# Checking my 3 channel color organ kit for faults - not working

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#### chuco61

Joined Jan 21, 2015
74
I plan on making a homedepot run after work. Would this kind of AC line work?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-6-ft-16-2-Cube-Tap-Extension-Cord-HD-145-017/100672781

The wider terminal would be considered HOT and connected to the fuse side of the circuit, yes?
Again, I am running a small powerstrip to the inside of the enclosure that has polarized outlets.

I dont think I will have time to get a 1:1 transformer, unless I ordered it on amazon. Can you point me to the correct one I would get?

Thank you!

#### ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,960

A 1:1 transformer can only protect you from getting shocked to ground, you can still get shocked across the output.

Just so you know, you will still be dealing with 120 volts AC.

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,600
For North America:

That would assume that the outlet and all connections are wired correctly. I have seen otherwise.

Also, I have a whole pile of computer style power cords that came with a shipment of power supplies. The cables had LINE and NEUTRAL swapped.

#### philba

Joined Aug 17, 2017
960

A 1:1 transformer can only protect you from getting shocked to ground, you can still get shocked across the output.

Just so you know, you will still be dealing with 120 volts AC.
True but with the transformer, it's a lot less likely that the shock will go through your heart which is what tends to kill you.

By the way, In my lab area, all the circuits go through a GFCI. This isn't really necessary with a 1:1 isolation xformer but good practice none-the-less

#### chuco61

Joined Jan 21, 2015
74
I'll use the cord from homedepot and wire it as it should be hot/neutral to the proper terminals.

#### chuco61

Joined Jan 21, 2015
74
True but with the transformer, it's a lot less likely that the shock will go through your heart which is what tends to kill you.

By the way, In my lab area, all the circuits go through a GFCI. This isn't really necessary with a 1:1 isolation xformer but good practice none-the-less
Good tip! Thanks

#### BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,896
In the USA, as a matter almost of law, do not EVER plug anything into your house power that does not bear a UL safety warning. UL (Underwriter's Labs) is the certification body that tests everything electrical (and many other things) to ensure they are safe. More importantly, connecting things to your house-power that are not UL certified will void your insurance claim(s) if you burn your house down or are seriously injured.

#### DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
7,953
Basic rule for survival: Never count on Neutral and Line to not be swapped. Never.

#### ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,960
True but with the transformer, it's a lot less likely that the shock will go through your heart which is what tends to kill you.
I’m not sure I agree with that, but it misses the point, that being some people may feel safe because they have an isolation transformer, just like how some people think their PCs are safe because they have a security suite.

Hence the precaution.

#### takao21203

Joined Apr 28, 2012
3,702
Basic rule for survival: Never count on Neutral and Line to not be swapped. Never.
What difference does it make if you touch both with both hands due to stupidity?

I was almost killed by a korean toaster, full 240V and it didnt really feel nice.

120V is only half of that.

The PCB doesnt really look good to me, need to check all the traces for conductivity, examine with magnifier
Also a christmas lights string is not adequate load for TRIAC you need like a 60W bulb

I have taken another look, you use tiny ceramic multilayer capacitors,they are completely unsuitable for this application they will go conducting at 50V and some even well before of that.

You need proper metal film, here in Europe you need at least 630V kinds for 120V you need 400V kinds, 250V may work but is not really good.

The schematic looks like from the Hippie age

Why line 1:1 transformer is not clear to me, rather 1:1 transformer for the audio input

Also swapping the transformer pins is worth trying

#### philba

Joined Aug 17, 2017
960
I’m not sure I agree with that, but it misses the point, that being some people may feel safe because they have an isolation transformer, just like how some people think their PCs are safe because they have a security suite.

Hence the precaution.
what don't you agree with? So your point that I missed was that electricity is dangerous? thanks for pointing that out!

#### AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
9,471
In the USA, as a matter almost of law, do not EVER plug anything into your house power that does not bear a UL safety warning.
Safety certification by a NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) of a product often is a requirement of a purchasing contract, and a common requirement for some equipment used in OSHA-regulated industries, but it is nothing even close to a requirement for household products. Those products manufacturers' insurance companies might require NRTL testing to lower the liability insurance premiums, but again that requirement does not extend down to the consumer. UL is the most famous NRTL, but there are around a dozen others. And, importantly, none of them are government agencies.
UL (Underwriter's Labs) is the certification body that tests everything electrical (and many other things) to ensure they are safe.
Actually, they test only what they are paid to test. For example, they test fire trucks, but not bleach bottles.
More importantly, connecting things to your house-power that are not UL certified will void your insurance claim(s) if you burn your house down or are seriously injured.
No, it won't.

First of all, despite UL's massive lobbying effort, all NRTLs are legally equivalent. For example, if a school district wants to require a specific level of flame retardancy in the curtains hung in a classroom, they cannot specify that only UL-tested materials can be used; they can specify that the materials meet or exceed UL 94V-0 or equivalent based on NRTL testing.

Second, think it through. It is perfectly legal for Conair to make and for WalMArt to sell a curling iron that is not NRTL tested. Stupid, but legal. So how can it come down to me to stand there in the store and read the back of the package and evaluate the safety agency icons and determine if this product violates the terms of my fire insurance. And even if the curling iron is fully tested and certified, it still will kill me if it falls into the tub. Current fire codes require ground fault interrupting (GFI) outlets in kitchens and bathrooms, but there is no law requiring that every home in the US be inspected, and retrofitted as necessary.

UL was created by insurance companies to figure out ways to reduce having to pay out compensation for fires caused by bad wiring back in the 1890's, nothing more. It has grown a lot, and does many wonderful things. But by itself it has no legal or magical powers. Things they approve are merely safer, not absolutely safe.

ak

#### Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
12,309
Would these pot knobs be acceptable to run on the POTs as they currently are on the circuit?
Yes, if they fit the shafts of the pots. They are supposedly for 'knurled shafts'. Is that the same as 'splined shafts' in UK parlance?

#### chuco61

Joined Jan 21, 2015
74
Thank you all for your feedback. I'm scared. As this is a gift for someone, I had no Idea of how unsafe this product really is. How can companies continue to produce and sell these things for $30+ and not be held accountable?! I am now looking into an arduino LED color organ circuit and almost have it figured out. Less voltage but the same cool effect. #### MrChips Joined Oct 2, 2009 24,600 Thank you all for your feedback. I'm scared. As this is a gift for someone, I had no Idea of how unsafe this product really is. How can companies continue to produce and sell these things for$30+ and not be held accountable?!

I am now looking into an arduino LED color organ circuit and almost have it figured out. Less voltage but the same cool effect.
Wise decision. Use a low voltage wall adapter and stick with LED circuits. Less likely to electrocute someone.

#### philba

Joined Aug 17, 2017
960
I am now looking into an arduino LED color organ circuit and almost have it figured out. Less voltage but the same cool effect.
That is how I would do it. You can get LED strings in different colors and lengths. You can cut them to any length and easily drive them from an Arduino with a few additional components. Once you get the basic idea down, you might want to look at strips with addressable LEDs so you can do all sorts of effects. Neo pixels from adafruit is one example.

Even better is the teensy and audio shield that allows you to extract out frequency information (Fast Fourier Transform) and drive different strips for a super color organ effect. The audio effects library that the teensy people have put together is super easy to use with a graphical tool for plugging the various filters together. They have a good tutorial on how to use it.

#### chuco61

Joined Jan 21, 2015
74
@phiba, I just shot you a message.

#### ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
14,124
hi chuco,
The microphone is effectively connected to the local mains supply.
My advice would be NOT to build this project, it is potentially lethal.

Eric

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#### bertus

Joined Apr 5, 2008
21,655
Hello,

If you want to make a color organ with mains power lamps, but keep the isolation, have a look at the following schematic:

The MOC drivers will provide the needed isolation from the mains.

Bertus

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