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Multiple controllers


Gina Burns
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I am planning on buying two 16 channel controllers and 1 8 channel controller this year for my 08 display....right now I have only 1 16 channel controller. I was wondering about the power or circuits it would take to do this. So my question is this....what would I need to do to find out if my house has enough power to pull all 4 controllers? If not what would I need in order to do so.

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Gina,

I would also add. That just because you add controllers, the ultimate load is what type of lights.

For instance I had just shy of 15,000 lights this year, about 1/2 were LED running across 9 controllers. Total load calculated out just short of 30 amps.

I hope that makes since. MY main point is simple. Just because you have the controllers does not necessarily mean you have to have a seperate circuit for each controller if your load (lights) do no mandate.

Chuck

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Mike Heatherly

I agree with Chuck. I had two 16 channel boards that I ran off of the same circuit. Granted my display was small, I had 4200 lights on one and only 3600 on the other.

Mike

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I could say I had 2000 channels, but I only pulled 1 amp. I used some top-secreat low energy lights that pulled almost no power.


Its not the number of controllers, but the ammount of lights you have.



--Daniel L

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TexasBullrider4

I used some top-secreat low energy lights that pulled almost no power.




hummmm "thinking.... thinking.... thinking.... brain fart.... thinking" LEDs maybe:P

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Gina Burns wrote:

I am planning on buying two 16 channel controllers and 1 8 channel controller this year for my 08 display....right now I have only 1 16 channel controller. I was wondering about the power or circuits it would take to do this. So my question is this....what would I need to do to find out if my house has enough power to pull all 4 controllers? If not what would I need in order to do so.


Well I guess you could look at the max based on 15 amps. So you will have 3 16's and 1 8? If so that's 7 'sides' (2 power sides per 16 channel, and 1 per 8)

So technically you would need 7*15 = 105 amps MAX :). As others have stated, it is more based on your actual set up though ;). But that would be the max those boards can handle. (unless your 16 channels are 40 amp ones, then that's a whole other ballgame)
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DanielleCopeland

I can only speak from experience. Here's how I knew that we needed to have an electrician come out to the house and "give us more power."

We looked at breaker box in the garage. There were stickers next to every switch. The stickers said (in pencil) what household circuit was controlled by each switch. What I'm saying is that next to the top switch, the sticker said, "kitchen fridge." Next to the second switch, it said, "oven and dishwasher." Next to the third switch, it said, "living room."...etc.

Now, I don't really remember what the specific switches were labelled, but they were indeed labelled. If you have unused switched, they will say unused or will be blank. We had some switches (or breakers) that were empty and others that could be combined. I learned that most households have 120-200 amp service running to their house from the power company. Some people actually have the power company install a second sevice to their house and, in essence, they pay two power bills every month! (not us).

Now, this is important...if you're not the original owner, there's a chance previous owners could have changed things and forgotten to label the stickers in the breaker box. This is why it's important to have an electrician come out to your house.

This beign said, others will surely post in reply and add to this, so this only one way to tell if you need more power and why you should have an electrician give you advice.

I hope this helps and please others chime in. Safety is key!!!!

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I would reccomend investing a kill-a-watt (or watts up) to measure your actual usage (in amps) of everything you are using. I've been keeping a spreadsheet of everything I have and then plugging it into a spreadsheet I got from the quartz hill christmas web site. It tells you what the amps are per channel, per 1-8, 9-16 on each controller and is very helpful for what your trying to determine with the loads.

If you maxxed out everything, then you need (2) 15amp circuits for each 30a controller or (2) 20amp circuits for each 40a controller. You probably aren't but by measuring your actual use for each light and entering it into this spreadsheet, you can sort of load balance each controller and then figure out how many total amps your really going to need.

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Scott Blessing

Gina Burns wrote:

I am planning on buying two 16 channel controllers and 1 8 channel controller this year for my 08 display....right now I have only 1 16 channel controller. I was wondering about the power or circuits it would take to do this. So my question is this....what would I need to do to find out if my house has enough power to pull all 4 controllers? If not what would I need in order to do so.


Deffinitely safety first! Know and understand that depending on how you choose your power supplies you may be dealing with 240 volts.

As previously stated, it all depends on how many, and what type of lights you plan on using. There would be nothing worse than planning on a large display and then find out that you don’t have enough power to run it. If all of the circuit breakers in your panel are being used it does not mean you have to add another full service. It may just be time to upgrade. Anyone who is not sure of thier available electric would certainly benefit from having an electrician investigate the available power options.

Maybe you can have a sub panel installed: I ran a portion of my display from a small sub panel in a utility closet with a whole through the wall to get cords outside. Next year all of my ground level contollers will run from this location. It worked well for me.

How bout transferring power: Depending on where you live, you may have a pool filter or air conditioning unit that you do not use during the holidays. An electrician may be able to intall a transfer switch to power a sub panel for your lights. I think this might be cheaper than upgrading

I am not an electrician and I am sure there are many options.
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One thing I've been doing is writing the amps on the cord tags of everything I have. That way, even if I'm wondering around outside with only a string of lights ... I can know what I'm adding and have a pretty good idea what the combined load for several items on a certain cord and/or channel. So I use one of those large black sharpie markers and write something like .54 amps on it, if thats what the watts up or kill-o-watt reads for it.

Also, there was another thread where someone added a feature request to be able to tag each channel with an associated amperage load ... and perhaps be able to determine was the max amps per ch1-8, ch9-16 on every controller is at one time and what the concurrent total amps for all controllers would be at any given moment. I think knowing what the max (within each sequence) is by controller 1-8,9-16 and then also combined ... would be incredible for planning your true power requirements/needs.

I made a similar request of my computerized sprinkler software last summer ... since I was able to measure gallons per minute with my in-home water meter, which is accurate down to 1/10 of a gallon. So he added it, then I saw what I used per day, per week, per month ... really useful for knowing what the water bill would be.

I think seeing the something like this would be neat (within a given LOR sequence file) ... with maybe over capacity shown in red. In the example below, you could see that for this pretend sequence, that your house would need 45.2A total ... but must also be able to handle the peak needs of each individual controller channel range. If you ahve a couple low amps controllers, you could share a couple 15A circuits ... if you could know the utilization. The key to eventually doing this ... is adding something to store the amps per assigned items somewhere in LOR software.

Peak Amps power report for sequence "I like Christmas v1.lms"

Controller 1: ch1-8: 7.5A @ 01:35; ch 9-16: 9.5A @ 02:20; combined: 15.5A @ 01:50

Controller 2: ch1-8: 14.5A @ 00:30; ch 9-16: 15.5A @ 00:35; combined: 31.9A @ 00:35

Controller 3: ch1-8: 13.3A @ 02:50; combined: 13.3A @ 02:50 (same, because 8ch only)

Total for all Controllers: 45.2A @ 00:35

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