At what point do i need to worry about current draw from one electrical outlet? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking at using my current HK AVR 3600 as a processor and adding seperate amps for the power. Do I need to worry about too many pieces of equipment being plugged into a single outlet? is this a fire hazard or will it trip the breaker? if so, whats the fix for this. I am no electrician!!
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post #2 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 03:58 PM
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Load it until the breaker trips, seriously. Unless your speakers are terribly inefficient, and/or you are running pure class A amps, you are drawing far less power than you think.

For insance, in my humble room, I have a Yamaha RX-V667 (90w/channel) in a 5.1 configuration driving somewhat efficient speakers, 91db up front, and 89 in the back, with a 42" LCD, and a HSU VTF-3 (350 Watts, 1400 Peak) along with various sources connected to an APC SmartUPS 1500. The UPS has a 5 segment load LED, and with the TV off I have to drive my system to ear bleeding levels before the first load light even starts to flicker on and off. Not a very scientific measurement, but nonetheless, your current draw isn't as high as you think.
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post #3 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 04:31 PM
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Your AV system is a 'needlessly complicated' mechanism for turning electricity into heat . . . with intermediate stops at "sound", "light", and "magnetism"--but it all ends up as heat! If you can plug an electric fire into the outlet all day, and the room ends up warmer than when you run your AV system, you should be safe loading the circuit with your AV system...

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post #4 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smfins View Post

I am looking at using my current HK AVR 3600 as a processor and adding seperate amps for the power. Do I need to worry about too many pieces of equipment being plugged into a single outlet? is this a fire hazard or will it trip the breaker? if so, whats the fix for this. I am no electrician!!

How about doing it the right way and adding up the total "watts" required to run the equipment? You most likely have 120 volt service on a 15 amp breaker. That equates to a total safe load of 1800 watts on that breaker. One must remember there is very likely other items, lights and plugins on the single breaker as well that could draw watts at the same time your AVR/equipment is in operation.
Each of your components will list the "watts" usage for each. Just add it up. Now, the other side of it is the referenced wattage numbers are typically max draw and you will typically never see that max load thus just because you total them all up and it exceeds say 1800 isn't a show stopper. I would suggest a power center that tells you current amp draw. That way you can tell the exact amount of power you are pulling on your circuit. IE: if it displays a draw of 5 amps that would be a total of 5 x 120 = 600 watts thus we'll within your say 1800 limit.

Cheers

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post #5 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smfins View Post

I am looking at using my current HK AVR 3600 as a processor and adding seperate amps for the power. Do I need to worry about too many pieces of equipment being plugged into a single outlet? is this a fire hazard or will it trip the breaker? if so, whats the fix for this. I am no electrician!!

This is impossible to answer with the information you provide.

A typical home circuit will have a 15 amp fuse, which means a total of
15 amps X 120 volts X .8 (safety factor) = 1440 watts rated load. Unless you plan to buy really big amps you should be OK on one outlet. The big unknown is what else might be on that circuit. You if run a big vacuum, or hair dryer, or space heater, microwave, or similar you might have the breaker flip. If that happens you know you have a problem.

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #6 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies! I appreciate all of your knowledge, Now I have another question. Do any of you know if I can run a 3 channel amp across my left/right and center channels and still utilize the AVR 3600's other 4 outputs for my surrounds? I'm sure I can ask HK, but i figure one or more of you would know. I'm looking at an ADCOM 3 channel amp on ebay. The AVR 3600 sounds really good, but I listen to alot of concert dvd's and I like to really crank the volume.
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post #7 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 08:16 PM
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The essential thing you must have is pre-outputs for those front 3 channels on your receiver; I guess you already know that you have them. Many receivers do not have them.

If you run the preouts from the front 3 to the added power amp, the receiver will be only running the other 4 and not drawing near as much current from the mains. It should work fine. The total power drain should not change too much.

