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ctownpolicedispatcher wrote:

If you have a 200 AMP panel in your house, why dont you just drop a 60AMP sub panel off your main then you can have 4 20AMP breakers off that. If your like me my current panel is full, thats what I plan to do.

CTPD,

Good idea! Did just that last year. Our 1964-built home had a full breaker box (after we added A/C in 2003 and upgraded the swimming pool equipment some years before we arrived). I had to find "half-width breakers" for four existing circuits to free up two standard breaker slots.

Next I installed a sub-panel near the original meter box and wired three twenty-amp circuits. Two of them go to clock timers that each energize circuits for Christmas lighting, and the third is 'always hot' for landscape lighting (with it's own timer) and year around security lighting on a photocell. All circuits include GFCI protection.

Boy, Oh Boy, was it nice to have this Christmas season!

From the timers I go into a raintight j-box (8x8x4) that has eight channels of computer controlled lights (my own design). Four channels run along the side fences with quad raintight outlets every other fence post. The other four go out under the eaves to the other side of the front yard, with quad raintight outlets every ten feet. Some of the fence outlets are always hot, some on the timer, some on the sequencer channels. Adding CHristmas displays is a stap, just plug in as needed!

Comments Welcome!

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Analogvideo wrote:

JR,

Did you mean Amps? (not volts?). The C9 and C7 1/2 lamps run from 120V in parallel and burn 7Watts and 5Watts respectively.

The current for each bulb adds to the total current, so a store bought string of 25 C9s totals 175Watts, or 1.45Amps from a 120V circuit.

Typically the plugsfor each store bought string include a 5Amp fuse. So, as you said, three strings can be placed together and not rupture the fuse. Some older strings had 7Amp fuses (and originallyC9 lamps were 9Watts each).

If the OP is still reading, it's okay to have a single C9 lamp socket on a male plug, or any other combination up to the rating for the wire and the plug.

*** Thereis a very important point that may have been over looked in earlier relies to your question. ***

The fuse doesn't protect the light bulbs, it protects the building or other flammable material if there is a short circuitin the string.

The short circuit could be a bad bulb, a bad socket (even onethat gets wet in the rain or snow),or it could be a short across the wires (careful with those staple guns when putting up the lights). The fuse must be the weakest link to protect the circuit from overload and overheating that could be dangerous and a fire hazard.

Most commercially made strings or bulk sockets are machine inserted and snap together. Inside the socket thebulb contacts pierce the wire insulation. It's fairly easy to break off unwanted sockets, just remember to cover the "wound" (damaged wire insulation)in the wire with electrical tape.

Comments Welcome!

Yes, I meant amps, not volts. My typo.

I thought about running a subpanel, but it just worked easier this way. I dont think I will need more than 40 amps on my roof so I stuck with that. Luckily I still have 2 slots left. I already purchased the breakers for those spots and I am going to probably do the same thing. Just pull a 12-3 again to get 2 more 40 amps. I don't plan on living at this home for no more than maybe next Christmas so I don't want to waste to much money in this place. Being I design homes I want my next house to be one I designed. And boy o boy will I have lots on designated outside outlets and most likely cat5 connections near by just for running Christmas lights. I really like running c-9's just hate amps they pull. Most likely I will run 2 or 3 times the amount that I have rightnow but have them set to only run one color at a time. This way they still only pull the same amount of juice.

JR

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Hey guys,

I just joined this chat room and have already learned some helpful tips for reading what you all have been talking about. I was unsure exactly how many amps a single strand of c9's pulled. Now I know, 1.45 amps. Thanks. Also, I have been installing lights for 6 seasons now and have been looking for a bulk supplier of the c9 bulbs. Where do you all get your replacement bulbs at?

Thanks, TX Holiday Light Man @ www. txholiday-lights.com

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I like action lighting. They have all colors under the sun and they are like 3.25 per pack of 25. Click on the link below to see.....Hope this helps, it think they are cheaper than Wal-Mart and 88 cents per 4. They are a real good company.

Just watch and make sure you get the 7 watt bulbs that is what comes in the strands you buy from the store. If you get the 10 watt ones that will put you from 1.45 amps per string to over 2 amps per string. If you need help figuring amps and volts ill find the link and post it here for you. Hope this helps you.

http://www.actionlighting.com/items.asp?MainCategory=Christmas&Sub=C7+%2D+C9+Bulbs&PageNo=1

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TX Holiday Light Man wrote:

Hey guys,

I just joined this chat room and have already learned some helpful tips for reading what you all have been talking about. I was unsure exactly how many amps a single strand of c9's pulled. Now I know, 1.45 amps. Thanks. Also, I have been installing lights for 6 seasons now and have been looking for a bulk supplier of the c9 bulbs. Where do you all get your replacement bulbs at?

