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DaveJZ
11-20-2012, 10:24 PM
Here's what I have...

I use a couple Renard 64 Controllers and one Simple 24 channel Controller...

I bought a few Dirk Cheap SSR's and soldered them up...

They work fine on the Simple 24 but I get nothing out of them on the Ren64. I did have a "Regular" SSR that I swapped with and get full light function.. I've tried different cables etc and still cannot come up with a solution.. I guess I don't understand why they work fine on the Simple... But not the Ren64

HELP PLEASE!!! Thanks in Advance
Dave

komby
11-20-2012, 11:16 PM
I had some issues with my setup of ren64 and dirkcheap where fading worked but 100%on didn't.

In that case it was the firmware was not PWM. So my led wouldn't turn on.

dirknerkle
11-20-2012, 11:17 PM
Only thing I can think of is to use PWM mode in the Renard firmware. I'll bet you're in the old regular Renard mode... PWM is more-or-less the intended standard now but it can be turned off.

DaveJZ
11-20-2012, 11:44 PM
nope nope nope and nope.......

Board power supply
Talked to Wayne J and narrowed it down to about nothing wrong....

Decided to take a leap of Faith and change the transformer powering the board.... well the leap worked.. and I have no broken legs or aches... only a hour or so of figuring it out.....

I guess we should make a side note that if a regular A/C SSR works... but DirksSSR's do not.. CHECK THE BOARD SUPPLY POWER FIRST!!!

kychristmas
11-20-2012, 11:47 PM
I'm confused. Are you saying the DirkCheapies require more power?

dirknerkle
11-20-2012, 11:58 PM
I'm confused. Are you saying the DirkCheapies require more power?

Shouldn't. It's the same 680ohm resistor between the control side of the VO2223A chip and the PIC as you'd have with any other SSR.

What transformer were you using with the Ren64 to start with? If you have diagnostic LEDs on the 64 and the transformer was at 1A, the on-board LEDs could eat up a whole lot of that 1A when all channels are on, not leaving enough oomph for 64 external channels as well. I always used to run Ren64's with a 3A transformer.

DaveJZ
11-21-2012, 12:01 AM
I am saying that I could not get them to work when a regular A/C SSR would... It was not until I changed the way I power my boards and changed/put the transformer about 6 inches from it.. that they would function... even though a A/C SSR would function as should with my previous set-up.

Do I think they might require a bit more?. well maybe... but maybe they only are using what is required and the A/C SSR will still work with less??? and I happened to be giving the board less???

All I know is I put a different transformer next to the board... last year it was actually split with another board and worked fine. This year it needs it own to work the Dirks Cheap... had um... could just say lazy took over last year and it worked so why change it? Leave it to Dirk to keep me on my toes.

Yes.. they are the transformers that came with the ren64

All I'm saying is that when you hook up the DirkCheap and if it don't work... check board power first :-)

DaveJZ
11-21-2012, 12:05 AM
I should note that my channel LEDS do not work on these board because of a change in parts.. that I did not do.. so I don't loose anything there

DaveJZ
11-22-2012, 12:42 AM
I did some more set-up/testing today and this is what I found.

Ren64 with 24 Channels of Regular A/C SSR's and I have 24 Channels of Dirks Cheap.

I found that in some songs the Dirks just weren't as bright as the lights with a/c ssr's... I then went into the test channel and went through that ren64 and started turning each channel on. I found that the more channels turned on, the channels on the Dirk's SSR's would dim. The more channels I turned on the more they would dim, until eventually you could barely see they were lit. This was very evident where I have candy canes on both sides of the walk. One side uses a A/C SSR and the other a DirkCheap. Some of Dirks SSR's would not even respond until I started from channel one and turned each channel off, they would become brighter. They reached full brightness at about 1/3 of my 48 channels.

I would think the only issue this may cause is if a sequence has alot of lights at any given time such as a finale... from my testing and my boards... these would be dimmer then the rest and if there were alot of channels on, this may affect the lights even turning on.

