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More Power?


godman
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How does everyone handle the power requirements needed to run large displays? I wouldn't think that running large displays could be handled by ones standard outlets in the garage? Have you had to add sub panels, monkey boxes,outlets to your displays to accommodate the power consumption?

 

I would be curious how others handle the additional power needed and what they have done to get the extra power, anyone want to share?

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In both houses I've lived in since getting into this hobby, I've had extra breaker space available at the breaker box. I had more plugs added to the outsides of the houses to accommodate the additional electrical load.

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I switched out a 15 amp breaker for a piggy back 15 amp giving 2 circuits in place of one. Ran some conduit and Romex and added 8 receptacles to each side of the garage door, each leg from one side of the piggyback. I then run extension cords out to the controller boxes. Since all of my display is RGB LEDs, it's really overkill, but it works for me. My second year, I ran everything from one single outdoor receptacle.

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I added two 15 amp circuits, dedicated through GFCI in the garage. I'm running somewhere around %90 LED and there's no issues with running mine....lol, so far!

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I added a panel in my garage and have run several lines to the eaves and flower beds.  I haven't fully switched over to LED yet so I use most of it still.  As I calculate power needs every year the more LED I use the less breakers I need.

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My display is probably 70% incandescent and 30% led for last year, I added 20 amp dedicated for mega tree and spirals, and 4 dedicated 15 amp for the remainder of the display This year i am moving to RGB so I think only half of those will be used.. 

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Jason...

Need more info than what you provided, as stating 7 random lights doesn't really help with how much power these use. For a we know it could be a 100ft tall Santa clause with 1000 C9 bulbs. Most lights provide the watt or amps for each. Add those all together to see if your over your breaker limit.

Also there are spreadsheets that you can download that will help you with figuring out this. I'm traveling so don't have the links. Maybe someone can post a link?

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So what can you get away with on just a standard house outlet without a dedicated circuit?  If I am running 25 110v LED flood lights plus 7 random other lights would I be ok or do I run the risk of popping breakers?

Invest in a kill-a-wat meter.  You can use more if running all LED.  Last year I ran 22,000 lights, 99% led, and was only pulling 16amps with everthing on.  Everything I had was plugged into 1 20amp outlet.

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That's good to know.  I will look into all I have and add it up.  I have to think I will be well within limits.  The 25 spotlights are 110v 3w LED bulbs, using 1 per channel.  I will have two sets of 4 LED flood lights on two other channels and the rest are the 9 LED flood lights.

 

Assuming I am within the limits of amps being pulled, can I plug the two controllers into a single power strip thats plugged into an outlet?

 

I really appreciate everyones input and didn't mean to highjack godman's thread.

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How does everyone handle the power requirements needed to run large displays? I wouldn't think that running large displays could be handled by ones standard outlets in the garage? Have you had to add sub panels, monkey boxes,outlets to your displays to accommodate the power consumption?

 

I would be curious how others handle the additional power needed and what they have done to get the extra power, anyone want to share?

I went around a couple of years ago and mapped all the power in my house.  I figured out which circuit powered each outlet and light.  From that I found several that were barely used and some that had a ton of stuff on them.  

 

When I plan my show, I can use that information to decide where to plug things in.  While it might be easier to run new circuits, I just need a few extension cords and run things from different outlets.  For example, my garage has two circuits, front porch has one, back deck has three.  I actually run one circuit from my basement out a window.  For that circuit, I had to include a GFCI.

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I agree with Redman, invest in a Kill-o-Watt Meter.  I am running mostly incandescent still and use a spreadsheet to keep track of how much power is drawn on each channel and controller.  I did find that even my calculations were different than "real world" application.  Some used more and others used less than what was calculated, so the Kill-o-Watt Meter is what saved me from running around in the dark to find blown breakers.

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We dont need no stinking tags. :lol:

Yep, no tags here.  I cut them off from my light strands before they go out in the display.   I now number the plugs at each end and have a notebook for the details of what voltage, amperage, and fuse rating that particular numbered string uses..   Of course my first year I never thought about that when I cut the tags off, so those strands are hit and miss when replacing a bulb! :wacko:  :blink:  :o  :lol:

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The Tags get cut off before the twist tie does.  I try to use the same brand of lights at all times so all the replacement bulbs and fuses will work in any strand.  Plus I got tired of different brands being different shades of colors and brightness.

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Invest in a kill-a-wat meter.  You can use more if running all LED.  Last year I ran 22,000 lights, 99% led, and was only pulling 16amps with everthing on.  Everything I had was plugged into 1 20amp outlet.

 

Something like this?

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-65A-110V-60Hz-Single-Phase-Reset-To-Zero-DIN-rail-Kilowatt-LED-Hour-kwh-Meter-/360727985813?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53fd103e95

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That appears to be a kilowatt-hour (energy) meter, not a kilowatt (power) meter.

 

The difference is that you leave an energy meter connected for an extended period to measure the total energy used over a certain time period. It is typically used to figure out how much the energy costs.

 

A power meter, on the other hand tells you the instantaneous power. You connect it, turn the lights on, and read the power being consumed. It is typically used to figure out if you are close to overloading a circuit.

 

Energy = power * time.

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