Author Topic: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes  (Read 2747 times)

Offline txag2008

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All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« on: January 05, 2016, 08:30:26 AM »
I have a bunch of 120VAC xenon strobes from on older display that I'd like to incorporate into my currently all RGB show.  I wouldn't need an dimming capability since I'd just be turning the strobes on/off.  I'd like to have the strobes in a few different locations so I'll have to balance the choice of a centralized solution vs not having to run much SPT wire. 

Here is the layout to my show from this past year.


I see several different options:
  • Buy a separate 120v controller that has 120VAC outputs (Something like an SS8 flashed for DMX or a Lynx Express).  I do use DMX from my DLA Active Hub to control my Aether floods and I was thinking I could use DMX for the strobes as well
  • Use GPIO pins of my Pi to output to a SSR board to control the strobes (not sure if I could do this and output to my FPD simultaneously)
  • Somehow use my spare DSCs (dumb string controller) from DLA, that output an on/off 12VDC.

Thoughts or Suggestions??
As always, I'd like to solve this is the easiest and/or most economical way.

Offline jnealand

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 09:58:14 AM »
An LE or even an SSR4 would work fine.  I have not used any strobes the last two years, but used to run them off one of my LEs or SSR4s.  I am also all RGB now, but still have a DMX tune to sign and lights for my nativity as static and I run them using wireless DMX out of the active hub.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

Offline zwiller

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2016, 10:08:01 AM »
I would go the LE route but it's because I have some.  I am all RGB myself and on the fence of using xenons or leds (dirk cheap strobes).  I am planning a little strobe shoot out to see what I like best but fairly xenons are out of my budget.  I am aiming 100+.  Question would be 20-30 xenons vs 100-150 3w leds.  I am unfamiliar but I think there might be some Renard options too.  Smaller channel 120vac dmx stuff.  I would urge you to the side of caution as I read many reports that zenon's are hard on controllers if you use too many.   
Sam
 Last year's video: https://vimeo.com/150560653

Offline twooly

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2016, 10:11:07 AM »
I have some ac xeons that I use, controlled by a LE.  Been using it controlled by DMX, but there is a pixelnet firmware too that I'm going to test (one less cable :) for me)

Offline txag2008

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2016, 01:28:15 PM »
Thanks for all the thoughts/suggestions. 

Right now I'm leaning towards using a Renard SS16 that I have sitting around.  I have 40 strobes and would spread them across several channels to avoid higher amperages.  I'v never flashed any of the Renard controllers with DMX but apparently it's a known solid solution.  J had a spare LE a year ago but sold it off as I didn't plan on using it.

Offline Gary

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2016, 01:36:43 PM »
I am planning a little strobe shoot out to see what I like best but fairly xenons are out of my budget.  I am aiming 100+.  Question would be 20-30 xenons vs 100-150 3w leds.  I am unfamiliar but I think there might be some Renard options too.  Smaller channel 120vac dmx stuff.  I would urge you to the side of caution as I read many reports that zenon's are hard on controllers if you use too many.

I bought some extra strobes through DIY LED Express through last year's pre-sale simply because they were so cheap compared to everywhere else.
http://www.diyledexpress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=425

I should say that about 20% of them failed, but there is a fix at http://www.diyledexpress.com/stroberepair.pdf. I imagine that the design flaw will be fixed for 2016. Something that I like about these strobes is that you can unscrew the clear cap to repair them since the thread sealant doesn't seem to dry out versus ones I've bought in the past that are held in tight (I get some condensation inside some of them either way).

If you are doing a strobe shoot out, keep in mind that you probably want to buy strobes from two or three sources with different speed ratings anyway so you have a nice random effect when the strobes first turn on. I even went to the effort of labeling them as well.

Offline txag2008

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2016, 01:42:34 PM »
Gary,  please try not to derail this thread to a strobe debate.  I already have the strobes in hand and have used them in past years.

Offline zwiller

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2016, 02:25:02 PM »
The thread derail is MY fault.  Sorry.  I will start a new thread. 

Offline pixelpuppy

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2016, 03:27:19 PM »
I have a bunch of 120VAC xenon strobes from on older display that I'd like to incorporate into my currently all RGB show.  I wouldn't need an dimming capability since I'd just be turning the strobes on/off.  I'd like to have the strobes in a few different locations so I'll have to balance the choice of a centralized solution vs not having to run much SPT wire. 

Have you considered something like this?  Yeah I know its mechanical relays, so not good for fast switching.  And of course, no dimming.  But for simple AC on/off it works pretty well.  This is what I use for my static AC props.  Should be fine for AC strobes too.  You could have several of these small 3-channel units spread around the yard, or there are bigger 12-channel and 16-channel units if you want to go more centralized.
-Mark

Offline txag2008

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2016, 12:38:28 PM »
Quote
Have you considered something like this?  Yeah I know its mechanical relays, so not good for fast switching.  And of course, no dimming.  But for simple AC on/off it works pretty well.  This is what I use for my static AC props.  Should be fine for AC strobes too.  You could have several of these small 3-channel units spread around the yard, or there are bigger 12-channel and 16-channel units if you want to go more centralized.

I've seen similar things, but not that exact one.  In your example is 120v feed directly into to decoder and then the strobes wired straight into the 3 outputs?

Offline tbone321

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2016, 02:29:24 PM »
Yep, it is simply a group (3) of DMX controlled relays and is really the best way to control them.  Many inductive loads don't get along all that well with a SSR or dimmer style controller because the output of most of them is not a clean sine wave, even at full on. 

Offline zwiller

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2016, 02:45:19 PM »
Thanks for the explanation tbone.  It goes without saying this would eliminate the whole accidentally dimming and frying the strobes thing too.  Price wise doesn't look as cheap as I thought it would be ($25-30 ish). 

Offline pixelpuppy

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2016, 03:22:51 PM »
In your example is 120v feed directly into to decoder and then the strobes wired straight into the 3 outputs?
Well, not exactly.  The decoder needs 12v DC input power.  The relay outputs are just switch contacts.  So I have a 12v wall wart to power the decoder and I used SPT wire with vampire plugs to make the AC wiring harness needed to plug in the strobes.

Offline txag2008

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2016, 03:25:40 PM »
In your example is 120v feed directly into to decoder and then the strobes wired straight into the 3 outputs?
Well, not exactly.  The decoder needs 12v DC input power.  The relay outputs are just switch contacts.  So I have a 12v wall wart to power the decoder and I used SPT wire with vampire plugs to make the AC wiring harness needed to plug in the strobes.

Ah ok, I think I got ya.  So you're just using the decoder outputs to break/make the neutral of your SPT wire?

Offline tbone321

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Re: All RGB show, wanting to use 120VAC strobes
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2016, 07:24:41 PM »
I wouldn't use it to break the neutral, I would use it to switch the power side on and off.  The 12V input is only used to power the internal board and the relays coils and has no connection to the relay contacts. 

 

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