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# how many can lights on a 20 amp circuit??

#1
02-28-05, 12:28 PM
zig
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how many can lights on a 20 amp circuit??

I am helping out a friend with his basement and will be doing the same to mine. But we are setting up 2 dimmer switches, one with 5 65 watt lights and another with 4 65 watt lights. Can we put this all on one 20 amp circuit?? Or should we separate?? In my basement I wanted to run about 12 lights on 1 switch. Is this possible?? Any help is appreciated...

#2
02-28-05, 12:52 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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DO not go by the bulbs you will install in the lights, but rather by the maximum allowed for the light.

If the maximum for these lights is 65 watts, then you have 65 watts times 9 equals 585 watts.

Converting this to amps...
585 watts divided by 120 volts equals 4.875 amps.

This is well within a 20 amp circuit.

Use the same equations with your own numbers.

One caution: Dimmers have limits and need to be de-rated if you put more than one in a box. Pay attention to what the dimmer specs tell you. However, in the above example you would be fine with 2 dimmers in the same box.

#3
02-28-05, 01:34 PM
zig
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thanks for the reply. They are 75 watt fixtures, so the calculation comes out to 5.625 amps, so still well within the rated circuit.

#4
02-28-05, 08:32 PM
Keith W
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Originally Posted by zig
I am helping out a friend with his basement and will be doing the same to mine. But we are setting up 2 dimmer switches, one with 5 65 watt lights and another with 4 65 watt lights. Can we put this all on one 20 amp circuit?? Or should we separate?? In my basement I wanted to run about 12 lights on 1 switch. Is this possible?? Any help is appreciated...
From what I've read, lighting circuits should be 15A due to the small wire size in fixtures.

#5
03-01-05, 05:25 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Keith,

Lighting circuits can be 15 amp or 20 amp, there is no restriction on them. Perhaps what you are thinking of is the ease of working with each size wire. 14 gauge wire (for 15 amp circuits), being a smaller diameter is easier to work with. 12 gauge wire (for 20 amp circuits) is a larger diameter and harder to work with. Using proper technique and the proper size wire nuts, there is no difference in connecting to the fixture wires.

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