Thanks, TX Holiday Light Man @ www. txholiday-lights.com

For the last two seasons I actually have been using the Table right here on Planet Christmas very useful to figure out amps and watts.

http://www.planetchristmas.com/FigurePower.htm

JR

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I purchased a 1000 foot roll of the C-9 light string with the sockets at 36 inch intervals.....cut the lengthinto 6 seperate peices (of aprox equal length) for an average of 55 lights per string. Then placing the strings in paralleland slightly off-setting the sockets, I zip-tied them together to form one string with sockets at 6 inch intervals. The string is abut 330 feet long and can surround the entire roof line and front of my hone with one string! (see attached photo) Chase sequences put the whole house in sync!

With only 55 lights per string, I draw 3.5 amps per string. (or group of lights on that string) Not a problem with one or 2 strings illuminated....but, if I desired to have all light lit at one time...that would be 21 amps and an overload. Solution..... I put strings on channels 1,2, and 3 of one side of my 16 channel controller and the other 3 strings in the group on channels 9, 10, and 11 on the other side of my controller. ( I have my controller fed by 2 seperate and dedicated electrical supply curcuits. )

I had the Red, White, and blue chasing for the 4th of july (amongst other configurations which included "all on") and had absolutely no problems. Christmas, I have 6 different colors on the string... All of each color on a seperate string...that way I can chase through the rainbow...or change the color of the house lighting between each of the six colors. Again....I have all on and no problems. Even with the additional mini lights I have controlled by the left over channels 4 thru 8 and 12 thru 16 avail on the controller. Even with all the C-9's illuminated, I had 4.5 amps left I HAD to use them!!!! I am pushing the limit here now with an additional 3000 mini lights on the same controller as my C-9's. mathematically 3000 mini lights (from my understanding) equals 10 amps. I had a "spare 9 amps avail so I am actually 1 amp over the limit here but again...absolutey no problems this year because not all of the mini lights are illuminated when all the C-9's are on. NEXT year, at least 2 more controllers will allow me a safety margin.

As with the gentleman (or woman) who purchased the "large plastic C-7 bulbs", I have then surrounding my lawn. Those were a recent purchase so no time to modify them before Christmas. My Summer will include making them all on one string similar to the one I made for the home but with 5 channes as there are only 5 colors, to allow me to add them to a controller and make them dance also.

have fun this year!!!!!

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Senior wrote:

I purchased a 1000 foot roll of the C-9 light string with the sockets at 36 inch intervals.....cut the lengthinto 6 seperate peices (of aprox equal length) for an average of 55 lights per string. Then placing the strings in paralleland slightly off-setting the sockets, I zip-tied them together to form one string with sockets at 6 inch intervals. The string is abut 330 feet long and can surround the entire roof line and front of my hone with one string! (see attached photo) Chase sequences put the whole house in sync!

Senior,

Great! I'd come to the same conclusion for my own needs. Currently I have four strings of C9s tie-wrapped together and on four channels of a sequencer. It spans the top of our garage door.

The bulbs are at approximately three inch centres and with 25 per strand they produce 700 Watts of lighting when all turned on at the same time. I used the store bought strings with sockets at twelve inch spacing, and wish now that I'd cut out every other one to thin the rope down to just fifty bulbs (350Watts) on six inch centres.

I'm looking for a large roll of C9 sockets on 24 inch centres, any hints?

Also, how did you attachyour sockets to the house? I've seen plastic clips cemented in place for commercial applications, such as shopping arcades.

Comments Welcome!

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Senior wrote:

I am pushing the limit here now with an additional 3000 mini lights on the same controller as my C-9's. mathematically 3000 mini lights (from my understanding) equals 10 amps. I had a "spare 9 amps avail so I am actually 1 amp over the limit here but again...absolutey no problems this year because not all of the mini lights are illuminated when all the C-9's are on. NEXT year, at least 2 more controllers will allow me a safety margin.

Senior,

Couple of points about potential overloading. Firstly, the actual current draw is usually less than the mathematical calculation because the voltage at the lamp is lowered by the losses in wires, connectors, and extention cords. If you have a voltmeter try measuring the voltage at your panel buss bars (with care) and again at the last lamp socket (or it's daisy-chain socket). Expect to see a 10 - 15% loss.

