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plugging in a laptop to the same outlet as my PC?

BarcardiBarcardi All the WizardsUnder A Rock: AfganistanRegistered User regular
edited January 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I have my PC hook up here, it is connected to a surge protector. Connected to that is my monitor, the PC, a usb extension, the modem and the wireless. This leaves another plug on the outlet open. I was thinking of adding a 2nd surge protector to that outlet and just having that for my laptop. Is this safe for both my systems? Or is that too much electricity/voltage/etc for a two plug outlet to handle?

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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Barcardi wrote: »
    I have my PC hook up here, it is connected to a surge protector. Connected to that is my monitor, the PC, a usb extension, the modem and the wireless. This leaves another plug on the outlet open. I was thinking of adding a 2nd surge protector to that outlet and just having that for my laptop. Is this safe for both my systems? Or is that too much electricity/voltage/etc for a two plug outlet to handle?

    You mean adding a surge protector to the outlet at the wall correct? And not plugging a second surge protector into the first? The first is probably fine, the second is not a good idea. No one will be able to say for 100% sure that it will be okay for your system, since we don't know what else is running off the same circuit in the house, but I have three desktop computers, 2 monitors, a printer, a router, a scanner, and a powered usb hub plugged into a two-outlet plug in my apartment and have no problems.

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    VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Aye... it depends on the "Load Capacity" that the outlet can handle. Basically, load capacity is the amount of Watts that the outlet can put out. We can do some basic addition to help figure out what it needs to hit as a target.

    (do this math for yourself given your own setup... I'm showing you mine as an example, because I don't know what your real figures are... and use the figures for if the system was theoretically running at maximum capacity).

    19" LCD Monitor: 50 watts, at the most. A CRT monitor will pull much more.
    Computer: 500 watts (the maximum load that the computer could possibly do, if the power supply was being pushed to the limit. In practice, most systems don't use nearly half of it)
    Laptop: I have a dell that I believe pulls 120 watts. YMMV.

    Anyways, add that up and you get ~670 watts. Round it up to the next hundred. If your power outlet can handle a 700 watt load capacity, you'll be fine... I think most outlets in a home have far more capacity than that.

    If you wanted to stress test the outlet with a less expensive appliance and you have a cheap microwave lying around, plug the microwave (and ONLY the microwave) into it. Note the wattage of the microwave. Cook something for a good 3-5 minutes.

    If the circuit doesn't trip for the outlet, you're set with putting as much wattage load as the microwave is rated for. If it does trip the circuit, go over and reset it, and know that it won't handle the wattage of that microwave. You'll need at that point to do further testing, but I don't know at that point what would be an easy way to test.

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    BarcardiBarcardi All the Wizards Under A Rock: AfganistanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Its just a regular outlet... my figures are about the same as yours except i have a 19 inch flatscreen CRT... so sayyyyy 800 watt?

    and yes i am saying i will plug the new surge protector directly into the wall, just the other outlet...

    now by circuit you mean just the one circuit, now the entire house circuit breaker, right?

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    VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Maybe at the absolute most.

    I'd put dollars to donuts that it'll be just fine.

    Have a 900 watt microwave? Do what I suggested above (remember to plug it straight into the wall, and don't plug anything else in... our goal is to see if it works, and for it to only trip the circuit breaker if it doesn't work... not fry your surge protector)

    Try it for a few minutes... if there's no sign that it's giving out, you're set I think.

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    BarcardiBarcardi All the Wizards Under A Rock: AfganistanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    i have a 1000 watt microwave plugged in in the kitchen and its always worked... ive had it in there for ... what 6 years now

    but thats a kitchen plug so who knows, i cant get it out of the shelf it was built into, so i cant see what type of plug its plugged into

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    VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Aye, kitchen plugs are usually (in a good, or new house) built to withstand a larger load capacity (due to the large appliances such as microwaves that are generally put there).

    You'll want to test it on the physical plug itself... the one you want to put it into.

