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Power Supplies

Discussion in '101 Display Basics' started by Dene Hyde, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Dene Hyde

    Dene Hyde New Elf

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    I have been a lurker on here for the last 9 or so months. I am keen to try and do a lighting display and have maybe left my run a bit late for this year, but there is just one thing holding me back.

    The wiring and setup of the power supplies scares me and it is not the 12v/5v side it is just having the 240v connections semi exposed as they are on a meanwell supply. I know a licensed electrician should wire these up but still have concerns of them being readily accessible, 240v is potentially deadly.

    Are there any options for prewired on the 240v side or sealed connections? Thanks.
     
  2. David_AVD

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

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    You can get power supplies with a plug and tail already attached. They are sealed units so are more expensive than the usual ones people use around here.

    If you know what current you need for 5V or 12V I may be able to suggest something specific.
     
  3. AAH

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

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    I've also seen some 3D printed terminal covers which make it very hard for fingers to get near the terminals.
     
  4. fasteddy

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

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    On the cheap people will just wrap the 240v terminal strip with electrical tape to stop fingers from touching any exposed voltages
    But if you don't want to touch the 240v side at all, then as previously suggested, then the power supplies that are completely sealed normally come with the plug already attached
    And if doing it yourself always ensure you use an RCD protected power circuit.
     
  5. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf Generous Elf

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    Agreed, I 3D Print covers for most of the PSU's. I have not yet designed one for the meanwell's but I have to get it done one day :)

    IMG_2549s.jpg
     
  6. darylc

    darylc 404 darylc not found Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Meanwell actually sell plastic guards for the terminal strips for a few handful of cents.
     
  7. MrX

    MrX New Elf

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    If you don't need a lot of power then computer power supplies are not a bad option. All the 240 is contained inside the unit. I am using one on my development setup and it is working great. $65 got me a 500 watt unit that has 38 amps of 12 volt and 15 amps of 5 volt.
     
  8. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Agreed. Although I don't use them, I did initially look into it and used one for testing. You can usually get them cheap or free if you know where to look as computers are a disposable thing these days. Just make sure you don't get an old atx supply where you need to have a load for it to run, or if you do, then you will need to put either a light bulb or dropping resister across the sense pin.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Dene Hyde

    Dene Hyde New Elf

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    I was looking at 5V as I think that will suit.

    Thanks for all the helpful solutions and may give me a enough confidence to proceed. I have played around with computer power supplies and had to install a wire across the sensing pin to make it work for another project, so have a little experience.
     
  10. MrX

    MrX New Elf

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    The more I look into it, the more I PC power supplies are looking better and better. On a watt for watt basis you can find units which come in pretty close price wise to the to the generic ones people seem to be using but the 240 is all sealed up and pre-terminated so there is no legal ambiguity of wiring them up and you get local compliance. May be prove to be useful if ever you are being asked prickly questions by an insurance company. The other supplies which look interesting are the crypto miner PSUs, the specs look interesting: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/2000W-A...m=153006312897&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Dene Hyde

    Dene Hyde New Elf

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    I have looked into the power supplies and I think I have settled on old server supplies with a breakout board as it meets my need off not wiring 240v things and can be found pretty cheap second hand.

    My next question is about layout. It appears I have two options where I have one central location with a large enough (or multiple) power supplies and a controller then run control cables and power everywhere. This feels like a lot of cables. Or I run one main controller and then run multiple power supplies around the place to power individual elements which means I just need to run data to each location from the controller. Feels neater but need a few extra elements. I assume this is when you go a F48 with differential receivers?

    My question is which one do people prefer? I am not planning on trying anything like that this year but just trying to get my head around it for planning. My thoughts this year would just to get a few strings and play around with x-lights and raspberry pi with some basic stuff no sequences to music, that seems like I need a lot more time.
     
  12. MrX

    MrX New Elf

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    I think I have settled on a central controller with differential receivers in key places. I will then put PSUs out close to the displays otherwise it would mean I am running crazy big power cables. At my place this seems like a good compromise between central control and amount of cables.
     
  13. MrX

    MrX New Elf

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    On the server PSU front, I finally had a breakout board delivered. Looked pretty nice but one problem, even though it stated it supported my PSU, I noticed the way connector contacts were connected to the PCB it created a direct short on the main +ve and -ve rails. Clearly no good. I played with it and got it to fire eventually but I'm not happy with it so in the end I started soldering power wires directly to the edge connector. I think I will stick with this for the final build, though I will upgrade to thicker wires.

     

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