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Easiest Terminators/Snubbers to make


chuckd

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Just one for the whole channel. I'm fairly certain you can put it anywhere, as I've yet to be able to visually or measurably tell any difference in location.

Also, Corey, something isn't right. Provided you are using a 120V system, and your resistors are 47K (that's 47,000 ohms), you simply won't be able to fry them. The resistors should have yellow, violet, orange on their color bands, and they need to be at least 1/2 watt or greater power rating.

Did this happen in China? Are you running on a 220V system? That would definitely make a difference, but I imagine the plugs are different too. If so, I hope you didn't fry your LOR, or at least had the forethought to switch the supply setting internally before you fired it up.

If it's a 220V system, you'll need to alter the terminators a bit. If you have several 47K 1 watt resistors with you, we can rig up something that will work for testing. Let me know what power value resistors you have if this is the case.

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Also, Corey, something isn't right. Provided you are using a 120V system, and your resistors are 47K (that's 47,000 ohms), you simply won't be able to fry them. The resistors should have yellow, violet, orange on their color bands, and they need to be at least 1/2 watt or greater power rating.

Did this happen in China? Are you running on a 220V system? That would definitely make a difference, but I imagine the plugs are different too. If so, I hope you didn't fry your LOR, or at least had the forethought to switch the supply setting internally before you fired it up.

If it's a 220V system, you'll need to alter the terminators a bit. If you have several 47K 1 watt resistors with you, we can rig up something that will work for testing. Let me know what power value resistors you have if this is the case.

Chuck,

I do know how to size and read a resistor., I have the correct size.

I was fortunate to have a strip of 5 in one of my parts towers, and was planning on only 5 channels for test loads, so I made....5..... snubbers.

Yes this is in China, no I didnt correct to direct 220.

I ran the controller thru a current converter, and it worked fine in test mode.

I should note that this was run blind.

With NO strings, no load of any sort, in place.

Simply test leads from the controller, which had nothing on them yet but vampire receptacles, and the snubbers into those ends.

Again, I question if any of you has tested a snubbers resistance after it has been turned on and run any sort of cycle.

If so, what does the snubber test out at on a meter now?

I wish I had to time to come up with a script and download it to the board, but I have not had spare time to go thru the full manual to figure that out yet.

Maybe if I get time tonight, before I get to the land of string light factories.

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IS there any chance, that when powered up with no load (except the snubber), that your current converter floated up to the full 220V line potential? That would make almost a watt across a 47K resistor, which would definitely damage a 1/2 watt resistor.

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Hi Chuck,

I have my components and ready to get to work. One question - taking the plugs apart is a nightmare, do you have an easy way to do this or did you wrestle with these too?

Thanks,

Glenn

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OK, in Corey's case, something is definitely weird, and I have no clue as to what. I checked a few of mine tonight, and they all test very close to 47K. They've been running since Nov 20th. You should be able to take one of these, plug it right into a wall outlet, and let it run for years with no problem or degradation whatsoever. So I'm scratching my head right now. Perhaps Bruceski is on to something here.

As for the plugs. They're much easier to open when they're warm. Also, don't be afraid to jam a screwdriver right in there and pry a bit harder. I too was worried at first, but I pretty much got the hang of it and only had to do one pry per side and the the cover was off.

As for the 470K resistors, that means it will take about 10 times longer to bleed off the capacitance. I'd say take them back and get 47K, since I really can't say what it will or won't do (I've never personally tried it).

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IS there any chance, that when powered up with no load (except the snubber), that your current converter floated up to the full 220V line potential? That would make almost a watt across a 47K resistor, which would definitely damage a 1/2 watt resistor.

Good call...

That is exactly what I was thinking.

Simply putting 2 in series would probably still have decent effect, yet would keep dissipation down in case of floating up to full mains voltage through the voltage converter. ;)

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To ease everyone's mind, the LOR is fine.

I can report that the last of the 47k resistors let out the magic smoke at my manufacturer while testing new bulbs.

It has to be something with this set of resistors.

But, I did pick up a couple of small night lights to add some load, though I do not believe it was sufficient to really act as a substantial snubber, adding perhaps 5-10 increments in the hardware console.

Adding additional LED bulbs to the string did up the load and expand the range of the dim functions.

I do need a routine to test fade function outside of the test console, I am not satisfied with the results using it., considering the dim/ramp stepping was quite nice, I believe a fade should be easy to produce with little effort.

I am just too noobee to LOR to know what to do yet.

As far as toasting snubbers, no, the power converter is not passing 220V.

I would have had a number of other electronics without transformers go toast by now if that was the case, as this is not my first overseas trip with the same unit.

