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Old 09-21-2012, 07:07 PM   #1
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Default Appropriate power cord for 120V 2000W RIMS

I'm building a control panel which will power the following:

1 - RIMS tube with 120V 2000W element
2 - 2 pumps (1 March pump; 1 submersible)
3 - Auber PID, plus LED buttons, etc


I will most likely only use 1 pump while the element is being powered. My understanding is that March pumps only pull a couple of amps. I've calculated that the element has the potential to pull 16.6 amps (2000W divided by 120V).

So...my assumption is that I will need a 20A outlet to power my rig. With this in mind, I went to Home Depot looking for a power cable, and I could not find anything rated even close to 20A except the appliance cables (ie, 3 and 4 prong for dryer, oven etc). All of their extension cords--even the "heavy duty" variety--were rated at like 13-14A.

A friend of mine said I can ignore the rating and just use an extension cord that is at least 12AWG for a 20A outlet...he is not electrician though, so I'd like have this verified.

Any advice on:
1) Is my thinking correct with regard to how much power I'll need?
2) Where can I get an appropriately sized power cord?
3) Can I use an extension cord that is at least 12 AWG?

Thanks.



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Old 09-21-2012, 07:18 PM   #2
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1) Yes, your thinking is correct. You will draw under 20A with everything running. The only thing to be mindful of is what else is running on the circuit you are using.
2) I have made power cords in the past for most builds. Otherwise, you should be able to get a heavy duty cord at most big box stores. Just ask for some help.
3) From experience, you can use any old extension cord you have lying around. I have used tiny junky old cords for triple brewdays on my 120/2000W rig and the cord never even got warm. That said, I do have a 12AWG cord that I use all the time (the earlier example happened when I forgot my power cord while brewing away from home). For continuous duty, 12AWG is required, but your use wouldn't qualify as continual duty. Long and the short, try to find a 12AWG cord; don't kill yourself to do it.



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Old 09-21-2012, 07:31 PM   #3
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Home Depot and Lowes both carry 12ga (and even 10ga) extension cords. Usually they at least have the Yellow Jacket brand.

Now if you're going to try to run all that off one 20 amp circuit, you can run into the fact that normal household circuit breakers are 80% rated and you're not supposed to exceed 80% of the nominal load continuously (three hours or more). So that would technically limit you to 16 amps, but I don't know if that covers cord&plug connected devices (which among other reasons I think is why many prefer their control panels to have plugs rather than direct hardwire to the CB). The breaker will usually tolerate a slight overload for quite a while before tripping anyway, especially if it's cool in the basement as home CB's aren't usually temperature compensated.

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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They'll have 12-3 sjoow cord they'll cut to length for you. Just buy a plug and some ring terminals and you are set.

Not so sure on running your pumps on the same circuit as element. I don't plan to. Still working all that out. Luckily I have a 15 amp rihjt next to 20 amp circuit.

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:36 PM   #5
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I have run my pump and elements at the same time on the same circuit. Just realize that when the element kicks on and off the pump rpm will change slightly. i.e. you will hear the difference. It's not enough to worry about though...

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:43 PM   #6
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On a dedicated circuit (nothing else plugged in) and 20 amps, you will not use all the amps available. That is both theoretically and in my experience. Of course, actual amp usage will depend on your actual voltage at the outlet.

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Old 09-22-2012, 01:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porcupine73 View Post
Now if you're going to try to run all that off one 20 amp circuit, you can run into the fact that normal household circuit breakers are 80% rated and you're not supposed to exceed 80% of the nominal load continuously (three hours or more).
The 80% rule is true for the circuit the breaker is protecting but the breaker itself does not care. A 20 amp breaker will not trip when loaded with up to 20 amps no matter how long the load is kept on the breaker unless it's in a hot location, but pass 21 amps through the breaker and it will eventually trip - in 20 to 40 minutes.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:30 AM   #8
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Right on.

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Old 09-22-2012, 02:35 AM   #9
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This is great information; thanks so much to all!

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Old 09-22-2012, 02:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJBrewVT
They'll have 12-3 sjoow cord they'll cut to length for you. Just buy a plug and some ring terminals and you are set.
This cord worked out great...thanks.


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