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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, first post. I am a novice to intermediate in terms of electrical work. I have changed out light fixtures, ceiling exhaust light combos, switches and receptacles. I have added dimmers, spliced cables and a few other things. I also have a Home Depot wiring book! :eek:

So, I am having my cousin frame out my basement for the long overdue project of finishing it. I had an electrician friend run 5 'zones' on a single 15 Amp line. That means he had 5 'on / off' switches with dimmers. 4 of them controlled 4 tracks for track lighting and 1 controlled a pair of bulbs in a back room. That was my initial basement overhaul - we are now taking it to the next level.

Now, I want to just open the 'gang box(?)' for each of the tracks and connect 4-5 high hats to each (actually I would attach 7 to one and 4-5 on the rest.) for a total of 22 recessed lights.

Here are the questions:

1. If my Amp calculations and history are correct, then 24 50W bulbs would produce 1200 Watts. With the rule of thumb 100 Watts per Amp - it seems I'm good but everyone from my cousin to the people at home depot are bugging out... "24 lights on a single 15 amp circuit?!?!?!?"

I should mention the reason I got this idea is because there were 4-5 50W bulbs in each of the tracks already for years and we've never had a problem.

And, to boot, I have no intention of putting regular bulbs in - I want to buy the equivalent size LED's that burn at 9.5W each and DIM! :thumbsup:

2. So, assuming all of that is okay and assuming I can mount the 24 cans I just purchased (still unopened) pretty easily - my next question is wiring. I understand there is a difference between the way I would wire these if the switch were at the end of the run or in the middle, etc. So, how do I know - the switches are in a finished wall. And once I know, can anyone summarize the basic idea? I was thinking open the gang box and take the wires that went into the track and tie them with the Romex 14 guage wire I have and attach to a mounted light. Then tap from the mounted light to the next light and so on... Do I end this series in a loop or do I just connect the last one and feel satisfied?

Thanks to any and all for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, and the room is a basement. It will be used as a TV room, playroom, pool room and office with 4 pretty distinct spaces but no walls separating them. Each area is approximately 15x15 or so...
 

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The circuit for the recessed needs to be sized for the largest bulb the fixture can accept, not based on the size bulb installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much Jim,

It says "MAX: 40W Type A19" "MAX: 65W Type BR30 / 75W Type R30/PAR30."

So, I will take that to mean 75W. Even though those will be outlawed in the US in 10 months AND I will be the only one living here and using LED's?! That is really too bad.

Then Watts/1 = Amps/120V would mean: 1800/1 = x/120 making Amps exactly 15. So, I guess that is pushing it?:whistling2:

If I drop a few cans out of the equation, it will work fine for sure but any thoughts on the wiring?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
And..

I should also mention there are 2 receptacles on the same line upstairs...:thumbup: But I think it would be pretty straightforward to tie those into a different circuit.

By the way, is surpassing the amps against code or just a good idea? Because there's no way I'm putting 75W in ANY of those - not even 50W...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I know the breaker is a 15Amp, but the wire is in conduit - so when I open it in the AM, I will write back... are you suggesting that if there is a 12 gauge, I could upgrade to a 20Amp breaker and expand my options?
 

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I should also mention there are 2 receptacles on the same line upstairs...:thumbup: But I think it would be pretty straightforward to tie those into a different circuit.

By the way, is surpassing the amps against code or just a good idea? Because there's no way I'm putting 75W in ANY of those - not even 50W...
It was allready written in the NEC code with the luminaire wattage rating and we have to sized the circuit by max wattage of the luminaire not the actual bulb useage.

So if your recessed lumainare do rated for 75 watts then we will have to use the 75 watts to figure out how many we can put it on the circuit.

The word you say no way you will put in a 50 or 75 watter well let me get to the point is when if I say if you move to different house and someone else will change back to indencsent bulbs so that one reason why I have to stick to the codes.

The other thing it will get your attetion is the AFCI ( arc fault circuit inturpteter ) anytime you extend it or run a new circuit they have to be AFCI unless you have unfinshed basement then you can get away with GFCI on receptale circuits but for basement luminaire IIRC they have to be on AFCI.

Merci,
Marc
 
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I know the breaker is a 15Amp, but the wire is in conduit - so when I open it in the AM, I will write back... are you suggesting that if there is a 12 gauge, I could upgrade to a 20Amp breaker and expand my options?
#12 awg copper usually gets a 20A breaker, however you'd have to be sure the entire circuit uses #12 all around. If there's any #14 anywhere you shouldn't change the breaker.

Sometimes receptacles or switches have #14 run to them, particularly the receptacles so the lazy electricians can use the backstabs (those little holes on the back) instead of properly bending and screwing the wire on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, big question that might solve my problems...

How are track lights rated? If they are 75-100W each track, then I can use 4 tracks and add as many LED / CFL as I wish with no overload... Please tell me that's how they are rated:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Damn! Just looked it up and they are rated at 2,400 Watts - so, we've been living 'out of code' for years now. That electrician I hired way back when is pissing me off right now!:furious::censored:

It seems the only options are, way fewer bulbs (max 20?) or low Wattage rating lamps (more $$$) or add a new line - which I do not feel I know how to do which means an electrician (more $$$.)
 

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I would need to look up the loading for track. I have not installed any in a long time.
 
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Damn! Just looked it up and they are rated at 2,400 Watts - so, we've been living 'out of code' for years now. That electrician I hired way back when is pissing me off right now!:furious::censored:
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but for track lighting, I think the calculated load would be the sum of the fixtures installed on the track, not the capacity of the track itself. So if you have three 75W fixtures on the track, the calculated load is 225 watts, not the 2400W capacity of the track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If faf3 is right - I'm in business. Because then it would just be the fixtures I select on an already existing track! Problem solved!! Please tell me code says it is the sum of the fixtures and not the max capacity of the track!
 

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If there is an amperage rating on the fixtures, use that. If there is only a max. wattage you don't use that. The code doesn't give you a number of fixtures you can use because they don't care if the circuit trips because the circuit is protected. That's why there's requirements on wire size(14 on 15A). As long as the wire is protected at the correct amperage rating there's no safety issue. You don't need to speculate what someone could do in the future. Figure out what your load will be, then if it's going to be on for 3 hrs. or more you need to compensate for continuous duty(ex. 15A * 80%=12A max.). If you needed to speculate as to what some could do in the future you could only put one receptacle on a circuit because you could max out the circuit by plugging one thing in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay, I have a new idea. What if I wire 14 of the lights (75Wx14=1050W) with the 9 receptacles I already have down there on a separate 20A circuit. That would leave me with only 12 lights (75Wx12=900W) & 3 receptacles on a 15A circuit. Does that work?
 

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As long as the wiring is 12 gauge you could use the 20 amp breaker. If it is only #14 you could only use a 15 amp breaker.
 
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Also it depends on what you are planning on plugging into the receptacles. It's legal, but if you're planning on plugging very much in you could potentially have problems with the circuit tripping.
 
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