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#31133 - 11/11/03 07:19 PM Street light supplies  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Prompted by the Street PC thread.

What distribution systems are commonly used for street lights in U.S. cities?

Are lights normally 120 or 208V units connected on a 120/208V 3-phase system? If that guy with the PC is tapping off a 120V utility outlet in the lamp base, this would seem to be the case.

Does anywhere run lights on a 277/480V network?

How about the transformers stepping down from HV? Is there a typical arrangement of one xfmr per X blocks in the average-size city?

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#31134 - 11/11/03 07:57 PM Re: Street light supplies  
Pinemarten  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 123
Edmonton, AB, Canada
In Canada I've seen 347 (600 to neutral). Some towns I have lived in have 120V at the post as well, for Christmas lights.
I have tied into these for 'street fair' booths.

#31135 - 11/12/03 04:36 AM Re: Street light supplies  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Paul I can not speak for utility or city owned street lighting, but I do install privately owned street and parking lot lighting.

We will use the highest voltage available, for us most times 480 is available.

If not 240 or 208, almost never 120 volt, to much voltage drop and the conductors get to large.

We will not have 120 in the raceway unless the plans call for outlets.

If the circuit length is long we will put a transformer in the pole base to make 120 volts from a separate 480 feed.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#31136 - 11/12/03 07:49 AM Re: Street light supplies  
Redsy  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
Bucks County PA
Can anyone explain series street lighting and the (shunts?) that operate in the event of bulb failure?

#31137 - 11/12/03 08:12 AM Re: Street light supplies  
George Corron  Offline
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
Lorton, Va USA
Not difficult to explain Redsy, perhaps Scott can be imposed upon for a schematic.

The transformer (called "Buckets", "Pots" and a host of other things by crews) are simply constant current variety. Typically they provide 20 amps steady current to the series circuit, open circuit voltage can be 2200.

The shunts are there on the other side of the individual lighting transformer (that is there to limit the amount of current that an individual light may draw)so that a single light fixture failing will not put the entire circuit in the dark.

Airports use this type of lighting for the simple reason that all lights are the same intensity at all times, works that way on the street lighting as well.

In other words, no light is brighter than the one beside it.

Simple system, tough to get your mind around. Your system can "shoot grounds" and still work perfectly well while being damned dangerous, wierd, huh?

If you're foolish enough to pull a ground wire in a pipe with your ungrounded conductors, your not gonna like what you get, even though it sure feels like you are complying with the code, it makes the situation extremely dangerous. That's about the worst thing that can go wrong.

And you also feel like a complete Dumb A** when you roll up to a transformer at 2 am, throw an amprobe on it and say "Must be working, it's got a 20 amp load on it"
DOH, of course it's got a load on it, if it were shorted completely out and burning it would IT'S A CONSTANT CURRENT TRANSFORMER!!!

Not that this ever happened to me, of course.. [Linked Image]

#31138 - 11/12/03 08:15 AM Re: Street light supplies  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
If not 240 or 208, almost never 120 volt, to much voltage drop and the conductors get to large.

I figured that 120V might give voltage-drop problems with the length of runs involved, but the guy with the street PC seems to have 120 available at that lamp post (unless he had his computer set up for 240V operation).

A higher voltage system with a xfmr every so many poles to provide a 120 utility outlet sounds a reasonable solution.

#31139 - 11/12/03 09:56 AM Re: Street light supplies  
james S  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 107
West England
just to add to the series lighting set up employed on street lighting, although i have never seen this for myself on street lights, as george corron rightly said most airports use this system.At first on airports a parallel setup was used but you can imagine the problems involved with volt drop,when supplying an approach circuit 900m long!!on modern day systems a constant current regulator is used to supply series circuits usually wired in double insulated 4mm2 cable single core cable, giving a constant output of 6.6 or 12amps.ccrs consist of a thysistor(for diffrent brilliancy settings(like a dimmer) for diffrent times of the day/night.)main transformer to isolate series cicuit from earth and many other monitoring circuits eg percentage lamps failiure,open circuits,etc
To avoid all lights going down when there is open circuit (lamp outage) this is dealt with by installing isolating transformers (ratio 1/1) at each point where there is a light so there is a continued path via the primary side of t'former for the circuit to be energised even though there is a open circuit on the secondary side of t'former.
The main disadvantage to this system is that the transformers are usually in pits under ground or buried in the ground and so are submersed in water a lot of the time leading to a breakdown in insulation on the trans formers which can cause open circuits on the primary side of the isolating transformer.

the main advantages is that there is an equal output at each light fitting (equal current)
small power loss and cable size(6mm2)for circuits over three miles long!!!
control overall out put to each light(dimmer)

when there is a good solid earth fault on an isolating transformer the ccr will regulate its current as normal until there is a second fault introduced on to the circuit (second transformer or joint break down) even when there is a second fault the circuit current will run down to ground at first fault and back up to circuit at second fault leaving a bank of outages between faults.
ps sorry went off subject a touch presume street light series circuits would be wired to a more simplified but same way to those in airports.

#31140 - 11/13/03 04:13 AM Re: Street light supplies  
Big Jim  Offline
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 394
Denver, CO USA
In my area, most of the residential street lighting is 120v. It is run straight from the pole or padmound down the easement between houses to the light poles. The ones I've seen burried are 12-2 or 10-2 with an in-line fuse. No ground. Aerial drops are as small as they think will survive the distance.

#31141 - 12/19/03 12:50 PM Re: Street light supplies  
Referee  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 2
Hiawatha, KS USA
In Hiawatha, KS we currently use a 2300 volt 6.6 amp series street lighting system that was originally installed in the early 1900's. This lighting system is part of our city's historical preservation efforts and we would hate to see it have to be replaced. We have had problems when trying to locate bulbs for our existing system. Does anyone have any suggestions on where we can locate these bulbs, or if they are even manufactured any longer?

Our street lighting committee has looked into completely rewiring the system to parallel, but the cost at over $1.3 million seems incredibly high for 320 street lamps.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

George L.
Hiawatha, KS

#31142 - 12/19/03 11:45 PM Re: Street light supplies  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,707
Anaheim, CA. USA
I like the idea of drawing up a Schematic for Series Street Lighting!

Have a little data on it in the Standard Handbook for EEs (EE = Enormous Egos??? [Linked Image]...)
Just kidding! I know it means Enigmatic Errand-performer!

Could also mean EEEE-Lekkktrikkal Injun-ear [Linked Image]


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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