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Author Topic: Power Outage?  (Read 5359 times)
IlbiStarz
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June 06, 2011, 05:50:13 AM
 #1

So..I got a power outage today. (kinda)

I've been running my two rigs for at least two weeks now, but this is the first time this has happened. The power for me and my sister's room got knocked out..couldn't turn on anything. My dad reset the breaker (I think) and it's fine now. The thing is, I don't think I'm actually using that much power. The two rigs running have a 950w and 850w.

How do I know how much electricity use is safe? I've moved the other rig to another room for now, but I'm scared what's going to happen to the next rig that's coming soon..
Since I know nothing about wiring, etc...

Thanks guys!

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June 06, 2011, 05:55:53 AM
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Either keep mom's vacuum cleaner off your circuit and you should be good.
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June 06, 2011, 05:56:12 AM
 #3

Hope you stay safe but if you have an accident I want to hear about it, or be notified by next of kin.

IlbiStarz
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June 06, 2011, 05:58:09 AM
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Either keep mom's vacuum cleaner off your circuit and you should be good.

XD
Okay, well how do I know which room is part of which circuit? And how much can each circuit take? I'm guessing around 2000w because that's what my computers were drawing.

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June 06, 2011, 06:05:27 AM
 #5

There are not generic answers to your questions. They are house-specific. We have no way of knowing how your house is structured. How many jelly beans are in my jar?

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June 06, 2011, 06:06:21 AM
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Either keep mom's vacuum cleaner off your circuit and you should be good.

Hide mom's vacuum cleaner...and toaster oven and blender and hair dryer and...
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June 06, 2011, 06:12:06 AM
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Step 1) Ask your Mom, Dad, Uncle, Super Intendent or anyone older than you to explain what a circuit-breaker box is.
Step 2) Ask them, or Google, Ohm's law.  Or figure this very simple formula out for yourself: Watts / Volts = Amps
Step 3) If the power went out in your whole house and not just your bedroom, recognize that you just wasted time.
Step 4) Go outside and look at your power meter.  Record it's current reading.
Step 5) Wait 24 hours
Step 6) Go compare and make sure you aren't spinning the meter faster than a BlueRay disc.
Step 7) If you still have OCD, call the power company and ask if there was an outage in your area instead of asking a forum to speculate for you.  You could save a lot of time by skipping to this step.

Smiley

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June 06, 2011, 06:18:49 AM
 #8

Check the fuse box, it might be labeled there. While you're at it, you could check the amperage of the fuse on your circuit, so you know if you're pushing it or not. And get your own power meter (http://www.amazon.com/P3-International-P4400-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU). All the kids in school will think you're cool if you have one. Not the mentioning the girls. You'll be chasing them away like flies.

If you want to impress your dad, ask dad to whip out the home wiring diagram. If he asks why, tell him you want to fight communism.
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June 06, 2011, 06:46:55 AM
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Either keep mom's vacuum cleaner off your circuit and you should be good.

XD
Okay, well how do I know which room is part of which circuit? And how much can each circuit take? I'm guessing around 2000w because that's what my computers were drawing.

Your average 15Amp 120 volt receptacle will spit out 1,800 watts maximum. It is only recommended to operate at 80% continuous load however, or 1,440.

I hope you are paying your parents at least $50/month for using so much electricity!
IlbiStarz
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June 06, 2011, 07:03:09 AM
 #10

Either keep mom's vacuum cleaner off your circuit and you should be good.

XD
Okay, well how do I know which room is part of which circuit? And how much can each circuit take? I'm guessing around 2000w because that's what my computers were drawing.

Your average 15Amp 120 volt receptacle will spit out 1,800 watts maximum. It is only recommended to operate at 80% continuous load however, or 1,440.

I hope you are paying your parents at least $50/month for using so much electricity!

Do you mean 15amp 120volt for each plug or each circuit? My computers were connected to different plugs so i think you mean circuit...
Any way to increase the max wattage then? Ill only be able to run 1 computer on each circuit then Sad

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June 06, 2011, 09:19:50 PM
 #11

Do you mean 15amp 120volt for each plug or each circuit? My computers were connected to different plugs so i think you mean circuit...
Any way to increase the max wattage then? Ill only be able to run 1 computer on each circuit then Sad

The way homes are wired, each "circuit" goes to several different plugs. The assumption is that you won't put too much load on any of them. Where high-drain appliances are expected (like the kitchen), the top plug may be on a separate circuit from the bottom plug. At least in my house, those are still shared among 2 receptacles (found by breaker trip when both microwave and electric frying pan were on at the same time: fixed by using the second circuit).

I calculated in another thread that you can only draw about 960 Watts continuously from a 120V, 15amp circuit if your power supply has a poor power factor (of 0.67 (4 of 12 amps are wasted)). The kill-a-Watt (and similar meters I assume) will tell you the power factor of the load. What is actually important is current draw. If you have an old or cheap power supply, it will have an approximately capacitive load. That causes the current draw to lead to voltage. At the zero-crossing of the wave-form; you are heating the wires with current, but supplying no power (power=current x voltage).

