Wiring for lights

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by FrankG, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. dbogot

    dbogot New Member

    Assuming that you have the power pack connected to the (2) input terminals on the left side of the leftmost connector, and each light is connected to a pair of switched output terminals at the top (I'm guessing you probably have this correct), the only thing I can think of that would cause any of the other lights to turn off with the blinker light on would be a direct short or a very high current draw from the terminals feeding the blinking light (i.e. if the method that the blinker uses to shut it self off is to introduce a direct short across itself). This would seem counterintuitive, but the connector is a parallel-wired device, and the only way I can see for one pair of outputs in a parallel circuit to cause the others to shut off (go to zero volts) would be a SHORT...

    Can you connect an ammeter in series with the blinking light? If the ammeter reading spikes UP when the blinker goes OFF, then it is in fact causing a short circuit.

    Another question: how many lights are you operating? If you have only one of the steady lights on, and then you turn on the blinker, does it make that single steady light blink also? Or, does the blinking happen only when ALL of the other steady lights are on? Also, are the other lights turning OFF when the blinker is OFF, or when it's ON (are they in phase with each other?) Do the other lights get significantly dimmer when the blinker is operating?

    Do you have any specifications on the blinking light, like what voltage it's rated for, or (wishful thinking) the schematic of the blinker circuit itself?

    At the end of the day, my guess is that there is something with the blinking light itself, not the rest of your wiring, that is causing the problem. Of course, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you've wired the connector properly, but let's face it, that's a pretty simple device... :mrgreen:
  2. dbogot

    dbogot New Member

    I've been thinking about this a bit more, and another way to test the situation would be to put a voltmeter across the power pack output (or right across the input terminals of the connector - same thing).

    Ideally, that voltage should say about the same (my guess is 12 VAC) as lights are turned on and off. Perhaps a bit of a voltage dropoff as load increases (more lights turned on).

    If that voltage drops to near zero when the blinking light turns on, it means that blinker is shorting across it's terminals, or drawing too much current for the power pack to supply, causing it's output voltage to drop off...

    If you find that it is drawing too much current, I can explain how you could power just that blinker with a separate power supply, but still use the same controller switch to turn it on & off (for convenience, and a clean looking installation) using a relay. Let me know...
  3. I would let the planes crash into the water tower. :eek:

    No there may be an added resister to the tower that will cause the light to blink and that will in turn cause the entire set of lights to blink. If so, you will need to wire this on it's own line or somehow terminate the flash from going down the line.

    Now you have to understand I'm not an electrician or anything but this sounds like I know what I’m talking about. You also need to know that I electrocuted myself when I was a child but we don’t need to talk about that. :oops:

  4. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    The lights are all wired in series this is why they all get effected. if they were wired in parallel they would all have their own power to deal with.

    I might have this backwards it has been a while.
  5. dbogot

    dbogot New Member

    I believe Floyd described that he wired his lights using an Atlas Connector, which would mean they are wired in PARALLEL, not in series.

    Hence his confusion as to why they are blinking...

    We can all easily understand how a blinker would affect a SERIES circuit, it't the blinking in the PARALLEL circuit that is more difficult to understand. See my posts above for a possible explanation.

    Hey Floyd, did you ever determine if your blinker SHORTS ITSELF OUT to cause the blink? As I explained, if one puts a direct short across a pair of parallel outputs, it would cause the voltage in the entire circuit to drop to zero (and probably not be too good for your power pack), but would certainly result in blinking...

    Your easiest way to check will be to put a voltmeter across the input terminals of the connector, then switch on the blinker. If the voltmeter swings between full voltage & zero, you have found your problem!

    Please let us know. I for one cannot help but remain curious!
  6. Since I do not know anything about the Atlas Connector I wouldn't know they are wired in PARALLEL. Thanks for the update I now know. :cool:

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