Wht do I keep blowing fuse?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by kpatter, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. kpatter


    I work out of my bedroom and have a t3400 with 2 monitors and a back up Dell with 2 more monitors making a grand total of 2 computers and 4 monitors. I had an electrician come out and he told me I have a 15 amp breaker and am just slightly exceeding that. There is no other electricity draws from my bedroom.

    I also use 2 APC Battery backups to plug everything into.

    I want to get one more large monitor but my power draw cant take it.

    What can I do? Should I get an extension cored and plug in one of the computers in another room?

    If anyone has any thoughts on how I can make this setup more efficient I would appreciate it.
  2. If you have an empty space in your breaker panel, have your electrician friend run you a dedicated circuit to put half of your demand on.

    My IT room has 3 dedicated 20A circuits for technology, plus the regular circuit for the lighting and receptacles in that room.
  3. That should work so long as it's on another circuit. (2 rooms can be on the same circuit.)

    Or (you electrical whiz guys correct me if wrong), have electrician install a bigger breaker... 20 or 30A... on that circuit.
  4. Banjo


    If you live in the US and you're plugged into a wall outlet the wiring should be #12 . 20 amp breakers are standard for that. Swapping the breaker out for a 20a is a simple procedure. Overhead lighting circuits are commonly #14 wire as the load will always be less. It would be strange that a wall circuit would be wired with #14 wire. Possibly you're in a shoddily constructed condo or something of that ilk.
    Another thing to check is the duplex itself, wall recepticals. Sometimes they save a few pennies and use 15a duplexes, 20a are standard. The amperage will be stamped on the duplex. This is the source of many electrical fires, running too much amperage through a 15a duplex and melting it down. Any electrician will be able to check these and swap the breaker.
  5. Banjo


    Even though it's done by many home owners a 30a breaker on #12 wire is illegal via the national building code. The max is 20a.
  6. kpatter


    Yea, my condo was built in 1985 and there are no extra slots in the panel. Had an electrician come out and quote me 900 to add a circuit.

    Looking for other alternatives.
  7. First I'd say stick with your electrician, and heed Banjo's comments.

    But your post says, "how I can make this setup more efficient." I'll almost guarantee you, if you swap out your 4 monitors for LEDs (I'm assuming they're NOT) your 15amp circuit will carry the reduced load, and allow enough "Max Headroom" for a couple more.

    Of course spending a grand for 5 new monitors to save a few amps of current draw seems a bit over the top, but traders are known for doing stranger things. :)

    Trying to work around a "landlord" can be impossible. Even if you own a older home with a flat roof, or a newer home with vaulted ceilings pulling wire and installing outlets can get pricey in a hurry.
  8. I have a difficult time understanding why that is slightly exceeding the 15 amp current drawn.

    In my trading room I have 3 desktops (about 600W power supply each), over 20 monitors, laptop, sound system, a few cooling fans. All on the same circuit and no problem so far. The breaker is 15A I think, or 20A max.

    I think you may need to investigate a little bit. Suggestions:

    1) Typically a circuit is shared by more than 1 room. ID all the outlets that share the same breaker. Are there other appliances plugged in and in-use all the time in the same circuit. Example of high wattage appliances: air con, heater, blow dryer, refrigerator and such.

    2) Use a power meter to measure the actual power consumption of your devices during peak time, and see if they come close to exceeding the 15A.

    3) If you use an extension cord to draw power from a different outlet, need to make sure it's from a different circuit breaker.

    The typical operational usage for a LCD monitor should be around 20W - 40W, depending on models. A desktop, I think is around 200W - 300W or so.
  9. Sounds like everyone is setting this man up to "wire for fire" as they say in the industry.

    #12 wire - 20A max overcurrent
    #14 wrie - 15A max overcurrent.

    Residential the min overcurrent for lighting & receptacles is 15A and is almost always done with #14 wire. If you put a 20A breaker on there and you get an electrical fire, the first thing the fire investigator is going to do is look at wire size and overcurrent rating.

    Commercial the min overcurrent for lighting & receptacles is 20A and #12 wire.

    All assuming you are in the US. If you're in another country, let us know.
  10. I would look at the above very carefully. Most battery back-ups use a switching power supply design and when these kick-in or are turned on they can draw a large surge current which can pop a breaker. Try removing the units from your set-up and run a few days to determine if the situation is alleviated. The cheaper the UPS the more likely the problem.

    Good luck.
    #10     Mar 14, 2011