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Author Topic: Red Dog's pit - I finally started  (Read 762974 times)

Offline SpinKick

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #495 on: February 15, 2007, 10:21:55 AM »
I was planning on using EL sheets when I started on panels.  The best thing about this option... even distributed lighting!

I had a couple of concerns (after buying the sheets for testing).  
However, these operate on AC.  The transformers I have on hand create a very subtle, high pitch squeal.  As each sheet will require a transformer, there will be QUITE a few of these running.   I doubt if you could double-up sheets to transformers too much before overloading (aka HEAT  :wink: ).  

There is an option I haven't had the chance (or spine) to try just yet.... that's powering the sheet off 110V.  The flat blue night lights are just small EL sheets powered directly off the 110V plug.  I was successfully able to light that sheet with the same transformer and 9v source for the other "commercial" sheet.

Just some thoughts.  Hope it's helpful.  Looking forward to how well it works for you.
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Offline Red Dog

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #496 on: March 15, 2007, 11:56:14 AM »
Sorry for the late answer, I had to delay my further tests...
You are indeed totally right, I didn't notice it at first but the transformers are indeed doing noise.

As far as I know, I can use one of those tiny transformer for sheets up to 180 cm? One sheet being 15x12.5, I'm already over the 180cm?

Even though I can make three panels with one sheet, it's still too many inverter.
I'm trying to get a more powerful inverter to do the job but there is absolutely no data on the ones I have. Beside there is no way to dissasemble them - not easy to find a replacement in those cases.

Anyone has any idea where I could look?
I know there are AC. The 12V power supply converts current from AC to DC. So am I right to assume that the sole purpose of that small black box is to convert the current back to AC?

And so what if I power it up direct with a AC power supply at 12v ?? I don't even know if that stuff exist?

And finally, I have no spec sheet available for the EL sheet I use. To be able to choose a suitable power supply, I need to know how powerful it has to be, so any idea would be welcome...

Sorry for the technical questions guys :)

Here's a shot of the small inverter:
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 01:32:15 PM by Red Dog »

Have a bandit day
Red Dog

Offline maestro209

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #497 on: March 15, 2007, 02:05:28 PM »
Quote from: "Red Dog"
Sorry for the late answer, I had to delay my further tests...
You are indeed totally right, I didn't notice it at first but the transformers are indeed doing noise.

As far as I know, I can use one of those tiny transformer for sheets up to 180 cm? One sheet being 15x12.5, I'm already over the 180cm?

Even though I can make three panels with one sheet, it's still too many inverter.
I'm trying to get a more powerful inverter to do the job but there is absolutely no data on the ones I have. Beside there is no way to dissasemble them - not easy to find a replacement in those cases.

Anyone has any idea where I could look?
I know there are AC. The 12V power supply converts current from AC to DC. So am I right to assume that the sole purpose of that small black box is to convert the current back to AC?

And so what if I power it up direct with a AC power supply at 12v ?? I don't even know if that stuff exist?

And finally, I have no spec sheet available for the EL sheet I use. To be able to choose a suitable power supply, I need to know how powerful it has to be, so any idea would be welcome...

Sorry for the technical questions guys :)

Here's a shot of the small inverter:


No to get picky, but I would like some clarification. Are you talking about AC to DC? If that's the case then a simple "Transformer"(or Diode rectifier if I recall correctly) will solve the problem. Going from DC to AC requires an "Inverter."

Many auto suppliers have 12v DC to 120/220v Inverters one can plug into a cigarette lighter socket in a car.
http://www.amazon.com/Linksys-L03040-Power-2GO-Inverter/dp/B00004XRDM

for some installation instructions:
http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/ISEO-rgbtcspd/learningcenter/car/inverter.html

I hope I read your mind correctly on this one?

>M
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Offline Red Dog

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #498 on: March 15, 2007, 03:36:07 PM »
Maestro,

As far as I understand it, the plug in the wall gives 220v AC
there I connect a 12v power supply converting AC to DC at the same time (what you call a transformer)
So I end up with 12v DC and the EL sheets requires AC - so I'm guessing the black box that I look for specs is an inverter converting DC back to AC

I need a larger one allowing me to connect a bigger surface of EL sheet
or
I need another power supply that does not convert the wall plug AC to DC...

