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We all want lots and lots of power. It seems that the bigger the triac and its accompanying heat sink the better. But I can't stop thinking about the fact that one single channel could be a mini tree and thats all. In fact, thats all you would want on that channel. We're talking millamps here, sort of. Why then, am I concerned about big 8 amps per channel? For example:

I want to purchase some spheres this year and hang in my trees outside. I'm thinking of 16 spheres = 16 channels. Thats it. No way would I put anything else on any of those channels. I want full independent control of every string of lights. After all, isn't that how we get such beautiful effects?

Let me emphasize something. I'm total newby at this stuff. My previous Christmas light experience is throwing a strand of lights outside and where ever it lands is good enough. I have a lot of questions and I know you have a lot of answers. I'm here to learn.

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jeff wrote:

Why then, am I concerned about big 8 amps per channel? For example:

Most people would use 8amps as the max, and probably not go over 4 or 5 on that channel. It does give you flexibility, though. I had some controllers last year that had 1 or 2 channels with 3-4amps each ... and the rest of the channels had a very low amount of power draw. I didn't go over my maximum, and I was able to power those massive C9 bulbs.
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Ditto what Don said. Use your small draw objects mixed in with your larger objects to distribute your power load. I have 6 - 4 amp trees that I would like to put on one controller but I needed to distribute them among my controllers to balance both my controller and line loads.

Glenn

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Jeff,

I think I know what you are trying to get at. The 8 amp triac is just a few cents more than a 1 amp triac. (according to someone who researched it for a business deal) Therefore LOR, AL, and D-Light can either make a 16 channel board that can hold 8 amps for XX price or one that can only hold 1 amp per channel for 90% of XX or only a 10% savings on cost. The obvious response for all three companies has been to get the bigger triac.

Of course it does suck to only use 1/3 of an amp on an 8 amp triac but that's the good and the bad of it. Hopefully that is what you were asking about and answered your question about the size of the triacs.

Jeff

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Jeff_Womack wrote:

snip...to only use 1/3 of an amp on an 8 amp triac but that's the good and the bad of it....unsnip

It's also the reason you can buy the controllers with or without a large heatsink. If you intend on only switching small amounts of current there's no need to buy the 40 amp version of the board. My Mega Tree will have 48 out of 60 channels that will only have a single string of 50 minis on each. A total of 160ma per channel. There won't be much heat wasted from the triacs there.

The new kit version of the 16 channel board appears to have a mini heatsink included. That is what I would like to use for those channels.

Like Jeff W said, I'm not real happy that I'm using a channel that's capable of so much load and I'm putting a set of LEDs on it to light a windowframe. But at least I have room to grow. Maybe next year I'll put 2 sets of LEDs on a channel!?!

jeff
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