My impression is the resistor is just drawing as much current as it is capable of passing and going poof.

For now the mystery will remain just that.

I did hammer the new bulbs for an hour while touring the factory, we took time discussing a 365nnm UV LED based bulb with the LED engineer, and defining some new parameters for a wider beam bulb.

We are currently using a 45 degree beam angle LED, the lens expanding the bulb beam to 80.

The bulb I had them create for a chain store (for display, not resale) was stunning.

The output was up nearly 100 percent, using a dip LED configuration as I have been having made the past 4 years.

It is a pleasure contracting a manufacturer who produces their own LEDs.

They can produce a top quality LED internally, of a grade to easily rival the few DIP format US manufactured LEDs.

They are also producing there own cree style star configuration LEDs, and have successfully patented the chip - very nice.

FYI, I have learned a few things I had not known about my manufacturer - every Minions Web bulb is burned in for no less than 72 hours post production.

The burn in room is ...impressive, hundreds of racks with space for thousands of bulbs.

We discussed the room for product improvement, my desire to create an even more consumer friendly lamp as well, one that could be use by the average household on a rotary PWM dimmer with full range support.

They were very attentive, since I had the plant manager, product engineer, and LED engineers attention as opposed to my enquiries being channeled thru my sales rep.

I now have their direct contact info so we can move forward with product development and incremental changes to create a better product yet.

I am happy to report I will be offering an IP65 12v (110V if used with my manufacturers' controller), flexible LED strip, with great effects ability, chase, running water, twinkle, fade, dim, strobe, etc..

It will be available in 5 meter (16') lengths starting next year, in a number of solid colors and RGBW.

OK, enough for now, I have factory visits to confirm for tomorrow, and try to set up a few alternatives should I need to blow off some of the scheduled ones (often pulling up to a location you can determine if it is a wste of time to walk in or not).

If anyone has a good fade script I could mooch and a short explanation of how to implement it, I would be grateful.

...Guangzhou...here we come.....

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There's still head scratching here. A 47K resistor across 120V will only pull about 2.5 ma, unless it's defective. There's just no other way to pump in more juice. So I still give a resounding 'Hmmmmmm'.

Also, can you explain your dimmer tests a bit more? When you added LED's to your strand, you were actually able to dim more effectively? This is opposite of what we see here with strands today. Can you elaborate a bit on what size these bulbs are, and what makes them up circuit-wise?

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There's still head scratching here. A 47K resistor across 120V will only pull about 2.5 ma, unless it's defective. There's just no other way to pump in more juice. So I still give a resounding 'Hmmmmmm'.

Also, can you explain your dimmer tests a bit more? When you added LED's to your strand, you were actually able to dim more effectively? This is opposite of what we see here with strands today. Can you elaborate a bit on what size these bulbs are, and what makes them up circuit-wise?

We can come back to hmmmm at another point, since there is little I can do about it now, tho there is an Ikea here, and I am about to go by a cheap lamp or other doohickey for more load.

Dimmer function testing was on PAR38 120 LED bulbs chuck, not strings.

I am sorry, but state secrets prevent me from divulging lamp driver info :)

I will be visiting factories with String lights, curtains, ropes, flex neon, icicles, c7/c9s/c? etcs, and so on will be over parts of the next 3 days.

OK, 2 more appointments to confirm, then pillow time for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At least with my LED's, it's quite noticeable. I have two 70 foot twin mega trees. On one song, they do exactly the same thing, with many dramatic fades. I put terminators on one tree, and none on the other. The difference was huge, where one had these gorgeous, graceful fades and the other just kind of dimmed then turned off. Each channel on those trees only has 4 strands end-to-end, so it wasn't a worse case scenario.

Would have loved to see the video of this difference... probably corrected the problem before a video was taken :( - DJC

PS - great thread, explanation and traces very informative

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Using updated (firmware) LOR hardware, and good quality LED strings, I have had no issues with fading of LEDs -> flickering.

I use both half wave (my oldest sets) and full wave.

So I have never had to use a snubber, but a resistor/incandescent bulb across the outputs would do the trick.

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Here is a video showing BEFORE and AFTER the installation of the terminator (thanks to ChuckD).

The first two runs on the video are without the resistor.

I have four sets of 200ct LED light strings plugged in series. If I only have three sets plugged in together, there is no noticeable flicker. The fourth set just made the flicker so obvious!

The video doesn't show the flicker as well as seen with my own eyes, but you can see the reflection of the flicker on my jacket on the floor (top of video).

http://www.vimeo.com/8666024

Stan

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Using updated (firmware) LOR hardware, and good quality LED strings, I have had no issues with fading of LEDs -> flickering.

