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Thread: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Came home to a dark display... VERY high Amp readings on my kill-a-watt- help!

    Looks good .. A lot of people don't know about twin circuits with common neutral. But it probably would only have cost you about $20 more to get double 20A on your boxes, instead of single. Since it's all encased together, it's the same work to pull 3-wire plus ground, instead of 2-wire plus ground.

    I put a pair on each side of my roof, up in the peak. So 80a capacity on my roof. But I did learn something I need to change with those. I put two GFCI outlets in each box. But if it ever gets rain and ice to the point that it pops one of them, then it could take days before I could get up there to reset them. I've asked Dariusz to keep an eye out for some twin 20a GFCI breakers instead. I'll need two of them. They are WAY to expensive to buy new new, so I am hoping for used ones to show up. The last time I looked the new ones for my panel were $140 each new. OUCH !
    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,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Update:
    tweaked sequences still haven't solved things :-(
    both circuits tripped tonight.... (light rain, btw)
    I've been having GFCI issues all day here. Is it the breaker or the GFCI that's tripping?
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post
    I've been having GFCI issues all day here. Is it the breaker or the GFCI that's tripping?
    Well, yesterday it was the breaker.

    After I re sequenced, today it tripped the gfci's....

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post
    I've been having GFCI issues all day here. Is it the breaker or the GFCI that's tripping?
    I guess it could be either one ..
    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,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Senior Member mpurser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    paul go back to the basics all plugs off the ground male plug on the bottom if possible keep current draw to under 80 percent of breaker capicity do not lay cords directly on steel surfaces ie door jamms or window sills made of metal i seal the bulbs on my wire frames to thier sockets with hot glue to keep water out and around the wire entry hole as well all my mega tree strings are insulated from ground by my pvc lower hoop and bungee cords
    are you sure we checked every pixel?The Home of North Carolina's Largest tomato cage pixel tree.http://www.thelightsonpurserroad.com

  6. #21
    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by mpurser View Post
    paul go back to the basics all plugs off the ground male plug on the bottom if possible keep current draw to under 80 percent of breaker capicity do not lay cords directly on steel surfaces ie door jamms or window sills made of metal i seal the bulbs on my wire frames to thier sockets with hot glue to keep water out and around the wire entry hole as well all my mega tree strings are insulated from ground by my pvc lower hoop and bungee cords
    Fair point,

    Though I was clearly pushing the limits on my display, no issues arose till the rain started. I'm addressing the power supply issues tomorrow at 9am much to the delight of my electrician ;-)

    However, I DO have extension cord connections (homemade spt-2) lying all over the lawn.

    Short of buying a crapload of those (pricey) plastic connector protectors, any suggestions for an economical way to elevate a LOT of plugs off the ground?

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    Registered User Don Williams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Hey Denny, this is a great example why we need a class on managing electrical loads. As we have discussed in the past I am putting together a presentation on this on our next all day TASL meeting. I will gear this in the direction for all decorators. I know at our last TASL meeting I had a tremendous amount of questions about electrical loads. Paul not picking on you but invest into a good amp probe, you can get one with accurate readings for around $50. I had a friend that had a KILL-A-Watt and the amperage readings was not correct. I am going to look at your set up a little closer to come up with a more accurate reading. QUESTION: How many lights do you have on the arch ? 91 volts on controller #1 , should be 115-120 v. Sam and Mark had some great points.

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Water and GFCI's don't mix, especially with mini-trees that are made of metal.

    First, if the mini trees or any big fixture has metal near or in contact with your lights, see what you can do to isolate any paths to ground on those fixtures. That could be using PVC or rubber caps to keep the "feet" of the mini trees from touching the ground directly.

    As for the plugs, sometimes just using some of the small disposable food storage containers to keep the plugs dry may help. Those hsould be alot cheaper than the plastic protectors.

    In all likelihood, if it's raining/snowing the GFCI will trip the breaker long befrore the load will, since you've done some modification of your sequence and layout.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Williams View Post
    Hey Denny, this is a great example why we need a class on managing electrical loads. As we have discussed in the past I am putting together a presentation on this on our next all day TASL meeting. I will gear this in the direction for all decorators. I know at our last TASL meeting I had a tremendous amount of questions about electrical loads. Paul not picking on you but invest into a good amp probe, you can get one with accurate readings for around $50. I had a friend that had a KILL-A-Watt and the amperage readings was not correct. I am going to look at your set up a little closer to come up with a more accurate reading. QUESTION: How many lights do you have on the arch ? 91 volts on controller #1 , should be 115-120 v. Sam and Mark had some great points.
    First- I didnt take any of that as picking on me. I came here to learn and appreciate ALL the feedback.

