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Discussion Starter #1
I need some advice from my fellow AVS members.


We recently bought our first home and have put together a modest beginning of a HT Rotel 1057, 2 x B&W 703's) I will soon be adding a 5 x 200w multichannel amp and it got me thinking about power. Do I need to have a 20 amp outlet installed? IS there any other electrical work I should have done along with this?


I am good about surge protection and am about get a Panamax M4300-PM unless there is a another model or brand you guys would suggest.



This is my first venture into a home so i am still learning so thanks for any advice!!
 

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Only one outlet?


A 20amp is more than just changing the plug is that's what you asking.


Sounds like you could just use one 20 amp additional to the one standard 15amp that is there.



Really hard to say here. I mean you have to add it all up to really know.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER /forum/post/14284594


Only one outlet?


A 20amp is more than just changing the plug is that's what you asking.


Sounds like you could just use one 20 amp additional to the one standard 15amp that is there.



Really hard to say here. I mean you have to add it all up to really know.

Sorry for being so vague. I have two 15 outlets where the AV rack is and was reading that a 5 channel x 200 amp can draw as much as 18 so I thought this might be required. I'll do some calculations and find out more details on the specific amp I am going to buy. I had thought maybe a 20 amp outlet was a general requirement for higher powered multichannel amps.
 

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Quote:
Sorry for being so vague. I have two 15 outlets where the AV rack is and was reading that a 5 channel x 200 amp can draw as much as 18 so I thought this might be required. I'll do some calculations and find out more details on the specific amp I am going to buy. I had thought maybe a 20 amp outlet was a general requirement for higher powered multichannel amps.

two 15 amp circuits are good enough for 99% of us. I do use two 20 amp circuits though but I have some heavy duty sub amps also.


How many watts do you think you will actually use, do you play your system loud, like at reference levels?


I honestly doubt you will max out on both circuits.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by windmiller /forum/post/14287557


Sorry for being so vague. I have two 15 outlets where the AV rack is and was reading that a 5 channel x 200 amp can draw as much as 18 so I thought this might be required. I'll do some calculations and find out more details on the specific amp I am going to buy. I had thought maybe a 20 amp outlet was a general requirement for higher powered multichannel amps.

If the amp turns on without tripping the household branch circuit breaker (many amps these days have soft-start) it will probably be fine on its own 15A circuit. Unless you plan on running the amp all out, at normal listening levels most amps draw only a few hundred watts -- nowhere near their maximum rated power consumption.


If your 15A branch circuits are wired with 12 gauge wire the only limiting factor will be the circuit breaker which will limit the maximum continuous current draw on the circuit to 15A. A 15A breaker will tolerate current draw in excess of 15amps for a few moments -- such as the inrush current when the amp is first turned on. 15A and 20A duplex outlets can carry the same current; the only difference between the two being the "T" shaped neutral slot of the 20A outlet that provides for true 20A equipment to only be operated on a 20A circuit. In fact, the National Electrical Code permits a 15A duplex to be installed on a 20A circuit.
 

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I don't even want to get into what I have running on just two 15 amp circuits. I wish they were both 20 amp. But I have not tripped a breaker yet, in around a year of having the theater going.
 

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I have a house with a crappy power situation. On my 15A circuit, I have my entire home theater, two full bathrooms with outlets and lights, a bedroom, and my in-window air conditioner. I used to have two air conditioners on this circuit, but it kept tripping breakers. This weekend, I added an amp (Emotiva XPA-5) to the circuit. I was playing very loud music all weekend and I had zero problems. AC running the whole time. These amps may be capable of pretty high current draw, but they rarely ever draw that much power in real world situations.
 

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A 200x5 amp will not draw 18 amps of current. Even if it was only 50% efficient, which means 1500 watts total current draw, then the amp is only going to draw around 12.5 amps. Total wattage for a 15 amp outlet will be 15x120=1800 watts. You don't generally need to worry about an amp drawing more current unless the amp is under rated (Many many are), you are powering a tough 4 ohm load (Those would consume between 2200 and 2500 watts and would need a 20 amp breaker), but generally the amp will tell you. Also, if that is the case, you typically need to replace the main fuse with a larger unit (Again, follow the manufactures specifications here).


