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Using 40, 50, or 100 Amp Breakers/Circuits


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I was adding up the additional lights I am adding to my display for 06 and I need about 140 more amps. I have an electrician that installs the extra circuits for me. Right now I use 20 amp brakers/circuits. Does anyone use 40, 50 or 100 amp circuits for there Christmas lights? I am thinking about having him install two or three high amperage circuits and place outlets on wire that I can place different placed in the yard. Thanks,

Matt

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I do not recommend such high amperage circuits. I do not think the electrician will install them. If you are trying to cut down on the number of breakers in the main panel then perhaps a sub-panel can be installed. Then from the sub-panel run a number of 20 amp circuits.

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Thanks for your help. I will call him in the next few days and see what he would like to do. I will probably just go with the sub-panel setup since you don't recommend the high amperage circuits. Thanks again.

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If you are just trying to conserve space, you can get piggyback breakers. It's like 2 15-20 amp breakers that fit in the same spot as one.

Bill

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I would also recommend the sub-panel. I added one this past year for our display (Pictures of the panel are on our website) I feed this panel with a 70 amp 220V breaker then split off 8 15 amp circuits each going to a 15 Amp GFI plug that finally receives all the plugs from the display.

I try to balance the loads across the two legs. With the setup I had this year, I was protected with GFI and never tripped a GFI or breaker.

-- Bob

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As others have said, the only way to legally do this is via a subpanel. By code, 20A is the max circuit that you can plug a standard 2 (or 3) prong cord into.

-Tim

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Okay, well my 06 display plans have just been kicked to the curb by the electrician. He just came by and said he can only put in 125 more amps for my Christmas lights without risk of tripping the main 200 map braker coming into the house from the pole. We might be looking at adding a new service outside the house. He is getting me some prices. He thinks it might be around $1,500. He is not sure of prices because he is an electrician for our city and he does not deal with pricing. If he needs it he just picks it up.

I played around with my amperage spreadsheet so I was only pulling 125 amps and my display really took a big blow.

I will need 243 amps when everything is on at one time. I would just add the new service no matter the cost but the big thing is I am fixing to move. We are planning on building a new house towards the end of this year so this will be our last year at this house. I hate to invest allot of money into a new electrical system and only use it one year. Has anyone else added in new service? What did it cost? The electrician said I would have to hire a contractor to add the new service because he could not get the contractors permit. Now I am just a little disappointed!!!

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I will have between 55,000 and 60,000 lights. Are my calculations incorrect? I am using regular 100 minis at 0.33 amps per string and 5 watt C7s at 1.04 amps per 25.

Here is an example of a 16 Channel LOR board using my calculations. I know this is way to many amps for one LOR board. This is just an example to make sure my calculations are correct. I will not put over 30 amps on a 16 channel board.

Channel 1 1 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Channel 2 2 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66 Channel 3 3 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66 Channel 4 4 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66 Channel 5 5 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66 Channel 6 6 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66 Channel 7 7 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66 Channel 8 8 Mini Tree 2 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66 Channel 9 1st Front yd Pecan Tree 24 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 7.92 Channel 10 2nd Front yd Pecan Tree 24 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 7.92 Channel 11 Front Yd Stars Red 15 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 4.95 Channel 12 Front Yd Stars Clear 15 Strands, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 4.95 Channel 13 House C7 Red 5 Strings, 25 Lights 1.04 amps per string Total Amps= 5.20 Channel 14 House C7 Clear 5 Strings, 25 Lights 1.04 amps per string Total Amps= 5.20 Channel 15 Lg Pinion Tree Red 23 Strings, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 7.59 Channel 16 Lg Pinion Tree Clear 23 Strings, 100 Minis 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 7.59 Total Amps= 56.60 I am planning on using 12 16 Channel LOR boards.

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cuonebay wrote:

I will have between 55,000 and 60,000 lights. Are my calculations incorrect?