    However, since you can't get it out of the shelf... hmm... I don't know of an easier way to test load capacity. =( There's probably some piss easy way to do it, but I'm not sure. I'll go look it up, brb.

    VThornheart on
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    VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    AHA! I knew there'd be something somewhere.

    How many watts can a standard outlet deliver before it's overloaded? I ask this because occasionally when I'm using a lot of electronic appliances, electricity shuts off in parts of my home. I have to switch the fuse in order to restore power. What am I doing wrong? -- Mark Lee, Mar. 2003

    Good question! First you need to understand that each circuit usually supplies power to several outlets and lights. For example, Circuit A might supply power to the four outlets in the master bedroom plus the ceiling light, Circuit B might supply all power to the bathroom, etc. Each circuit is controlled by a breaker or a fuse. So you don't really overload an individual outlet, you overload a whole circuit.

    You can't tell which circuit an outlet's on just by looking at it. The only way to tell is to plug something in, turn it on, and keep turning off breakers (or removing fuses) until the appliance turns off. You can make a circuit map of all outlets and lights in your home this way. Once you know which outlets are on the circuit that's being overloaded (and which are not), you can plug some of the offending appliances into outlets on different circuits. That way the overloaded circuit won't have to try to supply so much power.

    Also, if there are any lights on the overloaded circuit, replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 75% less energy than normal bulbs.

    So, to rephrase your question, how many watts can a circuit deliver before it's overloaded? It depends on the circuit. Most modern residential circuit breakers handle 15 or 20 amps (1800 or 2400 watts), and the breaker is labeled 15 or 20. That's the total amount of electricity that can be supplied to ALL loads on the circuit, which usually includes a few outlets and lights. Add up all the wattage or amps on all the lights and devices you want to run off the circuit at the same time and make sure it's less than what your breaker allows. (If a device is labeled with both input and output power, count the input.)

    I don't know how much electricity is supplied by an old fuse circuit, but it's worth looking at it to see if it's labeled. Clearly you're overloading it if you keep blowing fuses.

    If your house is even relatively modern, expect it to have that 1800-2400 watt load. Now, unless that plug is on the same circuit as a whole lot of other stuff, you're not going to come near that capacity. Just in case, you can do the "mapping everything out" suggestion above, which'll be useful in case you have such questions in the future.

    EDIT: Here's even more info:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1563/is_n4_v11/ai_13665559

    This article seems to imply that you may be able to find out the current that can run through the given circuit by going to your circuit breaker. I've honestly never looked at the stuff on my circuit breaker, so it may be true. =)

    Remember that Watts = Volts * Amps, so if you want to calculate in (the often easier) Watts when looking at articles like the above, take anything that he mentions in Amps and multiply it by 120 (because the standard outlet recieves 120 volts). That'll give you the wattage being spoken of when he talks about Amps.

    EDIT 2: You know what's downright disgusting?

    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6865727-claims.html

    If I'm reading this correctly, these fuckers (whoever they are) basically patented circuit schema diagrams. I found this randomly while I was looking for the answer to this question. A bit unrelated, but I figured I'd post it while the subject was at hand. Patents have gotten way out of hand.

    VThornheart on
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    BarcardiBarcardi All the Wizards Under A Rock: AfganistanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I am pretty sure that the circuit in question is just for two bedrooms and maybe a bathroom and the hallway just by how the house is laid out...

    So the whole circuit has: 1 PC, 1 Laptop (roommates), my proposed laptop, my computer monitor, my tv, 2 clocks, charging cell phones, xbox 360, wii, and... lights

    seeing as how the only thing that is usually on for about 8 hours a day is my PC, i am guessing i would be fine unless i decided to play the wii, 360, my PC, and my laptop all at once with all the lights on or something

    anyhow now i am no longer worried about it, as this is a newer house and 1800-2400 watts seems like plenty, thank you

    Barcardi on
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