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Notes on Power Supplies


MicroStars and Tri-CLusters can receive power from a variety of different power supplies provided the actual Voltage doesn't exceed 15 volts DC:

  • 12 volt batteries; gel, lead acid, dry cell
  • Eight 1.5V batteries may be wired in series to provide 12 volts
  • Two 6 volt lantern batteries may be wired in series to provide 12 volts
  • 110 VAC - 12VDC transformers may be used
  • MicroStars are available in 24 VDC configuration. If these are used, the voltage should not exceed 30 volts for any length of time.

These types of transformers may be voltage regulated (preferred) or non-regulated. If the supply is non-regulated, make sure there are enough MicroStars or Tri-CLusters on the circuit to bring the voltage down below 15 volts. Until a reasonable current demand is placed on some of these supplies, the voltage can be above 15 volts in some cases. If a voltmeter is not available or you are uncertain, use a regulated power supply.

In all cases, make sure that the current requirement of your MicroStar circuit doesn't exceed the capacity of the power supply. To calculate your current requirement, ( since the MicroStars are wired in parallel) multiply the number of MicroStars X 25 milli-amps (.025 amps).

Most small 110VAC power supplies have their output rated in milli-amps. 200, 300, 500 and 800 Milli-amp capacities are common. Note: 1 amp = 1000 milli-amps.

If the power supply's output is rated in watts, (wattage = volts X amps) then figure .33 watts per MicroStar. 110VAC - 12VAC transformers require an addition of a rectifier bridge to their circuit for optimal results. Many power supplies don't convert the voltage from AC to DC. A common example is the Malibu power supply, often used in landscape lighting systems. A rectifier bridge is a small, inexpensive, solid state electronic component readily available from electronic supplies such as Radio Shack.

The rectifier bridge has four terminals on it; two input terminals to receive the output from the power supply and a positive and negative terminal to provide the DC output voltage. See installation tips for more information.

Solar Panels with 12 volt batteries are an ideal power supply for MicroStars and Tri-CLusters since they are the most efficient type of lights available and put minimal demand on solar supplied systems.

12 VDC automotive, marine and general transportation electrical systems are excellent power supplies for MicroStar or Tri-CLuster systems. Most of these 12 volt systems actually operate in the 13 to 14 volt range which is fine for the lights.

If the voltage regulation of the system were to fail, damage to the MicroStars or Tri-Clusters could occur. Typically, there will be resultant damage to other components using the system as well. If there is any indication either from an idiot light or in-system volt meter that the voltage is getting too high, the MicroStars and Tri-CLusters as well as any other non essential components should be turned off until the problem can be rectified.

MicroStars and Tri-CLusters will actually work on 9 and 10 volt power supplies without any damage but the intensity of light will be diminished.

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