Secondly, in a sequenced display the average current is what matters, not the instantaneous current found mathematically. I've measured 24 Amps (or more) peak on a 20Amp circuit, and the breaker doesn't trip because it's designed to carry 20Amps average all the time.

A very useful tool is a clamp on ammeter. It doesn't require connection in the circuit being measured and works by magnetic induction from the hot conductor. With care it can be clipped around the hot wires in the panel and indicates average current drawn. It's a good idea to balance the load on each side of the panel and this tool makes it very easy. Here's a link to the one I use, which also has a voltmeter function: http://tinyurl.com/ajnmb

The reason for having a current limit on any electrical circuit is to reduce the risk of firecaused by overloaded wires and connections heating up and destroying the insulation. Also, most if not all electrical components can safely operate at temperatures slightly higher than a person can touch for more than a few seconds without pain. It's common to find electrical equipment (particularly motors and transformers) with a temp rise rating marked on the label.

I hope this helps, Comments Welcome!

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I think this was said somewhere in all the comments, but back to the original poster's comments, there should be no problem cutting a C7 or C9 to whatever - even down to one bulb ... since they all run off of 120 volts wired in parrallel. NOT the case with mini-lights where they are wired in series and you want 2.5 volts (or whatever) per builb - i.e. 50 bulbs over 120 volts.

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Analogvideo wrote:

Couple of points about potential overloading. Firstly, the actual current draw is usually less than the mathematical calculation because the voltage at the lamp is lowered by the losses in wires, connectors, and extention cords. If you have a voltmeter try measuring the voltage at your panel buss bars (with care) and again at the last lamp socket (or it's daisy-chain socket). Expect to see a 10 - 15% loss.

Ohm's law states. P/E=I...P being watts, E is volts, and I is amps.

So.

5 watts at 110 volt would draw .045 amps

5 watts at 100 volts would draw .05 amps.

the last lamp would draw more amps because of voltage drop.

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  • 4 months later...

As to my Summer Project of making my "large Plastic C-7 lights" that circle my lawn chase.....I have elected to make the wiring harness for 15 channels vice teh 5 originally planned. This should make for longer chases and a more dramatic effect. Bulk 18 Gauge zip wife and vampire C-7 sockets are making quick work out of this.

Now all I need is the April Sale at Light O Rama to occur so I can obtain the necessary controller for it. Today is the 17th so it should be soon!!!!

Hope all your projects for this coming Christmas all come to fruition!

Doug

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Analogvideo wrote:

Typically the plugsfor each store bought string include a 5Amp fuse. So, as you said, three strings can be placed together and not rupture the fuse. Some older strings had 7Amp fuses (and originallyC9 lamps were 9Watts each).

I have found that when I plug 3 sets together the fuse in the first set will blow. I also found that on some sets the plug will not snap back together once it is opened. So you can open it to replace the fuse but it won't go back together. You can probably guess what my solution was. The first set will not blow a fuse anymore. As for older sets most did not have fuses at all.

There are no 9 watt C9 bulbs either old or new. Older bulbs are typically 10 watts. C9 bulbs are available in 7 and 10 watts. I have seen some of the old "cool bright" C9 bulbs that are 5 watts. I do not think you can buy 5 watt C9 bulbs anymore.

TED

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Senior wrote:

With only 55 lights per string, I draw 3.5 amps per string. (or group of lights on that string) Not a problem with one or 2 strings illuminated....but, if I desired to have all light lit at one time...that would be 21 amps and an overload. Solution..... I put strings on channels 1,2, and 3 of one side of my 16 channel controller and the other 3 strings in the group on channels 9, 10, and 11 on the other side of my controller. ( I have my controller fed by 2 seperate and dedicated electrical supply curcuits. )

I had the Red, White, and blue chasing for the 4th of july (amongst other configurations which included "all on") and had absolutely no problems. Christmas, I have 6 different colors on the string... All of each color on a seperate string...that way I can chase through the rainbow...or change the color of the house lighting between each of the six colors. Again....I have all on and no problems.

VERY cool use of C9s there Senior! What are the 6 colors that you use? Also, I was thinking that you wanted to have all 6 colors on at the same time you could simply dim them to say 80 or 90% in order to reduce the total amp load on your controller. With all of them on I doubt anyone would notice the reduction in brightness!

TED

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The colors I use are RED,ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE and PURPLE in order to give it a "prismatic" effect. (all are transparent colors and triple coated)

In my sequences, ALL ON happens quite a few times and I have had absolutely no problems with any overloading. Although, your idea to dim to 90% or 80% would be extremely beneficial when I DO reach the upper limits. Thanks!