20 channels of Dirks have a hundred incan light strand to each channel, the 4 candy canes are less.

macebobo
11-22-2012, 01:31 AM
Interesting. I have 32 channels of candy canes off an SR32 to DirkCSSR and did not experience any dimming issues. I have noted that the DirkCSSR do turn on when vixen cell is at a 1 level - I kind of like that though.

ebrady
11-22-2012, 01:48 AM
Looking at the datasheets a few things stick out that may explain the behavior.

The VO2223 lists a max LED trigger current of 10ma. Assuming the DirkCheap Module has a 680 Ohm resistor as Dirk mentioned, only 5ma will be delivered to the VO2223 LED after the forward LED voltage drop is accounted for. This does not mean that the VO2223 will not trigger, however it does mean that it COULD trigger more slowly. This is shown in the Figures 9 and 11 on page 4 of the VO2223 datasheet. This phenomena will get worse if the transformer on the Ren64 is heavily loaded and additional voltage drop occurs.

Assuming the AC/SSR you have uses the MOC3023, it's datasheet lists 5ma as the max trigger current. This explains why it works as expected.

Using 330 Ohm resistors on the DirkCheap module instead of a 680 Ohms should correct the issue.

ebrady
11-22-2012, 01:56 AM
BTW if the resistors are changed you may also need a higher current transformer on the REN 64.

dirknerkle
11-22-2012, 02:07 AM
Another consideration is the total current the PIC chip can handle. The reason we went with 680's was to make the DirkCheap compatible with the Simple32's current draw capacity. So with a 24, you might be okay with the 330 -- just do the math.

budude
11-22-2012, 02:15 AM
Hmm - - add in longer cabling (i.e. voltage drop) and the fact that the VO2223 has a Vf of 1.3v vs the Vf of 1.15v on the MOC3023 there would be even less current across it. Perhaps some value between the 330 and 680 and still meet the SR32 power output budget would be good - not sure if that's possible.

dirknerkle
11-22-2012, 02:21 AM
Hmm - - add in longer cabling (i.e. voltage drop) and the fact that the VO2223 has a Vf of 1.3v vs the Vf of 1.15v on the MOC3023 there would be even less current across it. Perhaps some value between the 330 and 680 and still meet the SR32 power output budget would be good - not sure if that's possible.

Yah, Mactayl worked the numbers pretty hard and the 680 provided just a little bit of headroom -- don't remember how much but I seem to recall it was only in the 10-12ma range, so it's pretty tight. That's one of the problems with a single chip that incorporates so many channels. It'd be fine if the chip designers could provide 4x the capacity that an 8-bit chip might, but that's generally not the case. <sigh>

Mactayl
11-22-2012, 05:24 AM
Yah, Mactayl worked the numbers pretty hard and the 680 provided just a little bit of headroom -- don't remember how much but I seem to recall it was only in the 10-12ma range, so it's pretty tight. That's one of the problems with a single chip that incorporates so many channels. It'd be fine if the chip designers could provide 4x the capacity that an 8-bit chip might, but that's generally not the case. <sigh>

A while back I was running the Dirk Cheap SSR with a 510 ohm resistor with the SR 32 during testing but it was getting close to the current limit specs that the PIC could handle with all the 32 outputs turned on. So we decided to go with the standard 680 ohms that were in most of the designs for SSR's and never thought that a Ren64 would have an issue with the 680 ohm resistor.

kychristmas
11-22-2012, 04:06 PM
So, this is not what I wanted to read. I have just converted a good number of my SSRs to dirks. I have sold most of my SSRozs and SSRezs. If I have this trouble, I will be screwed. Should I take the time to change something now or do I just set them up and pray? I have 24 dirk cheapies and was not nervous until now

komby
11-22-2012, 04:58 PM
Well I'm going to be testing this topic this upcoming week! As this is my first year and I went "all in" with the renard 64 and 16 dirk cheap ssrs. To further stress it I have the 1A transformer and all the LEDs installed on it (wlc ventures kit)

99% of what I'm powering is LED strings not sure that matters though.