I use both half wave (my oldest sets) and full wave.

So I have never had to use a snubber, but a resistor/incandescent bulb across the outputs would do the trick.

So what L.E.D. strings do you use that you aren't needing these snubbers?

I'm not too keen on plugging in a resistor directly across a 110-120v ~AC~ circuit myself. I've seen far too many resistors FLAME UP doing something like that, so that does tend to make me a little nervous adding in such a device on any of my L.E.D. strings for fear I'll end up damaging the L.E.D. strings or maybe even start a fire. I'd have to see something "commercially" made like this before I may even consider trusting it.

Looks like I may need to buy a few small incandescent strings and intermix with my L.E.D. strings, I'd be more comfortable with a light bulb (C7 in a small blowmold perhaps) at the end of my L.E.D. string than a resistor connecting each side of the ~AC~ together.

But that's me!

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So what L.E.D. strings do you use that you aren't needing these snubbers?

I'm not too keen on plugging in a resistor directly across a 110-120v ~AC~ circuit myself. I've seen far too many resistors FLAME UP doing something like that, so that does tend to make me a little nervous adding in such a device on any of my L.E.D. strings for fear I'll end up damaging the L.E.D. strings or maybe even start a fire. I'd have to see something "commercially" made like this before I may even consider trusting it.

Looks like I may need to buy a few small incandescent strings and intermix with my L.E.D. strings, I'd be more comfortable with a light bulb (C7 in a small blowmold perhaps) at the end of my L.E.D. string than a resistor connecting each side of the ~AC~ together.

But that's me!

Actually C-7's have the unique distinction of the light bulb configuration most likely to create a DEAD SHORT due to the filament support wires in them.

:eek:

Couple that with the fact that you now have a light bulb that has to be hidden in most cases since it will tend to clash with the LEDs.

Your LED strands may already have components including resistors wired across the line, so if this concerns you...

A properly sized and correct value resistor of the Flameproof variety as outlined earlier in this thread is no more apt to be a problem than the strand itself.

No "voodoo" or superstition involved :P

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Thanks terry, you hit every aspect right "on the nose!"

The resistor is such a high value, you don't have to worry about it being a "dead short." When you saw resistors fail, the most likely reason is the value being too low, or the wattage being too low.

Basic electronics here does not lie!

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Thanks terry, you hit every aspect right "on the nose!"

The resistor is such a high value, you don't have to worry about it being a "dead short." When you saw resistors fail, the most likely reason is the value being too low, or the wattage being too low.

Basic electronics here does not lie!

Been in the electronics industry for over 30+ years. And I've seen enough capacitors, L.E.D.'s, Transistors, resistors, etc. components "flame out", go "POP" or "BANG" or just "poof out" with a small waft of stinky smoke. Some damaging what they were connected to, some not.

Just from my experiences of seeing things that worked sometimes or for some folks, didn't work for others and problems arose or damaged equipment was the result.

No superstition or voodoo here, just common sense and the rationality to know how Murphy's Law always seems to play a factor in some of these things.

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Actually C-7's have the unique distinction of the light bulb configuration most likely to create a DEAD SHORT due to the filament support wires in them.

:eek:

Couple that with the fact that you now have a light bulb that has to be hidden in most cases since it will tend to clash with the LEDs.

Your LED strands may already have components including resistors wired across the line, so if this concerns you...

A properly sized and correct value resistor of the Flameproof variety as outlined earlier in this thread is no more apt to be a problem than the strand itself.

No "voodoo" or superstition involved :P

I've never had a C7 night light bulb ever burn out and create a short, nor have I ever had one create a short that was working. If that's the case every light bulb in our house when they burn out with that big flash should be tripping circuit breakers or GFCI's all over the place.

Of course L.E.D. strands have electronics in them, but they are only one and connected to one wire only that passes through them. At least that is how they are ALL wired through the wart on every L.E.D. string I have.

I've yet to see any such thing as real "flame proof" resistor, even those I use as "heating elements" to generate smoke in my model trains aren't flame proof, even though they get red hot to burn the fluid to make the smoke. Eventually they burn out and sometimes in half! I have yet to see any resistor, if enough current hits it or shorts, doesn't explode or flame up when it does go POP! Including those so-called "flame proof" ones. Unless they've started casing these flame-proof resistors in titanium (which would make them extremely expensive!), I just don't see them as being completely or totally flame proof, flame retardant I could believe.

