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CDI M5 Red LEDs and LOR


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All 3 colors react the same when fading, they do that little bump in the night, or flicker right around 47-51% give or take a little.

They all work ok with normal on/off comands, twinkle and shimmer. There isnt anything wrong with operating above 50%. You just dont notice the change in light intensity very much if any after about 50-55%.

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All 3 colors react the same when fading, they do that little bump in the night, or flicker right around 47-51% give or take a little.

They all work ok with normal on/off comands, twinkle and shimmer. There isnt anything wrong with operating above 50%. You just dont notice the change in light intensity very much if any after about 50-55%.

I am unable to reproduce the "flicker" when fading at 50%. Mine are all fine.

I DID, however, notice the gradual fade when I unplugged a string. Oddly, I don't see this effect when they are under LOR control.

Screwy. :confused:

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I just got a ship notice from CDI tonight... Hopefully that means they worked on their AL setup. I'll let you know when they arrive if they work with LOR...

--Paul

So far my replacement M5's have the same problems as the originals... I've tried 2 of the 12 and both have gone dim after fading... I'm waiting to do anything on the LOR setup with the other 10 for now...

I've also been working with an electronics expert at work trying to figure out the circuit and what went bad, but haven't had much time to spend on it. I'll be out of town all next week, so I won't have time to dive in again until the following week...

I'll post when I have anything else...

--Paul

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There was a flicker with LEDs fading on LOR sometime back. Firmware changes were made sometime last year (or the year before) that takes care of that problem (at least with the LEDs available at the time)....

Stringer LEDs have been working well with LOR controllers for years but the manufactures of LED stringers do make changes to their products and those changes can affect their compatability.

We expect delivery of some LEDs from CDI in the next few days. As soon as we get them we will immediatly start an investigation. At this time I do not have an answer to this particular issue.

I recommend that you not fade RED M5 LEDs purchased from CDI until we undersand what is going on.

Dan,

Any news on your results with the CDI Red M5's?

--Paul

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I tested a set of my CDI Red C7s tonight using a DIY Renard16 controller with PWM firmware. While multiple other brands/colors/types of LED strings work well with full on/off, ramping and fading, these Red C7s did not. They do fade and control normally, but after the first fade, they are not as bright as before. Now when plugged into a normal outlet, they are noticably dimmer than a string not faded and they even flicker. I do not trust these Red LEDs from CDI at the moment. Unfortunately, I don't have many options here other than to not fade these sets at all. What to do?

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I tested a set of my CDI Red C7s tonight using a DIY Renard16 controller with PWM firmware. While multiple other brands/colors/types of LED strings work well with full on/off, ramping and fading, these Red C7s did not. They do fade and control normally, but after the first fade, they are not as bright as before. Now when plugged into a normal outlet, they are noticably dimmer than a string not faded and they even flicker. I do not trust these Red LEDs from CDI at the moment. Unfortunately, I don't have many options here other than to not fade these sets at all. What to do?

This sounds like the exact same problem I have...

My suspicion is a diode is blowing in the rectifier circuit, but I can't prove it yet...

--Paul

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This sounds like the exact same problem I have...

My suspicion is a diode is blowing in the rectifier circuit, but I can't prove it yet...

--Paul

I just ran into the same problem. I suspect it's the quality of the Red LED's from CDI. I just dimmed 7 strings of 50 and 6 out of the 7 will not return to full bright. I might also add that I had a rectifier start smoking immediatly when I plugged in a string of 100 Multi's. The fuse did not blow even after 5 seconds of sizziling. Do I smell fire hazards? I have a lot of display elements to create and only 2 months until I light it up and I'm really paranoid about it all going bad if it goes at all now. I'm afraid to dim any of these at all anymore. If this is the case, I could have saved tons of money and bought the cheap LED's from HD or Walmart. Paul from CDI..... feel free to chime in here and let us know what the heck is going on. I know you'll make good for the bad strings but I wonder if I should continue my efforts for this year or cancel all together and avoid massive embarrasment and enormous amounts of wasted time and labor.

