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Thread: The need for a lighting contactor.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Red Bud, Illinois. USA
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    1

    The need for a lighting contactor.

    I was approached by a friend of mine that has a new business and when the sign guys hung the sign on the front of building informed her that there was no power run for the sign. She had a couple of contracts give her a bid on doing the work. One told her that she was going to need a lighting contactor and the other one said she could just use a switch. The sign is made of many LEDs and what she tells me is that she was told that total amperage is 4 amps on 120v. She asked me I told her I'm not sure, because I'm not sure if Leds would have an inrush of current upon being turned on.I am curious on what the requirements for a lighting contactor are in this situation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from winged horses.
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    Welcome to the forum.

    There is never a requirement for a lighting contactor. There may be advantages to using one. From what you describe a simple switch would be fine.
    If you go and decide to dance with a gorilla the dance ain't over till the gorilla decides it's over.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    3 Hr 2 Min from Winged Horses
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    If this was an existing commercial occupancy, there should have a sign circuit already if it was wired under recent codes. NEC 600.5.
    "Electricity is really just organized lightning." George Carlin


    Derek

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Texas
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    148
    Illinois looks to have adopted the IECC 2015, but I'm unable to locate Red Bud's requirements. In looking at IECC 2015, the following requirements would come in to play here:

    C405.2.5 - Exterior Lighting Controls. Lighting for exterior applications other than emergency lighting that is intended to be automatically off during building operation, lighting specifically required to meet health and life safety requirements or decorative gas lighting systems shall:

    1. Be provided with a control that automatically turns off the lighting as a function of available daylight.
    2. Where lighting... (this section not applicable)
    3. Where not covered in Item 2.... (this section not applicable)

    All time switches shall be able to retain programming and the time setting during loss of power for a period of at least 10 hours.

    I understand this to mean the exterior electric signage to be controlled via photocell/timeclock. Looking further into IECC though, you do not have to include this signage as part of the exterior lighting allowance per the following:

    C405.5.1 - Exterior Building Power - The total exterior lighting power allowance.....
    Exception: Lighting used for hte following exterior applications is exempt where equipped with a control device independent of the control of the nonexempt lighting:
    1....
    2. Advertising Signage or directional signage.

    In my opinion the IECC is sending a conflicting message here as the exterior building power requirements only note that a separate control is required (and does not reference the section with it being part of a function of daylight). I could see this argued either way, but I would recommend it be placed on some sort of timeclock to automatically control the circuit.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Soldotna, AK, USA
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    All the contactors I put in were either over 30 Amps, or controlled by a photocell.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    C'mon folks, just wire it to a simple timeclock, like an $40 in-wall astronomical timer. Done.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Soldotna, AK, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremysterling View Post
    C'mon folks, just wire it to a simple timeclock, like an $40 in-wall astronomical timer. Done.
    Do those account for huge swings in daylight? Where I live it is light right now at 8-9am depending on cloud cover. Soon it'll be light enough at 4-5am to where lights are not needed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKElectrician View Post
    Do those account for huge swings in daylight? Where I live it is light right now at 8-9am depending on cloud cover. Soon it'll be light enough at 4-5am to where lights are not needed.
    Programmable time clock or series a simple mechanical time clock with a photo cell.
    If you go and decide to dance with a gorilla the dance ain't over till the gorilla decides it's over.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Soldotna, AK, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    Programmable time clock or series a simple mechanical time clock with a photo cell.
    Or a photocell and a contactor then when the power goes out for hours your not having to reset anything. Replaced more timers than contactors...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
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    16,200
    With an Intermatic EI600 you can set the latitude more conservatively or liberally if desired to account for cloud cover, and have the added benefit of being able to shut the sign off at closing time, or manually override it at will without electrical tape. They are not bothered by power outages; even pulling out the battery to replace it doesn't lose the time or programming.

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