Did we ever establish whether you have a 20 ampere circuit or a 15 ampere circuit there?

In the USA, a 20 ampere circuit wired with 12 gauge copper wire is standard for outlets, and a 15 ampere circuit wired with 14 gauge is used for lighting circuits.

Anyway, you need to look at the circuit breakers and see which one is for that circuit. You also should turn it off and see which other outlets go off when that breaker is off. Everything plugged into any of those receptacles is on the same circuit and needs to be added up to see what the total load is.

Sometimes, depending on your electrical panel and the configuration of your house, you might be able get an electrician to add a new 20A circuit just to run a new outlet for your gear.








Quote:
Originally Posted by smfins View Post

Thanks for the replies! I appreciate all of your knowledge, Now I have another question. Do any of you know if I can run a 3 channel amp across my left/right and center channels and still utilize the AVR 3600's other 4 outputs for my surrounds? I'm sure I can ask HK, but i figure one or more of you would know. I'm looking at an ADCOM 3 channel amp on ebay. The AVR 3600 sounds really good, but I listen to alot of concert dvd's and I like to really crank the volume.

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post #8 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post


Did we ever establish whether you have a 20 ampere circuit or a 15 ampere circuit there?

In the USA, a 20 ampere circuit wired with 12 gauge copper wire is standard for outlets, and a 15 ampere circuit wired with 14 gauge is used for lighting circuits.

Yes, he definitely needs to validate the specific circuit/breaker.

20 amp and 12 ga is definitely not the standard. Each state can have their own code. Ive lived in states that only allow 10 amp circuits with 14 ga and several including my current that allows 15 amp runs with 14 ga - lights and/or receptacles (or combination). And most builders go min but adequate - cheaper and easier to manipulate smaller gauge romex.

For example: I run an AVR that can draw a max of 1200 watts, two subs totaling 600 watts and another two near 3000 watts. So total I could be looking at near 5000 watts considering the additional items/equipment. All on a dedicated 20 amp / 10 ga HT run (could go 30 amp if desired). Even at reference levels I have never seen it exceed 5 amps. Believe it or not, on average my living room 54 inch plasma and 5 channel system draws more under normal operation.

That's why it's always best to measure (or have a conditioner/power center that can display) the amp draw of the specific equipment under applicable load.

Cheers

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post #9 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes My receiver does have the pre outs, and i will check to see what my breakers are. Thanks for the info, and Like i said i have been looking at an Adcom 3 channel, but i also stumbled across a couple rotel 6 channel amps that can be bridged to 150x3. any other suggestions for 3 channel amps or bridgeable 6 channel amps?
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post #10 of 87 Old 02-23-2012, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I checked and it's a 20 amp breaker. that outlet has a 60 inch sharp LED, HK AVR 3600, ATT Uverse receiver, modem, PS3, Custom built passive Sub with a marantz Mono Block amp and also a Fish tank with pump,lights heater etc. I'm thinking I should be fine if i add a channel amp for the left/right and center channels you think?
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post #11 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 06:00 AM
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To the others responding. What would happen if the OP plugged the Amp into a different circuit, but had the pre-outs coming from the AVR on the original circuit? Ground loop? Impendence mis-match?

Also, what if the OP had the AVR and Amp plugged into a "Green" power strip with the AVR on the master, and the AMP on the slave? Would this cause problems, as long as the max watts pulled did not exceed either the power strip or circuit load, then they should be fine, right?
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post #12 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 06:03 AM
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You'll probably be just fine.

Aside: When our basement was finished a couple of years ago all wiring was 14 AWG, lights and outlets. I did have a 20 A dedicated line to the media room and another to an exercise/game room (treadmill); those were done in 12 AWG. This in CO...

Many years ago, in MO, I worked as an electrician, and everything was routinely done in 12 AWG. 20A circuits used 10-gauge wiring. I have been told by several electricians that 14 AWG is pretty standard everywhere now due to copper cost and code changes through the years. I am sure it varies. There is a push to nationalize the codes, which is some cases does not make sense, but the gov't wants a national standard to make it easier to monitor. Or whatever.