I was going to add some Incan 100ct strings from the 200$ lowes sale to max it out.

Currently only have 44 channels populated in my sequences though.

I'll be sure to report back my findings ;)

P. Short
11-22-2012, 05:54 PM
My 2 cents...

For the PIC16F688 used on Renard64, (but not on SR) the maximum current through the ground pin is 95 mA. So one thing that you do is change the resistors on the Dirk-Cheap-SSR to 330 Ω. This should be close enough to meeting the specs for both the PIC and the VO2223. With this change, though, you would be right at the limits of the power supply on the Renard64 if you have the on-board channel LEDs in place and have all 64 channels at 100% (you never do this, right)? In this situation the current draw would be 1.1 or 1.2A, just over the design limits of 1A. As a designer, I don't like it. As a user who has already built the board I would go with it, especially if I set the maximum brightness to 99% (or 254), which significantly reduces the load on the regulator and power supply (because the opto duty cycle is 100% with 100% brightness, below 90% with 99% brightness).

And I haven't been following the SR designs closely enough lately to be able to comment on those...

P. Short
11-22-2012, 05:59 PM
Incidentally, the graphs for the VO2223 shows the situation getting worse at low temperatures, as the forward voltage of the LED increases at low temps. So I don't think that I'd ignore this potential problem if I'm in a place likely to see freezing or sub-freezing temperatures.

JasonPortwood
11-22-2012, 09:15 PM
I have a Simple Ren32 running with 6 DirkCheapSSRs, 1 NEON, and 4 channels sitting unused. These 6 are for arches and no troubles.

A Ren64 with 13 DirkCheapSSRs and the rest on it is a couple Neons and an SSRez. No snags there everything powers up. These are for wreaths / window frames and lighting poles.

I have a couple sequences that turn everything on and I haven't seen any problems. Fades and speed look to be working too.

I put a kill-a-watt on my Ren64 and it pulls between 0.13 normally and 0.14 amps when everything is on.

Everything on a DirkCheapSSR is just a single strand of LEDs (if that matters). The parts are from the group buy or like parts I bought later.

Should I just snip out the diagnostic LEDs on the REN64 to be on the safe side?

Now I swore I saw some oddly slow fades at one point when testing but I was using DMX if that matters. I haven't seen anything odd with using RS485/Renard protocol.

-
Jason

Materdaddy
11-22-2012, 10:30 PM
It's not cold here, but two of my 3 dirkcheaps are experiencing some sort of problem. I have no idea what the problem is yet, I'll be debugging one in the garage tonight after the kids go to bed and one tomorrow with a multimeter on the roof. I'm really hoping neither have anything to do with this... I really don't want to retrofit the dirkcheaps with 330 ohm resistors. Especially since I don't have any 330 ohm in my case o' resistors!

Materdaddy
11-22-2012, 10:31 PM
I have a Simple Ren32 running with 6 DirkCheapSSRs, 1 NEON, and 4 channels sitting unused. These 6 are for arches and no troubles.

A Ren64 with 13 DirkCheapSSRs and the rest on it is a couple Neons and an SSRez. No snags there everything powers up. These are for wreaths / window frames and lighting poles.

I have a couple sequences that turn everything on and I haven't seen any problems. Fades and speed look to be working too.

I put a kill-a-watt on my Ren64 and it pulls between 0.13 normally and 0.14 amps when everything is on.

Everything on a DirkCheapSSR is just a single strand of LEDs (if that matters). The parts are from the group buy or like parts I bought later.

Should I just snip out the diagnostic LEDs on the REN64 to be on the safe side?

Now I swore I saw some oddly slow fades at one point when testing but I was using DMX if that matters. I haven't seen anything odd with using RS485/Renard protocol.

