattage that the light sets actually draw. This'll be less than the 110 watt maximum that the power supply can output.
     
  7. OP
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    toxicturbo

    toxicturbo New Elf

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    Cheers,

    Each power supply is rated at 3.6w so minimum for 30 units is 108w,

    What confuses me is there are 220 leds rated at 0.03 - 0.05w between 6.6w and 11w?
    2016-01-02 10.38.07.jpg

    Rated Wattage ......... 3.6W

    Rated Volts ................ 31V

    Lamp Type ............. 0.03 - 0.05W

    Brian
     
  8. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    This isn't something I have a lot of experience with but I'll have a go at trying to explain what I think is going on. As the reverse polarity is used, no more than half of the LEDs can be on at any moment in time. This means the power consumption will be 3.3 to 5.5 watts not 6.6 to 11 watts. I'm also suspecting the non-specific wattage is due to variations between each colour string.

    In reality you can choose the wattage you want by adjusting the power supply voltage. This will affect the current draw and overall brightness. Of course don't turn the voltage up too high and always measure the current draw when adjusting it.

    Another point worth noting is that it's generally considered bad practice to plan on running power supplies at more than 85% of their stated capacity. This matters most when using cheaper ones.

    Edit: You could use an AC controller at a low voltage but it's expensive and you're still going to get the slight flicker. It may or may not be noticeable. Strictly speaking there will always be a slight flicker when all LEDs appear on. It is fundamentally how the 2 wire strings work. The extent to which it is noticeable will depend on the future DC controller that's hopefully developed. With AC I think you'll be able to see it but only just.
     

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