I'm currently involved in the install of a Starbucks. Not much work involved since it's a modular set-up with a lot of "plug and play". After looking over the drawings I noticed that there is a "current limiter" for the track lighting. Never seen this before and decided to research what purpose it serves. Found a lot of US information regarding energy conservation and it makes sense from that point of view when taking into consideration the building codes in certain US states (especially California). Therefore, since this is a US company the current limiter is simply a design feature that really serves no BENEFIT here in Canada - is that a correct assumption?
Not so fast. Track lighting is vulnerable to over lamping.
The design you've described throttles the juice without popping the breaker.
HQ (Starbucks) realizes that they can't stop the field troops from over lamping this or that specific track within their track lighting.
Thus, the design saves the track rails and stops the lamps from cooking the over all backbone.
This vulnerablity is pretty much unique to track lighting and other rail based systems.
The protection was probably throw in only after melt downs in other locations. (You can't cure stupid.)
And, obviously, having the lamps cut out during the work day would be a sales downer.
The last Starbucks I saw (inside a Safeway) had a sub-panel right out there on the floor. It was ordinarily kept under lock and key. So you can imagine the practical troubles if the breakers tripped and the boss man was not there with the key.
Thanks for the reply Tesla. That's the information I thought I was going to find. Instead all roads led to energy conservation. Your explanation makes a lot of sense. Nonetheless, here's a sample of what I was finding online concerning track lighting with current limiters:
Tesla: A regular service call for anational chain was 'track problems'
It was always burn outs from the store guys either relamping with the wrong bulbs, or moving heads.
The burn outs were couplings and track, or feed end and track. By the grace of someone, there were no actual fires.
As the service calls & materials dented the corporate pocketbooks, the solution back then was switching the PAR headsout to LV MR-16 with the only bulbs being available being 20 watts. The current limiters would have been good back then.
BTW, the track was comm grade HALO, single and two circ.
The current limiter is in ceiling fan light kits as well. It turns the lights off if the wattage is too high, of course it must heat up before they go off, then when it cools they come back on. I have had multiple service calls for these things failing even with the correct or lower wattage bulbs in them, just another piece of technology rushed to market and forced on the people in the name of something, when its only real purpose is to make money for the manufacturer.
Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid