Originally Posted by bodosom
I would assume that most surge suppressors sold in North America are rated for or have a breaker set for at least 15A since they are essentially an extension cord.
Well - not exactly...
Power conditioning products... when you get up into the ranks of "better" products, say those priced at $200 or more... there will be multiple filter circuits - and these will have filters optimized for different types of components... analog, digital, video, amplifiers (need more current delivery capability than any other component), etc. Each of these filter circuits has 2 to 4 (usually) outlets connected to it. Some of the most expensive products have a dedicated filter circuit for each individual outlet to prevent noise from one component getting to the AC power going to another component. But this can be overkill if you have 2 components that are only used one at a time... turning one of them off is just as good as having 2 dedicated filter circuits.
Anyway... these filter circuits quite often contain series inductors which are not noted for being large enough to pass enough current for a high-current product like an AVR or outboard amplifier or potentially a larger plasma panel. So when there are "amplifier" outlets, the filter circuit never (in my experience) contains series inductors as these limit current too much in the sizes the manufacturer can afford to put into mid-priced power conditioners.
If the outlet(s) labeled "Video" (where you would likely want to connect your video display) contain a smallish series inductor or 2 the entire filter may be rated for 250 watts or so... which would not be enough for larger plasma panels.
So even if the power conditioner is rated for, say, 1800 watts total, the "Video" outlet(s) may be rated much lower than that because of the type of filter circuit used... that circuit may have been fine for a 32" CRT, for example, but not good enough for a larger plasma.
Someone asked how to figure out exactly what 1440 watts total output power meant for their power conditioner. Does it mean every outlet can deliver 1440 watts? Maybe - maybe not. If the manufacturer doesn't specify the power capability for each outlet or group of outlets in their specs, the only way to know is to call the manufacturer and tell them you need more info. Does 1440 watts mean each outlet (6 in the example) can deliver 1/6th of 1440 watts. Again, there is no way to know for certain how the manufacturer implemented filter circuits if they do not provide recommend load ranges for each group of outlets. It is POSSIBLE (but unlikely) that each outlet would deliver no more than 1/6th of 1440 watts. It's more likely that 1 or 2 outlets labeld for amplifiers could deliver up to 1440 watts while outlets labeled for digital, analog, or video components may deliver something less than 1440 watts per group - but in any case, you shouldn't ever connect components that need more than 1440 watts or you exceed the power rating of the device.
People also tend to forget that an amplifier that employs a typical analog power supply with a rectifier, and filter capacitors and positive and negative voltage rails... when it is using an average of 5 amps (600 watts)... that is an AVERAGE power consumption figure. The amplifier cannot draw power when the AC line voltage is below the power supply voltage level. If the power supply voltages are + and - 90 VDC, the power supply can only recharge when the AC power line is above 90 volts - that means half the time, the amplifier draws NO current and the other half of the time, it draws 10 Amps (in this example). So while the average power consumption sounds pretty reasonable at 5 amps... the amplifier is actually never drawing 5 amps - it is either pulling 0 amps or 10 amps. If the "amplifier" outlets on the power conditioner are not rated for 10 amps, there will be current limiting... preventing the amplfiier from reaching full performance potential.
Hope this helps some of you select the right product(s) for your systems.