Adding sub panel for christmas lights help needed

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Old 11-02-08, 04:38 AM
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Adding sub panel for christmas lights help needed

I am going to have to add a sub panel this year to support a ton of new christmas lights this year.

I want to try to save as much money as possible and do much of the work myself.

I an NOT a licenced electriction, but do have experence.


What can i do to make things faster and easier before i hire an electriction to add the sub panel.

I was thining of runnning all the wire in the attic and installing the new boxes.

any suggestions?
 
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Old 11-02-08, 08:54 AM
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Things that would help to speed up the process are to have a suitable location for the panel already selected. This location should be accessible with 30" width, 36" depth out from the panel, free from obstructions floor-to-ceiling. Clear out the areas where wires will need to be run. Make a detailed list of exactly what you want loads you want to run from the panel and what circuits you want. Meet with your electrician before you start doing the work so you can decide on the division of labor upfront. The worst thing to do is to do half of the project before meeting with the electrician and then finding out that you did something against code which will need to be completely replaced.

Now for my questions: why a subpanel? Is the main panel full? How many Christmas lights do you want to install? What kind of receptacles, timers, etc do you also plan to use?
 
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Old 11-02-08, 10:44 AM
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yes a subpanel. the Main is complete full.

# of lights.. 25,000+ so yes alot of lights. they will be computer controlled this year so they all wont be on 100% of the time but there is situations where every light on an given circut will be on.


I am going to have to use GFIC on every circut for the lights just to be safe. (should i go with GFCI breakers of one outlet?)
 
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Old 11-02-08, 11:22 AM
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GFCI receptacles are less expensive than GFCI breakers, and perform the same job.

I agree with Ben that you must get an electrician on board before you start. Otherwise, you might not be able to find an electrician who is willing to complete the work.

Or, skip the electrican entirely and install the subpanel yourself.
 
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Old 11-03-08, 03:58 AM
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What can i do to make things faster and easier before i hire an electriction to add the sub panel.



Do you already have the lights? If not, you might consider the newer LED version. They are available in various sizes and colors, and pull next to nothing in regard to wattage.
















any suggestions?[/QUOTE]
 
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Old 11-03-08, 11:05 AM
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When you're working on your design, keep the loads to 80% of the circuit ampacity. A 20A circuit can supply (20A * 120V = 2400W) peak and (2400W * 80% = 1920W) continuous. This will determine the number and location of circuits you want to install as well as the subpanel size. Also make sure to not overload your switching/relay devices' continuous load ratings. Also make sure to not overload the light strings themselves -- most allow only 2-3 strings end-to-end. Same rules for power strips and splitters. These things do melt-down and catch fire when exposed to continuous overload.

All outdoor circuits are required to have GFCI protection and bubble style in-use covers. GFCI can be provided by breaker or receptacle.
 
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