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Old 12-05-2011, 04:27 PM   #1
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Controlling multiple circuits from a single timer?


Here's a question for the group. Not sure if this possible, or worth the effort, but I would like to explore the possibility...

I have a digital in-wall timer that I use to control my porch lights (very small load, two 40-watt incand bulbs): http://www.intermatic.com/products/e...%20series.aspx

The timer kicks the lights on every night at dusk and runs them until 10PM, and also turns the lights on from 6A - 7A every weekday morning as my wife is leaving for work.

I'm wondering if there is anyway to use the output of this switch to control two 20A additional circuits. I obviously cannot load this device to more than 600W, but could I use the output of the switch to drive a relay that would energize outdoor outlets on other circuits (the switch would continue to power the porch lights).

My goal here is to have two circuits dedicated to holiday lighting, but be able to control them from a single timer that is powered by a third circuit. Right now, I'm using a two different plug-in timers and the in-wall switch, so my outside display is not completely synchronized. It's certainly not a problem, but it is an annoyance.

Is this possible, or would it be more hassle than it's worth?

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Old 12-05-2011, 04:41 PM   #2
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Controlling multiple circuits from a single timer?


very possible and relative easy to do. You will need a 3 pole contactor. Your timer would feed the coil on the contactor and you would run your 3 circuits though the contactor. Your christmas lights and porch lights will come on and off at the same time since your only useing one timer.

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Old 12-05-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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Controlling multiple circuits from a single timer?


You would have to use relays (also called contactors).

A separate relay (or set of poles on a shared relay) is needed for each different branch circuit whose power to the lights is being controlled.

They make wireless relay modules that can be plugged into different receptacles and you plug the lights to be controlled into these modules. A "master" controller can be programmed to turn on the various modules either at the same time or at different times. I have one of these but that model requires that all of the modules be on circuits on the same side of the 120/240 volt service. While these modules use radio frequency signals, the signals go through the power lines rather than through the air.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:53 PM   #4
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Controlling multiple circuits from a single timer?


I'm familiar with DC automotive relays. Does the same principle apply to AC wiring?
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:09 PM   #5
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Controlling multiple circuits from a single timer?


Quote:
Originally Posted by clashley View Post
I'm familiar with DC automotive relays. Does the same principle apply to AC wiring?
The same principles apply, but the relay has to be rated for the voltages and currents.

The relay coil must be rated for 120 volts AC if you want to feed the timer controlled current to operate the relay. Rating unmatched for the voltage could result in overheating of the coil, or not enough magnetism to pull the poles together.

The relay contacts (poles) must be rated for 120 volts AC at however many amperes in order to control 120 volt circuits. Rating unmatched for the voltage and current can result in shortened life of contacts due to arcing and overheating, or even fusing (welding) of the contacts together.
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