View Full Version : How do I remove 8 function controller from light string?

07-17-2008, 05:00 AM
I have some icicle lights with 8 function controllers on them. Can somebody please explain how to remove them so I can controll the icicles with a Grinch.
Pictures or a sketch would be helpful.

Thanks, Terry

07-17-2008, 05:27 AM
Easy! It was the first thing I learnt how to do! I'm sure you won't have any problems.

07-17-2008, 05:57 AM

That is exactly what I needed. Thankyou very much.

Cheers, Terry

07-17-2008, 06:06 AM
Well it's about the only thing I've got right so far! ;)

If you (or anyone else) wonders how you connect it to an SSR, it's dead easy. Neutral you keep connected with a power wire and each one of the strands coming from the lights goes into the 1-4 outputs and then wire from the power goes into AC. It's pretty obvious once you work out how the controller's connected though. Might take a quick swap around to find out which it string 1, string 2, etc.

07-19-2008, 03:16 PM
Is there a way to easily modify the speed at which the controller runs through it's sequence (ie chase speed)?

07-19-2008, 03:52 PM
Changing controller speed

It is also possible to change the speed of the controller. It changes the speed of all of the 8 functions. Can be handy for some special effects.

Inspect the circuit closely. You will discover one resistor that purely connects one IC pin to another IC pin. That is the timing resistor. Reduce its value to speed up the controller. Increase it to slow it down. Or change it to a variable resistor so you can alter it at will.
this may or maynot work on newer controllers...
read more here http://computerchristmas.com/christmas/link-how_to/HowToId-23/Make_an_8-function_controller_remember_the_setting

09-05-2008, 11:57 PM

I have some 16pc LED Fibre Optic Light strings (Pictures attached) I want to remove or modify the 8 function controller so it becomes a simple on - off set. I believe it is a bit more complicated than mini light sets because of the resistors etc. They run off a 24v wall wart. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Terry



09-06-2008, 01:07 AM
Any chance of a slightly clearer photo?

09-06-2008, 01:20 AM
What controller/ssr combination are you planning on using to control the leds ?

Can you post a picture of the underside of the board as sometimes there can be components/links mounted there.

I have done what you want to some different sets of led lights that use that basic controller so I will be able to help.


09-06-2008, 03:26 AM
Hi.. Ok, i tryed to figure it out, but i can't figure out the values..

Theres 3 'channels' in that controller.. Is there four wires going out to the leds? One will be a common ( probably tied to ground, although not entirely guarrenteed )....

each channel will need a resistor in series with it...

09-06-2008, 04:20 AM
From my understanding - and so far it's worked for me, but that's no guarantee :grin: - you remove the controller based on the same principal as removing it from a incandescent set. So there will be each of your channels and 1 neutral/power/common, whatever you want to call it.

As MPH has said, the difference is that you will need a resistor for each string of LEDs and that will go on each of the "channels" you removed. Another tricky thing you'll have to take note of is each coloured LED will be slightly different so you'll end up needing different resistors for each channel. I used this site http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz to calculate the resistor I needed. Another note is that they'll be 1 watt resistors, they're a bit bigger (in size) than the ones we normally use for boards. Those 16 light strings you're talking about are 4 channels of 4 LEDS each (4 different colours) so you'll need to do a seperate calculation for each. Just use the standard measurements the calculator gives you for each colour as they're not special LEDs.

As a little tip - I took apart one of these sets to just see what was going on and how it was wired up. I found that ultra helpful to understand how it all worked, but you may not want to do that if you've only got a limited amount of lights.

One thing I’m unsure of is that I have 1 set of static LED lights that had a bridge rectifier on it (I believe that’s 4 diodes in like a diamond configuration and something about it changes AC to DC??) and this set doesn’t. Like the resistors, I think it might be “hidden” in the controller – there are certainly 4 diodes on the controller, but they’re not in that diamond configuration. Being the total noob I am, maybe someone with more knowledge can say if the modified LEDs need a rectifier on it as well?

09-06-2008, 04:29 AM
Hi Terry

These controllers are usually 2 or 4 channels. I think this one is a 4 chanel (so there will be 2 wires coming in and 5 wires going out. (But I can't quite see either)

On the conventional controllers I've pulled to bits the transistor looking things are SCRs - the power fed to the lights is full wave rectified but with no filtering so the voltage drops enough to turn the SCR off a couple of times/cycle .
(I'm hoping that capacitor at the bottom is there as backup power to the chip when its not powered so it remembers its setting)

Those 4 resistors in a row - they don't usually appear on the boards I've seen for non - led lights - I'd look to see if they are the series resistors mrpackethead is referring to. They will be in series with 4 of the five wires going out. The other end of the resistors will end up on one of the 4 scr's.

