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Discussion Starter #1
not sure if this is the correct place to post but it seemed the closest :)

5 fish tanks each with heater plug, filter plug and light plug, one has an air pump plug = 19 plugs in total
tv, tivo, digital box, dvd, modem, wireless router, two small table lamps = 8 plugs

total = 27 plugs

both outlets are on different breakers if that makes any difference at all

is this possible or do i need an electrician? i only live in 450 square feet so somewhat limited
 

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It does make a difference being on different breakers :) So that is a plus right there.
The previous apt my bf and I lived in couldn't handle a certain amount of power from one breaker at one time. For example.. last year when it was realllly hot out we bought a portable air conditioner, and it wouldn't work in one plug, but would work on another.

So if it's too much power, the breaker will just turn off, which you will have to flip the switch in your breaker box to turn it back on.. So if it is capable to handle that many plugs divided between the two breakers, then it should be fine.. & if it's not the breaker turn off.. now I'm not an electrician but that's my understanding of it... lol I'm sure theres some experts on here that have a better answer :p
 

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How many watts worth of heaters and lights. The concern is more with amperage than watts.

Just to give you an example of what you can do, I have 3 daisy chained power bars with the following plugged in:

- 4 x 42 watt t5
- 2 x 250 watt heater
- Ranco temp controller
- CO2 solenoid
- 3 canister filters (FX5, XP3, 2028)
- 2 Koralia powerheads (1 and 2)
- Aquaclear 70 powerhead

So that's 14 devices if I count correctly. No problems at all. In fact, my Home Theater is more of a worry than my tanks.
 

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your breakers will tell you if it is overloaded,it will automatically shut off,but to be safe do not overload:):)
 
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Discussion Starter #6
okay, daisy chain, english please ... does that mean i can plug a power bar into another power bar into another power bar ??? or does that mean i can plug two power bars into one wall outlet ...
 

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I plug one into another (that's daisy chaining). The one on the end I put all my powerheads and filters and heaters onto. I flick off the switch for water changes. Lights and other stuff that have to stay on are on the main one which does not get switched off. Nothing easier.

If you have the wall space, hang a couple of these widely spaced ones and it'll take care of everything for you, including timers for the lights. http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brow.../Noma%2B12-Outlet%2BPower%2BBar.jsp?locale=en
 
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2wheelsx2 - you are so helpful ... i am going to go and get two of those today ... and i like the filters and heaters on one and lights an other on another ... great idea ...

thanks for everyone's reply ... i am not very electrical and i don't want to blow anything up :)
 

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wow, thats a HUGE power bar...didnt know they made stuff like that! I have cords everywhere, maybe its time to make a switch over to those..
 

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by all means get 1 power strip that has the plugs you need. Power bars aren't meant to be daisy chained. They create tripping hazards and allow for multiple spots of arcing, which could cause electrical fires. Plus we're dealing with water, most likely your plugs aren't ground fault protected, so you are risking electrocution as well. Not to mention, having too many devices on one circuit in an old building or house can cause a fire.

As breakers get old, they wear, and some wont even trip unless its a surge, not overload. So do not rely on them as your inticator of when enough is enough, Know what you are placing on the cct, 15 A breaker means a maximum 12 A load ( 110V x amps = Watts).

Not only are the breakers the issue, but the wiring itself, most places are done with #14, and often times they wont go to a #12 when needed (due to distance, ambient temp, etc) because they want to save $$$. What this means to a normal person, hot wires in the wall, the higher the load, the hotter the wires are. #14's get pretty warm under full load.

What i did with my Fish tank, is installed Receptables in the cabinet itself. I have a heavy duty plug coming out of the back, enters into a single box with a GFCI. From the load side of the GFCI, i brought out a wire to a 3 gang device box filled with receptables. This gives plenty of power oppurtunities for the tank, and it discourages me from placing other loads on the same circuit since its behind a closed door.

Time isn't the factor you base how many tanks you can have, its power availability that limits you. Make sure you can handle your tanks power load before, because finding ways to make it work (and in some cases cheating the safety protections) puts not only you at jeopardy, but your neighbours too. Way too many people ignore this, but it is a serious issue i see everywhere, not only in fish keeping.
 

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by all means get 1 power strip that has the plugs you need. Power bars aren't meant to be daisy chained. They create tripping hazards and allow for multiple spots of arcing, which could cause electrical fires. Plus we're dealing with water, most likely your plugs aren't ground fault protected, so you are risking electrocution as well. Not to mention, having too many devices on one circuit in an old building or house can cause a fire.

Time isn't the factor you base how many tanks you can have, its power availability that limits you. Make sure you can handle your tanks power load before, because finding ways to make it work (and in some cases cheating the safety protections) puts not only you at jeopardy, but your neighbours too. Way too many people ignore this, but it is a serious issue i see everywhere, not only in fish keeping.
Valid points. I seem to recall you have some experience doing this kind of thing (are you a contractor)? Anyway, I'm not much of a DIY'er, but it would seem to me that even a single power bar would allow multiple spots of arcing possible? Daisy chaining just increases that risk by increasing the plugs right? What about a 24 plus power bar vs. 2x8 plug power bar? I am not trying to be a smart aleck, I just want to understand the inherent risks.