-
Jason

I only saw a .09 pull from my Ren64 with all channels on 100% and on-board LEDs installed. Maybe my Kill-a-watt is broken?

dirknerkle
11-23-2012, 12:50 AM
It snowed here today -- and all my controllers are already covered with the stuff. Current temperature is 30F and headed down from there. One of the controllers has a Simple24 and a MegaDirkCheap inside it, which is essentially 6 DirkCheaps on one board. It is powered by a healthy 1.5A wall wart, mounted inside the CG1000 case with everything else, which includes a Ren-W as well.

It's worked flawlessly all night. I think that perhaps one key is having a power supply that's got enough headroom to ensure that there's ample current to drive all the electronics.

DaveJZ
11-23-2012, 03:32 AM
I will run my test show all of tomorrow evening so I will know how much I will be affected. There are a couple of songs that have small areas of heavy movement of lights (DirkSSR's was used on a 14ft long, 7ft tall arch filled with lights, 20 channels total with 1-100ct incan per channel) The board is powered by the supply from the group buy on the Ren64.

I would have to believe that if there are trigger issues from the VO2223 this would cause dimming issues, very well could be intermittent based on the load of the controller.

I guess I'll find out if and how much tomorrow.

I don't want anyone to get the impression that they should not use these, Everyone's conditions will be different and my experience with this SSR may be different from others. I am only letting everyone know my experience... That's what we are here for right?

Materdaddy
11-23-2012, 02:57 PM
My DirkCheaps need to be modified somehow. I will likely have to swap out resistors.

I have one that I plan on using for one set of incans per channel that won't work with about 40' of cat-5 between the Ren64 and the SSR. If I plug it in near the Ren64 it works fine.

What is the best way to go about determining the proper resistor value? Also, if I just get "close" by using something I have on hand, is it better to go up or down in resistance, and by how much after finding a calculated value?

Materdaddy
11-23-2012, 03:19 PM
My DirkCheaps need to be modified somehow. I will likely have to swap out resistors.

I have one that I plan on using for one set of incans per channel that won't work with about 40' of cat-5 between the Ren64 and the SSR. If I plug it in near the Ren64 it works fine.

What is the best way to go about determining the proper resistor value? Also, if I just get "close" by using something I have on hand, is it better to go up or down in resistance, and by how much after finding a calculated value?

Well, replaced with an SSRNeon and I still cannot get that section to work. My cheap CAT-5 tester shows that cable as "OK", but I think something is strange. I re-crimped both sides of the cable, but nothing...

kychristmas
11-23-2012, 03:27 PM
Well, replaced with an SSRNeon and I still cannot get that section to work. My cheap CAT-5 tester shows that cable as "OK", but I think something is strange. I re-crimped both sides of the cable, but nothing...

Thanks for reporting back. I was getting nervous. Most of my runs are between 15 and 25 feet. I'm more concerned about the 24 channels I'm driving with a 24lv. I can't change that transformer easily.

This is the first year where I don't have extra equipment hanging around. So my options for resolving problems are limited.

Materdaddy
11-23-2012, 04:14 PM
Well, replaced with an SSRNeon and I still cannot get that section to work. My cheap CAT-5 tester shows that cable as "OK", but I think something is strange. I re-crimped both sides of the cable, but nothing...

Coupler.

Thought I had it narrowed down twice. First was the cable. It had a pin that wasn't compressed by my crimper. I had re-crimped and tested before my last post, so I knew the cable was good. Then I used my mutlimeter to test voltage at the SSR end where I found low voltage on pins 1/7. (Pin 1 was the previously uncrimped one). Turns out the un-crimped pin screwed up my RJ45 couplers' pin-1 spring. Since I was trying so many things, I botched 3 separate couplers before realizing that was the problem. Luckily they're easily popped open and the pin can be bent back so they're not broken for good.

Goes to show, just because there's a popular thread discussing random problems with something doesn't mean it's your problem! :omg:

JasonPortwood
11-23-2012, 04:33 PM
Here's the question: As a quick fix would cutting the diagnostic LEDs out of the Ren64 help?

I don't have the problem occuring but I'd like a fall back incase it does happen. My cable runs are about 50' at the longest (only one of those) and from there it goes down 5 or so feet for each of my 7 runs to my roof.

