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Thread: Different motors / controllers for inflatables?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Springville, Utah
    Posts
    562
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    Default Re: Different motors / controllers for inflatables?

    I only have a couple of inflatables and they only inflate for a few songs in the show. So they last longer - one is well over 10 years old... A little water-proofening helped it stay inflated better.

    On the 12V powered fan-blowers - I am not happy with them at all. Woefully inadequate air, especially with snow, rain, or wind. What I have considered is this - drive them with higher voltage. Sure, you can burn them out eventually, but given that they are operated in the cold, you can probably get aware with, say, using 15v instead of 12V or even 18v. Put them on a DC controller/relay. Make sure to measure the current to understand the limits and requirements for the DC SSR.

    I've got a Grinch inflatable that I'm going to over-power as soon as I get some spare time. He barely stands erect under inflation.

    Jimboha
    Springville, Utah

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    38
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    Default Re: Different motors / controllers for inflatables?

    More and more of the inflatables are coming with 12V motors although my wife is picking up more of the small ones in the last couple years. We had 15 on display prior to yesterday. But two came down due to ice in those little motors. One is definitely dead, the other just needs the ice to thaw out before it can get going full again. This makes the first dead motor I have had with these. However, the power supply has failed MANY more times. I have replaced 4 of them already (out of 10, the other 5 are beefy AC blowers) and another is going so that is a 50% failure rate. I have been replacing them with 12V DC outdoor rated power supplies with a waterproof barrel plug that I wire in. Much easier to deal with.

    I looked at the costs of replacement motors and if you want a "real" Gemmy one they are ~$15... but I found some really ugly Halloween inflatables for less than that so I am just going to scavenge those for parts instead.

    There was a previous request for pictures after replacing lights... My website has this year's pictures. Things like the Hello Kitty, Polar Bears (sledding and standing) and the Ladder all have added 12v LED lights (the ladder has an entire strip in it, it is really too bright). The LED replacement C9 bulbs have also worked well but those are scattered through the 5 AC inflatables (the big ones) so there really is no visual difference in the pictures (they are much brighter than they were).

    I have purchased a bunch of ZigBee on/off relays that I plan on mounting INSIDE the AC inflatables going forward. That way I can just provide them power and control them remotely in case of high winds. Right now I am doing that with a more central control outlet and extension cords to each but I would prefer they be individually controlled directly.

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