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Thread: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

  1. #1
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    Default Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Hi everyone

    I'm completely brand new to this whole world and I'm feeling a little out of my depth.... Help please!!
    I'm in the UK thus whatever I do will obviously be on 240volts. Hardly anyone does this over here, no one near me at least, so I want to do something special and different with my lights.

    After lots of reading I was heading towards building a Grinch controller, although I've just read a post that says the chips are hard to get, so I feel like I'm back to square one. I was originally thinking the Grinch was a good starting place for me to learn - it doesn't look too difficult to build (and building anything like this is a whole new experience to me). I'm keen to learn and I've got to start somewhere.

    Now having read that parts are hard to get am I better off with a Renard? I liked the grinch because of the 64 channels it offered. Am I able to get all the parts to be able to make the Grinch controller. I've seen a few references to WJohn regarding the pcb.

    Any advice and help will be greatly received. I'm sure I have many more questions, this is just the beginning, but I've got to learn somehow.

    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Me personally, I would go with the Renard. They are a bit more common. Plus, the Grinch doesn't dim. I had never soldered anything in my life, but was able to build two RenSS24's my first year with very little problem.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyrover View Post
    Hi everyone

    I'm completely brand new to this whole world and I'm feeling a little out of my depth.... Help please!!
    I'm in the UK thus whatever I do will obviously be on 240volts. Hardly anyone does this over here, no one near me at least, so I want to do something special and different with my lights.

    After lots of reading I was heading towards building a Grinch controller, although I've just read a post that says the chips are hard to get, so I feel like I'm back to square one. I was originally thinking the Grinch was a good starting place for me to learn - it doesn't look too difficult to build (and building anything like this is a whole new experience to me). I'm keen to learn and I've got to start somewhere.

    Now having read that parts are hard to get am I better off with a Renard? I liked the grinch because of the 64 channels it offered. Am I able to get all the parts to be able to make the Grinch controller. I've seen a few references to WJohn regarding the pcb.

    Any advice and help will be greatly received. I'm sure I have many more questions, this is just the beginning, but I've got to learn somehow.

    Thanks very much!
    Hi, welcome to the madness...........
    The SS line of controllers only runs on 120v. There are a couple of controllers that will work on 240v. The Grinch is one, (also Ren24HC) but for just a few bucks more, you can build a Renard 64XC. It supports 64 channels (16 SSR's) like the Grinch, but allows you to be able to Dim your lights in addition to On/Off. It also has on board channel LED's, which come in very handy to be able to see if a channel is active or not. You can also get that PCB from wJohn. As with the Grinch, you would build the SSR's for 240v operation (requires a different resistor).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    The SS versions of Renard do not do 220, but other Renards DO have 220 capability- just check the Wiki carefully.

    Kirk

    (edit - there is a good suggestion that beat my post!)
    [I][SIZE=2]"Beam me up Scotty, there are only limited pockets of intelligent life on this planet!!"[/SIZE][/I]
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Welcome to the forums. As you mentioned wanting 64 channels as a starting point, I thought to point you to the following forum thread
    Ren64+240V

    It may have some useful information for you (or you may have read it already). The MBI chips aren't impossible to find, simply getting more scarce. I would simply make sure that you have them confirmed before buying the PCB's.

    Again.. Welcome.. enjoy the madness!
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    "Product may not appear as shown, your mileage may vary, I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on television, these are not the droids you seek"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Thanks for the responses. Based on what I have read it looks like the Renard is the way to go, plus it gives the added bonus of being dimmable if required. The Renard64XC looks like it might be the option to go for - thanks rstehl! As it works on 240 volts this is obviously what I need. 240volts does seem to somewhat limit your options!

    Do you just get the pcb for the Renard or can you get all the parts from here too? The SSR have me a little worried. Like I said, I'm on a steep learning curve. Am I right in thinking sockets come from the SSRs to which you just plug in your sets (channels) of lights directly in to? A lot to learn...!!!!!

    Following instructions to make a controller I think I will be able to do, once I've learned to solder properly, but beyond this I'm not so sure.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyrover View Post
    Thanks for the responses. Based on what I have read it looks like the Renard is the way to go, plus it gives the added bonus of being dimmable if required. The Renard64XC looks like it might be the option to go for - thanks rstehl! As it works on 240 volts this is obviously what I need. 240volts does seem to somewhat limit your options!

    Do you just get the pcb for the Renard or can you get all the parts from here too? The SSR have me a little worried. Like I said, I'm on a steep learning curve. Am I right in thinking sockets come from the SSRs to which you just plug in your sets (channels) of lights directly in to? A lot to learn...!!!!!

    Following instructions to make a controller I think I will be able to do, once I've learned to solder properly, but beyond this I'm not so sure.
    You can get the PCB's for the Renard 64 and possibly the SSR's from wJohn. You will have to contact him to inquire. The parts can all be purchased from Mouser. Yes, you will wire what we call 'pigtails' with sockets to your SSR's to plug strands of lights in to. The cords can be of any length you require. Many folks in the US use 5-6' extension cords with the male end cut off. Many others purchase 2 conductor cable, called SPT, (think lamp cord) from a supplier and slide-on sockets we call 'vampire plugs'. The SPT/Vampire plug option is usually cheaper here, but you will have to make your decision based on availability in the UK.
    Feel free to ask all the questions you like, folks on the forum are real good about helping out. We were all newbies at one time...........

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Thanks for the info. The 'pigtail' info makes a lot of sense although the cable you'd get here is called twin and earth as it has an earth cable aswell. Making your own extensions I'm sure would be cheaper here too. I've got a way to go before needing to make that decision. I guess I need to take the plunge!!!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Starter and Complete kits for Ren24HC can be found at www.wlcventures.com

    The Starter Kit contains the pcb and bom's it looks like and the Complete kit has everything you need (pcb, bom, encloser, spt wire vamp plugs) all the way down to a fm transmitter

    Trav
    Last edited by FrostByte25; 01-09-2013 at 04:47 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Complete novice - Grinch controller??

    Hi Trav

    I see on the wlcventures website they have the complete kits for the Renard 64XC controllers. Is there anything specific that I should know about this with regards to running it in the UK on 240 volts or should it just be fine? Obviously a kit with the SPT wire and vampire plugs wouldn't suit the UK. I guess I'd have to make up my own cables!

    Matthew

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