Probably is correct -- C7's/C9's suck power like nothing.

I have about 35K and pull only 60-70A when all is on so it made me wonder...

-Tim
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I was almost hoping my calculations were wrong. I guess I am back to adding the new service or cutting back on my display this year. The new house will have PLENTY of power.:]

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Have you thought about using LED's to replace some of the lights? That way you don't have to cut down on the display and you wouldn't have to add more power to a home you will be moving out of next season and the LED's will move with you.



marilyn

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I have thought about using the LED's. I already have all my lights. I would have to purchase allot of LED lights. It is still an option. Thanks

Matt

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cuonebay wrote:

We are planning on building a new house towards the end of this year so this will be our last year at this house.

I know of a really nice home designer!!!!

Actually I am in the same boat as you. I am going to really limit how many lights are on at the same time so that I don't draw too many amps. I use C9's also. Love the look but hate the amps it takes.
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The thing that you have to remember is that you are not going to have everything ON at the same time :}.

I had to clean it up .

Ch 1/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 2/Mini Tree/200 lights/0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 3/Mini Tree/200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 4/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 5/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 6/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 7/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 8/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 9/1st Front yd Pecan Tree/24 Strands Total Amps= 7.92
Ch 10/2nd Front yd Pecan Tree/24 Strands Total Amps= 7.92
Ch 11/Front Yd Stars Red/15 Strands Total Amps= 4.95
Ch 12/Front Yd Stars Clear/15 Strands Total Amps= 4.95
Ch 13/H C7 R/5 Strings, 25 Lights /1.04 per Total Amps= 5.20
Ch 14/H C7 C/5 Strings, 25 Lights /1.04 per Total Amps= 5.20
Ch 15/Tree R/ 23 Strings/0.33 amps per Total Amps= 7.59
Ch 16/Tree C/23 Strings/0.33 amps per Total Amps= 7.59

Total Amps= 56.60

Joe4x4

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Joe4x4 wrote:

The thing that you have to remember is that you are not going to have everything ON at the same time :}.

I had to clean it up .

Ch 1/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 2/Mini Tree/200 lights/0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 3/Mini Tree/200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 4/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 5/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 6/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 7/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 8/Mini tree/ 200 lights/ 0.33 amps per string Total Amps= 0.66
Ch 9/1st Front yd Pecan Tree/24 Strands Total Amps= 7.92
Ch 10/2nd Front yd Pecan Tree/24 Strands Total Amps= 7.92
Ch 11/Front Yd Stars Red/15 Strands Total Amps= 4.95
Ch 12/Front Yd Stars Clear/15 Strands Total Amps= 4.95
Ch 13/H C7 R/5 Strings, 25 Lights /1.04 per Total Amps= 5.20
Ch 14/H C7 C/5 Strings, 25 Lights /1.04 per Total Amps= 5.20
Ch 15/Tree R/ 23 Strings/0.33 amps per Total Amps= 7.59
Ch 16/Tree C/23 Strings/0.33 amps per Total Amps= 7.59

Total Amps= 56.60

OK here is potential issue. It is true that the CTB16D can handle 40 amps continuously BUT that it is divided into two 20 amp banks of channels. Channels 1-8 are on one 20 amp circuit and channels 9-16 are on a second 20 amp circuit. You cannot exceed the 20 amp limit on either of the banks or you will blow the fuse or circuit breaker on that bank.

In the example above about 50 amps are on channels 9-16. It would make sense to distribute the load evenly between sides... Now this really all depends on what you are going to do with the lights. There are reasons to have them distributed this way but in general it makes sense to have the load evenly distributed between the sides of the card.
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Thanks for your replies. When joe4x4 copied the portion of my post to clean it up he forgot to include this stating I had right before my example:

Here is an example of a 16 Channel LOR board using my calculations. I know this is way to many amps for one LOR board. This is just an example to make sure my calculations are correct. I will not put over 30 amps on a 16 channel board.