Also could/will the Simple Renard 32's have a problem with this too? My cable runs for those are very short (15' at most). I plan on using more of those next year so I need to plan.

Mactayl
11-23-2012, 06:32 PM
Also could/will the Simple Renard 32's have a problem with this too? My cable runs for those are very short (15' at most). I plan on using more of those next year so I need to plan.

I haven't seen any yet with the SR 32's, I will know more once I start my show but I am at a location were it rarely gets below freezing.

dirknerkle
11-23-2012, 07:31 PM
It's 18F here in the Twin Cities, headed down to 12F tonite. The DirkCheap is working just fine so I don't really think there's going to be much of an issue with it. The VO2223A chip is spec'ed down to -40 so I'm not anticipating any issues with respect to temperature.

Mactayl
11-23-2012, 07:35 PM
It's 18F here in the Twin Cities, headed down to 12F tonite. The DirkCheap is working just fine so I don't really think there's going to be much of an issue with it. The VO2223A chip is spec'ed down to -40 so I'm not anticipating any issues with respect to temperature.

Brrrr That's Cold :shock:

DaveJZ
11-23-2012, 09:37 PM
Well.. it's not good....

As they are.. I have issues... when the load on the board goes up the dirkssr's start to dim... some channels do not even light on the same ssr. My opinion.. If I were anyone... and had these issues... I would find a way to fix before using... I will do some changes to the sequencing to see if I can drop the load with out changing parts...

KY- I'm currently using a few of your sequences.. and the result is very noticeable.. my 24 channels are 25ft from controller...

The most noticeable area is where the candy canes are side by side on different ssr's... one side is definitely brighter then the other side.. Half tempted to find the parts to build a Regular SSR for that side as well...

Going to change the intensity of different areas on that board... will update if any better

DaveJZ
11-23-2012, 10:56 PM
I think that perhaps one key is having a power supply that's got enough headroom to ensure that there's ample current to drive all the electronics.

So in my case I'm using the power supply from the buys... would you suggest something different for better results?

P. Short
11-23-2012, 11:11 PM
Can you measure the voltage on the controller when "the load on the board goes up"? If the power supply is suspect (as your post implies) you should really isolate, identify and solve this problem first. What is the distance between the power supply and the controller, and what gauge wire are you using for bringing power from the supply to the controller?

DaveJZ
11-23-2012, 11:53 PM
The supply is about 8 inches from the board, the wire is stranded 14gauge from the supply to the Board

Is power supply really my issue since I have 2 other Ren64's fully loaded using SSR's with the MOC3023 that work flawlessly, then I have this board... I can test tomorrow.

I really don't think my post implies that the power supply is my issue, I think my supply is now good, and so is my board... I think my issues are leading up (or lack there of) power supplied to my board during a sequence... in other words the amount Dirks are not working with my Ren64, because of current issues... but if it was loaded with A/C SSR's this board would react just as the rest of my 128 channels.

tstraub
11-24-2012, 12:36 AM
Has anybody tested these Dirk Cheap SSRs using non PWM firmware? If the VO2223A will reliably latch and not cause a flicker problem switching to non PWM could help to get the current needed from the transformer down.

kychristmas
11-24-2012, 12:57 AM
Has anybody tested these Dirk Cheap SSRs using non PWM firmware? If the VO2223A will reliably latch and not cause a flicker problem switching to non PWM could help to get the current needed from the transformer down.

So far, I think Dave is the only one having trouble. I'm hoping to be able to test on Sunday. Of course, I'm hoping for no troubles.

DaveJZ
11-24-2012, 01:12 AM
After the test show ended today.. I tested some more.. so was it really over??? lol

I only tried this on one song and had very positive results... I picked the song that had the most issues. The only issue I could see afterwards is intermittent flicker instead of being extremely dim or not on at all..

I selected the entire sequence, "find and replace" and changed every cell that was 99 and 100 to 98.

