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How many LED pot lights can I put on a single amp circuit?

Some details:

  • 15A circuit is capable of 1800 watts, if I calculate for 80% load that is 1440 watts
  • Circuit is dedicated to just the lighting
  • Ontario electrical code says max of 12 receptacles or lights on a circuit
  • Plan to use ultra thin LED pot lights (not cans)
  • For arguments sake, lets say each light consumes 15w (most likely lower)
  • Theoretically I can safely power 96 of these lights ( I need a max of 26 )

If I am using the ultra thin LED lights, instead of cans, can I get away with more than 12 of them on a single circuit? My thought process: since they are contained units and not cans, they couldn't be overloaded by user negligence by putting in bulbs that draw more watts, since you can't change the bulbs in these.

  • What is the power factor of the pot lights? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '18 at 15:02
  • @Harper I am not 100% sure since I can't find that spec. I haven't actually purchases the pot lights yet, but the ones I was leaning to are these (9w each) but unsure of power factor: homedepot.ca/en/home/… – nspace Jun 28 '18 at 15:06
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    Those doesn't look like mains lights, so you need a power supply to drive them. I'm not sure about details of Ontario code, but one PSU should count as 1 "receptacle", and how much spots you install on the extra-low voltage side should be outside of code's scope. You need an Ontario electrician to confirm that. – Agent_L Jun 28 '18 at 16:53
  • @Agent_L This is critical to the discussion. I believe that once the PSU is installed, you install to the PSU spec. – Chris Cudmore Jun 28 '18 at 17:16
  • @Agent_L Each of those fixtures comes with a j-box that has it's power supply in it. Sort of like a can light, but with a low voltage connectorized wire to the actual "light". Here is an example instruction sheet: dalslighting.com/uploads/illume/INS_I-ELSQ_I-ELPP_REV7.pdf – DaveM Jun 28 '18 at 19:11
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I found a bit more information and thought I would update this. The code has changed and I believe specifically section 8-304 of the most recent code has been amended for situations like this. The limit is 12, unless you are installing devices that have a known load. In the case of a LED light which is hardwired in, or a smoke alarm, you can put as many of these devices on the circuit providing you don't exceed the 80% load. This applies as long as you have no points on the circuit (such as receptacles) which would be an unknown load (since you don't know what someone is going to plugin). The moment you add a receptacle the limit drops back to 12. Hope this helps!

  • I have some very large led fixtures equivalent to 400w metal halide if I could put 12 of these on a circuit I would be doing back flips! The amount depends on the circuit ampacity and the possible max capacity of the sockets. – Ed Beal Jul 1 '18 at 5:27
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I have an old 1996 Ontario Electrical Safety Code, but I could not find the section that limits light fixtures to a specific number. Do you have that section number? Regardless, if you code or AHJ requires no more than 12 receptacles or lights on a circuit, then you need to follow the rules. I would however check with your local inspectors and get their ruling.

In regards to the comments. The power factor of most drivers are at least 90% (sometimes as high as 96%), so you would need to take your wattage and add multiply by 1.1 and you should be safe. Shoot with the ability of you being able to connect 96 lights, I am pretty sure you will run out of space before you run out of power.

Good Luck

  • RME , 12amps on a circuit depends on the fixture rating, if I have 300 or 500w fixtures that won't work for 12 but a 9-12w led that producers as much light as a 100w lamp could have many times more fixtures as long as the max wattage is listed. – Ed Beal Jul 1 '18 at 5:32

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