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Been in the electronics industry for over 30+ years. And I've seen enough capacitors, L.E.D.'s, Transistors, resistors, etc. components "flame out", go "POP" or "BANG" or just "poof out" with a small waft of stinky smoke. Some damaging what they were connected to, some not.

Just from my experiences of seeing things that worked sometimes or for some folks, didn't work for others and problems arose or damaged equipment was the result.

Sounds like a lot of bad engineering, components, "luck", or misapplication. Properly designed and constructed electronics are EXTREMELY reliable... at least that is what I have come to find in MY experience. If this were not the case then we would not enjoy all the toys we have today that are FAR more complex and much more apt to fail with horrific results compared to a single resistor of the correct wattage and value...

No superstition or voodoo here, just common sense and the rationality to know how Murphy's Law always seems to play a factor in some of these things.

see "luck" above...

I've never had a C7 night light bulb ever burn out and create a short, nor have I ever had one create a short that was working. If that's the case every light bulb in our house when they burn out with that big flash should be tripping circuit breakers or GFCI's all over the place.

I have not only seen it, but it IS an industry recognized failure mode with the small "C " class incandescent bulbs. I'm sorry your not familiar with it... Ever wonder where the thought to add fuses to blow mold socket cord sets came from?

Of course L.E.D. strands have electronics in them, but they are only one and connected to one wire only that passes through them. At least that is how they are ALL wired through the wart on every L.E.D. string I have.

We are only talking about ONE resistor passing a small amount of current here as well...

I've yet to see any such thing as real "flame proof" resistor, even those I use as "heating elements" to generate smoke in my model trains aren't flame proof, even though they get red hot to burn the fluid to make the smoke. Eventually they burn out and sometimes in half! I have yet to see any resistor, if enough current hits it or shorts, doesn't explode or flame up when it does go POP! Including those so-called "flame proof" ones. Unless they've started casing these flame-proof resistors in titanium (which would make them extremely expensive!), I just don't see them as being completely or totally flame proof, flame retardant I could believe.

Your model trains are most likely using open nichrome wire... they are designed to get hot and vaporize oil to make smoke... the carbon will eventually build up..cause them to develop a hot spot and burn in 2. Flame proof classed resistors are most commonly metal oxide film deposited on a ceramic core and then "cut" to the correct value. They are then coated with either a silicone or ceramic coating that will not burn; ie support a flame. They are used in situations where there COULD be a failure mode that may create an over current situation for example: emitter resistors in higher power driver stages.

I mentioned quite a while back that selecting this type resistor over a plain old carbon resistor with epoxy coating was just an extra safety measure that I personally recommended.

Lets face it... IF you construct a snubber that will plug into the female outlet end of an LED strand, AND you manage to mess it up really badly by using a small value, or build it poorly and manage to dead short the ac lines, the 3 amp fuse in the LED set you have it attached to is going to blow before you do a tremendous amount of damage.

As with all things electrical... if you do not know what you are doing, or Do NOT feel comfortable working with it.. PLEASE don't do it!!

Safety is always more important than stupid pride! ;)

I have been doing electrical engineering and circuit design for a number of years, and feel confident in the recommendations that have been made by others as well as myself on this subject. I will use it because I know it is good engineering, and the best solution to the problem so far based on all the testing and experience that has taken place.

I will NOT get into a disagreement with someone that doesn't feel comfortable with doing it that way... I suggest they find their own solution and live with it...or seek the help of others.

I did after all suggest using a Glade plug-in... people "plug em in, plug em in" all the time with out blowing anything up... other than stinky odors :P

P.S. I have glade plug ins that worked perfectly all season about 30 feet up in the top of my tree... and the front yard has a hint of "fresh snowfall" fragrance still to boot

:giggle:

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I've never had a C7 night light bulb ever burn out and create a short, nor have I ever had one create a short that was working.
They don't create a dead short but the resistance is much lower than normal. It typically happens when the bulb is pointing up, with the base down but it could happen in other positions. When the filament burns out, sometimes the entire filament drops down. It can land between the electrodes and connect to a much smaller portion of the of the original filament. This will draw many times more current than normal.

Almost everybody has experienced a time when they've turned on a light in a room and had it pop a lot louder and brighter than usual and seen that some or all of the glass is black or silver. This is the partial short.

The bulbs are designed so this is less likely to happen. It's the reason that glass tube is way up near the filament. The example shown below also extends the glass even higher than most.

If that's the case every light bulb in our house when they burn out with that big flash should be tripping circuit breakers or GFCI's all over the place.
The short last for a very short time. Circuit breakers are designed to tolerate this situation. A fuse may not open in this short of a time either. There is no ground fault so a GFCI is no different from a circuit breaker in this situation.
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