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Thread: Powering up my display

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Default Powering up my display

    I built a new house this summer and installed four separate 20 amp receptacles across the front of the house for a total of 80 amps to run a display. The outlets are controlled with a four pole contractor that turns on and off with a digital timer.
    I added another 3 pole contractor in the same box that turns on receptacles in the attic to power lights in the dormer and attic windows.
    My wife likes having the porch and coach lights on during the night, so I set it up so the contractor also automatically shuts off these lights during the show. They then turn back on when the timer shuts off.

    I know 80 amps is overkill for most shows now days, but right now 50% of my show is incedecent lights so I wanted to make sure I had enough wattage.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Powering up my display

    I have removed the large manual switches / timers and moved to smart outlets. This limits the current being switched to a single outlet (15A in my case with 8 such outlets outside) and lets me turn on various light sets as needed. This has had a downside. My wife hates talking to the house to get the lights to do things (It seems "Alexa porch on" is too annoying). I also installed some surface mount switches that cause ON/OFF commands to be sent to the outlets (no extra wiring but an added cost) so that she can control things "the way they were meant to be controlled". Not everyone is happy with a smart home.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Powering up my display

    Not to hijack the thread, but curious... Is there any bleed when your power outlets are "off"? (Sometimes happens when using SSR control vs. relays.)
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Powering up my display

    No bleed over at all. The contractors are just high amperage relays. All mechanical parts inside. They have a very strong hum while on from the coils and make a good thump when powered up due to the contacts being slammed together.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Powering up my display

    The smart outlets I am using for outside are also relay driven (non dimming). No noise in the house.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Powering up my display

    Thanks. I'm looking for a method that:

    1. Doesn't bleed out, leaving even low level AC going out to the devices when off.
    2. Doesn't create a surge when activated, which sometimes happens with relays.
    3. Doesn't create any wireless "noise" since the show player, audio lines, and transmitter are all in the same cabinet - which happens with some relay coils.
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Powering up my display

    These outlets tend to use a very small relay and do not generate noise. Since they are in the wall, it is hard to imagine how they would come close to any sort of data wires. As with any relay, a snubber goes a long way towards reducing the contactor power surge. I suspect the WiFi noise is pretty low since they use WiFi or Z-Wave as the control path.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

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