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Discussion Starter #1
New house new basement...here we go again!!!
Just wanted to gather a few opinions on a wiring idea I am having for finishing the basement.

The room being finished for theater is opposite corner of the house to the electrical panel, equipment rack/room will be in the storage room under the stairs in the center of the house. Would it make sense to run a sub panel into the equipment/rack room under the stairs and run all the needed wiring out of there instead all the way back to the main panel.
Planning single circuit for each of
Projector
Sub
Equip rack
Lighting (multiple dimmers)
Plugs

Would save 30 feet of wiring on each circuit, and a main panel that it behind a spiderweb of duct work

Thoughts? Ideas.?
 

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Your best bet is to consult an electrcian. A subpanel wouldn't be a bad idea though.
 

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I think your going overkill on the number of circuits your HT will not consume that much power and nor does splitting up the loads provide you with better performance, 1 or 2 20 Amp circuits is all you need, include a power conditioner in your rig and electrically you will have all you require for good, safe and clean power.

If the basement is unfinished I wouldn't both running a sub panel.
 

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Also it would probably be easier to run a couple smaller gauge wires, than the one you would need to run for the sub panel.
 

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Minimum size for a sub-panel is 60A. That will require 30' of 6 gauge, 3 conductor copper wire, a 60 amp panel and 60 amp breaker. Those are not cheap items. In comparison, you can purchase 50m of 14/2 fairly cheaply.

Planning single circuit for each of
Projector
Sub
Equip rack
Lighting (multiple dimmers)
Plugs
As mentioned, maybe a bit of overkill, but not by much. It never hurts to install too many circuits, it just costs more. Separate circuits for each of general purpose outlets and lights is probably a good idea. No more than 12 lights plus outlets are allowed on one circuit. The A/V rack should definitely be on it's own circuit, maybe two with high powered equipment. You could easily put the projector and some other equipment on one circuit. Depending on the power drawn by the A/V amp, it could go on it's own circuit, maybe with the sub. That reduces the circuit count by at least one. If the main panel does not have enough room, you might be able to install some compact double breakers that fit into a single breaker slot.
 

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I can't advise on the the wiring schemes but the loads are fairly easy to figure:

AVR: 500W (250W typical)
PJ: 200W
BR: 50W
PVR: 50W
SW: 300W (again most likely 150W)

So about 700W total using my estimates. That leaves a lot of power for the outlets. Even more if you use CFL in the fixtures as well. But I am guessing you want dimmable lights so CFL is out.

Check out the electrical consumption thread for values.
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=35430
 

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Like I said, it depends on the equipment. I've seen AVRs that draw up to 1200w. They are typically 200w-500w but that's no consolation if the breaker goes. Subs are the same. Some can draw up to 500w but that's typically only for short peaks at high volume levels. For most subs, it's maybe 100w-200w average even at fairly high volume. As for the power calculation for lamps and outlets, remember that 12 outlets or devices is the maximum allowed. Good wiring practice is to put lighting and outlets on separate circuits so that overloaded outlets don't put you in the dark. Few houses are done that way, simply to cut costs but it's like everything else. If you want a good job, have it done your way, not the way someone who is interested only in making the most money would rather do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the insights and ideas. I did do a little more research on the sub-panel idea and it doesn't sound like its going to fly. As well as the above mentioned cost, (you can buy alot of 14-2 wire for what it would take) the few people I spoke with said inspectors don't like to see them unless they are necessary. Seeing the house is only 5 months old with tons of room on the panel...probably not my best way to make friends.

As for the circuits, i tend just to be a little OCD in that area and knowingly putting in overkill. One of my biggest pet peeves ever is having the lights dim down for a second when you turn on high draw electronics, or a hard hit from a subwoofer (especially projector). I've also been told multiple dimmers on circuits can possibly cause interference or buzzing through devices and speakers. Usually not an issue with new quality equipment, but while I'm at studs now is the best time to do it...and prep for future possibilities.
 

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Dimmers, regular fluorescent lamps and CFLs can all cause noise. It only takes one. Considering the issues, it probably does make sense to put the projector, sub, AVR and other AV equipment on separate circuits. That's especially true as the lengths of 14/2 approach 50 feet. Voltage drop due to current peaks become more noticeable as wiring length increases. Some devices, such as switching power supplies, are designed to handle variations in voltage. Others, such as projector lamps, are not as forgiving.
 

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IIRC, I did 2 circuits for my HT room that handled both lights and outlets. My projector is on a separate (but not dedicated) circuit, plugged into a UPS along with my modem, router, VOIP setup in the basement.

So 3 circuits total.

I have dimmable lights, no issues, haven't blown any fuses.

Probably used 200' of Romex total.

P
 

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Personally I think your worrying to much about total amperage available and less about power quality.

You can run 100 ccts if you want but if your power is dirty you will still have issues.

I've got 2 - 20A circuits run to my HT and I've got everything on those 2 circuits I run 2 power amps, 2 Subs, 7 speakers, Pre amp, Blu ray, Gaming system, DVR & Power conditioner.

I run all my electronics to my surge/Power conditioner and it cleans the power and supplies a constant 120Vs

I get no voltage dips/Fluctuations and simple Ohms law will tell you you don't need the number of circuits your after More Amps in no way means better performance just more cost.

You would be far more ahead to invest in a UPS for outages and a power/surge protector to get the maximum benefit on the power side of your system.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
In my previous theater I had Monoprice UPS / EFI / Surge all in one installed. Even with it I would still see power dips in the lights, as well on a voltage and amp meter. One of the biggest sources of resistance is remote controlled dimmers, this time around I might look at something other than Lutron. But rightnow I have found anything decent...??



**Quick update
Went ahead and wired the whole basement. 512 feet of 14/2 later..
Wiring Circuits went
Projector
Eq Rack
Sub *added some wall plugs to meet code, the will never have anything plugged in
dimmer with Wall lights + dimmer with recessed lighting 4"
Plugs + dry bar
Office lights and plugs
Playroom lights and plugs

bathroom is staying at rough in right now, budget is getting hammered.
 

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Best way to avoid the dimming is putting lights on one phase and AVS, amps etc on the other phase.

for those who don't know about phases simply put breakers above and below each other and not on opposite sides (across from one another).

figure of phases spliting panels:

North American circuit breaker numbering

Split-phase, 3-phase, Breakers #

A A 1 2
B B 3 4
A C 5 6
B A 7 8
A B 9 10
B C 11 12

as you can see on split phase panels (most common) each breaker on one side alternates phases (A,B,A,B) so all odd breakers alternate and all even breakers alternate accordingly.

When you have lights and High instant draw equipment on seperate phases you will not get that dimming.
 

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^^^^
If they're on the same neutral, the lights may brighten, rather than dim. This is because the current in the neutral caused a voltage drop in the wire that moves the voltage towards the other phase. I see this effect every time I turn on my coffee maker. I have the split phase outlets in my kitchen and an expanded scale volmeter plugged into the other outlet. The neutral will always have some offset voltage, unless the current in the two phases are equal.
 

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The best way to avoid voltage drop and lights dimming is to put the lights and A/V devices on separate circuits. Cheap dimmers can make the problem worse since they are often overly sensitive to voltage changes and make the lights dim or fluctuate in brightness even more. The use of good quality dimmers and separate circuits should eliminate the problem.
 

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Just putting on seperate circuits won't cut it they have to be on different phases as well. This problem is due to what is known as "inrush"

As for being on same neutral you are correct. The best is seperate lights on their own circuit and not tie in with any recepticals this will mean they have their own neutral right to the panel.

It doesn't hurt to use high quality dimmers too.
 
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