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I spoke to Jimmy today. He's a very good friend that I've known for years. He used to be a full time electrical contractor that owned his own business, but now he's semi-retired and working at Home Depot.

I shared with him the fact that I was going to use 5 - LOR1602W's and asked him the best way to wire them. He first explained to me that never in a hundred years will I pull 15 amps per side (of the LOR) unless I'm have some serious lighting being used. Then explained that all I would need to do is run 2- 15amp breakers off my panel with each load running to a GFI. Then, daisy chain two more additional outlets (single gang, two devise) off each of the GFI's load line to power all 10 circuits.

Will that work even if I max'd out the amps? I'm still scratching my head and thinking of overkilling it just to be safe.

Thoughts from the experts please?

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A GFCI can power 15A-20A depending on the rating (even most 15A GFCI's can power 20A of "downstream" stuff (vs. being plugged into the outlet).

So the only question is -- do you need more than 15A power for all those channels? It really depends on what you're planning on putting on the channels. Lots of folks have issues with putting more than 8 channels on one 15A circuit so having 10 boards on one or two circuits seems suspicioius.

Do the math... I wouldn't take an average person's (even an electricians) advice that "15 amps is more than enough" if you're planning on doing a sizeable display. That's true for the average person putting up lights on their eves, but not for someone doing a light show (usually).

EDIT: I just reread your post. So you're saying you have 5 16-channel boards or 10 groups of 8 channels. And you want 2 15A circuits...

That leaves you only .375A per channel (15A divided by 40 channels) which I'd say is way to small. That's assuming you'll be running channels at the same time...

Another thing -- as long as you're putting in new circuits, put in 20A ones, not 15A. You get 5 extra amps and only have to pay a tiny bit more for 12gauge wire instead of 14gauge. All other costs are the same...

-Tim

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Thanks Tim! I see the logic.

So, for beefing it up, how would you wire it? One 20 amp circuit and 20 amp GFI per controller?

This is what my setup consists of on the #1 controller.

CH1. (lighted star) - 50 mini lights

CH2. (CH1-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH3. (CH2-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH4. (CH3-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH5. (CH4-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH6. (CH5-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH7. (CH6-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH8. (CH7-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH9. (CH8-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH10. (CH9-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH11. (CH10-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH12. (CH10-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH13. (CH10-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH14. (CH11-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH15. (CH12-Mega Tree) - 300 mini's

CH16. (Snowflake 1) - 50 mini's

So, for this first LOR controller, and using the amperage chart, this would draw 13 amps total, or 6.5 per side.

Calculating this out, the max any of the controllers will pull is 13.33 amps.

Is this right Tim?

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I can tell you this. Your math may be right (I am not going to check it), but being realistic about it. You will put more on and if you are going to add then add a few extra. I agree with Tim. Your friend has no idea how many lights we put out and 15 amps are nothing. That is why all of mine are 20 amp breakers. It is ALWAYS better to over build just a little than to wish you had. This past Christmas I pushed over 145amps and that is just from the additional outlets I installed.

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Agree totally with Tim and Robin. My display has been pulling close to 200 amps for the past six years. Electric company tracked it, without my knowledge, because they knew their line from the transformer to my home was bad and in need of being replaced. Part of the problem that caused the electric meter to burn up this year. No offense to your friend, but he apparently doesn't have a clue what we enthusiasts will use in electricity during the lighting season. Go with the extra. You'll be glad you did.



Marilyn

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Well, that confirms it... Thanks a whole bunch!

Actually, my math was totally wrong up there... Each 300 channel of lights was one amp, but the two 50 channels only came up to .33, so it's actually 12.33 amps. ARG!

But, I see the logic in preparation. I'd hate to see my display go flat because I under amp'd it...

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EAB,

I installed a 145 amp sub panel this year and I am glad I did. I actually blew two different 20 fuses in two separate 1602's, but never blew a circuit breaker. I moved some channels around to better balance the load.

"Christmas lights" doesn't bring to mind a high amperage draw for people who don't do what we do, even if they are electricians.

I had to run an Excel spread sheet on my 80 channel/35,000 light display in order to keep up with the loads. I will never turn on a light without my spread sheet.

Everyone's situation is different. You can approach from one of three ways:

1) Figure up how many channels you will use in your display and assume you will max out each and every channel. Then add an electrical supply which will accommodate the intended loads. Throw in future growth if you want to.
2) Install a new service or sub panel or branch breakers and plan your display around the available amperage.
3) Let serendipity be your guide (not recommended).

Charles

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I don't if know if this will work or not, but I am attempting to convert part of my .xls spreadsheet to a .gif.

.xls file extensions are not allowed as attachments here at PC.

Charles


Attached files 27168=1551-Patch Example(1).gif

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Charles Belcher wrote:

I don't if know if this will work or not, but I am attempting to convert part of my .xls spreadsheet to a .gif.

.xls file extensions are not allowed as attachments here at PC.

Charles

That worked... Yeah, I see what you did... Thanks!
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This looks like the appropriate place to ask. I noticed my main box has a 50A breaker for the house which then goes to the house box with one side of 20A breakers and a side of 15A breakers. If plan on using two LOR1602W next year, I need 4 15A plugs to power them. According to my research, I am going to need a new main switch rather than just add four new switches to the house panel because if I pull even close to the total 60A the LOR1602W can pull, I will trip them main house breaker--very bad. Does this sound right or am I babbling total gibberish?:) It looks like I need to add a new section of breakers to my main breaker box for my display.

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"This looks like the appropriate place to ask. I noticed my main box has a 50A breaker for the house which then goes to the house box with one side of 20A breakers and a side of 15A breakers. If plan on using two LOR1602W next year, I need 4 15A plugs to power them. According to my research, I am going to need a new main switch rather than just add four new switches to the house panel because if I pull even close to the total 60A the LOR1602W can pull, I will trip them main house breaker--very bad. Does this sound right or am I babbling total gibberish?:) It looks like I need to add a new section of breakers to my main breaker box for my display."

________________________________________

The 50 amp rating on the box is per phase and your service most likely is a 240volt service which will branch to two 50 amp legs for a potential service load of 100 amps.

You should contact an electrician to look at your situation, but unless some of those breakers are not in use or if you have a room or two you do not use, you will need to add on to your existing service. The only other choice would be for you to limit the lighting to work within your current electrical parameters and that is NO FUN AT ALL.
When this bug bites, there is no going back.

LOR recommends that you only load your 1602's to 80% capacity and I can tell you that no matter what you decide to do with lighting, you will want to add something here or there after you get set up. I figured each of my 1602's at 100% capacity, then I installed a sub panel next to my main panel to accommodate that load.

My recommendation is two determine how many 1602's you will want over the next three years, then call an electrician out to give you a bid.

Charles

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Thanks! That is what I thought I would need. Hopefully, I will get a subpanel on the main board with enough juice for the future. Man, this gets expensive!

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BTW, I printed this and gave it to Jimmy at work today. Ten minutes later, I was paged overhead (at Home Depot) to return to the electrical department where I found that he'd pulled everything I needed. Sub panel, breakers, GFI's, conduit, male adapters, wire, boxes etc...

I couldn't help but laughing at him... He just stared and grinned... He never admitted he was wrong though... :)

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Just a note- If you planned on having your display grow over the years why not just put in a couple more breakers and recptacles(if there is room) then you will need this year so you will be finished with your electrical needs for a while,

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