I have six 50 watt Hampton Bay outdoor flood lights hooked up to a 200W Hampton Bay controller. The lights total 300W. The lights work as of now, but do I need to be concerned about any part of the system failing? Is the controller in jeopardy of having any dangerous meltdowns or will the lights just run a little dimmer?

  • What does this controller do? Sep 16, 2016 at 4:17
  • 7
    Yes, by definition 300W is too much for a device rated at 200W, that's what the ratings mean. You could get lucky and maybe it will run fine for now... maybe it will run fine for years.... or maybe it will burst into flames tomorrow. If it were my home, I'd be cautious about even loading a device to 100% of its rated power, let alone 150% of its rated power.
    – Johnny
    Sep 16, 2016 at 4:25
  • 1
    Have you considered LED floods? Those would bring your power consumption down to within range. Sep 16, 2016 at 12:46
  • Even CFL floods would help.
    – keshlam
    Sep 16, 2016 at 17:09

3 Answers 3


Is the controller in jeapordy of having any dangerous meltdowns or will the lights just run a little dimmer?

Yes. By yes I mean without knowing exactly how the controller is built it is hard to say. It is likely a mechanical relay or a solid state relay switching the lights on and off. In that case, there is no limiting the power drawn, and the higher wattage can lead to premature failure of the controller's relay. Mechanical relays will weld and the relay contacts will fail. Solid State Relays will release the magic smoke. It is unlikely to catastrophically fail (i.e. house fire) but it is possible.

If its rated for less than your load, you already know it won't end well. Best case, the controller fails before it's standard life time. Worst, you will be outside while the fire department is hosing down your house. Or worse.

  • Excessive heat in the controller / timer can also damage the insulation, this is when some real $ start adding up saving a few bucks on a timer that is not rated for the load.+
    – Ed Beal
    Sep 16, 2016 at 6:11

Add a relay. Done.

What you want out of the controller is intelligence, not muscle. Leave the muscle to a $12 relay.


Tungsten lamps including Halogen have a cold resistance 10 times lower than hot. This means surge start current if at peak voltage will be 10x avg based on Watts/Volts.

Contacts which get hot, oxidize faster , which adds contact resistance , causes more heat and this further accelerates failure rates.

  • lifetime will be significantly reduced. Failure may include melting receptacle plastic.

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