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View Full Version : Less sloppy wiring of Renard SS series boards.



ptinhays
09-20-2010, 12:20 AM
Does anyone have any suggestions for a less sloppy wiring solution for the SS series? The extension cord method works fine but I'd rather have a block of outlets or something I can mount beside the board instead of having the cords just hanging out of it.

If anyone has a solution or example of how to do this I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks,
Phillip

dirknerkle
09-20-2010, 12:28 AM
You could visit Lowe's or HD and buy a few 4-gang outlets and covers. This allows putting four dual outlets in the same box for a total of 8 individual outlets if you clipped the connecting strip between the two outlets on each gang.

The problem I see is space. Mounting outlets on a box and making it weatherproof adds considerable size to the whole enclosure -- for even an SS8 board. A 16 would be even greater and a 24 would be huge. You might get by with mounting the whole thing inside a plastic toolbox, but it would have to be a big one!

XmasInGalt
09-20-2010, 02:08 AM
I used a vinyl fence post cut to size and installed a Renard 16 (picture shows my 2010 modification that included an on-board 12V source and Ren-W). I'm going to redo some of my existing enclosures for my SimpleIO 8 port boards using this method. It takes some extra work but I really like the 'brick' solution. If your interested, I could post closer pictures showing how it was assembled.

IdunBenhad
09-20-2010, 06:44 AM
Hi:

XmasinGalt, that is one of the neatest installs I have seen.

How in the heck did you do the outlet cutouts? Did you use a router with a template?

Last year I used the outletbox method suggested by Dirknerkle, but the control boards were located remotely and I ran zip cord from the controllers to the outlets. Worked real good, but sure used up a lot of zip cord.

This year I will be using Ren-Wireless and the controllers will be closer to the displays. Probably in a box made to look like a Christmas Present.

Neat job.

Edit: After looking again, is that a commercially available item? If so, where did you get them?
Another Edit: After looking even closer, I can see you made them. You may have found yourself a market if you want to make and sell them. I sure would buy a few if you made them for Ren 24 SS.

barnettd
09-20-2010, 06:51 AM
XmasInGalt

You should go into business for your design.

EXCELLENT WORK !!!!

Looks VERY professional.....

hartlove
09-20-2010, 07:52 AM
Way to think "outside the box" on that one. I've been looking all over the internet for a box that would be big enough, but not gigantic, to do something just like that.

dirknerkle
09-20-2010, 09:05 AM
Awesome craftsmanship. Another example of pure DIY -- taking a product intended for one purpose and modifying it for a completely different one. :cool:

oldcqr
09-20-2010, 09:59 AM
I have to agree with everyone. That is a VERY elegant solution. I wish I would have done it that way !

ukewarrior
09-20-2010, 10:35 AM
How in the world did you do the cut-outs for the outlets?
That is very impressive.

dmcole
09-20-2010, 11:07 AM
It takes some extra work but I really like the 'brick' solution. If your interested, I could post closer pictures showing how it was assembled.

Gadzooks! I think we're all interested in how you did those and as many pictures as you wanted to post, we'd all look at really, really carefully.

Congratulations on such a quality solution.

\dmc

IdunBenhad
09-20-2010, 11:12 AM
Hi:
I am only second guessing XmasInGalt, but one could use a metal outlet plate as a template and a router to cut out the holes. If a 2 outlet plate were used, it wouldn't have to be moved as often.

Also, there are gaskets available for outdoor outlet boxes that could be used to help waterproof the outlets.

That is one the neatest ideas I have seen in a long time--very impressive.

nickavina
09-20-2010, 11:34 AM
Sexy very sexy, looks like someone had their brilliance in a bottle that day.

Jrd
09-20-2010, 06:18 PM
That looks great!

Now this is for the Renard 16, not the SS. I do not know the board sizes, will any of the SS boards fit in this enclosure?

IdunBenhad
09-20-2010, 08:50 PM
Hi:
A Renard SS24 is 4" x 11" x 1 3/4" H. The RS232 connector extends slightly beyond the board, so it becomes 4 3/16" wide. The RS485 connectors are vertical type.

There is a 5" x 5" vinyl post available, so maybe this would work for the SS24. I don't at this time know the depth of the AC outlets, but the board could probably be mounted behind and perpendicular to them, so it will fit in the 5" post.

This is an intriguing project! If I get time, and XmasInGalt isn't going to sell these, I will try to get time make up some. Of course, I have to fit this in between constructing the display, the megatree, the sequencing of 5 to 10 songs, my Shriner duties, computer maintenance and a few other tasks. NO SWEAT!

Greg in Canby
09-20-2010, 10:03 PM
Simply elegant.

Jrd
09-20-2010, 10:34 PM
Great so an SS24 will fit. I can see it now, someone is installing a new PVC fence and the neighbors are wondering: "What the heck does he need a trencher and a roll of underground romex for? He's installing a fence!"