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post #13 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 06:11 AM
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My old apartment had 10A breakers. I load all of my equipment onto a power strip, and had it all in one outlet. Never had any issues, and I was seriously pushing the limits of this one outlet. But, this is sorta what breakers are for, to keep you safe from overloading your electrical system. Still want to be safe though, so unless your lights dim when you initially turn everything on(at once), you should be fine. In rush current is usually the only real danger.
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post #14 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 06:35 AM
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Nuts!

Every state and every fire insurance company has mandated that all new construction since the early 1970s comply with the NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE.

It requires that all outlet circuits be 20A and wired with 12 Gauge wire.

Most states have adhered to the National Electrical Code since the early 1960s.

Ask your local county building inspector or code enforcement office if you don't think so, or ask any home insurance agent.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????
"20 amp and 12 ga is definitely not the standard. Each state can have their own code. Ive lived in states that only allow 10 amp circuits with 14 ga and several including my current that allows 15 amp runs with 14 ga - lights and/or receptacles (or combination). "



Cheers[/quote]
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post #15 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 07:01 AM
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[quote=commsysman;21691192]Nuts!

Every state and every fire insurance company has mandated that all new construction since the early 1970s comply with the NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE.

It requires that all outlet circuits be 20A and wired with 12 Gauge wire.

Most states have adhered to the National Electrical Code since the early 1960s.

Ask your local county building inspector or code enforcement office if you don't think so, or ask any home insurance agent.


QUOTE]

This isn't true. The wire and breaker size of the circuit needed depends on the load and number of receptacles. 15A with a 14 Gauge wire is perfectly acceptable to NEC standards. However, most electricians are now taught to only use 20A with 12 Gauge wire, regardless of the load needed. This is more a safetly precaution than anything.
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post #16 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterofBlasting View Post

This isn't true. The wire and breaker size of the circuit needed depends on the load and number of receptacles. 15A with a 14 Gauge wire is perfectly acceptable to NEC standards. However, most electricians are now taught to only use 20A with 12 Gauge wire, regardless of the load needed. This is more a safetly precaution than anything.

Most local building codes do require 12 guage for outlets, and only allow 14 guage for lighting. It's been that way for decades in the last two counties
I've lived in.
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post #17 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Most local building codes do require 12 guage for outlets, and only allow 14 guage for lighting. It's been that way for decades in the last two counties
I've lived in.

Yes. Keyword "local". The NEC is simply a minimum requirement or standard. While it is perfectly accpetable to the NEC standards to use 14 gauge for receptacles, it may or may not be acceptable to the state's building code. In my state for example, 20A with 12 AWG is the standard, no questions.

I was just trying to point out that KJSmitty wasn't wrong here.
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post #18 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterofBlasting View Post


Yes. Keyword "local". The NEC is simply a minimum requirement or standard. While it is perfectly accpetable to the NEC standards to use 14 gauge for receptacles, it may or may not be acceptable to the state's building code. In my state for example, 20A with 12 AWG is the standard, no questions.

I was just trying to point out that KJSmitty wasn't wrong here.

Thank you for that MasterofBlasting,
The only thing I would call "nuts" is when folks feverishly state what they think is "overarching" fact when their basis of the facts is limited. I didn't claim to know what is required in the OPs state/county rather just to check. I've requested more permits and received numerous inspections on building and wiring jobs in several states to know what may or may not be "standard" - thats all. Sorry if I came across as overly argumentative.

For the OP,
Just so you do know, look at your equipment manuals in the specifications section for "power consumption". It will either tell you max amp draw or watts (if amps just multiply by 120(volts) to get watts). Add everything up. Now that you know you have a 20 amp/2400 watt circuit you can go from there.