One thing I do disagree with you on is the time factor vs power. I can easily pay someone to fix my power problem, but I only have 4 available spare hours a day outside of work and sleep, so in my case, yes, time is the limiting factor. As a matter of fact, part of my renovation plan for the house is a panel upgrade (everything will be permitted and to code), because I have weird wiring problems in my house, since it's 50 years old, and it's currently limiting where I can put tanks, ie, there are 2 plugs per room and the walls are plaster and lath.
 

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15 A breaker means a maximum 12 A load
Sorry I have to argue with that. The max safe load of a 15amp breaker is 15 amps, recommended is about 12amps and startup load is about 20 amps (it will only hold this for about 1 min. but will very with temp, age, ext...)… This is because may items like fans and tools need a little extra power to start but will use less when running. My table saw takes 20amp to start but runs on 10amp once it's going, and is on a 15 amp breaker.

Most house hold items are rated for 120 volts but the power in your house can very from 110-125 volts. Volts*Amps=Watts, so 1800 watts is the most you should run off of a 15amp breaker. Many heaters, a/c unit's ext. are rated at 1800 and it's extremely rare to find item that are rated for more and still use a 120 volt plug.

Add up the rated power usage of everything there and it will most likely be well under 1800 watt let alone 3600 watts from 2 breakers. Unless you running big heaters

If you're going to daisy chain extensions cords or power bars make sure you don't over load them as many cheap ones are only rated for 3-5 amps or 360-600 watt. And can melt causing a shock and/or fire hazard.

But please remember it's always better to run as little as you can on each breaker as the numbers stated here are for new breakers/wire under ideal conditions.
 

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Sorry I have to argue with that. The max safe load of a 15amp breaker is 15 amps, recommended is about 12amps and startup load is about 20 amps (it will only hold this for about 1 min. but will very with temp, age, ext...)… This is because may items like fans and tools need a little extra power to start but will use less when running. My table saw takes 20amp to start but runs on 10amp once it's going, and is on a 15 amp breaker.

Most house hold items are rated for 120 volts but the power in your house can very from 110-125 volts. Volts*Amps=Watts, so 1800 watts is the most you should run off of a 15amp breaker. Many heaters, a/c unit's ext. are rated at 1800 and it's extremely rare to find item that are rated for more and still use a 120 volt plug.

Add up the rated power usage of everything there and it will most likely be well under 1800 watt let alone 3600 watts from 2 breakers. Unless you running big heaters

If you're going to daisy chain extensions cords or power bars make sure you don't over load them as many cheap ones are only rated for 3-5 amps or 360-600 watt. And can melt causing a shock and/or fire hazard.

But please remember it's always better to run as little as you can on each breaker as the numbers stated here are for new breakers/wire under ideal conditions.
if you are an electrician, i recommend you read our code book a few times, rather then use it for a door stop.

If a 15 A breaker is to support 15 A, it needs to be marked for continious duty. if not it will be rated for 80% continious duty. contractors will only install 100% rated if its in the specs, otherwise they'll save the cost. 15 A non-continious can indeed handle 15 A but it will heat up and trip, the more over 12A you go, the quicker it will trip. It doesn't work this way because the items need the power its because the characteristics of an overload tripping element gives us this benefit.

As for calculating max watts on your cct, use 110V, you likely wont have above 112V. i say this because it gives some breathing room, its not the code though. You never know when you might want to install another solenoid, and it sucks when something with that low wattage pushes you over the edge and trips the breaker. use the 120 when calculating your devices :p btw most equip is rated at 115V, not 120V.

on a side note,
Part of being an electrician is telling people how to do things the safe way and the right way, not what you can get away with. Every time you tell someone how to cut a corner, someone else figures they can do the same shortcut and disregards the circumstances of the person before them. I've been electrocuted way too much in my career from peoples stupidity, including fellow tradesmen. Not to mention boxes full of carbon and burn marks from bad connections because someone decides to save 1 min and half ass it. Electrical = fire and death risk, so treat it how it should be, even if you aren't an electrician.

One thing I do disagree with you on is the time factor vs power. I can easily pay someone to fix my power problem, but I only have 4 available spare hours a day outside of work and sleep, so in my case, yes, time is the limiting factor. As a matter of fact, part of my renovation plan for the house is a panel upgrade (everything will be permitted and to code), because I have weird wiring problems in my house, since it's 50 years old, and it's currently limiting where I can put tanks, ie, there are 2 plugs per room and the walls are plaster and lath.
Many of us are in rentals and are unable to upgrade the power :p I say its the limiting factor because time varies, and it may be what dictates how much you can do yourself, but when you got the extra time and not the power, many of us are screwed unless they spend some cash
 
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Discussion Starter #18
i have to say much of the electrical debate was way over my head ... i live in a condominium, i rent though, the building is older but i have no idea how old ... my apartment is 450 square feet and includes 7 plugs in total !!! the building has already tried to evict me because i have so many tanks, so i am pretty sure electrical upgrades are out of the question ... i am going to try a power bar into each socket and see how it goes ... i have already moved a lamp so it will be on a different breaker and i will not be plugging in my dvd player as i never use it and if i can come up with one more thing to unplug, i am hoping the power bars will be able to handle it ... i like that bar seanyuki suggested and the ones 2wheelsx2 suggested ... i appreciate the time people have taken to answer and while some replies seemed a bit over my head, i did read them but they made me want to call an electrician :) i think i will try some power bars first
 
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