By the way, how are you planning to weatherproof the exterior part of the receptacles? Or do you only run the show when everything is dry?

IdunBenhad
09-20-2010, 11:03 PM
Hi:
Ricky, mount the outlets upside down. This helps keep water away from them. The entire thing could be wrapped in plastic or put in a plastic bag.

In Yuma, usually, rain is not a concern. When it does, we get a 12 inch rain; 12 drops, 12 inches apart over a 12 hour period.

I like the idea of mounting them in the fence row. Lotsa' outlets that way!

Jrd
09-20-2010, 11:35 PM
Hi:
Ricky, mount the outlets upside down. This helps keep water away from them. The entire thing could be wrapped in plastic or put in a plastic bag.

In Yuma, usually, rain is not a concern. When it does, we get a 12 inch rain; 12 drops, 12 inches apart over a 12 hour period.

I like the idea of mounting them in the fence row. Lotsa' outlets that way!

Hmm, that would help, mounting them upside down that is. Over here in Washington (Georgia that is) we can get some pretty wet winters but not all the time.

XmasInGalt
09-21-2010, 12:17 AM
Hi:
Ricky, mount the outlets upside down.

That's a good idea. That's what I had in mind when I made my 4 port SSRs that are all over my yard (Pics).

To create the Renard 16 'bricks', I used a 4plex wall plate and traced the openings on the PVC. I used a Dremel to cut the openings. Took a little practice to learn how to cut the holes without the Dremel going crazy in any direction. I think I'll go the router on my next batch and see if it is easier than the Dremel.

As far a weatherproofing goes, I didn't need to worry about that with these units as I use them under the eves of the house but I need to come up with a good weatherproofing idea for my 8 port SimleIO boards since they will be in the yard. I'm going to look at the upside down suggestion and see what I can come up with. Maybe something that will have feet, to keep it off the ground, like my 4 port pods but it would need to be stable.

The more ideas the better so keep 'em coming! I'd like to put something together this weekend and see how it turns out.

I'll put some better pics togther as soon as I can. I took pictures of one unit while I was building it but I gotta remember which memory card I used.

ptinhays
09-21-2010, 03:08 AM
That is an amazing idea for wiring. My only concern would be the weather proofing. I'm in western Kansas and we usually have a pretty harsh winter in this area. I'm sure that could be worked out easily though.

Thanks for all of the replies so far. I didn't expect this much of a response. The DIY community continues to amaze me.

Aurbo99
09-21-2010, 07:31 AM
Great Idea..

I've been looking at different ways to make my Ren16's work for me this year.. I was thinking of a 4" diameter pipe with 16 plugs hanging out of it.. SQUID..

Your solution looks a LOT cleaner and easier to trouble-shoot.

I'd just need to find the end caps

bnradams
09-21-2010, 08:04 AM
I know it has already been asked, but I didnt find an answer. How did you do your cut-outs, looks time consuming but very clean.

dnesci
09-21-2010, 08:16 AM
I know it has already been asked, but I didnt find an answer. How did you do your cut-outs, looks time consuming but very clean.

He answered in post 19. He used a quad-plex plate as an outline and cut with a dremel tool.

XmasInGalt
09-26-2010, 07:17 PM
OK. Following up on the idea to have the plugs face down to provide some measure of protection from the rain, I quickly cut another piece of PVC fencing to create legs for the case. I'm going to glue the two pieces together and run silicone along the seam. I may even glue a piece on each end to box in the bottom of the enclosure. The pics show the two pieces together and a view from the bottom where I traced the cut-outs for the plugs.

Wayne J
09-26-2010, 08:05 PM
Cool! Two thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!

plasmata
09-26-2010, 09:33 PM
Nice clean design. You might want to add a drip edge to both ends to keep any water from running along the bottom from either side.

tjetzer
09-26-2010, 09:42 PM
I used a vinyl fence post cut to size and installed a Renard 16 (picture shows my 2010 modification that included an on-board 12V source and Ren-W). I'm going to redo some of my existing enclosures for my SimpleIO 8 port boards using this method. It takes some extra work but I really like the 'brick' solution. If your interested, I could post closer pictures showing how it was assembled.

Every now and then there is an idea that takes this hobby to the next level. These ideas only further everyone's own ingenuity. This is one of those ideas. This looks great!

oldcqr
09-27-2010, 11:11 AM
If there was one thing I liked about some of the Animated Lighting controllers I had at one time, it was the socket solution. I am just not a fan of all those dongles.

I am seriously considering changing over my SS series next year to this set up (if they fit). At one time I was considering using these http://parts.digikey.com/1/parts/100137-conn-ac-recept-nema-125vac-15a-738w-x2-01.html, but could never figure out how to house the actual board.

kychristmas
09-27-2010, 02:41 PM
I hate these days where you guys make me feel like a slacker for not having great original ideas.