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Paul from CDI..... feel free to chime in here and let us know what the heck is going on. I know you'll make good for the bad strings but I wonder if I should continue my efforts for this year or cancel all together and avoid massive embarrasment and enormous amounts of wasted time and labor.

I won't try to put words in Paul's mouth but in another thread he said that anyone that bought their LEDs during the pre-season sale can use them this year and exchange them next year for new stock (with the issues addressed.)

If you didn't buy during the sale but they are smoking or otherwise defective, then I would imagine they are covered under the warranty and you should let him know that you want replacements or to return them.

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Yes these were purchased during the pre season sale but that doesn't do me any good for this years display. My designs relied heavily upon being able to use white,green,and RED so should I eliminate dimming all red because of this glitch? I've built (4) 10' leaping arches 5 window surrounds and (2) 7 segmented bars that use these 3 colors and I can't dim the red for fear of ruining the display? Awesome. If it is in fact the rectifiers, ship me replacements and I'll wire them in so my time and labor isn't wasted. I really don't look forward to unwinding this stuff to replace just the red strings. Ugghhh. I might as well just stop where I am and wait then.

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Bailing out the economy? Easy! Take it out of all the mega rich record profit oil barons/CEO's bonuses/salaries and the irresponsible CEO's bonusus and salaries of the banks that are in trouble. Sorry for the rant but an email, letter, or phone call would have been nice! I was too busy building to pay attention to possible issues on a forum until now. Anyway, I just tested 3 strings of red 100's and they seem to be OK although they ramp faster dimming up than the white or green. Is the warning for ALL red strings or just the 50 counts? I also have 70's that I haven't used yet.

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I added my Green C7s to the mix to test tonight. Here are my results:

RED C7s - Dim and flickering after fading

GREEN C7s - Dim and flickering after fading

Warm White C7s - No noticeable change after fading.

Multis - No noticeable change after fading

I've only tested one of each color. This leaves me with enough lights to complete my roof outline, but now I'm going back to my sequences and taking the fading off of these channels. It will only be on and off for these strings. I'll make it work for this year and see what the outcome is for replacement as Paul suggests. Luckily, this only affects a very small portion of my entire display, one element with three colors. It could be worse I suppose.

Note: I'm not blaming Paul or CDI at all here, just passing along what I'm experiencing. I've had very good customer service from CDI and I expect things will be sorted out in due time.

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yeah duke i think paul recomended earlier in this thread not to use them on any animation until word came back from LOR. not in exactly those words but i think thats good advice !! scary!!

It was not Paul that recomended not fading but rather LOR in thread at the top of Pg 5

http://talk.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=24389&page=5

I'm not blaming Paul either. Just really dissapointed right now and I don't have a plan B either. As far as not dimming them? I just as soon not use them at all which really puts a damper on things.

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In general, the problem with fading LEDs is that some colors tend to hold capacitance, resulting in uneven fades. This effect increases as more of the same strings are added to a channel. This problem can be solved by adding an incandescent bulb or string to the channel. If you are experiencing ramp or fade issues with only one or two strings on a channel this might be an indication of other problems.

Glenn

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In general, the problem with fading LEDs is that some colors tend to hold capacitance, resulting in uneven fades. This effect increases as more of the same strings are added to a channel. This problem can be solved by adding an incandescent bulb or string to the channel. If you are experiencing ramp or fade issues with only one or two strings on a channel this might be an indication of other problems.

Glenn

I just tried adding a 7 watt night light to the end of one of the half bright strings and no change (This worked for dimming the cheapie LED's I used last year). It will not go back to full bright. It's toast (or rather the rectifier is) I'm using only 1 string of 50 per channel and a total of 21 channels on this particular display element. There are no strings in series on any of the channels.

EDIT: You'll have a hard time trying to plug ANY 2 prong polarized lights into these since they are NON polarized which I find odd for non grounded lights. I was lucky to have found a non polarized night light to test with.

