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Author Topic: Xmas lights  (Read 2291 times)

bkenobi

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Xmas lights
« on: November 30, 2012, 11:30:53 AM »

There are a thousand topics that contain discussions of holiday lights, but none address a question that arose last night.  I have lamp modules, appliance modules, socket rockets, transceivers, etc available for use in installing my tree and outdoor lights.  I just read the max wattage label on each of them last night and realized that a single strand of the lights we used in the past exceeds most of those modules and two exceed the rest for the outdoor sets.  For the tree, it looks like I can use up to 4.5 on my tree using a lamp module (300w) or 8 if I use an appliance module.

In the past, I used a non-X10 remote switch for my outdoor lights.  I never noticed the max wattage label on the back that indicated 300W.  Like I said, my lights exceed that with one strand (150x2.5w bulbs=375W).  Last time I had these up, I had 6+ strands on this single switch.  Now, I just did a quick calc and saw that 6x375W=2250W and at 120V that's 18A.  This was in a 15A outlet apparently on a 20A breaker (I assume...don't live there anymore to check).  DOH!

So, what I'm wondering is how people wire up their lights with X10.  If the maximum module is 500W, how do you run your lights?  I guess the answer could be not to use those icicle style lights and just use regular straight strands.  Or, I suppose LED could work easily with an appliance module since they use ~2W/strand vs 60W-375W.

I'm going to buy a kill-a-watt to check the power I'm actually drawing from these strands just to verify that they aren't lying!

dave w

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Re: Xmas lights
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 12:36:39 PM »


FWIW
I have used higher current relays, energized by Appliance Modules, Lamp Modules, and Socket Rockets. The key is to experiment to find out if the relay will play nice with what ever module it is fed by.  i.e: depending on the relay, I have had older appliance modules leak enough current that the relay would not change state when the AM was turned OFF. Also even though the inductance of the relay is very low, it can cause problems with a Lamp Module. The Socket Rocket is less likely since the triac is driven very hard. I test drive a 120V AC coil relay on a Lamp Module and/or Socket Rocket for a day to make sure neither the relay or the module runs hot.

I have driven 120V AC coil relays successfully using all three listed X10 modules, but success AND safety (especially with modules designed to interface only to incandescent bulbs) depends on the specific relay chosen and judicious testing. So this IS NOT a recommendation, only telling you my experience.

http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/RLY-2120/120-VAC-DPDT-10-AMP-RELAY/1.html

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Brian H

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Re: Xmas lights
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2012, 12:52:18 PM »

Makes you think about how many users never add up the total load from holiday lights and have failures.
I checked a Black and Decker FWLROD outdoor appliance module. It also had the same ratings as an X10 appliance module. That was an OEM from X10.

Smarthomes Outdoor ApplianceLinc specifications says 1800 watts incandescent or 15 amps.
http://www.smarthome.com/2456S3E/ApplianceLinc-INSTEON-Outdoor-Plug-In-On-Off-Appliance-Module/p.aspx
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 12:55:05 PM by Brian H »
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bkenobi

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Re: Xmas lights
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2012, 05:08:13 PM »

I've used those 120v relays before a couple times and have a couple extras.  I suppose I could go that route, but I'm leaning towards the Insteon outdoor module.  That looks like it would be perfect!

I bought a Home Depot knockoff of the Kill-a-watt and found that while the tree lights were exactly what the package indicated, the icicle strands were not.  I don't understand how, but for some reason, the 300 bulb sets that we haven't used yet (still boxed actually) are saying that they only use 41W rather than 300x2.5W=750W.  I'm not sure what's up with that, but the meter doesn't lie.  If that's the case, then I could actually use a socket rocket for 2 strands and an appliance or lamp module for the other 2 strands (in a different location).

I did realize that using icicle lights might pose an issue for the motion sensor, so I'll have to try with a single strand before I go too far.

dave w

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Re: Xmas lights
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 04:54:27 PM »

understand how, but for some reason, the 300 bulb sets that we haven't used yet (still boxed actually) are saying that they only use 41W rather than 300x2.5W=750W.  I'm not sure what's up with that, but the meter doesn't lie. 
I did realize that using icicle lights might pose an issue for the motion sensor, so I'll have to try with a single strand before I go too far.
Two thoughts (doesn't happen often):

1. 300 miniature lights that only suck 41 watts must be LEDs(?).
2. If your icicile lights are LED, I doubt they will affect the motion sensors, too little IR (if any) for the sensor to see. If they are incandescent hanging strings and blowing in the wind, yeah that might set off an Eagle Eye.
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bkenobi

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Re: Xmas lights
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 05:01:59 PM »

Nope, they are standard incandescent miniatures.  I'm actually thinking that the old package of lights was a misprint. I checked the new lights and they indicate 2.5v.  In any case, the meter says that they only draw 60w. I ended up with . On a socket rocket with plug adapter and one on a lamp module.  Good to go!

dave w

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Re: Xmas lights
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2012, 05:03:54 PM »

WOHOO!!   >!
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