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  1. #1

    Default How many computers on one 15 amp household circuit?

    In my living room I currently have 5 Computers, 5 x 20 inch LCD's, 2 Laptops and a large house fan to keep me cool.

    I am about to change my setup and buy a nice 6 monitor stand and add a $5000 top end gaming pc with all the best gear and a 1000 watt power supply.

    Checking my breaker box I see that the rating on this circuit says 15 amps. Do you think I'm close to blowing the circuit? What is the most any of you have put on one 15 amp wall circuit?

    Would love to hear some suggestions to how far we can go on one 15 amp household circuit.

  2. #2

    Default

    what you do is you take your total watts.. les say 500 and divided it by your voltage.. we'll say 120.

    so you have 5 computers that all run at 500 watts. that comes to 2500 watts. then you take that and divide that by your voltage we'll say 120 but some are 230 (i believe) which comes out to 20 amps.


    Keep in mind I just took the Wattage of your power supply. you need to take the wattage of your..

    laptops, monitors house fan, lights, tv if you have one on and other stuff.

    I am sure you will need to pull from 3 different breakers at the least. :wink:

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks man, I must be right on the edge already then.

    Do you know if its a limitation of the wires in the wall or can I change out a 15amp circuit for a 20amp in my breaker box (i would have an electrician do it of course if its possible).

  4. #4

    Default

    yiiha.. electrical stuff with my broken english

    let's give it a try


    I've got a 16 amp circuit.
    and 230V on the cables

    so 16 * 230 = 3680 Watts

    I've installed several "power counters" on each socket (I think it's called so? the thingy where u plug the power cable into *g*) which are connected to the circuit I want to use. So I can see the current amount of watts which are in use and the watt crits (if a gfx-card needs more power for a short moment etc). I'm currently on 3180 watts for my entire system so I got a lil space left.

    those "power counters" cost on german ebay about 10 euro each and they can show you how much your entire system costs... per minute... per hour... per day.... outch



    Do you know if its a limitation of the wires in the wall or can I change out a 15amp circuit for a 20amp in my breaker box (i would have an electrician do it of course if its possible).
    depends on the line. every cable can handle a fixed amount of power. if the cable is thick enough so it can handle the 20amp then you can change it. an electrican can tell you that because he can measure the cable . be careful with that - if the cable can't handle the 20amp it will burn =)
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  5. #5

    Default

    I have 7 computers, 32' tv (with cable box, dvd player and all that jazz) 7 monitors, 2 of which are CRTS.

    PCS 500w x 7
    CRT 145w x 2
    LCD 90w? x 5

    TV and all that junk no idea

    Fan, phone, answer machine.

    Hell I have 5 computers and monitors plugged in to ONE outlet.

    All this stuff is all on one circuit.

    No idea what the limit is. I couldn't plug in a space heater without the breaker going off, but I can run all this stuff. So far so good!

    Electric bill is a bit scary :shock:

  6. #6

    Default

    If you plan on changing the main Breaker (fuse?) for the whole circuit. Does that curcuit just supply your room or is it like a bedroom/office/downstairs/etc ring? Either way get an electrician in, it'll cost you more short term but then re-building the house having burnt it down with an electrical fire in the walls will cost more. Generally speaking what ever the circuit is rated for 20A 15A whatever, will be lower than what the circuit can handle but the more it handles to higher the chance of catastrophic failure...

  7. #7

    Default

    Disclaimer: I am not a licensed electrician. But I can install new circuits and I have a healthy respect for currents. Plus, the math is pretty easy to do.

    15 Amps = 120*15 Watts Non Peak.

    Or 1800 Watts

    Of which, 80% can be in use for lengthy periods of time.

    So 1440 Watts can safely be used on a 15 amp circuit for extended periods of time. 1920 Watts in a 20 amp. To power all of my machines, I ran 3 extra 20 amp lines (plus the existing 15 amp line). HOWEVER - this is overkill. I would have been ok with 1 extra 20 amp line and I suspect most of you here will also be unless you wind up with something crazy.

    Keep in mind that a 1000 watt power supply WILL NOT continually pull 1000 watts. I have one, powering a quad core with 3x 8800GTXes. IDLE they pull 400 watts from the wall. Power supplies actually waste about 20% of their total power being used (none can reach 100% efficiency).

    I have spoken a bit about this in my FAQ - take a look there. There are also cheap devices like the Kill-A-Watt that can read power consumption at the wall. Buy one and measure. If you do go the extension cord route (I don't suggest this but it is possible) then make SURE you get one PROPERLY rated or else it could over heat and cause a fire. Meaning, DO NOT use a 100' 20 gauge cord on a 20 amp rated breaker.

    If in doubt - consult a qualified electrician, please.
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  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro
    Thanks man, I must be right on the edge already then.

    Do you know if its a limitation of the wires in the wall or can I change out a 15amp circuit for a 20amp in my breaker box (i would have an electrician do it of course if its possible).
    Most likely no, you cannot. This would be dangerous. Almost NO builders over build if they don't need to. Less money in their pockets and they are already meeting code.

    So the lines are VERY UNLIKELY to be able to safely carry that higher current. It would work of course (as would bypassing the breaker all together but would be VERY unsafe. Do NOT do that. Take the time to pay a licensed electrician to run the extra line and do it properly.
    The Zins - 10 Boxing
    Xzin, Azin, Bzin, Czin, Dzin
    Xyzin, Ayzin, Byzin, Cyzin, Dyzin
    Magtheridon - US

  9. #9

    Default

    I had 7 computers (plus TV, Amp, cable box, NO lights) on one circuit, and it'd trip out once a month. Usually happen when I was zoning and all the hard drives kicked in.

    I went to add an 8th computer (high end, 750 watt etc) and had to move 3 of the low end computers to a different circuit. I used a thick extension cord and ran it from the other room. It would get warm, but never hot.

    If you're serious about this, I would suggest removing any unnecessary hardware from the bot computers (mainly the CD-ROM drives). If you are spec'ing out new computers, keep power usage in mind. Not only can you run more computers on a single circuit... it will cost less in the long run as well!
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  10. #10

    Default

    If you are careful to avoid high power draining devices (heaters, motors, refrigerators, AC units, etc) and are sure that nothing else but your computers are on said 15 amp circuit (generally an entire room or sometimes even two rooms may be on the same circuit) then it is POSSIBLE to run 5 computers and 5 LCD monitors on a single circuit. But very little else. Figure each computer will be around 250 watts... that is 1250 - within the limits for continual use. This is assuming a "normal" computer setup and a low power LCD monitor. Use a CRT and also put a refrigerator or other high amp devices on the same circuit and you will most likely trip. Any lights, particularly high energy incandescents will use . 40 - 60 watts EACH. This can add up quickly and put you over the edge.

    Add everything up that is plugged in. Every device will have its power consumption listed on it, either in Amps (multiply that by 120 to get watts) or in watts. It would be helpful to read the actual power use from the wall though and add all of those up.

    Note that you can push this further as some of you are likely doing. You can run 2000 watts on a 15 amp breaker. You can also swim with sharks. It SHOULD eventually trip (to save your house/life). However, if this is very stupid to do. If the breaker fails to trip, you could start a fire. I DO NOT suggest that you push the envelope when it comes to electrical use. There are codes and limits for a reason. You can jury rig things with a PROPERLY RATED extension cord but if in doubt, consult a professional.
    The Zins - 10 Boxing
    Xzin, Azin, Bzin, Czin, Dzin
    Xyzin, Ayzin, Byzin, Cyzin, Dyzin
    Magtheridon - US

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