The thing I find interesting with these controllers is that they actually send (unfiltered) DC to the lights. Obviously DC is necessary for LED strings.. but they seem to do it with the minis as well. I guess its a cheaper way to do it?

Are you planning to put a ssroz on the 24V to control them? If that's the plan then I guess all we need to figure out is to how to bypass the controller chip and make sure the 4 SCRs stay on all the time that power is on to the controller.. changing a couple of tracks ought to do it.

That's probably the easist way.. you can use the power supply you already have and the resistors already there will do the trick.

As already mentioned - can we have some clearer pictures on the front and back of the board?


09-06-2008, 04:41 AM
And... as tp pointed out you might need a different resistor per led colour. Looking at the pic all the resistors are the same value (as far as I can tell)... looking at the packaging in the pic ... its looks like only one colour of leds being used? AHA!

Do you want each of the channels to switch all together or 4 separate channels?

09-06-2008, 05:15 AM
Thanks Guys

I have attached 2 more pictures (I hope they help)
I hope to run these off a Grinch and SSROZ.
They are only one colour (clear)
I would like all 16 LED's to turn off and on together.
Wall Wart that came with them is 24v AC 150mA 3.6VA.
I would prefer to modify board if possible.
My electrical knowledge is ZERO so simpler the better.

Thanks again, Terry



09-06-2008, 05:44 AM

Do you want to trash to board or be able to reinstate it as a controller later on. It would also be easier if you used 1 set of lights per oz ssr board that way you could re usethe plugpack.


09-06-2008, 05:46 AM
Ok, picture helps no end..

This is defintinly a four channel devices. The four resistors together i can't quite make out the colours.. Is it yellow - brown - black - gold ??

On the small black three legged devices, is there any writing?

I'm picking they are a small FET. The controller IC, is that thing in the middle.. The rest of its just a power supply.. ( rectifying diodes and a cap ).

09-06-2008, 05:58 AM
Here's the tracks that are switched by the FET/SCR.

My first Idea is to bridge the tracks shown in Red

This will definitely void the warranty. but it looks like this will take out the controller bit.

(usual disclaimers - its up to you I take no responsibility etc!!)

Someone with more knowledge then me might want to comment on any potential side effects of this on the controller itself. Maybe if you cut the tracks to the gate of the Fet/SCR to be sure. MPH or others - advice?


09-06-2008, 06:10 AM

Do you want to trash to board or be able to reinstate it as a controller later on. It would also be easier if you used 1 set of lights per oz ssr board that way you could re usethe plugpack.


If I need to trash the board I will. Hopefully TimW's idea will work. I have a large 24v transformer (25A) so I will not be using the plugpack that came with it.

09-06-2008, 06:18 AM
Try this if you dont mind unsoldering the components. You can keep all the connections to the LEDs intact and reuse the plugpack and the original housing the board came in.

09-06-2008, 07:06 AM
Try this if you dont mind unsoldering the components. You can keep all the connections to the LEDs intact and reuse the plugpack and the original housing the board came in.

Sorry prof, but I don't understand. I want the whole set to be run on 1 channel and I won't be using the plugpack (I will have a bunch of 24v sets running off one large transformer) Like I said, I am not very bright when it comes to electricity so I need simple instructions. Sorry for being a pain.

Thanks, Terry

09-06-2008, 07:36 AM

Is this picture simpler. Add the bridges underneath as per Tims picture


09-06-2008, 08:32 AM
That is much better. Thanks very much. I will give it a go tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

Thankyou all, Terry

09-06-2008, 10:00 AM
That's an angle I didn't think of - modify the controller. Certainly keep it all together, great idea guys.

Here's my quick and dirty version . . . I took pictures because I'm lousy at explanation, should have just done that to start with! Hope it's of some help.

Also, sorry I wasn't paying attention - I thought you had the exact same lights as me. If I had have paid attention, I would have realised you have white ones. I got the 4 colour (red, blue, orange and green) ones. Sorry if I confused you talking about colours!

09-06-2008, 11:17 AM
Hi tp

Like you said in the previous post - you seem to have removed the rectifier as well. (Yep - it is hiding on the board). This may not be such a good idea - for a couple of reasons.

- you're not getting the best power outcome (and frankly, who doesn't need more power/brightness!). When you're feeding the leds with AC power , half the time the Led will not be connected with the right polarity - so there will be no current for at least half the time. This cycles pretty quickly ( that 50Hz cycle) - so you'd probably only notice it as a flicker if at all. DC (rectified)- should provide more brightness though because the led is on all the time.

- also many leds I have known personally don't really like much reverse voltage across them. This might not be a problem if you have several in series but if it was only 1 led I think -24v might produce the magic smoke. So in general its better to keep them supplied with DC and limit the current with those resistors.


