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Thread: Help, do not understand the power used

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Default Help, do not understand the power used

    I am new to the sport but I have been reading off and on for about a year now on building a show.
    I have brought some components and was going to try and build a small show this year but do to work and some health issue I will not get it done this year.
    I am having trouble understanding the amount of power I will need to build my show, from what I have read and found people are using a 15 or 20 amp circuit
    to run their show.
    My question is if I use the rule of 80% load on a breaker that would be 1440 watts on a 15 amp circuit and 1920 watts on a 20 amp circuit.
    Here is where I am lost, I am using a Falcon F16v3 board which is 5 amps per output, I am using 12v pixel nodes, the White per string (50 nodes) is 3 amps at 36 Watts @ 12v DC.
    Can someone explain how you can run a show on a 15 amp circuit, I am having trouble understanding it as the way I see it I can only use two strands of lights which are at 6 amps
    which is exceeding my board of 5 amps but the board specs say you can run 1024 pixels. I know you do not run all white during a show but I am using this as a measuring stick for
    max amps, this also doesn't take in account of the amps the power supply is using
    Can someone help me understand how this done without exceeding the breaker amps. Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Holland, Manitoba
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    Default Re: Help, do not understand the power used

    You're breake is at 120 volts AC, while you're show is running at 12V DC. Big difference, keeping it really basic, use the power formula (P)ower=(V)olts*(A)mps. So if you're show is running say 1 channel at 6 amps and 12 volts DC, that's 72 watts. Now 72 watts divided by 120 volts on the AC side is less than 1 amp. This is really simplifying, but just remember there's a lot more power with the same amperage available at 120Vac than there is at 12Vdc.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    West Bloomfield, MI
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    Default Re: Help, do not understand the power used

    As bud29 says, you can't compare amps at two different voltages. That's apples and oranges. To compare, you have to use power. Assume no losses whatsoever. A 20 amp 120V circuit can supply 2400 watts. 2400 watts in a 12 volt system is 2400/12 or 200 amps. Clearly there are losses in the real world but now you can see how we run an entire show from one 20 amp 120 volt circuit.
    Happily retired


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