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Thread: Lighting Circuit Amperage - Lampholder vs Luminaire

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Omaha, NE
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    Lighting Circuit Amperage - Lampholder vs Luminaire

    Is a LED fixture(Luminaire) considered a lampholder or to have lampholders within? I know you can have a lighting circuit up to 50A but only over 20A if it has a heavy duty lampholder (210.21 & 23).
    So can we have 22A of load on a 30A breaker for a new LED Fixtures?
    I have looked through several code sections and tried to find an answer on-line but I haven't found anything that difinitively states a Luminaire is or has to have a lampholder. The Luminaire definition says a lampholder itself is not a luminaire but it doesn't go the otherway and say luminaire is always a lampholder. 210.21&23 only refer to lampholders not luminaires.

    What are your thoughts and do you think >20A lighting circuits for LED fixtures is a code violation?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Placerville, CA, USA
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    I would first ask whether the luminaires are listed for use on a more than 20A circuit. The installation instructions may specify a maximum OCPD.

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  3. #3
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    Oct 2016
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    Omaha, NE
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    Every cut sheet, installation manual, or photometric sheet I can find mentions nothing about rated for 750 watts or 20A circuits.
    Even talked with two reps and they have never run across this issue and don't know if the fixtures are rated for 750 watts or 20A circuits.
    The fixture we are using is an Autobahn ATB2 for your info.
    Thanks again,

  4. #4
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    This unit is listed for outdoor installation only (as in highway or parking lot), so it is quite possible that the Code section on lighting circuits does not really apply. I would also check the UL listing to see whether it specifies a maximum OCPD. The fixture wiring in the unit may have a current limit lower than 50A and so would not be properly protected.

    If it does catch fire, in the outdoor setting the damage it does will be limited.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldDigger View Post
    This unit is listed for outdoor installation only (as in highway or parking lot), so it is quite possible that the Code section on lighting circuits does not really apply. I would also check the UL listing to see whether it specifies a maximum OCPD. The fixture wiring in the unit may have a current limit lower than 50A and so would not be properly protected.

    If it does catch fire, in the outdoor setting the damage it does will be limited.
    If under the NEC, fixture wires are permitted to be smaller [210.19(A)(4) Exception No. 2; 240.5(B)(2)]
    I will have achieved my life's goal if I die with a smile on my face.

  6. #6
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    Here is answer I got from a member of the code writing panel.

    Yes it is a code requirement that lighting fixtures on 30 A or higher should have heavy duty lamp holders.
    I looked and checked and UL does not have a category named Heavy duty lamp holders. Consensus seems to be that this originated when we used fixtures with very high wattage incandescent lamps which produced a lot of heat. Newer HID, CFL and LED fixtures do not have this concern. I also discussed this with an AHJ who said he would not have any qualms on granting a variance for LED fixtures without a heavy duty lamp holders ( to the best of my knowledge no one manufacturers such fixtures with heavy duty lamp holders).
    So yes even though it is a code requirement but I am sure your AHJ will be willing to grant you an exemption.
    On a side note, I have submitted a Public Input for 2020 Code to have an exemption written in the code. Even if it gets approved by the panel it won't help you right now.

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