Edited by Duke
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The use it for the season and send it back is a great offer but i wasnt going to string(ziptie) 48 sets of c6's to the colors i had from last year. Then come January cut all those zip ties and return them it just takes way to long to string them together for me to waste that time. I decided to return them I have a few other cases im holding onto till i see what happens with the fading issue. My advice would be if your an animation user dont spend to much time decorating with these lights till you know whats happening with them... Has anyone tested the concave lights with LOR.

Edited by gsxr7500
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I just want to clarify a few things...

So far my experience is with RED, GREEN, and BLUE, 50 light M5's purchased during the September sale. I don't know about any others, however, tonypgst reported the same symptoms on C7's.

ALL of the GREEN & BLUE stings I have work fine, they've handled everything I've thrown at them with LOR.

NONE of the RED strings has survived more than 30 minutes, most (12 of the 14 I've tested) of them die on the first fade. 1 went for about 10 fades, the other somewhere between 10 & 30 minutes of an animation sequence I have.

The dimming problem addressed by adding an incandescent bulb or string to the LED's is not what is going on here. My understanding is that was due to the very low load of an LED string affecting the computer controlled dimming circuits. My understanding, also, is that (at least on LOR) this was fixed with firmware some time ago.

The problem being described here is definitely damage occurring to the rectifier circuitry. This damage is permanent. Once a string goes, it will never work correctly again, either while dimming or at full line voltage. The symptom of failure is greatly reduced brightness and a random flicker.

The individual LEDs are not damaged in any way. I have removed several and powered them off of a DC power supply in a circuit with a properly sized current limiting resistor. They are as bright as they ever were. This proves the damage is limited to the rectifier circuitry.

I hope to know more about which component is actually failing in the next day or two...

Once I get that worked out, I am going to attempt to repair the rectifier and see if I can bring the strings back to life (and hopefully to a dimmable state).

I will post every result I get here when I get them, however, I will be out of town from 9/26 to 10/6 and won't be working on this issue, so the final resolution may be a few weeks away...

--Paul

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Thank you Pbryan. I appreciate your effort in this. I also have the M5's red, green, blue and cool white. The blues and whites fade fine with LOR. I have not tried the reds until we get more information. You saved me from sending them back after failing. Hopefully somone has a fix.

Chris A.

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I Just did a test on the RED 70's and they do not exhibit the "fade destruct" issue. It appears that it is only the RED 50's that self destruct when fading. I've run a rigorous animation sequence on the Green & Whites with no issues. It leads me to suspect that something in the rectifiers on the RED 50's is mismatched or defective. Can someone tell me what the rectifier is supposed to consist of (part values for the diodes and resistor) and I will construct some using higher quality components to see if that is the cause. OR when I get home from work, I will swap them out with a pair from some white or green 50'd and see what happens.

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I will tear down a few rectifiers from some DOA's in the coming days. I am out of town this weekend for Castle Conquest Paintball tourney but will dive into this upon my return. I am an EE for an Electronics Co and will def get to the bottom of this. It just so happens that I have a few Red DOA's that I can check. We do alot of overmolding here, and ill have my guys in that dept take a look at the best way to remove the over molding without altering anything inside. Will post up when I know more. The rectifier shouldnt consist of more than the 4 diodes, a resistor and cap, atleast thats my guess as I looked at the output of the rectifier and it looks semi smooth, so I am assuming that resistor/cap combo is acting as an RC filter or an additional inductor as an LC filter, this is however only an assumption. Once I figure it out, I will run fades while open, hopefully reproducing the fade destruct and then test the bridge for damage. I will make a guess that bc current and voltage are inverse of one another, the fade is causing a bit of an increase in current, enough to kill one or more diodes, or possibly the cap or resistor in the lC filter and causing a partial short to ground. Will let everyone know when I figure it out. FYI, I ordered 60 stringers of M5's each in red, green blue and white as well as a case each of the C6's in the same colors. I am not happy that this is happening now even though I still plan on returning them for the 09 replacement deal Paul has offered. But I know he will make good on it from everything everyone has ever said about him, his crew and his customer service. I am just more bummed bc this is my first purchase from paul and also a complete conversion to LED. I am sure things will work out.

Edited by surfersteve
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