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Plugging Gaming PC Into Extension Cord

PAC301
  • 28 months ago

Hi Guys,

I'm in a situation where the location of my gaming computer isn't in range of the outlet I need to plug it into. Due to spacing issues moving where the computer is located isn't an option.

Therefore I have a couple questions. First, is it ok to plug my computer into an extension cord in order to get it to the outlet? Second, if I can use an extension cord then do I need an extension cord with certain specifics, i.e. length, maximum load, etc....?

My computer is currently using the https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/LCfp99/evga-power-supply-220g20850xr power supply if that makes a difference for what kind of extension cord I need.

Thirdly, do I plug the computer into the extension cord and then directly into the outlet or can I also put it into my UPS? I currently have the following UPS (with battery backup) in place. https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B005GZRUZW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Thanks for any advice as I am not power savvy in the least.

Comments

  • 28 months ago
  • 3 points

The power supply used only tells us the theoretical maximum range of power you might be able to pull from the wall, the actual build would be more useful in calculating max load....

That being said, lets assume worst case scenario.... An 850W PSU could pull upwards of ~950W from the wall, or around 8 amps at 120V (ideal). If resistance is placed between the 120V source and PSU, it will draw more current to offset this.

Lets assume 120V at the breaker fed by some big, effectively zero resistance main lines.

Lets assume 50ft of 12 AWG wiring in the walls, followed by a 50ft, 16 AWG extension cord (cheap general purpose extensions cord, better than lamp cord but not by much).

In order to pull ~950W from a 120V source, the total circuit resistance will have to present about ~15 ohms.

The 50ft house wiring adds about 0.16 ohm.

The 50 ft general purpose extension cord adds about 0.4 ohm.

There are a large number of electrical contacts and terminations between the PSU and the source (an electrical cord, adds 8 to the circuit by itself). Every contact/connection point adds a bit more resistance than ideal continuous copper. For the sake of simplicity in estimations, lets assume 0.44ohm of contact resistance combined throughout the entire path.

Total circuit resistance to the PSU is ~1ohm. Voltage drop from the circuit itself will be ~10V. The PSU will have to draw closer to 9A to make up for the voltage loss's, and the total circuit power dissipation will wind up north of 1000W to get 950W to the PSU. (remainder lost to circuit resistance as heat).

By my figuring, the cheap 16AWG extension cord will "dissipate" about 30-40W in this circuit, and drop about 4-5V of potential. This isn't terrible, but isn't ideal either. I would not expect to start a fire with this, but for long term use, a "contractor grade" 12AWG extension cord would run cooler, and deliver more voltage to the load. This would be preferable.

In actual practice, I highly doubt your system is ever running at that power level unless you're running multiple overclocked GPU's overclocked CPU, with prim95 and firmark running all the time.

In reality, your system is likely not pulling anywhere near as much power as the estimates above, and could be happily powered through a light duty extension cord without concern.


FYI: Your PSU can draw up to ~950W, your UPS caps out at 390W when the battery is in great shape....

Chances are, your computer rarely draws more than a few hundred watts, but depending on hardware and configuration, its possible your UPS is too small for the system.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for the detailed response. As you mentioned, my PC probably doesn't run anywhere near the power levels in your examples since nothing is overclocked and it's only used for general purpose and gaming.

Based on your response and some quick reading on extension cord gauge (seeing as how I knew nothing about them until this thread) I'm leaning towards a 14AWG cord that's 25ft long, since I'm only 13ft or so short from the outlet. Are there any brands that you would recommend over others or are all extensions cords of the same gauge typically of the same quality? I was looking at something like https://www.amazon.ca/Yellow-Jacket-2886-Heavy-Duty-Contractor/dp/B000BQ8780/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1517238390&sr=8-

or

http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/noma-contractor-grade-extension-cord-14-gauge-0522315p.html#srp6&keywords=heavy+duty+extension+cord

Any thoughts?

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

I doubt you'll have any problems with either of those cords.

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

I have been running my gaming/mining PC since I built it a couple months ago... heck, all of my power, from 150 ft of extension cord (run from an outside source) for months with no issues. The extension cord goes to my high quality surge protector, then to all of my electronic devices. Oh, I also have my Kill-A-Watt between the extension cord and the surge protector.

Optimal, heck no. Does it scare me, heck yeah! The surge protector helps me be not be quite so scared, but I do not have any other choice for a while yet.

Use the highest quality and a nice high gauge extension cord, something like a contractor would use. Don't use those dinky brown things you get from WalMart.

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

They make 25ft power cords. Check Monoprice.

UPSs are always a good idea.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

I never even considered just buying a longer power cord for the PC. I think I will probably go that route,

Thanks for the response.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

So with your battery back up, that cord has you short to the outlet? How many feet are you trying to connect with?

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm roughly 13ft short of the outlet.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 on the using a high quality low gauge wire extension cord for this. (low gauge = thicker metal inside)

For sure don't run it off one of those little brown extension cords you get from the dollar store for a box fan or something like that. a nice big heavy duty yardwork/powertool one should keep you away from burning down the neighborhood.

Also, probably don't want the fire inspector to see you doing extension cord to extension cord... (power strips/UPS count as an extension cord in this case)

the PSU you use doesn't really matter cuz it'll only pull the power needed that the pc wants to use. Actually knowing your whole build might be good though. Have you already used that UPS with your pc in a different location?

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

This is my full build: https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/PAC301/saved/J9MxFT.

I have used the PC with the UPS I have in the past without any issue. However, if plugging the PC into an extension cord and then into the UPS would be an issue/safety concern then I have no problem not doing that and just plugging the extension cord straight into the outlet.

Would something like this be considered "heavy duty" enough accommodate my needs? I'm short about 13ft from the outlet so I don't need a super long 100ft+ extension cord.

https://www.amazon.ca/Yellow-Jacket-2886-Heavy-Duty-Contractor/dp/B000BQ8780/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1517238390&sr=8-6&keywords=heavy+duty+extension+cord

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

That one is fine for your use.

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