I do have a sequence I use for the 4th of July for the lights where I do use the dimming effect. Instead of the 6 colors mentioned earlier, I use pastel colors of RED, WHILE and BLUE. THe White overpowers the other colors so much I actually have the setting for the White set at 70%. The temds to "balance" the illumination as compared to the ajoining colors. As you stated, the effect is not really noticable in degredation and actually enhances the show.

Again, Thanks for the suggestion.

Doug

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Senior, I would like to see pics of how your project is coming along. I have those oversized C7 shells that I was going to make indivial channels with. I got lucky enough that my wife found the clear ones so I ordered a couple of boxes of those. I also plan on using only the clears, reds, blues, and greens. Dont know what I am going to do with the others, they really dont fit my color scheem. My plan is to use the male pigtail off of my spt2 extension cords as the power supply, I dont know if I will just use new spt2 c7 light clips or cut the cords I have and soder a connection. Would like to see a pic of yours if you have one thou.

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Senior wrote:

The colors I use are RED,ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE and PURPLE in order to give it a "prismatic" effect. (all are transparent colors and triple coated)

In my sequences, ALL ON happens quite a few times and I have had absolutely no problems with any overloading. Although, your idea to dim to 90% or 80% would be extremely beneficial when I DO reach the upper limits. Thanks!

I do have a sequence I use for the 4th of July for the lights where I do use the dimming effect. Instead of the 6 colors mentioned earlier, I use pastel colors of RED, WHILE and BLUE. THe White overpowers the other colors so much I actually have the setting for the White set at 70%. The temds to "balance" the illumination as compared to the ajoining colors. As you stated, the effect is not really noticable in degredation and actually enhances the show.

Again, Thanks for the suggestion.

Doug

Doug,

Very cool! I like your color selection! I have seen some very nice displays of the transparent colored bulbs. They have sort of a "candyland" look. The colors are very festive.

I do have somewhat of a preference for the solid ("opaque") colors. There are 2 reasons for this. The first isbecause the paint peeled off of the transparent bulbs I had in the past. It sounds like you have the better quality bulbs (Action Lighting?) so it is probably not a problem for you. The other reason is that I like look of the old C9 bulbs which were solid colors. My favorite bulbs are the old C9 flame bulbs with the interior paint. With the paint on the inside of the glass they never chip or peel! I like the "warm" colors of the old bulbs.

I am thinking about buying a bunch of new C9s this coming year to replace the "discount store" bulbs. I had so many bulbs burn out that I couldn't keep up with replacing them. Maybe I'll get some of the transparent colors in additon to the solid colors. I'm sure I can find a place for them! :cool:

post-306-129570958715_thumb.jpg

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Yes, Action Lighting...I use them for a lot of things. Good Folks.

I like the brightness of the transparent colors vice the softer glows of the pastels.....Although........................looking at your pics...I can see where a softer glow can also be nice. I DO use the pastel colors for the 4th of July lighting. Red, White and Blue (I use the white at 70% to not overpower the other colors.) My string also has the bulbs at 6 inch intervals so when ALL ON is active....it is BRIGHT!!!!! Standing on my sidewalk in front of the house...I can see my shadow on the neighbors garage across the street. Thing is.....I am just getting started!!!! Last year was first Christmas with the Controller. I have so many ideas and desires....Step by step I make my wiring harnesses for my projects and try to add at least a few thousand lights a year. With time, I shall be right up there with the 100K club. (I hope, I hope, I hope.....)

Doug

I did invest in the triple coated bulbs for a longer life. I've oly used them once since buying them but no damage last season.

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JR

I would be happy to share the build with you. Ihave to get more wire!!!!

I took out the 10 foot, 5 light line that came with the sets and will replace it with the harness I am making. The sets have 5 colors so I am going to have 15 channels to offer me some flexibility in the show. A 15 channel chase is much more dramatic then a 5 channel chase.

I am taking C-7 sockets and installing them on the zip cord directly. No soldering....not cutting. I have measured out the distances between the bulbs and added for the run up and down to teh bulbs...leaving the bulk of the wire harness on the ground. Easiest way for me to accomplish this was to make 15 lines with the 5 or 4 sockets on each. then, place tehm so that teh sockets are offset by 2 foot intervals and zip tie tehm together as a bundle. I know it is going to be a thick bunch but Iwill assume the effect of the lights will be worth it.

I shall take pics as I go and post for your perusal.

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By the way, if you have no plans for the purple or Yellow shells, I will make an offer for them..... The shells do crack when the neighbors drive over them..... or stumble over them while doing the police sobriety tests.

Doug

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