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voltage drop and power supply

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by horton, Jul 6, 2003.

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  1. horton

    horton Guest


    First, I have been attempting to use a PC (atx) power supply to supply 12VDC
    30A to a string of lights (each light 2.3V 0.3A is wired in a pair -> series
    and then these pairs are wired in parallel - like christmas lights. There
    are 20 pairs or 40 lights total. I followed some advice given to me on this
    list a while ago - thanks :) ) This worked very well. But now it seems the
    lights near the end of the line are quite dim, also the power supply begins
    to make a high pitched sustained sound if I leave it on for a while).

    So I am not sure what I might try next. Maybe the atx supply is not a good
    choice. Also the voltage is a little higher than I need (even with the
    approx. 3VDC drop in voltage for the length and gauge of wire). I would see
    voltage dropping like this for each light (at 5VDC for a test):

    4.18 -1.0
    3.97 -0.21
    3.75 -0.22
    3.57 -0.18
    3.44 -0.13
    3.31 -0.13

    Does this make sense? Any ideas on how to proceed. Any input is greatly
    appreciated, I'm truly a beginner at this.

  2. Kasper

    Kasper Guest

    how long wires do you have, and how big are they ??

    normal as a guideline is, 4amp in a 1mm2 wire when it's DC

    but remember the lengh have someting to do with the resitance, i have a
    small nice program, in danis, that can calc all that out... so if you give
    me the data, i can calc it out
  3. happyhobit

    happyhobit Guest

    Hi Stan,

    First it's a 5 volt supply not 12 volt. I Looked up your old post.

    2 - 2.3 volt lamps in series is 4.6 volts. On a 12 volt circuit, they won't
    last long. You would need about 5 in series to work in 12 volts.

    Most, newer, Christmas tree lights are in series. (At least in the USA) Only
    old 115-volt Candelabra base (same size as a night light) Christmas tree
    light strings were in parallel.

    In a string of 50 mini lamps, the voltage across each lamp would be 2.3
    volts. They are in series. There is a small jumper in each lamp that is
    designed to short it out if the lamp burns out.

    If you mix .3 amp and .5 amp lamps this could cause the dim lamps you

    If you're still using 12 gauge wire you should not be seeing a voltage drop
    greater than about 5%. About ¼ volt at 68 feet with 10 amps. You should be
    using about 6 amps.

    It's hard to get a good connection splicing copper and aluminum wire, they

    The most probable reason (my best guess) for the dim lights and high voltage
    drop that you describe is poor connections.

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