Cheers

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post #19 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 09:37 AM
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You can always buy on of these kill-a-watt measuring devices.

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/measure.html
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post #20 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post

To the others responding. What would happen if the OP plugged the Amp into a different circuit, but had the pre-outs coming from the AVR on the original circuit? Ground loop? Impendence mis-match?

Also, what if the OP had the AVR and Amp plugged into a "Green" power strip with the AVR on the master, and the AMP on the slave? Would this cause problems, as long as the max watts pulled did not exceed either the power strip or circuit load, then they should be fine, right?

1. A ground loop would result, which could induce audible hum.

2. The key is "as long as max watts pulled did not exceed"... It might work OK, might not. In operation it will probably be fine; the issue I have had in the past is when the in-rush current at power-on trips the strip's breaker. Once everything is up and running power draw is typically low, but the initial surge may be rather large. I have had problems using large (high-Wattage) or multiple amps, and a single old tube amp that had a massive power supply (ARC D-79). But, many times everything does fine...

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post #21 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

1. A ground loop would result, which could induce audible hum.

2. The key is "as long as max watts pulled did not exceed"... It might work OK, might not. In operation it will probably be fine; the issue I have had in the past is when the in-rush current at power-on trips the strip's breaker. Once everything is up and running power draw is typically low, but the initial surge may be rather large. I have had problems using large (high-Wattage) or multiple amps, and a single old tube amp that had a massive power supply (ARC D-79). But, many times everything does fine...

So option 1 would be a no-go for the OP, unless, he has the means to deal with a possible ground loop issue.

As far as option 2 goes, would the sudden influx happen even if no 'load' has been applied to the AMP? I am not sure of the right terms, but let's say the AVR is turned on, which would then turn on the AMP, but if no audio is playing, would the AMP still draw in enough power to trip the breaker? I guess that it would depend on the Amp's standby watts, right? I mean the difference between standby and full load would mean a world of difference.
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post #22 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 11:07 AM
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Sorry, little bored during lunch.

The OP should be fine given a known 20 amp circuit.

I just quickly gathered (and guessed) on some data for his equipment:

- Pulled from a 60 inch Sharp LED 3D LCD: 220 watts
- His AVR is rated for: 1405 watts max and 120 watts at idle (from the manual yet sounds extremely inflated for the amps: 85/channel)
- AT&T receiver: couldn't find data but probably no more than 120 watts
- Modem - basically negligible
- PS3: couldn't find data thus maybe 100 watts
- Mono Amp for sub? guessing 250-500 watts max
- Fish tank equipment? this could surprise ya - possibly 250-300 watts

So even if you went Max numbers above he "may be" looking at 2600ish watts. Thing is, under even heavy use his AVR and Sub amp would not be pulling max draw so he is fine. This however does not include his planned additional amp. But as Commsysman pointed out, utilizing his AVR preouts the external amp won't change much given he is decreasing the load from the AVR etc. My bet would be even on a "loud" day he would be "very" hard pressed to pull 6 or 8 amps / ~1000 watts total.

I personally however would try to remove the fish tank equip from the circuit if able. A previous college roommates "tank" always provided a nice hummmm to/in the stereo...

Cheers

Love DIY
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post #23 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 11:09 AM
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^^^

even with no load, there will still be more than "idle" draw at startup... caps gotta charge, etc...

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post #24 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Most local building codes do require 12 guage for outlets, and only allow 14 guage for lighting. It's been that way for decades in the last two counties
I've lived in.

How do you know this and how did you measure "most". As pointed out by the NEC code 15 amp circuits for general purpose receptacles are fine. However, there are some 20 amp circuit requirements...ex: small appliance circuit in kitchens. I would say in my area of the country I have never came across any local codes that require all receptacles on 20 amp circuits. However, when I wired my house I did use all 20 amp circuits as a perference.
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post #25 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post

So option 1 would be a no-go for the OP, unless, he has the means to deal with a possible ground loop issue.

