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LOR CTB16D wiring question


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For about 10 years, I have been using digital I/O to control my Christmas lights but will be using LOR for the first time this year. Therefore, I am an official LOR Newbie.

I ordered (and have received) one board (CTB16D) and 16 power chords without using Save10 (more are on order). Since my digital I/O boards had to stay inside, I’m planning to keep all of my LOR boards inside. (I have enough long extension chords to reach my displays.) I’m planning on using plastic boxes to house the boards. I have a couple of odd questions about wiring it up.



I am not an electrician and would NOT consider trying to install a breaker. However, I have an electrician friend who installs breakers for me and runs enough wire for me to finish the run. I’m comfortable wiring receptacles and switches AS LONG AS THE BREAKER IS OFF!



First, I have two 12-gauge (with ground) wires coming directly from two 20-Amp breakers.

Instead of going out and buying two 20-Amp receptacles, two 20-Amp plugs, more wire and a couple of work-boxes, can I wire directly onto the board? I will use the breakers like an “on-off” switch. 12-gauge wire looks significantly larger than the wire on the 16 outlet chords I bought from LOR. Will the 12-gauge actually fit in the terminal plugs for hot and neutral??



The board has a nice offset to a piece of heavy gauge metal. Does the metal plate need to be offset to the plastic box because of heat?? Do I need small holes in the plastic boxes to help get the heat out??



Second, if I put a screw, washers and a nut through the two holes in the front of the metal housing, attach the grounds from the 12-gauge and 8 output wires on each side, will this ground the board???



Thanks,


Ralph

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It is fine to hardwire the box. You mentioned using circuit breakers as (on-off) switches. Most breakers are not designed to be used as switches but with LOR controllers you most likely will only turn them on/off a few times a year which will be fine.

You can install 12 awg wire in the connectors. The outputs are 16awg which is fine for the 8 amp output per channel.

It is a good idea to offset the heatsinks a bit if you are mounting to a plastic box. If you mount to metal you should bolt them directly to the metal enclosure the maximize contact and use the enclosure as an additional heatsink.

The board does not have a ground... It does not need to be grounded. Everything around it that is metal and can be touched should be grounded.

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I will use the breakers like an “on-off” switch.

Even if you can do this and are happy with it, I recommend that you place a normal wall switch at or very near the LOR box itself. If anything ever happens such that another person needs to shut off the box quickly, you sure don't want them running around looking for a nonexistent switch.

Even though you may know the exact breaker(s) for the LOR box and have marked them very clearly, others who are less familiar with your setup (or with electricity in general) will probably still be unable to track down which breakers to pull. Many folks are scared to even open up the breaker panel, let alone start flipping switches. Add the excitement of an emergency to everything else and the power may not be disconnected until you do it yourself. Not a good thing to happen if you're away from the house at the time.

Anyway, just my recommendation. It's only $3.50 for a plain toggle switch and a couple more dollars for the switch box. Cheap insurance.

Tom
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Thanks,

After reading Dan’s reply to my original post, I had already decided to put in a couple of switches for each of my controllers and not use the breakers as switches. After thinking about my first plans, your suggestions are right on the money especially since I’ll have more than 8 breakers after my “save10 order arrives.



Unfortunately I went to Home Depot (very close to my house) this afternoon and they had no 20 switches. I picked up a few boxes. There’s a big independent hardware store just up the street. They always have what I need: I’ll pay about a buck more, but that’s cheaper than driving to the nearest Lowe’s or another Home Depot.





Ralph

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Personally I keep my controllers powered up 24/7 during the lighting season. If I were to hardwire things I would not put in switches. I would just turn the breakers on the day the show starts and off at the end of the season.

With that said, it is a nice touch to have the the switches in there!

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