But electricity really is not my thing  :D

Have a bandit day
Red Dog

Offline Killn

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #499 on: March 15, 2007, 04:02:15 PM »
Olivier,

If the wall power is AC and the sheets are AC, why not get rid of the box all together and use a step down transformer to go from 220V AC to 12V AC?  You could use resistors to limit the current for each sheet.  Maybe by doing this you could power all the panels you require with one transformer and use basic rheostats to control your panel brightness?

Have you taken any measurements of voltage and amperage of the sheets while they are operating?  Knowing that you could calculate what you need to make your transformer.  I'm not an electronics expert, but seems feasable to me.


Cheers,
Jason
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Offline Nikolas_A

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #500 on: March 15, 2007, 04:03:37 PM »
Olivier,

a transformer converts AC to AC. A power supply converts AC to DC (almost always contains a transformer to deliver a lower AC input). So, it you know (or can measure) the output of the inverter, all you need is a transformer with a 220V input and output equal to that of the inverter.

No need to lower the AC, convert to DC and back to AC...

If, e.g. the inverter outputs 12V AC, all you need is a 220V/12V transformer.

Nikolas

Offline maestro209

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #501 on: March 15, 2007, 04:32:39 PM »
Quote from: "Red Dog"
Maestro,

As far as I understand it, the plug in the wall gives 220v AC
there I connect a 12v power supply converting AC to DC at the same time (what you call a transformer)
So I end up with 12v DC and the EL sheets requires AC - so I'm guessing the black box that I look for specs is an inverter converting DC back to AC

I need a larger one allowing me to connect a bigger surface of EL sheet
or
I need another power supply that does not convert the wall plug AC to DC...

But electricity really is not my thing  :D


Ok so for DC use the following.
Radio Shack use to sell "Fixed" 9v 12v 13.5v Power supplies. however I was able to locate this:
http://shop4.outpost.com/search?cat=-45490&pType=pDisplay

Any of the 13.5 volt will work fine for a 12V DC circuit. You local electronic (non computer) or HAM radio shop should know what your talking about when you ask for a 12 volt DC "Regulated" power supply.

The Amp rating is how many things you can run with it. That's where the math comes in. (use P = I times E) I doubt you'll run out of power though.


>M

P.S. After reading what Kiln posted I have to agree with him. If lower volt/amp/cycle AC is what you are after then a stepping transformer is what you need. I'll see if I can find a link.

In general mixing AC and DC like that in your pit will cause frustration and is potentially dangerious. I would reccomend staying DC for your backlights as painfull as that is, will save you in the long run.
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Offline Ka-Bar03

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #502 on: March 15, 2007, 07:45:57 PM »
Olivier, your PC PS doesn't have a 12v rail?

I have some of these sheets on hand too (Thanks Olivier). Wating to do the testing this weekend. The supplyer did tell me thay are laser cutable.
Will see. Thee are soe expense to them, like Olivier said, but in this hobby, what doesn't?

Olivier, the supplyer did tell me the EL will last 3-7,000 hours. Sounds
like a suitable lifespan.

I would be very suspect and worried putting AC line voltage to them.

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Offline SpinKick

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« Reply #503 on: March 15, 2007, 10:20:08 PM »
I'm pretty sure the transformer is a step-up transformer.  I'll have to go hook mine up then measure the secondary side.

IIRC it is primarily the frequency, more than the voltage, that is lighting up the sheets.
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Offline Ka-Bar03

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #504 on: March 15, 2007, 10:41:44 PM »
Well, just a sidenote to Olivier's post. The EL sheets laser cut wonderfully.
Hopefully Mike Powell will come by here and give us an idea on powering these from one powersupply. The supplyer references "inverters" in the PS, much like cold cathode tubes require.

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #505 on: March 16, 2007, 02:51:52 AM »
Part no. NDL-217 EL inverter takes 5VDC source good enough for up to 100-170 cm^2

http://rocky.digikey.com/WebLib/JKL%20Components/Web%20Photos/NDL-217.jpg

Digikey carries these for about $13 CAD. They have different models for various size EL sheets.

Offline Armitage

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« Reply #506 on: March 16, 2007, 03:46:20 AM »
I'm chirping in a bit late but ...