This showed very positive results.. I can deal with a flicker here and there... I have changed all of my songs to this and will run the show tomorrow to see how it goes.

Anyone know if I'm at 98 for max intensity what the next drop would be to lessen the load?? That is without making fades to difficult fix... don't want to totally screw things up... so for those of you running with no issues... what are you using for max intensity on your sequences?
In all reality I would have only needed to do this on that board.. but figured why not do it to all.. Will know more tomorrow

JasonPortwood
11-24-2012, 10:44 PM
It's cold tonight... I'm noticing some lag here and there with the Ren64 that has the DirkCheapSSRs on it. This even goes to the SSRs that are plugged into it.

I'm thinking about doing the following tomorrow.

1. Cut as much slack out of the ethernet cables that I can. Some lengths I know are a bit long and can be shortened a few feet at least.

2. Cut the diagnostic LEDs off the Ren64. It still pulls the same amperage of .14 max maybe it's too quick for the killawatt?

Would any of this help or do I really need to switch resistors?

Thanks for any input.

Jason

dirknerkle
11-24-2012, 10:54 PM
I'm sure it's a lot colder here (17F) than it is there, and I'm not seeing any lag. I really don't think it's a temperature issue.

DaveJZ
11-25-2012, 01:32 AM
I'm sure it's a lot colder here (17F) than it is there, and I'm not seeing any lag. I really don't think it's a temperature issue.

I agree... It was quite brisk last night, 20 with wind chill factor... tonight it was actually a decent night.. results were the same tonight as last after the change.. still noticeable to me but I also know what it's suppose to do.. Spectators would probably not see it. With heavy channel use they still dim...

Didn't get a chance to test board power since I had to hang lights at the inlaws.... you know.. to keep peace :omg:

I am curious when others test what the results will be... It's evident this may only be a higher channel board issue..

DaveJZ
11-25-2012, 01:40 AM
It's cold tonight... I'm noticing some lag here and there with the Ren64 that has the DirkCheapSSRs on it. This even goes to the SSRs that are plugged into it.
Jason

Are you saying that the lag is both with the A/C SSR's and the Dirks... or just the Dirks.. the issue I see is only on the Dirks SSR's...

P. Short
11-25-2012, 02:36 AM
I don't really think that people are going to see a big difference with lower temperatures, despite the comments that I made earlier. With 680 ohm input resistors the VO2223 chips are being driven with 50% of their specified drive current. It appears that people are experiencing varying results, which doesn't surprise me...

ebrady
11-25-2012, 09:25 AM
I agree, results will vary. Temperature could be a factor in the differences, but if so, only a small contributor. The 680 ohm resistor combined with the extra power needed by the triac is the root cause. If you are having problems, I see a couple of options to combat this.

1 - Modify sequence to lessen the effect this has on the show (i.e. Change the max brightness levels from 100% to something lower or not as many channels are on at once).

2 - Decrease the distance of the CAT 5 cable between the control board and the Dirk SSR, if possible. This will allow a little more current to be made available to the VO223.

3 - Change the resistors on the Dirk SSRs to a lower value. This fix will have the most impact, however it will work only if the micros and the power supply of your control board can handle the additional current. 330 ohm is the recommended value, but any value between 330 and 680 will show improvement in case the 330 draws too much current from the board.

4. Do nothing. Some people may not see a problem at all due to the configuration of their show, manufacturing tolerances of the chip, CAT 5 length, etc.

My 2 cents.

tstraub
11-25-2012, 10:00 AM
I don't have any of these SSRs I'm just going off of what I'm reading in this thread and making assumptions. It seems that cable length and the amount of channels on are contributing factors do to voltage drop on the cat-5 and the selected resistor value is right on the edge of working. Using this info it makes since to me that the largest voltage drop will be on the +5 volt wire connected to pin 1 of the RJ-45 connector at both the controller and SSR. This wire feeds all 4 VO2223A chips so it makes since that it has the most voltage drop.

