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Getting serious this year, and need more power!


NINtender
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Last year is my first with 16 channels. I nearly melted my circuit dedicated to the garge door opener! So, I need dedicated circuits this year. I have to of the 16 channel - 30amp controllers. My electrical box is on the outside of my garage, and there are empty conduits into the garage all I plan to do is run the power from one side of the garage to the otherside and down the wall for the controllers. distance from the electrical box to the point I want outlets is about 40 feet.

Now, I've been asking for a quote on two 30amp circuits with GFI protection. I'm getting quotes, and even an offer from someone who did electrical for 10 years to help me do the work, but I don't even know where to start. But nobody understands the needs of those circuits like the experts here.

Whether I have the work done, or do it myself, what are the key items I need to be requesting/insisting on for the job to be done correctly? Is there anywhere else online that could help me become more educated on the topic?

Help on any of the items would be greatly appreciated.

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I'm not clear if you intend to continue using the garage circuit, but I
have the impression that your trying to go dedicated circuits for both
of your controllers, right?

So you want (4) new 15A circuits and could make those 20A circuits
if your main board allows for them.

Do you have a 100A or 200A main board? If you house is fairly old,
you might have a 100A main panel, which is a little harder to expand
sometimes.

The other question is: 'do you have spare slot in your main panel?".

If your really tight on space, you can sometimes convert single 15A
circuits to use twin 15A (single pole) breaks and gain an extra 15A
circuit for each single 15A circuit you replace. Some panels don't fit
them or only fit them in the bottom of the panel. If you have a newer
panel your probably ok.

You could also replace a single 15A (single pole) with a 20A twin (single pole)
and get (2) 20A circuits out of it.

I got quotes and they ranged all over the board ... some guys just want $1000
for any amount of work (it seemed) ... I was royally turned off by those guys.

I think that amount of work could be in the $300 to $500 range, for everything.
You could do it yourself for far less if your comfortable doing this and can do it
safely.

Good luck,
Scott

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Your assumptions were spoton!

Yes, I'll need 4 new 15 amp circuits. Check.

Yes, my panel is a 100 amp panel, I do have 4 open slots. two at the top and two at the bottom. The one electrician that I did have come out did say i both physically and electrically had enough space.

It sounds like i want two 20A twins and take advantage of the two at the top. Check.

Yes the quote I received so far was $500, but I don't trust it to stay there once he got started.

Thanks so much for the response taybrynn. It has been a great help!

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NINtender wrote:

Your assumptions were spoton!

Yes, I'll need 4 new 15 amp circuits. Check.



You need four 15 amp circuits this year. This 'hobby' has a way of growing and growing and growing. Be sure to leave yourself enough room to grow in the future.
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mmaness wrote:

NINtender wrote:
Your assumptions were spoton!

Yes, I'll need 4 new 15 amp circuits. Check.



You need four 15 amp circuits this year. This 'hobby' has a way of growing and growing and growing. Be sure to leave yourself enough room to grow in the future.



yes, I'll have to figure out how to explain to my wife we need a bigger panel solely because of xmas lights ("...but we have to have the whole roof lit up and sequenced....")
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Brian Mitchell

Sounds like you have the opportunity to do exactly what I have done the past couple years. You can save a LOT of money if you do some of this yourself.

Use 2 double pole 20 amp breakers. This will give you 4 20 amp circuits
Buy a roll of 12/3 wire.
4 gfci 20 amp outlets
outlet boxes and connectors

You can run 2, 20 amp circuits off of one 12/3 cable by sharing the neutral.
What I do is drill my holes and mount my outlet boxes on the house.
I then run the 12/3 cable from the boxes to the breaker panel. Leave 4-5 feet extra at the panel end for the electrician and leave at least an extra foot at the outlet end.

Then all the electrician has to do is wire up the outlets and the breakerpanel ends. It saves him a lot of time not having to run the wire which translates to saving you a lot of $$$.

I've added 10 circuits outside this was and the electrician was in and out in about an hour each time. It helps that he is retired but he only charged me $50 each time.
Actually, he didn't charge me at all last time, but don't remind him...

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I am essentially doing the same kind of thing (ran 12/3 wires through basement and hooking up outlets and running conduit to main panel ... then letting someone more experienced do the hookup into the panel.

I would also say a lot of folks will tell you that perhaps you won't need a new 200A panel ... if you can get by for the next year or two with those (4) new 20a circuits ... and then start buying LED(s) ... you should hold steady (or reduce) your electricial needs as you slowly move towards a conversion to LED lights. Just an idea that many have presented to me ... instead of buying en expensive new panel ... buy LED(s) and then you don't need it and you eventually save on electricity as well.

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Richard Hamilton

NINtender, I guess you have thought about just switching to LED lights?

Seems cheaper than putting in upgraded electrical services.

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Switching to LED lights is in my longterm plan, but short term I really need these dedicated circuits for the sequencers. With the new circuits, I can convert next year if I need to expand.

to everyone, thanks so much for all the advice!

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Tell your wife you need a 200 amp panel in order to put in central air conditioning someday. That's how I got my 200 amp panel, and bigger breaker box.

Of course, I really did need and now have the air conditioning... But of course, all that extra power is 'going to waste' in the wintertime, so its ok to use it for lights.

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John Hertig wrote:

Tell your wife you need a 200 amp panel in order to put in central air conditioning someday. That's how I got my 200 amp panel, and bigger breaker box.

Of course, I really did need and now have the air conditioning... But of course, all that extra power is 'going to waste' in the wintertime, so its ok to use it for lights.



Nice.
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First and foremost the answer to your question requires planning. How many lights, what type, etc. Different bulbs draw different wattages. Without a comprehensive plan of what you are doing there is no easy way to answer your question.

The only way to properly answer your question is to create a site plan. Below is a link to a great excel spreadsheet that will help you determine your electrical needs.

http://www.quartzhillchristmas.com/resources/Light+Controller+Calculator+Sept+2006+b1.xls

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