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Timers or No Timers?


Tim Bateson

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I already own a boat load of timers - Pre-LOR days.... last year. One thought - Turning these controllers off & on with timers every day, would they buildup condensation inside from heating & cooling? I'm sure they don't get hot, but any cuircut board with that much power through it is bound to heat-up and cool off.

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All of my lights are on a timer. That will include the LOR boards that are new to me this year. If I read the posts above correctly, putting LOR boards on a timer would not be required, but it would be okay. Is that correct? If not, I'll have a major issue. Thanks.

It's not required, but it's OK. Longer term, having your light controllers on timers will probably decrease the reliability of your display slightly (more parts to fail, more stress on the light controllers from the power cycling, more chance of condensation damage in the controllers, etc).

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Agreed, I would not recommend the use of a timer either. As Tim said, its just one more thing that could cause you trouble in your show. And I'm sure the cost of the timer is greater than the cost of what little power the controllers use just setting there idol all day.

-Pat

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I have a Kill O Watt plugged into single idle LOR board now. It is pulling 1.1 watts max.

I have one of those timers for my kids night light (the kind that plugs into the outlet and has those 24 pins you pull out to set the hours) - it uses a massive 15 watts.

Holy cow!!!

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I will step in and say that I do use timers even for my Light-O-Rama controllers. I've had the timers for some time going back to when most of my display was static. I just feel that the less time there is live power running outside the better.

Besides how many people remember the snail in the controller thread from a couple of years ago? For those that don't here it is:

http://talk.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=17953

(Too bad the pictures are no longer there, those were really amazing!)

I just feel that turning off the power to everything reduces the chance of something like this happening.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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I have a Kill O Watt plugged into single idle LOR board now. It is pulling 1.1 watts max.

I have one of those timers for my kids night light (the kind that plugs into the outlet and has those 24 pins you pull out to set the hours) - it uses a massive 15 watts.

Very Interesting... That was going to be one of my tests this weekend. The Kill-O-Watt meter not the kids night light. :P

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Mine are generally live between mid-October (Halloween) to first of January. I am rather old school when it comes to turning off electronics - I don't! The more times you cycle the power on a device the lesser life span it has.

Wow - 1.1 watt!

THIS!!!!! And lets not forget "K.I.S.S." also should be remembered when engineering.

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I will step in and say that I do use timers even for my Light-O-Rama controllers. I've had the timers for some time going back to when most of my display was static. I just feel that the less time there is live power running outside the better.

Besides how many people remember the snail in the controller thread from a couple of years ago? For those that don't here it is:

http://talk.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php?t=17953

(Too bad the pictures are no longer there, those were really amazing!)

I just feel that turning off the power to everything reduces the chance of something like this happening.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Honestly I do not it would not change the scnerio... if the snail crawled in with it powered down once the board powered up, it would be toasty snail time still..

.

I leave mine powered 24/7 during the season.

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What exactly are you trying to accomplish by using the timers?

Power/energy savings?

How much power do you think the LOR is using when it is idle? Is it really much different than a timer would use all day? I doubt it.

Okay. Remember I am new to LOR, in fact have yet to flash a light. So my timer has nothing to do with LOR, except that LOR will be on the timer.

I grew up with some plug in timers, then a hardwired timer, then, two, etc. Then, my electrician, Craig Marshall of Redlin Electric, who actually does understand Christmas lights, said " Wait " . . . . so now one timer trips and sends current to contactors for each outside circuit and they turn on. I have 20 - 30 circuits that operate this way. Wall-ah. All the lights are on at exactly the same time. Why? They go on at 5:00 pm whether I'm there or not. They go off at 10:00 or 11:00 whether I'm home or not.

So, I'm not trying to save power, GFB, I am just wanting to make sure that I don't "screw" up the LOR using the system that I have developed for my thus far static display. Does that make sense?

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Okay. Remember I am new to LOR, in fact have yet to flash a light. So my timer has nothing to do with LOR, except that LOR will be on the timer.

I grew up with some plug in timers, then a hardwired timer, then, two, etc. Then, my electrician, Craig Marshall of Redlin Electric, who actually does understand Christmas lights, said " Wait " . . . . so now one timer trips and sends current to contactors for each outside circuit and they turn on. I have 20 - 30 circuits that operate this way. Wall-ah. All the lights are on at exactly the same time. Why? They go on at 5:00 pm whether I'm there or not. They go off at 10:00 or 11:00 whether I'm home or not.

So, I'm not trying to save power, GFB, I am just wanting to make sure that I don't "screw" up the LOR using the system that I have developed for my thus far static display. Does that make sense?

I'm VERY new to LOR, but I'm not sure I understand your use of timers. Doesn't the software take care of starting and ending the show?

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I'm VERY new to LOR, but I'm not sure I understand your use of timers. Doesn't the software take care of starting and ending the show?

Yes, but I think "BaldEagle" is saying he already has a system where his exterior outlets are on a master timer, and wondering if that will still be ok to use them with LOR.

Correct me if I'm wrong :)

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The software turns stuff on/off per the show schedule and even per day if you want it to. So the software talking to the LOR board does stuff no timer could do. So timers represent 100% redundant functionality.

Perhaps using timers could add a very small degree of safety [ say if you running cords out a distance (to the LOR controller in the yard), and maybe you want it totally off, since kids are present or something ... and you don't want live cords when not needed. ]

I can totally understand using them in a traditional static display ... but its kind of no longer necessary when using LOR or similar, unless the reason was for safety concerns of having "live" cords out in the yard 24x7 ...

If you have most of your controllers close to the house, then you won't have live cords in the yard. MOst of my controllers are like this. I do have a few remote LOR controllers, with live cords feeding them ... it could be a little safer to hasve those on a timer, just to make sure the yard isn't full of live cords ... but realistically, most people don't do this. For me, the cords were totally buried in snow 90% of the time, so you didn't even know they were there.

Edited by taybrynn
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There's way too many other safety hazards (mainly trip hazards, and mainly hazards to my display, not people) in my display to allow kids (including my own) to be in it anyway, so having a few live cords 24/7 doesn't worry me (they're GFCI protected at least). Even I myself have specific paths through the display that I take so as not to disturb the yard. This has a few advantages: a) I keep the paths trip-free B) if there's snow, it looks much nicer to not have footprints everywhere, and c) again, assuming snow, I can tell if a person or animal has been in the display, and investigate any problems.

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I'm VERY new to LOR, but I'm not sure I understand your use of timers. Doesn't the software take care of starting and ending the show?

I'm probably not explaining my use of a timer very well. ALL of my outside circuits are on a timer. The LOR controllers will be outside...so, unless I call an electrician, the LOR controllers will be on a timer. To this point, my display has been static and I am fitting LOR into an electrical system designed to control a static display ... :) with a timer.

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