    I'm installing 2 new 20A circuits right now and will take some new measurements once I have my controllers reshuffled to the new circuits.

    Once finished, Ill have:
    1 - 15A circuit (the original circuit covering all my outdoor gfci's)
    1 - 20A dedicated outdoor circuit with gfci
    2- 20A circuits with quad gfci receptacles.

  10. #25
    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by mschell View Post
    Water and GFCI's don't mix, especially with mini-trees that are made of metal.

    First, if the mini trees or any big fixture has metal near or in contact with your lights, see what you can do to isolate any paths to ground on those fixtures. That could be using PVC or rubber caps to keep the "feet" of the mini trees from touching the ground directly.

    As for the plugs, sometimes just using some of the small disposable food storage containers to keep the plugs dry may help. Those hsould be alot cheaper than the plastic protectors.

    In all likelihood, if it's raining/snowing the GFCI will trip the breaker long befrore the load will, since you've done some modification of your sequence and layout.
    Yup....
    I think you nailed it.

    I definitely DID have a load issue initially (22A on ONE controller alone!!), but that's been pretty well resolved.

    I just redistributed my controllers around me new beefy power supply..... each 20A circuit should see no more than 12-14A now
    ..... and.... minitrees are tripping the GFCIs :-(
    Assuming its a byproduct of connections resting on damp grass and wire framed trees staked into ground with metal landscape staples :-)

    Now to start troubleshooting the trees...

    (Where's a good old-fashioned NC drought when you need it!!!!)

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Yup....
    I think you nailed it.

    I definitely DID have a load issue initially (22A on ONE controller alone!!), but that's been pretty well resolved.

    I just redistributed my controllers around me new beefy power supply..... each 20A circuit should see no more than 12-14A now
    ..... and.... minitrees are tripping the GFCIs :-(
    Assuming its a byproduct of connections resting on damp grass and wire framed trees staked into ground with metal landscape staples :-)

    Now to start troubleshooting the trees...

    (Where's a good old-fashioned NC drought when you need it!!!!)
    Excellent Paul .. You didn't waste much time jumping to the right solution !
    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,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Official Lurker Bartek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    I just read your post. I'm working late on Wednesday but I'm available any other afternoon on weekdays and all day weekend if you need help with breaker tripping.
    Quickest solution would be to add 20 amp outlets at the outdoor panel and run 12 gauge extension cords. You also had very low voltage, probably caused by voltage drop due to long undersized extension cords. As the voltage drops, amps go up. Wire and breaker heats up causing it to trip.


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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartek View Post
    I just read your post. I'm working late on Wednesday but I'm available any other afternoon on weekdays and all day weekend if you need help with breaker tripping.
    Quickest solution would be to add 20 amp outlets at the outdoor panel and run 12 gauge extension cords. You also had very low voltage, probably caused by voltage drop due to long undersized extension cords. As the voltage drops, amps go up. Wire and breaker heats up causing it to trip.
    Thanks for the offer!

    I actually added 2 20a circuits, so now I have the controllers split across (3) 20a and 1 15a circuits.
    I also re sequenced to drop the max load/controller from 20(!!) to 7-8.

    My issue now is the tomato-cage mini trees tripping the GFCi's in the rain. I'm going to cover all the connections (bought some cheap plastic leftover containers to keep them dry. I think I need to get the metal off the wet grass too though... I'm not rally sure how to accomplish that yet.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Dariusz @Bartek is the electrician behind my whole setup .. Also be sure to visit his display. His house is only about a mile from me ..
    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,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

  15. #30
    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Doh! Came home to a dark display... tripped my first breaker tonight :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    Dariusz @Bartek is the electrician behind my whole setup .. Also be sure to visit his display. His house is only about a mile from me ..
    Thanks. bad weather messed up our plans this past weekend.... so THIS coming weekend we will be stopping at Starbucks for drinks, then touring the local light shows.

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