I am not worthy...

hartlove
09-27-2010, 11:43 PM
OK, for those that wanted to see if this would work for a Ren24SS, I have some pictures. I'm still in the "lets see if this will work" phase, and I'm still not sure if it's going to work for me personally. It's a very tight fit. My Lowes only had 4x4 PVC posts, not the 5x5 or 6x6, which would have been a much better fit.

If anyone else was considering it, here's what my first stab looks like:

http://www.2amcode.com/img/img_1174.jpg

http://www.2amcode.com/img/img_1183.jpg

http://www.2amcode.com/img/img_1184.jpg

http://www.2amcode.com/img/img_1187.jpg

The heatsink is pretty much resting on top of the backs of the outlets. The 2 places that were extra crammed, were under the transformer, and the main power terminals, since they're taller than the channel output blocks.

If I leave it in this configuration, I'd make some stand offs for the board, to keep it in place.

The wires pretty much need to wrap around the sides of the outlets to have enough room. It might be easier to connect all off the outlets to a common neutral. I had to snap the corners of the ears on the outlets off to make them short enough to fit.

The serial connector didn't seem to be an issue; it just tucked right into the corner. It looked like the RJ45 connectors will fit, but the cat5 cable will have to make a hard bend right out of the jack.

I'm going to see if I can find a larger post to work with. I didn't make any cutouts yet, so I can still take this one back. (It's still in the shrinkwrap)

Hope this helps someone.

Thanks to XmasInGalt for the idea!

Jrd
09-28-2010, 12:03 AM
Looks like the concept will work but you need to get a bigger post, does your Lowe's not carry the 5/6" posts or were they just out? Maybe you need to try another store.

hartlove
09-28-2010, 12:18 AM
I just looked online, and saw that they have 4.75" posts that I didn't see when I was there. According to my tape measure, that would be just about perfect. That size should even fit 6 outlets on either side, so it could be about 15" long. Lowes is completely out of my way during the week, so I'll try again on Saturday.

oldcqr
09-28-2010, 09:11 AM
Thanks for the updates! I'm really interested in what you find.

Pansit
10-07-2010, 06:15 AM
I am in awe. You make me look like an amateur.

WakeFan
10-07-2010, 05:27 PM
I just looked online, and saw that they have 4.75" posts that I didn't see when I was there. According to my tape measure, that would be just about perfect. That size should even fit 6 outlets on either side, so it could be about 15" long. Lowes is completely out of my way during the week, so I'll try again on Saturday.

I sell 5" or 6" posts at work. Can get you pricing if needed. I can ship UPS.

IdunBenhad
11-03-2010, 11:02 AM
Hi:
A little late here, as I just got back to Yuma a few weeks ago.

The second post by XmasInGalt showing the PVC "legs" is another great idea, but instead of cutting all the outlet holes, why not just cut out a big rectangle and fit it around the outlets. Less cutting that way, and you achieve the same thing, especially if you silicone the seams, as you suggested.

Still a darn good, neat idea.

Thanks

GodSpeed
11-03-2010, 09:35 PM
I knew there was a reason I cheaped out last year on enclosures. Awesome work.

Snowmizer2
11-10-2010, 06:46 PM
Anybody else got any updates on this??? If I can get my SS24's to fit in here I am sold!!

hartlove
11-10-2010, 09:07 PM
Sorry, been busy working on sequencing and rounding up cable and extension cord.

I found a 5" (actual size 4.75" or something close) post at Lowes that worked. I have all of the outlet holes cut out, and I have about half of the internal wire cut and stripped. Hopefully I can finish it this weekend, and get some pics up.

I couldn't find any metal 2-gang outlet covers to use as a template. As luck would have it, I also bought a 1/4" bit for my half inch router. Oops.

Since I had no metal template, and the wrong size router bit, I used my dremel instead. I set up a straight edge to bump the outlet cover against, and taped it down. Since I was using the dremel, a plastic 2-gang cover worked fine as the template. Just make sure you don't bump the cutting edge of the bit against your template.

I have the router base attachment, but if you have a steady hand, you could probably manage just free handing it.

I cut the post to length with a handsaw, but the dremel made such a nice cut, I'll probably go back and trim the ends using that.

And, by the way, the plastic shavings are super fine, and static cling to everything. Wear a dust mask if you do this.

Pics will come soon.

Snowmizer2
11-11-2010, 12:03 AM
great work....can't wait to see the finished product....I may have to go get the stuff for mine this weekend

kychristmas
09-03-2011, 10:56 AM
I was at Home Depot last night and noticed they had a bunch of misc PVC/Vinyl and Decking materials being closed out. I didn't see any 6" sleeves, but there was some 4" and 5" sleeves and a few misc caps. they were scuffed a bit, but would be great. Anyone interested in this may want to checkout their HD or Lowes.

alanf
09-14-2011, 05:30 PM
Great idea! Found the posts at lowes on clearance for $6