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Newbie questions about LOR electrical


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I have never done anything like this before.....animation that is. But I have been placing tens of thousands of lights on my home every year. I have never had a problem with electricity. And I do want any problems when I get LOR. About two or three yearsago I even managed to get my entire display yo run through one outlet using a large high capacity multi outlet timer. Every light on and opff atthe same time....loved it.

So here's the first question.....

I was planning on buying up to 5 LOR controllers and I was wondering what power will it take to supply these?

Now 95% of the channels will only have a maximum of 2 strands of 100 count mini lights that you could buy from any store during the holidays. Will each controller pull 30 amps of power? I hope not.......I mean if I have only 16 strands on 16 channels how much power is that really going to pull?



Thanks

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Most 100 count, incandescent lights pull .34 amps. (Some Target brands pull .2)

So, each channel would have .68 amps each. Based on the 95% number, this means 76 of your channels are going to pull .68 amps, each. That's 51amps.

.68 * 8 = 5.44 (That's a side of a controller.)
.68 * 16 = 10.88 (That's one controller.)


Thus, 4 of your 5 controllers you could run on their own 15 amp circuit.

There is a spreadsheet floating around out there that can help you. (Anyone want to jump in with the link?)

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I think you are talking about RickWilliams--it might be on his website (www.quartzhillchristmas.com, or you could PM him...

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Welome to computer control..
The controllers use only a small amount of power themselves.
The suprise your going to get though is your power bill.
In 2004 our electric bill was $150 higher than normal for December.
In 2005 our electric bill was $210 higher than normal for December.
Those were the last two years for our static display of 18,000 and 25,000 lights.
For 2006 we went computer controlled LOR 64 Chennels. Our electric bill for December 2006 was $75 dollars over the norm, and we used over 20,000 lights.
:]WooHooo

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The electric bill was the easy part....

...my credit card bill for the controllers and new lights... That's the hard part!!!

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As a first year person last year to LOR here is my suggestion. Once you start this is so addicting you will want more and more. Right guys? If you can I would add whatever electric you can for your power for the future. I realize this might not be what you want to hear, but I promise you once you get the swing of it, it takes control over you. Before you know it the after Christmas sales will be your friend and you will be buying thousands of lights every year.

The controllers are only at max amperage if you have the channels maxed out with lights. Definately calculate the amps of your current plan. You should be able to get more than one controller on a circuit if you are not pulling much with the lights. You also need to think about how often or for how long all channels will be on. If you run all controllers on a single circuit it could cause a problem. If you have 2-3 circuits total to use, that may be the way to go. Are you running all animation or will there be some static stuff? If you plan on that being on the same line as your LOR then that may require additional power.

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Thanks for the info. I'm gonna have to try these calculator boards. If I can do that right....lol.....I really want to get away from making electrical upgrades to my house. This is because there is a possiblity that I may move. I don't want to invest thousands of dollars then have to do it again at my new place a month later. I have a couple circuits free, not sure exactly how many. I looked at them last christmas.



As for what my display will include.....I will have the animation at set times through out the night and then in between will be a static display. But during the static display I would like my entire display to fade through colors maybe every 3-5 minutes.......does that make sense?

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You can do computer control without making major electrical upgrades to your home. The idea is to piggy back circuits that are little used during the times your display will be lit. Say for instance, a spare bedroom will have a 15amp circuit you can plug an extension cord into and run to a controller. Using Don's calculations and your claim of 2 strings per channel you will have about 11 amps on a controller when all are lit. That gives you a 4 amp buffer (hint: you can still turn the lights on in the spare bedroom) If you "borrow" enough of these circuits from your existing electrical service and plan it well you'll have more than enough without the upgrades.

jeff

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jeffmill wrote:

You can do computer control without making major electrical upgrades to your home. The idea is to piggy back circuits that are little used during the times your display will be lit. Say for instance, a spare bedroom will have a 15amp circuit you can plug an extension cord into and run to a controller. Using Don's calculations and your claim of 2 strings per channel you will have about 11 amps on a controller when all are lit. That gives you a 4 amp buffer (hint: you can still turn the lights on in the spare bedroom) If you "borrow" enough of these circuits from your existing electrical service and plan it well you'll have more than enough without the upgrades.

jeff

Just to elaborate on what Jeff said. You really should try and use GFI protected circuits. I have run cords from my bathroom GFIs and from the kitchen. The previous owner installed 4, 15 amp GFIs above the counter top. If you need more you can get GFI adapters from Home Depot or lowes. Thay will plug into an ordinary outlet and give you one GFI. You can take that with you if you move. AI
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DStack, I won't be able to get away with it this coming season, by my modest 32 channel setup for 2006 ran from a single 15amp plug on my front porch. I had 9 reindeer with minis, 7 mini trees, 8 candy canes, 3 spiral trees, and 4 lighted arches. Along my front roof line I had strands of C-7s and icicle lights. Never tripped a breaker, never tripped the GFCI. Then again, I never turned every channel on every controller (four) at full power at the same time. I never measured, but estimate my maximum draw while running the sequences was only a 14amp peak. I noticed no net increase in my utility bill, probably because I kept more house lights OFF while the show ran.

