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15 or 30 amp?

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Hey there,

Looking to buy my first package here. I live in an apartment where they hold a balcony decorating contest every year for Christmas. I am determined to win this year....

My question pertains to power. I am looking at doing maybe 32 channels - 2 controllers. I see that the PRO version comes in a 15 amp controller or a 30 amp controller. The Residential comes only in 30 amp. My breakers are 15 amps a piece and powering two 30 amp controllers would require (this is a guess on my part) running extension cords from the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen to get enough power without tripping breakers. However, 15 amp controllers while easier, I fear they won't have enough power to run my show.

The lights I have are standard mini-lights, 100 to a string. If I use the standard 100 lights minis, I would have about 24 channels with a single string on them in addition to 8 channels that would control stars and other misc. lights, albeit less than 100 lights. Could I run a show like this on a 2 PRO 15 amp controllers?

Or do I need to buy LED's instead. If I do LED's my setup would be similar, but I would obviously be drawing much less power.

Or do I just need to buy the 30 amp controllers and run extension cords all over my apartment?

Any help is appreciated!

Ryan

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I don't think you'd have a problem running 2 residential controllers off the same outside outlet {if your complex has them, some do, some don't}.

I run 5 CTB16PC controllers off the same circuit and have for the last 3 years I've done shows. Halloween is more incandescent than my Christmas Display, and all 80 channels work fine, just try not to have all your lights all on full at the same time and I think you should be good. Others may disagree with that. But like said, I've been running 5 CTB16PC Controllers/80 channels, off my home brewed 5 dual outlet power strip plugged into a GFCI outdoor outlet now for 3 years and they haven't failed me yet.

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One of my runs has 5 or 6 controllers on the same circuit. It totally depends on what you're powering- the 15 or 30A is a *maximum capacity* not a requirement.

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I use mini's in my display, mostly 1 string of 100ct per channel. Only my "big" mini tree uses 300 lights on one channel. I have the dual input controllers, but I use a 2 into 1 connector wire because I'm only drawing about 5.5 to 8.5 amps per controller. This is what I use,

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10228&cs_id=1022808&p_id=5309&seq=1&format=2

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My opinion, I would get the 30 amp residential controllers, just don't overload your breakers. This way you wouldn't have to upgrade in the future.(Because you will want to). LOL

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I would go with the PC series controllers. 30 amps, and cheaper. I think the only difference is they are not UL rated. You can go 8 amps max on a channel, 15 amps max per side(1-8 and 9-16) and a total of 30 amps max per controller. A single string of lights is about .33 amps so 24 times .33 is about 8 amps for 24 channels, so I think, remember I said that, you should be fine with 2 PC controllers on 2 circuits, if not just one. You will just need to check the amps after you get it all installed and see what it is.

And welcome aboard.

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As you say you are doing a balcony decorating contest, I highly doubt that you will run into a limitation on power....space, yes, but probably not power.

Remember also that only the lights that are turned on are using power. Therefore you may have 60A of lights available (for example, but that would be a heck of a lot of lights for a balcony!), but maybe have sequenced to turn on only 10A at a time.

Using your rough numbers of approximately 24 strings plus some random other small stuff, so maybe equates to a total of 32 strings of 100ct mini-lights total being used, which is less than 11A total IF you have them all on at the same time. Don't sweat it.

Agree with above...get the 30A PC Residential controllers. They all control lights the exact same way, so why spend more than you have to. Use the extra money for more lights or extension cords.

If you can use a screwdriver, you can put this one together (no soldering):

http://store.lightorama.com/ctascpa.html

Edited by Surfing4Dough

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Get the 30 amp residential and use this load calculator http://www.supercircuits.com/resources/tools/Volts-Watts-Amps-Converter to calc your amps. A standard el-cheap-o department 100 lamp incandescent is between .25 - .33 amps per string.

And if your apartment complex is anything like the ones I lived in. You probably have one breaker for the kitchen and 3 15a breakers for the apartment. With the outside outlet GFCI connected to you bathroom.

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Well it looks like you are getting a mix of good and bad info, so let me add my bad info to the mix :-)

Agreeing with a couple posts above... basically it is going to come down to how much current you will be drawing from the controller as to whether or not you would trip the breakers in your appartment, not the number of controllers you add to one line. The controllers themselves only draw about 5 Watts of power.

Add up the wattage that is rated on each of your strings and toss in another 10 watts for your controllers and you will be fairly close to the actually wattage you will be drawing from your circuit. Use the load calculator that is posted above.

In summary, it sounds like you are not going to have any issues at all.

My 2 cents about whether or not to get a 15A or 30A controller is depending on what you plan to attach in the future. The trend is toward LED lights and you would have to put hundreds of strings together before you reach the controller limit. About the only things you are likely to need a more powerful controller for is to attach things like incandescent flood lights that could draw 60-100 watts each. Frankly speaking, even in a couple of large commercial shows that I did the last year, I wasn't approaching the limits of a 15A controller. Again, it depends on what types of devices you are attaching and how many.

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