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Thread: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

  1. #1
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    Default Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    Hi all,

    I thought I had posted about this before, but couldn't find the post to add to or I could just be mistaken and I never posted. Anyway, I noticed over the last season or two that my lights weren't fading as sequenced on some channels. I realized that the problematic channels had the most LED strings attached.

    So I got around to testing it this year and found that if a single problematic channel in question had 8 100ct strings attached, fades and ramps were fine. If I add another string the fades and ramps occurred, but there was major flicker to and from full power. Adding a 10th string caused only on off with no fade/ramp at all. That condition is what I have been noticing the past several seasons.

    I have spare channels so I'll spread the load a bit spreading strings across the additional channels, but does anyone know what causes this?

    The test was run on a Ren24 v2.5. I tried on a v3.0 board and the on/off occurred at 9 strings. Older boards, I know, but I'm a "vintage" Christmas kind of guy.

    I'm just wondering if this is a normal thing or is something wrong or failing on the older boards.

    Any information is appreciated!!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Superfreak3; 11-18-2017 at 10:43 AM.
    As always, Thanks for any info!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    I know its been a while since I posted the above and I got around the problem by decreasing the number of strings on channels and the ramping/fading seemed to be OK. I'm at the point now where I'm going to start scaling back my display, decreasing the number of controllers, etc and I would love to know if there is something I could check with the fading problem described above. I would like to have a channel with, let's say, 16 LED strings per channel. I would prefer they ramp fade instead of just on/off. Is there some limitation with the Ren24 v2.5/3.0 controllers evidenced by the on-off instead of fading behavior?

    Again, I know they controllers are on the older side, but they've served me well these past years.

    Any help greatly appreciated!!
    As always, Thanks for any info!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    To me it really sounds like you have not enabled the PWM output mode. This is needed to make LEDs work properly. The 2nd issue that has been seen is the trigger voltage on the triacs. WayneJ has posted multiple times identifying a new TRIAC that has a better trigger voltage that helps reduce such issues. You might want to look at the latest BOM for the SS24 to see which TRIACs should be getting installed to help control issues like these.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    I don't use those controllers but my guess is that they are the ones that use the MOSFET on a chip with the output limited to 1 AMP. It sounds like you may be reaching or exceeding that limit when adding more strings. I suppose that could affect the ability to dim correctly.
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    Quote Originally Posted by kev View Post
    I don't use those controllers but my guess is that they are the ones that use the MOSFET on a chip with the output limited to 1 AMP. It sounds like you may be reaching or exceeding that limit when adding more strings. I suppose that could affect the ability to dim correctly.
    I do believe these controllers were limited to 1 AMP/channel, but I wouldn't think I would approach that with a few LED strings. I believe they are 70 count strings at that. I think they are about 5 watts/string so I would think I could connect 20-ish strings and fall within the 1 AMP restriction (unless I'm doing the math wrong - its been a few years since I sat down and figured this stuff as my display hasn't changed much over the years.)
    As always, Thanks for any info!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    To me it really sounds like you have not enabled the PWM output mode. This is needed to make LEDs work properly. The 2nd issue that has been seen is the trigger voltage on the triacs. WayneJ has posted multiple times identifying a new TRIAC that has a better trigger voltage that helps reduce such issues. You might want to look at the latest BOM for the SS24 to see which TRIACs should be getting installed to help control issues like these.
    Thanks! I'll be looking into this. I believe one of the boards was pre SS24 so don't know if the BOM wold apply to that. I think the other 24 channel board I have is an SS24, but won't know for sure until I tear everything down. That's the controller I'll make any required changes to.
    As always, Thanks for any info!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    OK I'm going to start trying to work on this, but I'll need some help, of course. These two 24 channel boards served me well over the last decade or so, but I'm scaling back so I'll only use one of the boards this season. I think one is a Ren24 and the other and SS24. The only other thing I remember is that the connector for the Ren24 I think was version 2.5 and the other connector was a 3.0.

    So what I wan to accomplish is to have 16 or so LED strings on one channel and have them fade nicely at the end of or during a sequence. Recently, that hasn't been the case with even 4 or 5 strings per channel. It's just an abrupt shutoff.

    I know these controllers are considered relics these days, but I don't want to sink a ton of money into a display that will lessen as I get older.

    So, in layman's terms, what do I need to check or do to enable PWM output mode. I'll try to track down the right BOM. The Ren24 page no longer lists the 2.5 version, but no matter as I think I'll move forward with the v3.0 board. Now all I need to do is figure out what I have to do next. I guess the triacs is the place to start.

    Any help appreciated!!
    Last edited by Superfreak3; 05-14-2020 at 10:38 PM.
    As always, Thanks for any info!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    What version of the firmware are you running?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    the triacs from a new bom will work on the older boards. PWM requires you to update the software on the PIC. you will need to set the mode in the source code to PWM, compile the software and flash it to the PIC.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Channel String Max Question(s)/Discovery...

    I'm not sure what version of firmware I'm running.

    So, set the PWM output mode and update the software on the PIC. I believe I have the kit to do that and think I did it once before way back. Would it make sense just to do that first and then try to see if corrects the dimming or is replacing the triacs definitely needed as well.
    As always, Thanks for any info!

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