As far as option 2 goes, would the sudden influx happen even if no 'load' has been applied to the AMP? I am not sure of the right terms, but let's say the AVR is turned on, which would then turn on the AMP, but if no audio is playing, would the AMP still draw in enough power to trip the breaker? I guess that it would depend on the Amp's standby watts, right? I mean the difference between standby and full load would mean a world of difference.

1. Yes, though many have us have and will deal with ground loop issues so that's not a killer.

2. As Chris said, the initial current surge is primarily to charge the capacitors in the power supply and happens even if nothing else is hooked to the amp. Note that I have only had this issue rarely, and many (perhaps most) people not at all, so it is not something I would be too concerned about.

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post #26 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just cruising View Post

How do you know this and how did you measure "most". As pointed out by the NEC code 15 amp circuits for general purpose receptacles are fine. However, there are some 20 amp circuit requirements...ex: small appliance circuit in kitchens. I would say in my area of the country I have never came across any local codes that require all receptacles on 20 amp circuits. However, when I wired my house I did use all 20 amp circuits as a perference.

I have never come across a 20 amp requirement for receptacle circuits either. If you re-read my post, you will notice I only mentioned wire gauge. 12 guage for receptacles, 14 gauge for lighting. You can still use a 15 amp breaker for the receptacles.

I can only go by what I have seen, maybe the rest of the country doesn't require 12 gauge for receptacles.
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post #27 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

I have never come across a 20 amp requirement for receptacle circuits either. If you re-read my post, you will notice I only mentioned wire gauge. 12 guage for receptacles, 14 gauge for lighting. You can still use a 15 amp breaker for the receptacles.

I can only go by what I have seen, maybe the rest of the country doesn't require 12 gauge for receptacles.

Well then I will add that 12 awg wire is a 20 amp circuit and I have never seen this requirement from any local code and it is not required by NEC. You are sayig that 12AWg wire is being required for 15 amp circuits. How about posting a local code form "most" that says that. Of course in the event that the run gets long then 12awg would be required but that is a special case not the "standard".
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post #28 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just cruising View Post

Well then I will add that 12 awg wire is a 20 amp circuit and I have never seen this requirement from any local code and it is not required by NEC. You are sayig that 12AWg wire is being required for 15 amp circuits. How about posting a local code form "most" that says that. Of course in the event that the run gets long then 12awg would be required but that is a special case not the "standard".

Never said it was required by the NEC, I also never said 12 gauge wire was required for 15 amp circuits. I said it was required for any circuit with a receptacle on it, in the two counties I've lived in. Are you going to keep bringing up things I never said?

Sorry you haven't seen it before. It must not exist then. My county doesn't post the requirements online for your convenience, sorry. I already stated that it may not be required in the rest of the country, so obviously the term "most" shouldn't have been used. Get over it.
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post #29 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Never said it was required by the NEC, I also never said 12 gauge wire was required for 15 amp circuits. I said it was required for any circuit with a receptacle on it. Are you going to keep bringing up things I never said?

Sorry you haven't seen it before. It must not exist then. My county doesn't post the requirements online for your convenience, sorry. I already stated that it may not be required in the rest of the country, so obviously the term "most" shouldn't have been used. Get over it.

you said "most local codes require 12 gauge wire for outlets". what country are you in? In the USA most local codes are based on the NEC and the NEC says that you can have both 15 and 20 amp outlets. The 15 amp outlet circuits require 14awg wire. The 20 amp circuits require 12awg wire and most those are dedicated special circuits as list in the link below.

http://www.dli.mn.gov/ccld/pdf/eli_i..._checklist.pdf
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post #30 of 87 Old 02-24-2012, 12:46 PM
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you said "most local codes require 12 gauge wire for outlets".

I also said that I should not have used the word "most". I'm from the USA too, but in my area, we can read and understand English.
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