There are 2 unused wires in the cat-5 cable connecting the controller to the SSR. These wires are the ones connected to pins 3 and 5 at both the controller and the SSR. So If I were in the situation of SSRs that work OK with short cables and not with long ones and had no lower value resistors on hand. I would short pins 1, 3, and 5 together at both the the controller and SSR. This will effectively make use of three wires instead of just 1 where I suspect the largest voltage drop is. I can't say it will solve everybody's issues but I would give it a shot.

Tyler

P. Short
11-25-2012, 12:24 PM
I agree, results will vary. Temperature could be a factor in the differences, but if so, only a small contributor. The 680 ohm resistor combined with the extra power needed by the triac is the root cause. If you are having problems, I see a couple of options to combat this.

1 - Modify sequence to lessen the effect this has on the show (i.e. Change the max brightness levels from 100% to something lower or not as many channels are on at once).

2 - Decrease the distance of the CAT 5 cable between the control board and the Dirk SSR, if possible. This will allow a little more current to be made available to the VO223.

3 - Change the resistors on the Dirk SSRs to a lower value. This fix will have the most impact, however it will work only if the micros and the power supply of your control board can handle the additional current. 330 ohm is the recommended value, but any value between 330 and 680 will show improvement in case the 330 draws too much current from the board.

4. Do nothing. Some people may not see a problem at all due to the configuration of their show, manufacturing tolerances of the chip, CAT 5 length, etc.

My 2 cents.

I don't think that number 1 would have any effect unless the resistors are reduced to less than 680 ohms AND there is a 5V power supply issue on the controller board with those reduced-value resistors.

Again, just my 2 cents.

JasonPortwood
11-25-2012, 12:35 PM
I shortened my cables quite a bit. I really over did it on the length and cut out at least 40ft on the ones running up to the roof (7 runs - about 10-15ft for 5 of them that were too long). I really over did it, it's what I get for eyeballing the distance.
The ones on the SimpleRen32 I shorted about 4ft each.

Then I cut out another 40ft or so out of the main network cable connection between all my Renards. I'm using 232 channels running 57600. It's within the limits on distance/amount but I figured I was out there cleaning up for the DirkCheapSSRs might as well clean up all around.

Right now it's 38 degrees and everything is running smooth. It was colder when I started this morning but no problems then either.

dirknerkle
11-25-2012, 05:53 PM
FYI, when we tested the DirkCheapSSR prototype we tested indoors with varying length cables. We tested up to 150 feet with stranded cable and it still functioned accurately. And because the SSR was developed in the spring (well after the freezing temperatures had left) no temperature-based testing was done. Given the chip's spec dips down to -40C, we didn't expect that temperature would have much bearing on the VO2223a chip's performance -- at least not the *normal* temperatures where people live, anyway.

Our initial resistor selection (per the specs) was 120ohms, and the chip performed perfectly. However, at this level, we felt the chip would be too close to the limit of current a PIC could either source or sink, so we tried other values. We tried 330 ohms and that worked fine, too, but the total current would still have been too high for the SimpleRen32 to manage. Mathematically, the 680 seemed to be a good match for the SimpleRen32, and it was common to most all other SSRs on the market. We tested both 100 and 150 foot cabling with the SSR each time we changed resistors and we found it to perform adequately.

What we did not test were various configurations of controller/power supply combinations insofar as our standard (here at DIGWDF anyway) is to use a power supply that provides at least 200% of the required base current required by the controller or device. Consequently our test bench has 1.5A , 3A and 5A power supplies and/or transformers. (This concept seems to smack in the face of our MiniRen controllers which use a 300ma Radio Shack transformer, but 300ma is more than adequate for those small, wireless 4 and 8-channel controllers and that transformer was primarily chosen for its small footprint.)

We have built DirkCheapSSR's into some of our own display pieces and have not experienced any of the issues users have expressed. That said, we do locate our controllers outdoors in centralized locations relative to the display pieces they are assigned to control. This effectively minimizes the length of all cable runs. We also power many of our controllers with a 1.5A 6vac wall wart (see photo). We like it because it is compact enough to fit inside the same CG-1000 cases common to so many DIYC projects and because it provides ample current and voltage (actual measured voltage is 7vac) too. At 1.5amps, we never worry that our devices will suffer from a lack of current.

