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Thread: converting to controller(s) power question : I got 4 - total 64 channels

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    Registered User koi_plumber's Avatar
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    Question converting to controller(s) power question : I got 4 - total 64 channels

    I have four 30 Amp breakers with 10 Wire going to my power distribution boxes. If I understand the power requirements for my new LOR controllers, I think I can plug in each controller's pair of power cords and still have 30 amps available to the controller. Of course I cannot use my distribution boxes for anything else. I do hate giving up my current distribution boxes, so if ya'll say a single 30 amp supply will work for a single controller, I may replace the distribution box with a duplex GFI outlet just to plug in the controllers and get more wire and 15 amp breakers to connect to the old boxes. But then again, why would I need power to anything if I want the controllers handle it all? Maybe for the blowups, I read about splitting the lights off and controlling them but leaving the blowers powered all time. I'm lucky; I have almost a full 200 amp service to use. So 30 x 4 is only 120 amps, I have about 60 amps to expand. I still have a lot of minis, just keeping them until I get tired of repairing them. Motors and blowers are more of a problem than the strands of minis still being used. I think this year will be the last year for the icecle mini lights, will be LED next year.
    But back to the power question, this approach makes sense to me, trying to find two separate 15 amp circuits to plug the controller into seems like silliness to me....

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    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting to controller(s) power question : I got 4 - total 64 channels

    If I'm understanding you question right, your wondering if your 4 outlets will handle the extra load of your inflatable motors? The answer to this depends on how much current (amps) your lights are using on each outlet. You will need to calculate this by adding up each string of lights to see if you have enough room (amps) left over to run them.

    30 amps is alot of minis and a ton of leds. I think you will have the extra power you need to run your inflatables and leave your controllers alone.

    How many strings of minis are you using per chanel on your controllers?

    Don Wiiliams and Darius are electricians, hopefully they will chime in.
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting to controller(s) power question : I got 4 - total 64 channels

    If your panel is dedicated to the yard, and it is rated 200 amps at 240 volts then you have 400 amps at 120 volts not 200. The breaker ampacity is rated at line voltage. So a 120 volt 20 amp breaker is 20 amps. However, a breaker feeding a subpanel or main panel breaker is rated at 240 volts. So, a 240 volt 20 amp breaker will carry 40 amps at 120 volts. If you have a subpanel in the yard and it is rated at 240 volts 30 amps then you have 60 amps at 120 volts. But... if you have a 30 amp 120 volt breaker feeding 2 each 15 amp LOR inputs you have a potentially dangerous situation.

    You are a wise person. It is not wise to power inductive loads with an LOR controller with triac outputs. A motor is an inductive load. I know people do it and say "oh that's nonsense". Triacs don't like being overcurrented and an inductive load clearly has the ability to overcurrent a triac. It might not do it at 70 degrees with the sun shining on the motor heating it up. But let the temperature drop and the mechanical components get cranky and wham the startup (inrush) current of the motor goes large scale and boom goes your triac. I use inflatable motors too. I control them with LOR and a triac output but use a solid state relay (SSR) (which is located between the motor and LOR output) with AC in and AC out that actually provides the power the motor needs. I believe we have talked about this on CC somewhere. If you need some help just ask. I can send John down to rewire your entire house and your neighbors totally free of charge. He won't mind.

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting to controller(s) power question : I got 4 - total 64 channels

    Ever hear the phrase "Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD?"

    Just because the LOR controllers can handle 15 amps per bank, 8 amps per channel, doesn't mean you HAVE to do that. By now, you should have a pretty good idea what you want to do; do some power calculations, or better yet, use a Kill-o-watt meter (I need to get one of those myself!) and figure out your power distribution needs based on what you want to do, not what you have the power to do.

    Like Al said, and Denny has done, get the inflatable motors off the controllers. Unless your show effects require them to inflate/deflate on need (Al did that with a Grinch display, making him appear around the yard on cue) put the inflatable motors on a timer, or just let them run all the time. Take their current draw into account for total load purposes, but you shouldn't put them through a triac-based controller.

    I count a string of 100 light incandescent minis as a 1/2 amp. A string of 50 C9's would be about 3 amps. You count your lights per channel, figure total load (there are spreadsheets out there to help with this) and plan your display loads.

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    Registered User koi_plumber's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting to controller(s) power question : I got 4 - total 64 channels

    I must have really been rambling......I will be keeping motors on separate circuits.
    I only plan on minis and LEDs on the controllers.
    I had power company install meter and panel for shop, ponds and 'special projects'.
    I thought since I already had 4 30 amp breakers, I could dedicate one per contoller.
    Even in the past, I limited the total amps to around 26-28 amps on each line, so I will carry same 10% reduction over to controllers, 13-14 amps per 8-channels. If ya'll think using the 30 amp lines is bad idea, then I will get 8 15 amp breakers and run two lines to each controller. I do not have any spare circuits at the house without adding sub-panel, I rather run lines from my shop panel.

    Thanks for the input, would love to meet ya'll on the 17th, but that is a bit far for me without taking a half day off from work.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting to controller(s) power question : I got 4 - total 64 channels

    It sounds like you are on the right track koi_plumber. It is worth the extra effort to calculate your planned loads on each channel and then roll them up into 8 channel groups. Then when you install everything, fire up each 8 channels to full load and measure your loads. Dariusz has coached me to make sure I keep a 20% headroom on everything. When you measure your loads directly off your controllers, it does not included the losses that you get back at the panel. And the longer your wires, the greater your losses. This could add 10% to the load that your panel sees.

    I checked my spreadsheet from last year, and the largest load I measured was 11.7 amps for 8 channels. Most 8 channel assignments were in the 6 to 8 amp range. For planning purposes in my spreadsheet I used .32 watts per mini bulb. I multiplied .32 times the number of bulbs on the circuit, and then divided by 110 volts for the estimated current load. In the actual measurements I came in a little higher. For LEDs I used .025 watts per bulb ...
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
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