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I have two controllers in my show, each is on a separate circuit. I've been running my show for a week and the breaker on one of the circuits has tripped twice now (on separate days). The circuit is 20amp and the only other device on it is a very small refrigerator. When I reset, the show has run the remainder of the night without a hitch. I'm wondering if the controller and associated lights (12 strings of mini incans) is too much for the outlet at startup.

My question is: can I run the controller on two separate outlets (same circuit) with which one of the controller plugs will require an extension cord, without harming the controller? Sorry if this is a stupid question, but this is my first year using LOR and I don't want to ruin my controllers.

Thanks!

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Ummm....

A compact fridge (like for a dorm room) will draw 2-3A, and a 'small' fridge could draw from 8-12 or more. Have you looked at the data plate on the fridge for the amp draw, then added up the draw of all your lights and EVERYTHING ELSE on that circuit?

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The only thing on the circuit is the small fridge, which is, like you said, a dorm room fridge and the controller. Nothing else is on the circuit, so total amps is not an issue.

I think it might be the outlet, so I was wondering if its ok to run the controller on two different outlets via extension cords without harming it?

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I think the only trick to using multiple outlets is as long as they are on the same phase of your houses power. How to check for that I do not know, Jeff Millard I believe is an electrician he would be the one to ask.

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Mike makes a good point about the fridge. Motors have a tendency to draw a lot of amperage for a short time at startup. I wonder if the compressor is starting at a point in your sequence where you have a lot of the lights on, and it is just too much at once for the breaker? I would try moving the controller or the fridge to a different circuit...

Jerry

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I wondered that myself, so moving the fridge to another circuit will be my next step.

For future reference though, can anyone tell me if it's ok to plug a controller into two different outlets that are on the same circuit? I don't see why it wouldn't be, but then again, I'm new to this and wouldn't want to fry a controller. :wacko:

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I believe pluging the controller in to two outlets wouldn't hurt anything.

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There is only 1 reason a breaker trips: Something is WRONG.

Treat the cause, don't cover up the symptom.

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There is only 1 reason a breaker trips: Something is WRONG.

Treat the cause, don't cover up the symptom.

As soon as I read refrigerator....

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YES you can split the power from two different outlets. You probably either have a short somewhere or a bad GFCI. I am guessing a short though. Bad GFCIs happen but not often. Was it wet those days when it tripped? I run 10 controllers and lights (Leds) off one outlet without problems except for the time a connection was in a little standing water. Try to find the problem rather than move extension cords. You will be better off in the long run.

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Thank you for the answer about running a controller on two separate outlets!

YES you can split the power from two different outlets. You probably either have a short somewhere or a bad GFCI. I am guessing a short though. Bad GFCIs happen but not often. Was it wet those days when it tripped? I run 10 controllers and lights (Leds) off one outlet without problems except for the time a connection was in a little standing water. Try to find the problem rather than move extension cords. You will be better off in the long run.

Yes, the first time it was snowing/sleeting outside and yesterday, it was melting. I wondered if it might be a wet plug too, but I also assumed (probably incorrectly) that if I had a wet connection, the breaker would trip again after a reset, but it didn't. Both times after I reset, my show ran for 4hours. I will try to move the fridge to another circuit as well as double check my plug connections. Perhaps wrap them with duct tape or something and then see if the problem happens again.

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The whole reason that controllers have two power plugs is so you can plug them into different circuits. Plugging them into two different outlets on the same circuit accomplishes nothing different than plugging them both into the same outlet*

-Tim

*It's possible, that if both outlets are separate GFCI's, you might reduce GFCI trips. But that's not what we're discussing here...

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Yes, the first time it was snowing/sleeting outside and yesterday, it was melting. I wondered if it might be a wet plug too, but I also assumed (probably incorrectly) that if I had a wet connection, the breaker would trip again after a reset, but it didn't. Both times after I reset, my show ran for 4hours. I will try to move the fridge to another circuit as well as double check my plug connections. Perhaps wrap them with duct tape or something and then see if the problem happens again.

Also don't wrap your connections this will trap the moisture in

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Also don't wrap your connections this will trap the moisture in

+1

Don't wrap the connections in tape as MCas has said. You are better off getting the connections off the wet surfaces.

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I didn't realize it was GFCI breaker that was tripping. There is a good posibility it is due to something in the display. Sounds like it was wet out when you were having the problem.

Don't wrap your connections, just get them off the ground. I do this by using light stakes that you can get this time of the year. Just push the stake into the ground at the connection point and hook the wires into the stake so the plugs are not laying on the ground.

Jerry

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Jerry,

Thanks for the tip! I feel stupid as keeping your connections off the ground seems to be an obvious thing. Guess that's why we're called Newbs huh? :wacko:

The ground seemed to be fairly dry last night and the breaker didn't trip, so I'm hoping that's the problem. I'll get some stakes this weekend!

Everyone else.....thanks for your help as well. These forums have a great group of folks on them!

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Griswald, refrigerators have hermetically sealed compressors and those do have bleed currents that can cause nuisance tripping of a GFCI protection device. It is not a good idea to have a refrigerator or freezer on a GFCI protected circuit/outlet for this reason. The NEC (National Electrical Code) does have exclusions for small appliance loads to avoid nuisance tripping. If I interpret your situation correctly, then this is what you have in place (or did).

My advice is to move the refrigerator to a non-GFCI circuit not only to help solve the problems with the display, but also to avoid food loss in the event a nuisance trip.

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Additionally, actually, this should have been your very first step, plug your Kill-O-Watt meter into your controllers and see how many amps the show draws. Two controllers, you didnt say how many strings.. You have to map out the current draw for each controller and run them into circuits that have the least amount of current on them. A Fridge will peak its highest draw when it starts a chill cycle. That combined with a 12-15a controller load trips a 20a breaker every time.

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