We are saddened to read that users have encountered these issues with the DirkCheapSSR, and we're encouraged at some of the creative and helpful comments shared by users who've found some nice workarounds. Shorter cable lengths makes good sense, as does lowering the light intensity, and certainly, changing the resistor can make a difference, too. Even soldering another resistor in parallel with the 680 will effectively lower the overall resistance, so you don't necessarily need to remove the 680 to change the resistance to a lower value. For example, soldering a second 680 right next to the existing one equates to a resistance of 340 ohms.

In any event, we felt it may be helpful to some users to know how we use the DirkCheapSSR ourselves and how we power our electronics, and we wanted to post the information.

DaveJZ
11-26-2012, 12:09 AM
Dirk... This is what this hobby is about... isn't it? try things until it's right?

JasonPortwood
11-26-2012, 07:28 AM
I'm just glad he said that the 380 resistor would be too much for the Simple Renard 32. I didn't know that and I was planning on using those a bunch next year. Now I have to think this out (well just go Ren64) but I've been working on grouping things closer together.

JasonPortwood
11-26-2012, 07:58 AM
Also update. 33.6 degrees right now, by weatherbugs website, lights were turned on this morning and everything played normally through one busy sequence.

Is that a fair test to start completely cold like that and think if the first one plays it should be good to go?

glaforce
11-26-2012, 09:19 AM
I'm using 8 of them all on Ren64 and have had no issues other a couple of bad moc chips which seemed to be bad from the start. I'm using the channel LEDs on my 64 but I'm also using a larger transformer on my 64 its a 3amp. I have simple 32 as well however no dirkcheaps on any other those. All of my cheaps are being controlled by about 40' of flat satin 28awg cable.

Gary

Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2

DaveJZ
11-27-2012, 11:57 PM
Sooooo.. Since it's about 25 degrees outside I decided to take a closer look at things. I got a chance to pull the power supply, and see what it's rated. It is only a 6v 1 amp. I dug around my box of unused power supplies and could not find one any better... I did find a 9v 2amp... I figured I'd give it a shot.. well it worked.. and things worked great for about 5 minutes until the controller stopped responding... I hooked up the original 6v 1 amp and things came back.

I guess it should be noted somewhere that on the 64 channel boards it is recommended to us the larger power supply... With DirksCheap

Now the fun question.. anyone know where I can find a 6v 3amp power supply by oh..um.. end of the week??? I can check at work but doubt There will be any (I think I've already thumbed through them for something else)

I guess the show will go on as is until I find something better...

and sorry it took so long to finally look into my issue... not that I didn't want to.. but can't make this my life..

ebrady
11-28-2012, 01:33 AM
I did find a 9v 2amp... I figured I'd give it a shot.. well it worked.. and things worked great for about 5 minutes until the controller stopped responding...

The lockup was likely caused by regulator U1 overheating.... If you can not find a larger transformer, you may be able to use the 9V if you heatsink the regulator.

EasyGo
11-28-2012, 02:06 AM
... Now the fun question.. anyone know where I can find a 6v 3amp power supply by oh..um.. end of the week??? ...

Mouser has 'em for $12.51 plus shipping, but it might be expensive to get them by the end of the week:

http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Triad-Magnetics/F16X/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvwUzoUXIIvycT6np3HRZBQMX%2fc6jRKnjE% 3d

GL!

DaveJZ
11-28-2012, 02:18 AM
Mouser has 'em for $12.51 plus shipping, but it might be expensive to get them by the end of the week:

http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Triad-Magnetics/F16X/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvwUzoUXIIvycT6np3HRZBQMX%2fc6jRKnjE% 3d

GL!

I was thinking that..

yeah... I'll see if my wife has something that plugs in that I could use... ??? she complains about my stuff... it would only be fair for her to share