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Thread: Electricity: Is it safe to plug in this much stuff?

  1. #1

    Default Electricity: Is it safe to plug in this much stuff?

    I need to know if it's safe to plug all this stuff into one outlet (with surge protector(s)) I can daisy chain them or plug them both into the outlet, unless I get one big one, which is more expensive. (so I will be adding one new surge protector, or replacing the old one with one that has more outlets.... hope that wasn't confusing!)

    portable hard drive
    another portable hard drive
    laptop
    telephone
    pacemaker interrogation device-thing (collects information from a relative's pacemaker for technicians/doctors to analyze. can't imagine it uses much power)
    PSP charger
    CD player
    radio
    lamp
    modem
    router
    (The lamp and PSP charger aren't necessary, but I can't imagine them making a big impact anyway. The radio and CD player could possibly be unplugged as well, if necessary.)

    The modem and the router are the only new things, really. Everything else has already been plugged in for a while now. I can't really imagine a modem and router making much difference, but I want to see what people think.

    Nothing like space heaters, refrigerators, or microwaves that use a lot of amps. Pretty sure there's not much else on the circuit either, besides maybe a few lights or something. We do have a circuit breaker box in the cellar (not an old-style fuse box). So does it seem safe? And if it's not, then... damn it! I might have to do it anyway, since there are no other outlets near. ... but I am hoping it's safe! No big power monsters plugged in, as far as I know.

  2. #2

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    I have more then that plugged in to my outlet through a surge protector. I am not a electrician but I have not had any problems with it.

  3. #3

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    Ok, that makes me feel better! Thanks! What things do you have plugged in?

  4. #4

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    I don't think any of those draw much so it's probably OK. Especially since you won't be using all of them at once. The biggest power user would probably be the lamp and CD player if you start tripping the breaker.

  5. #5

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    Summing my "worst case" estimates of power consumption for each of those devices together gives me a total of 500 Watts, which is no big deal at all. In the UK, one mains socket can supply ~3500 Watts (240 volts * 13 amps), and while the US has a lower voltage (110v), I imaging you have higher maximum currents to make up for it. Plus, if you couldn't draw even 500W from one socket you'd be kinds screwed if you wanted to do anything useful :p

    So yeah, you're fine

    And, FYI, I can't imagine the CD player using much unless it's a full-on HiFi unit with pretty chunky speakers. The laptop, on the other hand, will be using anything from 30-100W, depending on the spec of it and whether it's currently charging the battery - potentially more than the lamp (which could be a 60W incandecent bulb at most)...

  6. #6

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    yeah I'm not a computers or anything but it sounds like a lotta stuff, but if you've got a surge protector, and reaLLy I'd say if you're getting another surge protector then you should be ok (IMO that's still a lot of stuff though XP)

  7. #7

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    I've got a desktop PC, 360, HDTV, Surround Sound, laptop charger, PC speakers and external hard drive plugged into one slot with no problems, so I imagine you should be fine.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by LinusBlueSnow View Post
    yeah I'm not a computers or anything but it sounds like a lotta stuff, but if you've got a surge protector, and reaLLy I'd say if you're getting another surge protector then you should be ok (IMO that's still a lot of stuff though XP)
    A surge protector won't do anything useful if you plug lots of stuff in. They protect against surges - nothing more

    I don't know about US stuff, but in the UK every mains plug (including strip adapters) has a fuse in it that will blow if you try to draw too much current. So in that situation the fuse would blow if you plugged too much stuff in. Nothing's going to BREAK (besides the fuse) even if you plugged in a dozen kettles (or anything else with a heating element).

    That said, in my last house we had a washing machine and tumble dryer plugged into the same mains socket, and they hit ~4000W total when running simultaneously, yet the 13 amp fuse (that I assume was in the adapter..) didn't blow when the current hit 16 amps... =/

    Again, most of the above is for UK stuff only. I have no idea how US mains electrical systems work, but presumably it's fairly similar.

  9. #9

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    If you want to figure it out just look on each device and locate the output amount in Amps. Most should be in amps, if you have one that measures in watts you can convert it if you have a fixed voltage (which we do) plug in you variables like this Amps= Watts divided by Volts or A= W/V

    Total up your amp load and see if it exceeds 85% of the breaker you have on that circuit. Your wall outlets (in most US households) are rated at 15 Amp and the standard 14 AWG wire is sufficient for that.

    Given the list you have, your amp load is most likely around 3 amps continuousness draw varying to 6 or 7 surge (when the hard drives spool up). So the short answer is YUP your fine.
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  10. #10
    Peachy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    A surge protector won't do anything useful if you plug lots of stuff in. They protect against surges - nothing more
    Surge protectors do, indeed, only control voltage, not electrical charge. As such, they're useless to protect you against plugging too many devices into one outlet.
    However, your house should have a fuse somewhere. Either an old-fashioned one with a wire inside a sand-filled case, or a reusable one with a flip button on it. Depending on the layout of your house's wiring and fuse box, those may protect a small set of outlets or the entire house. In the first case, they will protect you against running too high an electrical charge (i.e. the Ampere reading is too high) through an outlet. If it's for the entire house, however, chances are the actual wire will be damaged before the fuse blows.

    In your case, 500 Watts on one outlet is nothing. My vacuum cleaners goes up to 2,400 W and can be safely operated at a single electrical outlet.

    Peachy

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