The way a standard common non-switching (PC power supply) 12VDC or any other voltage power supply usually works is as follows -

The mains AC comes in and goes through a step-down transformer as was said earlier. The voltage stepped down to is usually a few volts higher than the intended rated output voltage of the power supply. So in the example of a 12VDC power supply you'll probably find the voltage is stepped down to around 16-18VAC.

The stepped-down voltage is then routed through a bridge rectifier which is 4 diodes used to convert the AC into DC.

Thereafter the voltage is usually routed through a fixed or variable voltage regulator which will regulate the output voltage to whatever the intended output voltage is.

Finally the voltage is usually run through capacitive filters which smooth out the ripples caused by the conversion from AC to DC and the components in the power supply making electrical noise.


The reason the step-down transformer's output is higher than the intended output voltage of the power supply is because when the load on the power supply increases, if the DC supply to the voltage regulator doesn't have any 'spare capacity', the output voltage will fall below what it should be.

The down side of feeding a higher voltage into the voltage regulator is that when it is regulated down to the rated output voltage the 'excess' voltage can only be dissipated in the form of heat. This is why voltage regulators are usually heat-sink mounted.

What I am getting at here is that if you use just a step-down transformer without any other associated circuitry, you may run in to problems with the voltage dropping when you place a load on the transformer.

As usual, just my 2c. :D
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Offline Red Dog

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #507 on: March 16, 2007, 06:40:43 AM »
Thanks for all the inputs guys :)

Quote
In general mixing AC and DC like that in your pit will cause frustration and is potentially dangerious. I would reccomend staying DC for your backlights as painfull as that is, will save you in the long run.

Maestro, the EL sheets are Ac, so unless I want to forget using them and using leds instead, there is no way I can avoid mixing the twos.
I'm concerned as well mixing AC and DC in the pit. I should be fine though if I clearly separarte the circuits using colours codes accordingly.

Jason and Nikolas,
I also thing the converting to DC then back to AC is not needed. Thanks for you input, I know what to look for now. The only stuff I still need to know is how much power is required to use only one 220V/12V transformer (AC) to power most of the panels if not all...
I need to see the power the 180cm? sheet draws and extrapolate for a bigger surface I guess.


Mike,
The supplier told me they were laser cutable as well - I directly thought of you :)
For the longevity of the ELsheets, here's what I found:

It will loose brightness with time for sure. But if the graph is correct, we have at least 3000 hours before it becomes a concern, I guess.
Quote
Well, just a sidenote to Olivier's post. The EL sheets laser cut wonderfully.

that's good - I'll be thinking of you when I cut mine with the damn cutter  :evil:


Spinkick,
Quote
IRC it is primarily the frequency, more than the voltage, that is lighting up the sheets.

Yep, that's what I read on the websites as well.
Now comes the real stupid question ... Would a electrical train transformer would do the job? I have a few marklin transformers lying around... might be usefull to do some tests...
Worth trying or not?


Thanks Leol, I'll have a look, but the one you linked ain't powerful enough.

Armitage,
Quote
What I am getting at here is that if you use just a step-down transformer without any other associated circuitry, you may run in to problems with the voltage dropping when you place a load on the transformer.

The sheet I have tested works fine from 6 to 12v. Granted the backlight changes in intensity but i'm willing to test it to see how large that voltage dropping is

Thanks for all the inputs guys, I don't know where it will lead but I think the time we may save from a backlight led solution is worth investigating.

Have a bandit day
Red Dog

Offline Nikolas_A

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #508 on: March 16, 2007, 11:58:31 AM »
Hmmm, the diagrams tell all the necessary info, which isn't in your favor...

First, the EL sheet won't work with 12V, as you see it needs 80 - 160.

Second, it needs a higher frequency than the standard 50Hz. That's what the inverter is for, and that's why it makes the "high pitch squeal" SpinKick talcked about.

So, looks like you're stuck with inverters.

Nikolas

Offline Red Dog

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Red Dog's pit - I finally started
« Reply #509 on: March 16, 2007, 12:24:55 PM »
Charos, that's another brand of El sheets working straight from 110v in the US, not the same as I have here. Mine do work with 12v - as I tested them already (see pix above)

The image was just for the aging luminance reference

Have a bandit day
Red Dog