# 15 or 20 Amp

Hello,
I would like to put my computer equipment on its own circuit. Would I need a 15 or 20 amp breaker to do this? Are there any restrictions as far as how many breakers can be in the box? I know there is room for more. What gauge wiring would this require?
Thanks for any thoughts...
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David DeBoer wrote:

Since you are asking these questions, I wonder if you are planning to do the work yourself. If so, maybe you should consider a professional. It is not all that difficult, but you can run into a few things that can go wrong.
In any case, normally 15 amp is fine for a home computer. I only run 20 amp circuits as it cost only slightly less, provides additional power if needed for future changes and slightly reduces the voltage loss (assuming standard wire gauges are used.)
It is generally not required, but I like to keep my laser printer on a differnet circuit to reduce power changes to the computer.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 10:15:58 -0500, "David DeBoer"

It really depends on what you mean by "computer equipment".
BB
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PC, monitor, printer, scanner and USB hub right now.
wrote:

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On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 10:30:46 -0500, "David DeBoer"

That still really isn't enough detail. A CRT monitor uses a lot more power than an LCD monitor of a given size. A 2.8 ghz CPU uses more power than a 1 ghz CPU. A laser printer uses FAR more power (although intermittantly) than an inkjet.
If you have a fast CPU, a CRT monitor and a laser printer, 15 amps may not meet even the minimum requirements. You should be able to find out the minimum power requirements for each item by looking in the manuals that came with them, or at the manufacturer's website.
BB

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Good Grief! Have you ever looked at the wattage rating on your equipment. Most computers have a 350 watt power supply, some really big boys have a 600 watt PS. Monitors are usually less than 100 watts, laser printers may be 200 watts and inkjets are likely to be around 25 watts. A flat bed scanner is around 100 watts. That means the power consumption is likely to be 600 watts when scanning and 700 watts when using a laser printer. A 15 amp circuit could probably support three computer systems, or at least 2 system that draw heavily and use 100 watt or more table lights.
BinaryBillTheSailor@Sea++.com wrote:

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glad u said it so i didnt have to.
15A is plenty. in fact a 15 might be better. it will blow faster than the 20 if something does go wrong.
randy
wrote:

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On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 02:36:13 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

Good grief, did you read what I wrote? Obviously you did not. You probably don't listen to anybody, which is why you end up posting ignorant things on usenet. I did not say to look at the labels on the machines. I said to look in the manuals or check with the manufacturer for the minimum required power for installation. I just recently had to look up an HP4050 laser printer, and HP says it requires 8 amps for proper installation and operation. Obviously it doesn't draw nearly that much 24/7, but that's what the company that designed and built it says. You can get similar INSTALLATION SPECS for the monitor and computer.

Incorrect, and possibly dangerous or lethal advice.
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David DeBoer wrote:

15 amp. Very few people use anything more than a standard wall socket circuit (15 amp) for home computer equipment. What you mentioned is probably less than 600 watts, so you have 1200 more watts before you overload the circuit. You need a minimum of number 14 wire for 15 amp circuits, but number 12 wire would be better and if you put 12 wire in you might as well put in a 20 amp breaker.
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On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 02:19:00 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

Incorrect and potentially lethal advice if followed. Very few people, including George "Don't try to teach me anything" Cawthorn, take into account that there may be more than one outlet on that 15 amp circuit, and in a home setting it's almost guaranteed that there is more than one outlet on that circuit.
His judgement about power consumption is equally flawed. He's making it up as he goes, folks.
BB
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BinaryBillTheSailor@Sea++.com wrote:

You wanna explain the "potentially lethal" part?
Bob
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wrote:

You should probably hire a professional.
Here's a simple experiment you can try yourself: Get a bunch of strings of christmas lights, whose combined draw "should" equal 15 amps. Plug them in series with the last one plugged into a 15 amp outlet.
Watch the clock and let me know how long before the wires (not the lamps) heat up enough to ignite something like tissue paper or even newsprint. Surprise! In many cases that will occur without the circuit breaker ever popping. If you can, check the temperature along the length of the light strings, as well as the house wiring.
It's important to know how much of a load you are putting on a circuit, including any extentuating circumstances. I am not saying that it will be lethal any certain percentage of the time, but the percentage is certainly not zero. That's why I qualified it with the word "potentially" George Cawthon wants to "hazard a guess" as to the load, thereby creating a hazard.
BB
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BinaryBillTheSailor@Sea++.com wrote:

That will just blow the built-in fuse in one of the strings of Christmas lights. Even if it didn't blow and the lights caught on fire, it has nothing at all to do with wiring a 15A vs. 20A branch circuit. IIRC, those strings of lights are fused at about 2A.
Basically, you're just making this stuff up as you go.
Bob
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wrote:

No, you've just added fuses, an element that does not exist in the experiment I defined. I also asked you to measure temps along the house wiring. Did you do that yet? Please actually do the work before making any more specious statements.
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BinaryBillTheSailor@Sea++.com wrote:

Those Chrismas lights you mentioned have fuses built-in to the plug, you moron.
Bob
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wrote:

Then. for the purpose of this experiment, remove the fuses and replace them with 14 gauge wire. Try again, and let us know the result. Continual whining withiout doing the work doesn't give you much credibility. DO THE WORK.
BB
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The bullshit is certainly flying around here. Take a look at 310-16 in the NEC and you will see that 14ga wire is really rated at 20a. . Article 240.4(D) limits the O/C device to 15a so people who try these "run it till it trips" experiments or lifestyles are not really creating a hazard. If you can load a 15a breaker/14ga copper circuit enought to warm the wire you have a defective breaker.
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On 23 Nov 2004 17:01:17 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

Breakers are NEVER defective? That's good to know! Thanks!!!
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If you have a defective breaker it doesn't matter how big your wire is. Available fault current in a home is in the thousands of amps. (only limited by the size of the service drop) That was not the discussion.
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On 23 Nov 2004 18:10:44 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

Actually it does. If your breaker is non functional, you will be fine until you overload or otherwise abiuse the circuit, whether it is a 15 amp circuit or a 200 amp circuit. The circuit breaker is there as a backup safety device. It's presence does not mean you are free to load up circuits to max capacity and trust the breaker will always save you. The first line of safety is to properly design and use the circuit, not depend on a fallible device to overcome your own stupidity.
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