09-06-2008, 12:03 PM
Thanks for that Tim, that's great to know, never had it explained to me. I had noticed a slight flicker, but hadn't connected the dots. Makes it ultra confusing when they work both ways, even if it's not for the long term!

Kinda a little bit off topic, but it is about LEDs :grin:. It's AC from the wall, it's DC from a Grinch, or any board for that matter - is that right? In that case I won't need a rectifier to drive LEDs directly from a Grinch?

I'm glad mr collingwood asked this question.

09-06-2008, 12:05 PM
When completely removing the led string from the controller and wiring directly to the SSROZ this is the way I do it using a small 1A bridge rectifier.

It works for me.


09-08-2008, 03:27 AM
I did as suggested by TimW and Prof and it worked like a charm. Of course, I knew it would. I love this forum. I would be sitting in a corner pulling my hair out if it weren't for you guys and gals.
I just wish I didn't have a work function on this weekend so I could attend the Melb Mini. I could have learned a lot and watched the mighty Pies beat the Saints at the G.
Oh well, maybe next year.
Thanks again to all, Terry

09-13-2008, 07:37 AM
and watched the mighty Pies beat the Saints at the G.

doesnt look too good at the end of the 3rd quarter.. will see what the last quarter brings.. go the pies!!

09-13-2008, 09:38 PM
Oh well, maybe next year.

09-16-2008, 04:42 AM
Sorry to drag this up again guys

I have been following this discussion for a while. Last year I purchased some long strings of LED's from k'mart. These are something like 500 LED string and multi colored and multi function. I wanted to mod these to be driven by an olsen 595 and ssroz to control the colors as channels with vixen. I am using the original transformer that came with the set. Details are 240 volt in 24 volt out. 880mA 16.3VA.
The issue I have is that I have pulled the controller apart and the board has no resistors where previous boards on this thread have. Is it that the amount of LEDs on this string negate the need for these or is it something in the tranny that eliminates the need (or am I just not seeing something)?
While i'm at it, I want to be able to cut up one of these strings into short sections for a part of my display. will there be any issues with using the same tranny and just running it to all the sections and also will this mean that I need to add the resistor as previously stated in this thread?

09-16-2008, 05:26 AM
Well my understanding is that you will still need the rectifier - to change AC to DC. My guess is that because it's a big long string, there's probably enough LEDs in each series to bypass needing a resistor. If it's not there in the original, you probably don't need it. So you just need the 4 diodes (the black things with the grey stripe).

As for cutting it up into sections, you can do that, but you have to be careful. Easiest way is to cut it into the different series.

09-16-2008, 07:19 AM
Hey thanks for the reply.
The four diodes on the board. Do they just go in place of the resistors shown in the diagram in Profs post?
If I where to cut this string up should I then replace them with appropriate resistors or should I be using both?
Also I was under the impression that the SSROZ was for AC applications. I am new to this sort of thing but I also assumed that the tranny put out AC. If this one puts out DC will I be able to use the SSROZ or will I have to use a DC version?
Thanks for putting up with us newbys.
A small amount of knowledge can be a dangerous thing

09-16-2008, 07:42 AM
Oh boy . . . I'm a newbie too! We are like a disease, almost. ;) I try to answer questions as a way of paying forward the help I've received. John (wjohn) gave an excellent explaination of LEDs/rectifiers/AC and DC at the Melbourne Mini on the weekend. So this is a good way of making sure I've understood it all!

Leave the diodes as they are. See the pics a few posts up - it's a case of remove everything all bar the diodes. As for the SSRs, I think you connect before the diode so the current is still AC. I'll take a pic of the LEDs I've already connected to an SSR to show you. Give me a tick.

09-16-2008, 08:26 AM

Do you want to control the individual channels on the lights (there are 4) or do you just need to have all the lights in the string come on together.


09-16-2008, 08:37 AM
joshlisa - can you also take a pic of the box and the lights as well? The lack of current limiting resistors is interesting.


09-16-2008, 07:39 PM
Thanks for the replies.

Yes I do want to be able to control the 4 strings separately. I have a few of these strings and being able to have all the lights in my show in one color than another should look good.
I will go out to the shed in a little while and snap some pics of the string of LEDs but I ditched the boxes last year when I got them.
You where asking about the packaging yes?
I hope these pics are alright. The string is log enough to go around the front of my house, down one side and around my double shed. Hope this all helps.

09-16-2008, 10:29 PM
The lack of a resistor would indicate Pulse Width Modulation is being used and the supplier is using the Transformer current limit and has adjusted the ON time to limit the current to a "safe" limit.

So my guess is you won't want to connect them directly to a DC source without measuring a few things.

With a bit more information we might be able to help out.

Are all the LEDs grouped by Colour? ie Do all the red LEDs light up together?
How many LEDs per string ( connected in series)?


