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I noticed at Home Depot some 12 gauge wire for low voltage landscape lighting purposes. Its just like lamp cord only its beefy with thick insulation. My question: even though it says for "low voltage use" would this not be good for the main feed to my controllers? The insulation on it is thicker than romex. Its also rated for direct burial. The wire sizes come in 16, 14, 12. What do you electricians think?

Next question: What about the double 20 amp breaker that fits in one slot in your panel but has two switches. Is this a good way to power both sides of a 16 channel controller? Both sides of the controller would be receiving separate 20 amp capacity even though its coming from the same phase in the panel. Right?

Last question: When powering both sides of the controller from two different phases in your breaker panel, you are actually bringing to your controller 240 vac. Is this something to get excited about?

Thanks for any and all responses.

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Hi Jeff,

I would recommend that one of the first things you do with your proposed setup is build a spreadsheet that outlines all the loads you are planning to connect to your LOR controllers. This will give you an idea about what your power requirements will be.

In my case, I saw that the loads were low enough per controller that I'm able to use one power cord for most of my 16 channel controllers.

Second, your question about the Malibu lighting wire. I believe the insulation is rated for much lower voltage than 120 volts. I know what you're saying about it being thicker than Romex, but for some reason the Malibu stuff is rated lower. I suppose it would work, but I'd be hesitant to load it up to maximum current. Maybe someone else on PC has done this before and can comment.

The double 20 amp breakers work great, and they are meant to give you additional capacity when your breaker panel is full or getting full. It is true that these double breakers are being fed from the same "leg" in the panel. If you are going to have a few of these double breakers, you'd want to spread them out so some are fed from one leg and others are fed from the other leg in your subpanel to diversify the load and cancel (or minimize) neutral current.

Finally, your last question about 240 volts in the controller. The two sides in a 16 channel controller are independent, so while it is true that the two feeds are in close proximity, they are not connected together. Nothing to worry about, unless there are wiring errors :)

I hope that helps with your questions....

Randy

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jeff wrote:

.... What about the double 20 amp breaker that fits in one slot in your panel but has two switches. Is this a good way to power both sides of a 16 channel controller? Both sides of the controller would be receiving separate 20 amp capacity even though its coming from the same phase in the panel. Right?

You should consider running those breakers to GFCI's to meet the national electrical code for outside outlets. Safety should always be considered in a situation like this.
Good luck and be safe! :happytree:
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Griswold wrote:

jeff wrote:
.... What about the double 20 amp breaker that fits in one slot in your panel but has two switches. Is this a good way to power both sides of a 16 channel controller? Both sides of the controller would be receiving separate 20 amp capacity even though its coming from the same phase in the panel. Right?

You should consider running those breakers to GFCI's to meet the national electrical code for outside outlets. Safety should always be considered in a situation like this.
Good luck and be safe! :happytree:


Also Make sure that you are running separate neutrals a lot of people run two hots and one neutral and this is fine as long as your two hots are not on the same phase. If you ran one neutral for both legs of the double 20 amp breaker and "Possibly" pulled 20 amps per leg that would be 40 amps on your neutral if they are on the same phase.

As far as the low voltage wiring it is only going to be rated for the voltage specified the thickness of the insulation has nothing to do with its insulating value for example THHN insulation is thinner than XHHW insulation however XHHW is almost 3 times thicker than THHN but they are both rated for 600 volts "National Electric Code" Table 310.17 I would scan and post a picture of it but I dont know how to post a picture here???? Sorry I am an electrician not a computer guy
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Thanks for the replies. What about multiwire? Good or bad idea.

Can the neutral in a multiwire set-up be daisy chained from one side of the controller to the other and likewise can it also be daisy chained to other controllers in the same manner. My 3 controllers are mounted in a hoffman 24 x 24 fiberglass enclosure.

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I used multi conductors on about 75% of my display using both sides of the board on different circuits. It is the same principle as long as your neutral wire size can handle the TOTAL load of all channels applied if you have different phases going to each side then that amperage can be calculated separately.

Example if you feed each side with a different phase

channel 1 1amp

channel 2 1amp

channel 3 1amp

channel 9 1amp

channel 10 1amp

channel 11 1 amp

then you would need a neutral wire size good for 3 amps....... channel 1-3=3amps Channel 9-11=3amps but since they are on different phases the amp cycle will peak 180 degrees out of phase with each other now if you feed both sides of your board with the same phase you would need a wire size capable of 6 amps because the amp cycle would peak together creating a 6 amp peak

same principal if you look at the feeder coming to your house you have 2 hots and 1 neutral and all wire sizes are the same but since the phases are 180 degrees out of phase the neutral will see the peaks at different times.

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Jeff

No problem glad to help when I can since I am a newbie I dont chime in to much (mostly read) about LOR problems also if you want I have an excel spread sheet that will track your amperages per channel and totals for each controller (both halves and total) and total overall display amp draw it also keeps track of your light count and a few other things. If you want send me a PM and I will send it to you.

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