Since most people build their house to minimum spec and thats it, its rare to see 12 gauge wire in the walls for normal 15 amp outlets. Sometimes you will see 12 run to the first outlet, and 14 for each of the subsequent outlets. It would be dangerous and illegal to change the breaker and outlets without first ensuring that the wire can handle it. I think with older wire you have to have it load tested before you can do this.


As for having two 15 amp outlets, are they on separate lines? I thought this was an obvious one until someone recently told me they were having more outlets strung in parallel to the main outlet in order to run all his equipment. I had to explain to him that this wouldn't give him any extra power and that he would still be over taxing his line. So I guess I should say it here too, typically houses wired with multiple outlets in a room are all on the same circuit. In fact, it is not uncommon for all of the lights, fans, and outlets to be on one. In my house my Kitchen and adjoining living room have one breaker for the lights, fans, and outlets.
 

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Chances are good that at normal listening levels, you aren't going to be pulling any more than a few amps out of the wall. If your 5x200W amp and subwoofer were all cranking at full blast with a sine-wave test signal, you would trip the breaker, but for even the loudest reference level home theater use, you're not even going to come close to 15A @ 120v out of outlet.


Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You guys are great. This is the response I was looking for. I got lucky and both outlets are on different lines. I tested this by plugging in a lamp in outlet 1 and Outlet 2 and shutting it off at the box and only one light went out.


I do listen to my system fairly loud but judging from your responses I should be fine. It will be a year or so before a sub and 2nd amp are introduced into the HT so maybe then I will consider a 20.


Thanks again for your help, I knew my fellow AVers would help
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpoes /forum/post/14290667


Since most people build their house to minimum spec and thats it, its rare to see 12 gauge wire in the walls for normal 15 amp outlets.

That is unfortunate. If ever there was a case of being penny-wise and pound foolish that would be it. The difference between 12 gauge and 14 gauge wire is but a few hundred dollars -- a drop in the bucket of building materials cost. My house built in the 1920s was renovated and rewired after we bought it a number of years ago, all with industrial/specification grade outlets and switches, and of course 12 gauge wire throughout.
 

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I've actually gone into homes that were renovated with very illegal wire situations. 3 or 4 rooms on one breaker, grounded outlets installed with the grounds illegally attached or not attached at all (recently found one where someone had cut the ground wire so it connected to nothing and could not easily be connected to anything). I live in a new construction home, about 4 years old, and some of the wire is 16/2. That is, as far as I know, illegal to use, the law says 14/2, and I don't even know where you get this stuff. I can't find a label on it and have been told that some of the Chinese imported stuff will claim to be 14/2 but measure somewhat smaller. Again, I would think this would be illegal and unable to pass UL regulations, but who knows.


I was testing a load testing device recently I bought off Ebay used. They are one of those things that cost a fortune new but are kind of worthless used, and I decided I had enough uses to have my own. I tested it on my lines and the unit said my house failed, but I'm not 100% sure the unit is accurate.
 

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A single 15A circuit runs my entire system, which includes a 7 ch receiver driving 9 speakers, 2 kW amp driving two 18" subs, and 2 kW Buttkicker amp driving a pair of BK's, as well as half a dozen source components and EQ.


I've never tripped the breaker, even when clipping the sub amp.


The transient nature of program material means average power is a small fraction of the max system capability.
 

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A single 20amp circuit drives my entire ht system and to be honest I think a 15 amp

would have worked fine but I thought I would be using a 300 x 5 amp but gave it back

on peaks the current setup never hit 10 amps.
 

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my last house I had the basement done and a ht room. I had the 15amp circuit down there and it would trip sometimes. I had the guy change it to 20 amp and no more issues. if you can do it w/o spending an arm and a leg, its worth it.
 

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I live in a 1938 build home nob & tube wiring(previous owner remodel the kitchen and up date the electic box and wire to modern standard). When i purchased it i had a modest stereo. But after adding a sub and a new plasma& full 5.1 system, i knew the wiring where the system was going, used -1938 wire designed only for lights. so we add two 15a lines to a box under neath the floor(crawl space). this way i could run all the A/V gear power cords down to two sperate surge protectors. the system is prefect and room for exansion if needed. costed ?$300
 
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