09-17-2008, 02:09 AM
Try this.

Remove the Led light string from the controller. You could use a small bridge rectifier but if it is easier for you to reuse the controller board I have shown a pic of where to solder wires onto 2 of the diodes, for power to the SSR. You can remove unused components form the board if you like (just leave the 4 diodes). Then connect it up as per 2nd pic.


09-17-2008, 03:14 AM
Try this.

Remove the Led light string from the controller. You could use a small bridge rectifier but if it is easier for you to reuse the controller board I have shown a pic of where to solder wires onto 2 of the diodes, for power to the SSR. You can remove unused components form the board if you like (just leave the 4 diodes). Then connect it up as per 2nd pic.


Hadn't thought of that. Unfiltered full wave rectification returns to 0v just like the AC stuff. Neat!

09-17-2008, 06:06 AM
Thanks for the replies guys.
I really wish I could try this out but.....I am having a real problem getting my 595's working (see 595 thread).
Just a stupid question...In the interest of neatness would there be any issue removing the components from the board and re-working them on a bread board so long as they stay in the same sequence?

09-24-2008, 05:13 AM
Another controller. This one for a super long Rope Light. The Heatsinks on the Triacs broke the board so I want to be able to control this with an SSROZ. Pictures attached. Any suggestions. The Rope light has a label on it for approx 5 volts but no big tranny. I take it is on the board. I wish they would standardize these things....

09-25-2008, 12:44 AM

is there markings on the rope light stating that it is 240v rope light?

Be very careful with anything to do with 240v and if you are unsure, don't do it.

If you are sure that it is 240v rope light, look at the circuit board where the rope light solders to it and after careful study you will find that two of the wire will connect to the triacs, these are your switched or active wires, one for each colour, and the third wire will be the return or neutral wire. Connect the neutral wire of the rope light to the neutral wire of the 240v input. This does not get connected to the SSR.
Connect each of the rope light active wires to the output of your SSRs and connect the 240v active wire to the inputs of your SSR.
You should now be able to control your rope light.
Ensure all your connections secure and that there is no bare wire and encase it all in plastic box.

I would highly recommend that you power it through a safety switch to be sure.
I have modified some Mort Bay rope light like this and it works well.


09-25-2008, 03:42 AM
Thanks for the reply. The rope light is 240 volt at the plug and unless there is something on the board that drops the voltage it must be 240 volt. I guess that was my question in the start. So long as none of the elements on the control board drop the voltage than this seems rather simple. I guess the smart thing to do is use the same heatsinks on my SSR triacs.
Thanks for the tips

09-26-2008, 09:18 AM
unless there is something on the board that drops the voltage it must be 240 volt.

Yep... you are right.

But I'm still a bit worried about that little transformer-like thing on the board. What's it for??? Might not drop the voltage... or might........

(Might, say, halve it??? Depends on the ropelight)

However, The 5V tag you mentioned is not making much sense when you look at the rating on the capacitors and the size of the connecting wires. Super long ropelight at 5v will require lots of current!

So be careful. Firstly to protect yourself. Secondly to protect the lights!

It might be a terrible waste to guess and get it wrong...

Really need to take care with this 240V stuff. As already mentioned, please get someone who knows what they're doing to look at it if you aren't sure. This is a very different proposition to the 24V circuits we were playing with earlier in this thread.

Safety switches are always a good idea.... But if thats a step down transformer the safety switch isn't going to provide total protection at present (and you're probably going to wreck the lights if you connect them to 240V). Seems to me the smart thing is to figure this out before you connect the lights directly to ssroz @ 240V!

Bottom line - I'm not sure we've got to the certain answer on this yet... apart from the need to be careful.....

(Have I said "be careful" enough yet? :) Its important!)


09-30-2008, 07:28 AM
Thanks for your help Tim. I bit the bullet and just wired the 240V plug to the rope light string Crossed my fingers and flicked the switch. It worked. All that is left to do is put that SSR in the way.
Thanks for all your help guys.
I am yet to play with the LED's though. I will let you know how I get on.
Its all getting a bit close now.

09-30-2008, 08:07 AM
Crossing your fingers and flicking the switch works sometimes. But not the recommended approach!

Glad it worked and you're all in one piece. :)


09-30-2008, 05:40 PM
As part of this thread has been talking about using a rectifier to feed power to an ssr to drive strings of leds from the outputs i was wondering if anyone knows if you need to change the value of the gate resistor on the ssr. If your using 230v the gate resistor value would be 330 ohms but if you rectify it through a full wave rectifier the voltage is effectively 230 * 1.414 = 325 Volts. So do you change the gate resistor to be around 480 ohms or will it still be okay at 330 ohms? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

09-30-2008, 05:50 PM
I asked a similar question, for a different reason - http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4338
That's the answer I got if it's any help.