That is not one of my actual boards. I just made that one up to include several different types of lights, minis, c7 etc... to make sure my calculations were correct. I am not worried about overloading a LOR board. I am worried about overloading the main 200 amp braker into my house. I hope the electrician get back with my soon with pricing on adding the new service.

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That is exactly what I had to do with the C9's. Beings I have 4 different colors each drawing 10.5 amps I have to slit it into 2 channels, I put 4 on the first 8 channels, and the other 4 on the second. This way I can also have 2 colors on at the same time if I want. The other channels are mixed in with my icycles, letters, and star so far.

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One of the cool things about LOR is the intensity option. You could reduce the rate to say 75% without a noticable loss in light and save 25% across the whole board. I had to do this and it worked great...............Mike

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"I hope the electrician get back with my soon with pricing on adding the new service."

You can compare your costs to mine.


I paid $750.00 to an electrical firm to install a 140 amp sub-panel in my garage closet next to my 200 amp main panel. They ran conduit over my garage door wall to the next wall, came down the wall with conduit and installed a service tray. Out of the service tray they did a stup up to (5) quad boxes. Each vertical plug in each quad box is a wired on it's own 20 amp breaker.

I live in Dallas.

Charles

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Mike, that is a good idea. I knew you could reduce the intensity but I never thought about doing that to reduce the amount of amps I am pulling. Thanks

Matt

Mike Cole wrote:

One of the cool things about LOR is the intensity option. You could reduce the rate to say 75% without a noticable loss in light and save 25% across the whole board. I had to do this and it worked great...............Mike
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IMHO

Back from some trips and see some calcuations going on, I love Calcualtions.

so you have 60000 lights at .33 per 100 is equal to 198 amps, correct ...

but you are doing it on a single phase this way,

typically you would put on two legs or even 3 if you have 3 phase power, so we get to take that and divide by 2 for 240 with 120 volt lines. Giving us 99 amps. That is would be the maximum we have to "wire" for. We wouldn't wire for 198 amps, anything more would be abundandance.

but as others have said they only really thing you need is be able to supply that kind of amperage on your cabling and wiring not a concurrent supply, the reality would be somewhat less because all lights would not be on at the same time,

unless of course you want to do brain surgery, or a Reef Tank Aqaurium which requires high heat and intense lighting, maybe glazing pottery, But I digress ...

likely you will only have 20 to 40 per cent of your lights on at any one time, so the actual usage is much less, even in your off show time which some lights will be lit that will be most of your load and typically that would be the size we need to supply as it will most likely be the most lights on at any one time. I have maybe 15000 lights on in the static display full brightness using the method above I have lots to spare with 2 - 15 amp circuits, I roast coffee (800 watts more) cause you have to do it outside for the smoke on the same circuit.

so back to the 99 amps at 20 per cent is not quite 20 amps. This would be 2 circuits

Or lets take your off show lighting, if it is 50 percent brightness of the 99 amps,

or maybe 50 percent of the lights at 50 per cent brightness.

You can weld metal with 30 amps dual phase.

I did leave my mini tree set up once and on while I got side tracked (don't do this) , and came back and the 4 cats were in a circle around it, I thought they were appreicative of my work, and were in the christmas spirit, heck no they were getting warm. Those are dangerous little things.

JMO

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UNLESS, you have a really large static display and use LOR in other portions of the yard which is what I do and even with LOR running those two sections and using two and three channel controllers for smaller displays, my display still pulls right around 198-200 amps while up and running. This isn't my estimate but what the electric company tracked for six years during the month of December as the display draw. They told my electrician they could tell when the display was finally up and running because of the power draw.



Your power needs will totally depend on how you want to set up your display. Some like the blinky, blink all the time with everything going on and off, fading, shimmering, etc. Some like some LOR/AL use and a lot of static items. Nothing wrong with either choice but it does affect your power needs.



Marilyn

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