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Thread: The need for a lighting contactor.

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Red Bud, Illinois. USA
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    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
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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
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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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    97
    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
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    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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    1,156
    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 AKElectrician View Post
    All the contactors I put in were either over 30 Amps, or controlled by a photocell.
    So to clarify my first post. Most switches are not rated over 30 amps, not all of course. Most photocells are not rated for over 20 amps most are less, and I like all the lights to pop on at the same time, without having to manually turn them on. The other 2 options shown are rated less than 20 amps for lighting loads. These are the needs for L.C.'s I have experienced. As was the OP's Title.

    More than one way to skin a cat, like always.
    Last edited by AKElectrician; 01-12-18 at 10:11 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Placerville, CA, USA
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    Which is why one of our members developed a plug-in replacement for standard luminaire photocells which uses GPS to find the actual latitude and longitude as well as time. It uses that to accurately determine local sunrise and sunset (even if you are not in the center of a time zone!)
    It does not, however, take into account local weather, topography, or vegetation.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Soldotna, AK, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldDigger View Post
    Which is why one of our members developed a plug-in replacement for standard luminaire photocells which uses GPS to find the actual latitude and longitude as well as time. It uses that to accurately determine local sunrise and sunset (even if you are not in the center of a time zone!)
    It does not, however, take into account local weather, topography, or vegetation.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

    Cool beans... How much?

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKElectrician View Post
    Cool beans... How much?
    Check your PM.

    I just sent link to the website.
    "Electricity is really just organized lightning." George Carlin


    Derek

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