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Thread: Dimming the grinch - confused

  1. #1
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    Question Dimming the grinch - confused

    Hi, I have so far built my grinch this year and have 64 channels working woo Im very surprised at my self, I still however have to make my SSR's, but before I started I was thinking about dimming some channels, I wouldn't be dimming all of them just my RBG LED spot lights so I can color mix. Can some one please tell me what I need to do? I'm a bit confused about what parts I need and then how it all comes together? I'm in the UK as well which means all my values are different from the ones here which makes things just that little bit harder.

    Can someone please help me?

    Thanks Steve

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    Hi, Steve.

    A Grinch in its native state doesn't dim anything -- it's an on/off controller. It can be made dimmable with either the Ren-C converter (if you plan to use the Renard protocol) or a DMX adapter for the Grinch if you choose to use DMX. Either will work but it makes ALL the channels dimmable, not just some. Because the Grinch requires external SSRs, the type of ssr you make should be a kind that is appropriate for the lights you choose to control. Since the Grinch outputs in groups of 4 channels, you'd need 16 four-channel SSRs to max out the 64 channels that are in a Grinch. You could use a combination of AC ssrs for controlling mini-lights and DC ssrs for controlling LEDs.

    There's lots of help for folks who use 220v current -- I'm sure they'll chime in here!

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    Do I need a Ren-T? or is that for something else? and what kind of SSR should I use? I have 4 triacs just to make a trial SSRmboard, but I believe there just on or off?

    Thanks Steve

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    Does anyone have the ren-c in a express pcb file? so i could etch it myself?

    thank steve

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    You can get Ren-C board from wjohn. They're cheap, and it's a pretty complicated board that would be very difficult to etch on your own. For one thing, it's two-sided.

    http://digwdf.com/store/
    Even though the DIGWDF Store has been closed for more than a year, it's still awesome!
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    Ok thanks I will PM him, what else do I need then, I have my grinch and if I make a ren-c board, what else do I need and how do I make the SSR? Sorry about all the questions im new to this and a little confused

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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    You'll want to soak up everything you can in the Grinch forum as it relates to Ren-C, and info in the WIKI as well. You'll need a way to provide a "zero cross signal" or ZC signal to the Ren-C. Without going into a long diatribe of why this is necessary, suffice to say that it is or dimming won't work. There is a ZC board design in the copper section of the file library for you to home-etch if you like. You don't need a copper circuitboard though -- you can also get by with just a perfboard, some wire and a soldering iron.

    You will need to make a cable that goes from a serial port into a RJ45 connector jack. Info in the Wiki on making the cable is readily available. This cable will connect the computer to the Ren-C.

    You will need two other short cables (8-12 inches long or so) with RJ45 connections on each end. These cables will connect the Grinch to the Ren-C.

    Since you already have the grinch working, you already know how to get 5v power to it. That won't change.

    The ZC board you make will connect to the Ren-C by two small wires. It's not much voltage at all, but it's critically important to Ren-C operation.

    There, you have a short treatise of nuts-and-bolts to getting it working. Now you need to spend time in the Grinch forum and the Wiki.

    http://digwdf.com/store/
    Even though the DIGWDF Store has been closed for more than a year, it's still awesome!
    User guides, documentation and other files are still free and available for downloading.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    Everything Dirk has written is good info. keep asking as many questions as you like, ( the only dumb question is the one..... never mind)
    I would encourage you to consider the Grinch Dimmer by RPM. They work a treat. I made one using a ready made PCB and one on Verobaord.
    Being DMX, can can add other ready made DMX fixtures to your display like Smoke, Strobes etc if they too are DMX controlled.
    the circuit and firmware can be found here
    [B][I]Matt[/I][/B]

    You too can become a Supporting member of DIYC.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    OK thanks I will look into both options, once ive decided which one I'm using what do I do about switches I'm assuming my triac wont be suitable as its on/off only, can you point in the direction of a ssr that can dim for both ac and dc?

    Thanks Steve

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Dimming the grinch - confused

    Should you end up using Zero cross H1aa circuit from here the resistor values will be different for 240v. I you,s a an old 12v ct transformer and two diodes method. It works. Best thing to do is Read, read, read, and read some more. The clever guys are all good guys here and will not leave you out to dry.

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