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I use one of these to monitor what I use
Last year I had over 80a static
I had 2 dedicated circuits that were run off a 40a hard wired timer
Then 2 other circuits that took almost the rest of the load

Using this meter I was able to add items up to the load that I wanted to run on a ciruit: MAX (I used) 2100w on a 20a (2400w) circuit

This year I am adding a LOT more circuits & lights

killawatt.jpg

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David Balch wrote:

I use one of these to monitor what I use
Last year I had over 80a static
I had 2 dedicated circuits that were run off a 40a hard wired timer
Then 2 other circuits that took almost the rest of the load

Using this meter I was able to add items up to the load that I wanted to run on a ciruit: MAX (I used) 2100w on a 20a (2400w) circuit

This year I am adding a LOT more circuits & lights



Where can I get one of these "Kill a Watts"

Thanks Ricky
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There are multiple sites online that sell them. A good price is around $25 or so shipped.. If you search for Kill A Watt
When I was part of a Saltwater aquarium club I ordered 4 dozen for members of the club. Price was around $21 when ordering that many. That was about 2 years ago, but I think the price is about the same

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Thanks David. One Question - Dose this device measure how much a device is using at the present moment or dose it show how much energy it has used since you first pluged it in.

Ricky

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Richard III wrote:

Thanks David. One Question - Dose this device measure how much a device is using at the present moment or dose it show how much energy it has used since you first pluged it in.
Ricky


It will give you cumulative Killawatt hours
I use it mainly to see total power draw on a circuit
It has a 15a limit
So I usually test each "leg" of extension cords on a circuit & then add them up
The power can fluctuate, so you need to leave wiggle room
Your volts can swing, which effects the watts
Plus anything with a motor will pull more at start up

http://www.p3international.com/products/special/P4400/P4400-CE.html#
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David Balch wrote:

Richard III wrote:
Thanks David. One Question - Dose this device measure how much a device is using at the present moment or dose it show how much energy it has used since you first pluged it in.
Ricky


It will give you cumulative Killawatt hours
I use it mainly to see total power draw on a circuit
It has a 15a limit
So I usually test each "leg" of extension cords on a circuit & then add them up
The power can fluctuate, so you need to leave wiggle room
Your volts can swing, which effects the watts
Plus anything with a motor will pull more at start up

http://www.p3international.com/products/special/P4400/P4400-CE.html#


What do you mean by cumulative killowatt hours. Dose it mean it dose not measure tha max voltage/amps it will draw.

I am wondering because I would like to use it to measure how much each string of lights draw. Then I could multiply that by the number of strings to find how much all the light strings will pull on one channel. Will it work for this. Thank you
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I measure everything I plug in

I plug a string of lights in, and measure the wattage
I measure blow mold CFL lights, air blowns, rope lights

In some cases I plug everything in to extension cords setup in the yard, then plug the extension cord in to the meter. This gives me the total draw of everything plugged in (not exceeding 15a)

The cumulative killawatt hours are made so you cab plug devices that cycle on & off (refridgerator) & find out how much power the fridge pulls over 24 hours. You can then calculate how much it would use a month (and if buying a new fridge would save you $$)

For what you want
Measure each type of string, then multiply by the number of strings
It will tell you watts, volts etc

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AI wrote:

There is a better description here http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/kill_a_watt_electric_usage_monitor_review . It will give you real time readings as well as the cumulative Kilowatt usage. AI


Check out http://www.centameter.co.nz/ for an brilliant idea (designed in NZ!)


[*]Large digital display and LCD screen for easy viewing
[*]Temperature and humidity display to show comfort level in the home
[*]Alarm to notify of excessive peak loads
[*]Adjustable tariff rate to match the household supply rate
[*]Clip on sensor for attachment at switchboard - Up to 3 sensors for 3 phase supply (available separately)
[*]Wireless display receiver unit that can be taken from room to room or mounted in a central location
[*]Designed in New Zealand, manufactured in China to ISO9000 standards
[*]Complies with applicable Australian and New Zealand Communications and Electricity Authorities regulations CE Ä N12357
[*]Warranty 12 months (excludes batteries) The specs


[*]433MHz wireless transmission - Range ~ 30m
[*]Power < 1.0 mW - 6 x AA batteries
[*]Battery save mode
[*]Accuracy +/- 5%
[*]Min 50W - Max 15kW per phase
[*]Weatherproof transmitter
[*]Sensor CE compliant
[*]C-tick N12357
[*]Suitable for 110/220/230/240/250 VAC & 50/60 Hz And yes, they have thought of 110v AND 60Hz AND they will supply overseas!


Attached files 133163=7937-centameter.jpg
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