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Our room currently has 53 18W bulbs, and 18 11W Bulbs (we recently transitioned down from 75W bulbs, to LED equivalents). We are looking to put the room on a dimmer system, but some concerns have been raised regarding proper electrical safety. The commercial dimming system we are looking at has 12 10A dimmers. However, the concerns are that we would be running 71 light socket fixtures on 12 10A channels, thus pushing the potential limit beyond safe limits for 10A.

We have no plan to change out the bulbs to anything but the equivalent LED's, but I want to stay within electrical code. some of the answers I've gotten when talking with people I know in regards to potential problems, are that we cant put more lights on circuits or combine circuits, because we need to protect the wiring.

I know basics of electrical, but when getting into the code aspects as described above I want to go to people more knowledgeable than me so that this gets done right.

Would changing out alllllll the fixtures with lower potential fixtures (aka 60W sockets instead of 100W) load keep us within guidelines? Is there another solution that can get things operational without MAJOR re-wiring? ....or should we just proceed anyways, seeing as we aren't using high wattage bulbs?

--side note: I hope to contact a local electrical contractor to give us some guidelines and pointers, but I wanted to reach out online and get the general feel for the situation.

Any pointers or help is greatly appreciated!

  • What's your voltage? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 7 '17 at 1:03
  • What system are you using? There are zone extender modules available for at least some systems – ThreePhaseEel Sep 7 '17 at 3:20
  • sorry for not mentioning. Standard 120V. And as of right now, we are bypassing a system that was discontinued in '97. I dont have any of the specs on it. All i know is that it stopped functioning, and there were no parts to repair it, and we have been controlling our lights by flipping switches directly from a breakers for the past 20 years. The current system is run across 11 different 20A breakers (which i saw as a waste, but potentially necessary when higher W bulbs were in usage. – eternalfragment Sep 7 '17 at 17:22
  • It also depends a lot on how the lights were zoned. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 7 '17 at 17:43
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You'll want a pro to help you with dimming. Dimming LEDs is complicated -- well that's not true, native LEDs dim far better than any other type. The problem is most screw-in LED bulbs are designed to "play well" with dimmers which also must play well with incandescent... and this results in extreme inelegance.

All that to say, if you use screw-in LED "bulb" replacements, you may be disappointed with the dimming. However at the commercial / industrial level with fixed-LED (non-bulb) luminaires, there is much better tech, such as digital or 0-10V dimming controls, that really use LEDs up to their potential. Don't be afraid of non-removable bulbs, LED emitters will outlive the building.

If you have plenty of extra panel space, I would not worry about reducing the number of circuits, because it costs money to do so, and why mess with a working system. Remember if you have an Edison socket, some dimbulb could screw in a 100W incandescent, then you must provision for that load on both the power supply and the dimmers/controllers.

If you must use sockets, use candelabra, as you can provison those For 40W as it's difficult to get incandescents above 40W. Strong LEDs are readily available at sane prices. Don't waste your time with GU24 or any of the odd-duck sockets, the "bulbs" cost a fortune and the sockets will be gone soon.

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'Code', in this case, would defer to the equipment limitations.

Unless I'm missing something, you're running about 1200 watts. At 120 volts, you've got about 10 amps there. I believe you'd technically be good, as long as a fly doesn't so much as fart a positive charge near one bulb.

No way you can divide it up further, can you? You're at the limit of the equipment you are looking to purchase. You really NEED to consult an electrician, not just 'hope' to. You're running a large risk here, with expensive equipment. I really think you're better off going with a lighting relay system, to be safer in the long run.

  • yes, we plan to split things up into up to 6 groups at this point, and i fully plan on getting an electrician in here before we even start the project (just so someone has eyes on everything).We aren't doing the install ourselves; we will be hiring the commercial system's installer and utilizing the lifetime support to go with it. We've used them in the past for other projects and are quite happy with their help. My goal is to make sure there's no major changes needed prior to implementation. – eternalfragment Sep 7 '17 at 17:24
  • Gotcha. Good plan, and great planning. Good luck. – NPM Sep 7 '17 at 18:02

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