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talk about your systems here- i want to know about your power distribution/setups


Christmas_time_karl_UK

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I have 32 channels and will be adding more next year and I want to have proper power provisions in place now so tell me about yours and pictures/diagrams please =)

Merry cxmas.

KARL

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I have 48 channels and also planning one more box ( hope)

I've installed 125 amp panel (each leg so is it 250 amps ?)

and upgraded the main to 200 amps (again each leg)

using wire that is over size

wire for the 15 amp (12 wire gauge) outlets can handle 20 amps

wire for the 125 amp (2 wire gauge)boxcan handle 130 amps

wire for the 200 amp (3/0 wire gauge) main can handle 225 amps


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_wire_gauge


Attached files 192033=10765-100_9366.jpg

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I have 112 Channels (7 Controllers) on two 20 amp receptacles. 25-30,000 lights and has not tripped a breaker. About 12,000 are incandescence and the rest LED's.

I have learned that with good programming you do not have to have total maximum power available if your lights are on just 25% of the time and only 25% of the lights are being used at any given time.

A long time PC member locally taught me this. He was absolutely right.

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Here is our setup...
http://www.mainelights.org/OutsideOutlets-backup/

Main was upgraded to 200A service a few years ago. And then for last year, a 125A Christmas sub-panel was added and is fed off a 100A/240v breaker in the main.

We're up to 256 LOR channels with ~65,000 lights and knock on wood... haven't had a single GFCI trip this year.

Already starting to talk with an electrician buddy of mine about upgrading to a full 200A service next year just for the lights. We have about 40,000 to 50,000 spare lights in the Christmas shed just waiting to be used. :)

-Jeff

p.s. Just noticed those pictures are a bit dated since we have fully populated the 125A sub-panel for this year.

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Hello everyone....first I am a NEWBIE, so please pardon me if I ask questions that have already been raised. With so many questions and searching this message board, I already have information overload...the good thing is I am writing stuff down as I read so I can learn as much as possible.

Like I said I am a newbie and planning on purchasing controllers next year to create a 2010 display and actually I was talking to my neighbor and he wants to do a dual display of both our homes and sync them together, more on that as I have questions I will be asking later.

My first set of questions is of course is power....I have a 100amp service, common amoung most households I believe.

1. I know that the controllers come in 15amp, 30amp, etc etc...what do most of you run 15amp controllers or 30amp controllers, I know it has to do with the amount of lights and what each controller can handle, but just curious. I actually have 3 weeks of vacation right now and starting to layout a design (best to start early)

2. I have read here that some of you are running 200amp service...again my service is 100amp, I am not ready to upgrade just yet, but those of you who upgraded to a 200amp service did the electric company have to come and change the line to your house or is this just replacing the 100amp panel to a 200amp panel (Yes I would hire an electrician).

3. As I said above my neighbor wants to do a dual display. We figure have both houses in sync. Plus it is good to share the power.....but my question on this is the CAT5 line between the controllers is there a limitation of length between each controller?

Sorry for the long read.....and thanks for helping....

Tom

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Just a little information.

I have a shop next to my house. It has a 400 amp main. I have 100 amp sub panel on side of house. Total number of outlets are 46 20 amp.

I have 640 channels and around 350,000 lights.

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To: Christmas_time_karl_UK and tsarlitto

Over the years I have grown to 160 channels, 19,000 + lights, 4,200 feet of extension cord, 400 feet of CAT5, etc and here is what I have learned.

First, I am not sure of the maximum length of CAT5. I am sure there is a reference somewhere. My longest single run is 110 feet or so and the total length to the farthest box is around 400 feet. I don't think this is going to be a constraint.

Relative to my overall service I was lucky enough to have two separate panels with 100+ Amps to them. One was for the house and another for a pool. The pool is gone but the service is still there. In general if you are going to be serious with a light display and don't want to go all LED you are probably going to need more than a single 100amp service. It is probably worth doing a cost/benefit analysis -- is it cheaper to upgrade your service or cheaper to buy LED's?

I did have electricians install outdoor outlets around the house with separate GFI's etc. If you can I would highly recommend this as it will cut down on the extension cord usage, save you from trying to run extension cords through windows and under garage doors to get outside, over the roof to use a circuit in the back of the house for lights in the front, etc. Been there done all of that.

As far as the type of LOR box to use I am finding that the standard low power heat sink CTB16PC boards are fine. Unless you are controlling big displays of C9 bulbs you should be ok. This allows 8 amps per bank of 8 channels with 4 amps max per channel. if you get into mini-trees, arches, and the like you are going to be having 100-300 mini-lights per channel at 40 watts/100 lights with incandescent lights and essentially nothing with LED. If you plan ahead and know you are going to need more power you can get a couple boxes with high power heat sinks.

As far as doing the power planning itself you kind of have to go through the details. It is one of those things that is so specific to your own house that you can't generalize it. There is a program floating around somewhere that will read your sequence file and help you calculate power usage per channel, per box, etc. It really is not all that hard to do by hand though. What I did was this:

1. Calculated total power usage per LOR box assuming all lights were on. This is worst case. In this process you will probably notice if you have a single channel that is overloaded or if a bank is overloaded. If this happens you might be able to redistribute the lights among this and/or other boxes. It is usually best to do this before you start sequencing but you can always go back and change your channel configuration after you sequence if you need to. Just update the configuration on one sequence and use the export/import channel configuration functions to update the rest.

2. Once you get the power per box sorted out map out where you want to put the boxes. I drew a little map of my house. (Attached). This will be based on many things, extension cord usage, putting them out of sight, etc.

3. On the map also draw where your power outlets are and what capacity they have.

4. Finally, match up the LOR boxes with the power outlets within the power limits of each outlet. This will also then help you plan your extension cord needs. When you do this you will often find that plugging a box into the nearest outlet is not always the best thing to do. A bit of creativity is needed at this point so pencil in several variations. Eventually one will make the most sense -- even if you still have to run an extension cord over the roof of the house like I am doing again this year.

Have fun planning the expansion beyond 32 channels and developing that two house display. Feel free to send me a message if you have any specific questions.

Scott




Attached files 192901=10800-LORHOUSE2.jpg

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I also have a 125 amp sub panel on my shop out back that I run my show with.
I am running 80 channels this year, going to 160 next year, and going to upgrade to a 200 amp panel in shop.

But it does feel like this somedays.

3827288284_8701fd3f0b.jpg


Robert

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