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I recently installed an EcoFlow smart panel to keep certain circuits alive during a grid outage. In the main panel, there is a circuit for each light or set of lights per room within the main residence. What I would like to do is, during an outage, these multiple circuits would instead become one circuit. The benefit of doing this is that I won't need to use up multiple relays in the EcoFlow panel, since one 15A circuit can easily handle all the lights.

To this this, I envisioned adding an additional panel that contains a terminal bus bar. This bus would be fed from a separate breaker in a dedicated breaker box for the smart panel, which is then fed from a relay in the smart panel. To ensure separation of the circuits and to prevent backflow to the relay when on grid power, I'd use a schottky diode on each terminal. From here, I'd use wire nuts to connect the leads from each lighting circuit to their respective breaker in the main panel and the smart panel breaker box.

Would this work?

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    I doubt it would work and even if it did there would likely be a number of code violations in doing the proposed modifications. I'm pretty sure that diodes on an AC circuit won't do what you want them to do in this case, but I'll have to think about that before writing something up as a complete answer.
    – MacGuffin
    Aug 19 at 7:28
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    Bad idea. Diodes by definition only pass half the AC waveform. I've seen ppl trying to combine electronics with residential wiring and it's usually a dangerous disaster and not code legal....not even close. ....... I'd just install the sub with all the desired circuits with a MTS feeding it from the main panel with a proper interlock. Aug 19 at 7:42
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    Using diodes like this is only useful for DC current, not AC.
    – DoxyLover
    Aug 19 at 8:51
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    If you have several circuits that can be combined with total load remaining under the capacity of the wiring and a single 15A breaker, why don't you just permanently combine them and then the problem in this question disappears?
    – jay613
    Aug 19 at 11:59
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    I bought into a system and I don't want to buy more things for that system. You bought the six thousand dollar other thing, right? us.ecoflow.com/products/…
    – Mazura
    Aug 19 at 23:20

2 Answers 2

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one 15A circuit can easily handle all the lights.

So, just do that. Permanently.

You are overcomplicating a "problem" with a simple solution. No idea why you have so many separate lighting circuits, but not having so many separate lighting circuits (so long as the reduced number of circuits is not overloaded) is the Keep It Simple Solution.

And your proposed overcomplicated "solution" won't work.

If you're worried about losing all the lights, put them on two circuits, with sensitivity to which lights are on which circuit so that if a room has two lighting circuits now, one is on each new circuit, and otherwise adjacent rooms are on different circuits.

Since Jay posted this as a comment first, I'll CW this answer.

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  • Since I'm re-wiring the entire house, I wanted to ensure that each room has a dedicated circuit for both outlets and light fixtures. It's definitely overkill, but it makes maintenance simple. I'll stick to the KISS principle and choose some rooms to keep lights on.
    – tripleblep
    Aug 20 at 3:24
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Clever, but this idea won't fly. Diodes won't do it for AC.

If a big enough relay is available for that system, you could move all those circuits to a secondary box and power that through the single relay. That would make them "one circuit" from the eco-flow's point of view.

It seems a bit late to suggest putting this secondary box on a traditional transfer switch...

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