Power supply questions

Ben Walker

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Hey awesome people,
I have just a normal light display and not a show so this is a little different than other threads. I currently run all my power (approx 45 sets) off just 2 outdoor power outlets(check out photo for what that looks like). I think that this year that might become a bit much for house power, or at least the outlets I have at the moment. With me adding another 20 or so sets this year what’s the best way to cope with the need for more power?

What do you guys do for power?

Should I just get an electrician to fit more power outlets or is there a better way to do it?
Thanks!
 

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Fing

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Depends......
each outlet is good for say 10Amps, which is about 2400Watts.( being general here)
each house circuit is good for 20Amps or 4800Watts.
just how many and how bright are your lights?
cheers
Fing
 

Ben Walker

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Depends......
each outlet is good for say 10Amps, which is about 2400Watts.( being general here)
each house circuit is good for 20Amps or 4800Watts.
just how many and how bright are your lights?
cheers
Fing
My lights are just LED off the shelf lights and I have I think 48 sets. This works fine at the moment but I don’t want to piggyback or run any more lights off outlets using this power source. I have 8x 6-outlet powerboards connected to those 2 outlets of power.
Here’s a photo of my lights if that helps you get an idea.
Thanks, Ben
 

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AAH

I love blinky lights :)
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A "typical" set of led fairy or icicle lights is about 6W. In theory you should be good to run 300-400 sets of lights of a single power point if you really had to.
 

Fing

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roughly, a single colour led is about 0.04watt so you can run 60,000 off one powerpoint :D
 

Ben Walker

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A "typical" set of led fairy or icicle lights is about 6W. In theory you should be good to run 300-400 sets of lights of a single power point if you really had to.
Thanks for that information,
Now that I shouldn’t be worried about overloading a power point what would be the best way to distribute power? Should I plug in a 6 outlet powerboard to the wall then using extension leads send power out to another 6 outlet powerboard? This would leave me with 12x 6 outlet powerboard a connected to the 2 outlets on the wall. Is this safe? Or is there a better way of doing it?
 

Fing

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as a rule we try not to have 240 running around our displays... it doesnt really matter how you set your boards up, just be safe and waterproof
 

Ben Walker

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Sorry I’m new to understanding power loads as I am only 16 but trying to do a large display on my own. What do you mean by not having 240 running around the display. Sorry for the late reply, I was only allowed to do 6 replies in 12 hours. Thanks
 

Troy ELD

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We generally don't like to see 240v leads running around our yards. Tends to get dangerous for the youngsters
 

scamper

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Basically when you run a power board and then plug in your traditional string lights they are all 240v or mains power. The little box that is the controller drops it down to what the led's actually use. But the problem is that mains power is dangerous, so you don't want to have power boards and the like out in the rain.
If you are running power boards outside, then you will need to make sure they are in waterproof box's otherwise you have the possibility that someone can get electrocuted, or at the very least if you get water in them you will trip out the power to your house.
 

Ben Walker

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Hey awesome people,
I have just a normal light display and not a show so this is a little different than other threads. I currently run all my power (approx 45 sets) off just 2 outdoor power outlets(check out photo for what that looks like). I think that this year that might become a bit much for house power, or at least the outlets I have at the moment. With me adding another 20 or so sets this year what’s the best way to cope with the need for more power?

What do you guys do for power?

Should I just get an electrician to fit more power outlets or is there a better way to do it?
Thanks!
Thanks for all those replies, very helpful. For my display I take waterproofing pretty serious and buy the $38 black waterproof boxes from Bunnings for all of my powerboards. I try to keep my cords all organised and here’s a photo of what my PowerPoint looks like at the moment. Any tips or tricks on how I could improve my power setup or capacity for this year’s display? Thanks again.
I can’t seem to add a photo of my power but it’s just an outdoor 2 outlet one and then I use a double adapter to send out power on 4 extension leads to 8 of those boxes.
 

David_AVD

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Moving to computer control of your existing strings could make things easier in some ways. You may be able to use just one or two power supplies to run them all. This would mean removing the MFC and existing power supply from each set. That's what I've done with a lot of my lights, but how easy it would be will depend on what voltages they are and if they are 2-wire or 3-wire strings.
 

David_AVD

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Further to this, the common way to deal with non-pixel lights in a controlled display is to remove the MFC (multi- function controller) and power supply from each light set. The actual LED string (or rope light motif, etc) is then connected to a DC controller board which takes on the function of powering / controlling it.

So, you may buy a 30 channel DC controller for example. It could control up to 30 individual items. If those items have more than one channel (LED strings are usually 2 channel, stars are often 3 or 4 channel) then that item will use more than one channel on the new controller. However, you can usually run more than one item from the same controller channels if you are ok with them doing the same thing. For example you may have several 3 channel stars that would be ok operating in unison, so several of them would still only take up 3 channels on the controller.

What you'll need to do next is go through all of your light sets and determine what low voltage they operate on (written on the power pack). Hopefully there are only 1 or 2 different voltages as you'll need a different power supply for each voltage type. You'll also need to determine whether your two-channel light sets are the older 3-wire or the newer 2-wire type. There are different controllers for each type.

This is all probably sounding like way more than you were asking for, but it's the way to go if you want to get away from the current mess of power packs and lights that are all just doing their own (non-synchronised) thing. It can really make a display look so much better.
 

Ben Walker

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Jan 3, 2019
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Further to this, the common way to deal with non-pixel lights in a controlled display is to remove the MFC (multi- function controller) and power supply from each light set. The actual LED string (or rope light motif, etc) is then connected to a DC controller board which takes on the function of powering / controlling it.

So, you may buy a 30 channel DC controller for example. It could control up to 30 individual items. If those items have more than one channel (LED strings are usually 2 channel, stars are often 3 or 4 channel) then that item will use more than one channel on the new controller. However, you can usually run more than one item from the same controller channels if you are ok with them doing the same thing. For example you may have several 3 channel stars that would be ok operating in unison, so several of them would still only take up 3 channels on the controller.

What you'll need to do next is go through all of your light sets and determine what low voltage they operate on (written on the power pack). Hopefully there are only 1 or 2 different voltages as you'll need a different power supply for each voltage type. You'll also need to determine whether your two-channel light sets are the older 3-wire or the newer 2-wire type. There are different controllers for each type.

This is all probably sounding like way more than you were asking for, but it's the way to go if you want to get away from the current mess of power packs and lights that are all just doing their own (non-synchronised) thing. It can really make a display look so much better.
Wow. I’m really considering that this might be a possible option this year but I have a few questions. How much do you think it would take to do a full set up of about 70? What would I need to buy? Can you send some links of products, software, YouTube videos etc. that might help me make up my mind on what to do. Thanks heaps.
 
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