The good news is that the power company does not charge small users for their power factor: only wattage consumed. The bad news is that if you have very bad power factor (anything below 0.9 is bad), you can't use as much power without overloading the circuit. Power supplies with Active Power Factor Correction should give you good power factor. I have also found vacuum cleaners employ power factor correction as well: probably in the form of a capacitor (capacitive load) in parallel with the motor (inductive load).

I think just about the only way to know which plugs and light fixtures are on what circuit is to systematically turn off the  (smaller) breakers one at a time to see where the power goes out. To be honest, I have not yet done that in my own home. It will likely inconvenience all of the other power users Wink

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June 07, 2011, 01:56:50 AM
 #12

Cut down your GPU overclocks, or upgrade your PSUs to 80 PLUS Gold certified PSUs.

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June 07, 2011, 02:07:01 AM
 #13

Perhaps acquiring an UPS for your rigs would be profitable in the long term, keeping them mining while you go rearm the breaker?

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June 07, 2011, 02:15:11 AM
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A Line Conditioner as well as a UPS should fix minor load balancing issues.

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June 07, 2011, 02:38:58 AM
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Perhaps acquiring an UPS for your rigs would be profitable in the long term, keeping them mining while you go rearm the breaker?

UPS' are great and definitely should be a must have on any machine that you put more than a few hundred dollars into, but there's one problem.  You need some hefty UPS' to handle the big 850-950 watt PSU's.  I have a UPS that's rated for 1350 watts with a single 850 PSU rig plugged into it.  It's drawing 700-725 watts at max load.  UPS tells me it has a total of 4 minutes runtime when the power goes out.

Don't expect some 300 or 500 watt UPS to keeps your rigs running.  While it's probably better than a power strip for conditioning the power and protecting from spikes, it'll probably drop immediately if the power goes out.
IlbiStarz
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June 07, 2011, 03:07:47 AM
 #16

Is UPS a power strip or something?

My power supples are a 80+ Gold NZXT 850w and Corsair TX950 watt, so they aren't crappy or anything.

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June 07, 2011, 03:10:47 AM
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UPS stands for "Uninterruptible Power Supply".  It's basically a power strip that has a battery built into it so it can switch over to battery power if the main power drops.  Most office stores, department stores etc., will sell a few of them.  Big brands are APC and Cyberpower.

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=72&name=UPS

IlbiStarz
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June 07, 2011, 03:12:02 AM
 #18

UPS stands for "Uninterruptible Power Supply".  It's basically a power strip that has a battery built into it so it can switch over to battery power if the main power drops.  Most office stores, department stores etc., will sell a few of them.  Big brands are APC and Cyberpower.

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=72&name=UPS



Wow expensive XD

Okay, so how do I see how many amps each of the circuits in my house can take? And is there any way to upgrade this? I've moved the 2nd computer for now, but my 3rd rig may give me trouble..

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June 07, 2011, 03:20:50 AM
 #19

Every circuit breaker in the breaker box will have an Amp rating.  Usually 10-20 if I remember correctly.  Go check out the breaker box and there should a b number on the breaker itself.
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June 07, 2011, 06:45:20 AM
 #20

Perhaps acquiring an UPS for your rigs would be profitable in the long term, keeping them mining while you go rearm the breaker?

I think this is a bad idea. If you are tripping the breaker, your are overheating the wiring. You really should wait at least 5 minutes before rearming the breaker.

IlbiStarz needs to put each machine on a separate circuit as far as I can tell. He/she already started the circuit mapping by tripping the breaker. IlbiStarz, you did write down what plugs and lights were on the breaker that tripped, right? For lights you can estimate the power draw by adding up the ratings on the bulbs.

PS: For running off of battery power for any length of time, you probably want your rig to draw less than 60W. I think it may be feasible for me to do some mining using solar power at 12watts. 12 Watts is 288 Watt-hours (1.04 MJ) per day. A 12V battery would need a capacity of at least 24 Amp-hours to supply that much load all day (6 amp-hours for a 48V battery). You will want to be able to fully charge the battery in full sun during the day. To do this, the solar panels must charge the battery within ~8 hours (preferably 6). That will take at least 36Watts (assuming 100% battery efficiency) + the 12Watts you are constantly drawing (48 Watts). Round up to a 60Watt panel. For a 60Watt load, you need to multiply all those numbers by 5 (30 amp-hour 48 Volt battery, 300 Watts of panels).

Why am I bringing this up? A UPS loosing power in the form of waste heat will make the breaker problem worse. Sure, you may be able to run for 5 minutes while the wire cools. But then, you will trip the breaker immediately because your 1600 Watt load will become 2000 Watts as you charge the UPS battery. Note: batteries take at least an hour to charge; if you don't want to degrade them over time.

PPS: power usage for computers is difficult to estimate without actually using a watt-meter. Most power supply calculators online over-estimate the power requirements to sell you a bigger power supply. Cheap power supplies can't even supply their rated power. In other words: if both rigs have approximately the same hardware, they should have approximately the same power draw, despite the power supply ratings.

PPPS: for ball-park, 30W for board + rated CPU wattage + Rated GPU wattages + 6W/ hard-disk).

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