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Multiple Amps - On/Off with Power Strip?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Fret Wilkes, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. Fret Wilkes

    Fret Wilkes Friend of Leo's

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    Hi all,

    Apologies if this is a lame question, but if I have 5 amps at home all in the same power strip, can I leave the amp switches ON and then power them all on/off at once via the strip? I like to plug in and out of various amps while practicing, and I understand it's good for the caps to power them up occasionally.

    I've had someone tell me that this should not be done, always use the amp switch, but I can't say that I consider the person an "expert". Why, it shouldn't be done I was never told.

    I don't see the issue between using the amp switch and using the power strip, but I'd love to be enlightened.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Afflicted

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    Powering up 5 amps at the same time could cause a circuit breaker to trip in your house circuits. The initial current surge could exceed the limit.
     
  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    And many power strips have a built-in resettable circuit breaker that may pop on the initial surge.

    Try it and see if it causes either the strip's breaker to pop or your home's branch circuit breaker to trip. If it doesn't, no worries.

    The only time to be concerned is if the AC power cable from the strip to the wall becomes warm in use. I mention this because many power strips these days use cheap, thin aluminum wire that is actually below the Volt/Amp rating printed on the cable jacket. Even if the wire looks like copper, a lot of these imported power strips use copper-plated aluminum wire.
     
  4. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    There's no reason not to switch the power externally. The power switch in most amps is in the hot side of the power cord where it comes in. If you leave it on, the amp isn't going to know or care how the electrons got there.

    As far as the power strip goes, if you know the inrush current of your amps and the total doesn't exceed the 15 amps an outlet can handle, you're fine. I could easily see five amplifiers drawing more than 3A each on power-up. There are rack-mount power distribution units that will turn the outlets on in sequence with a delay between them, but they're considerably more expensive than most power strips.
     
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  5. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Like they said, try it and if nothing trips you are fine. I have never come across power bars with copper plated aluminum wires. I did a search on it and did not come up with anything for power wire. There is solid aluminum plated wire but that is a different beast and is not made to be flexible, also communication cabling which can be copper plated aluminum. I would trust the rating on the power bar.
     
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  6. Fret Wilkes

    Fret Wilkes Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you all for the input. I'll give it a go and see what happens. Have a great weekend one and all.
     
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  7. pedalcr8z

    pedalcr8z Tele-Meister

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    More importantly realize that with that many amps you really shouldn't be going into a power strip whether they trip the breaker or not. You ought to research proper power management as you have an expensive as well as potentially dangerous time bomb waiting to happen as well as crosstalk and ground noise issues.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/power-management-for-live-sound/
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
  8. avspecialist

    avspecialist Tele-Meister

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    The other thing, besides overload of the strip or the outlet, is if they are tube amps, I wouldn’t turn them all on all the time, you would be wasting the longevity of the power tubes mostly and somewhat of the preamp tubes. If you want the convenience of a power strip, get something like a Panamax, they are solid. Then plug in all the amps and only power up the ones you plan on using with the amps power switch.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
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  9. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Uh, sorry no.
     
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  10. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well then just have the amps off and the strip on then just power up the amps you want on.
     
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Depends on the power strip too, a quality amp power switch costs almost $10 while a power strip might cost $5 including all the other parts.
    Cheap switches can have arcing in the contacts, AFAIK, maybe I'm picking nits.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
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  12. Piotr

    Piotr Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    You are not. A report showed up recently about the EU power strips and the results were horrific. Most power strips were shown to have design errors.
     
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  13. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I wouldn't. But that's just me.
     
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  14. Bob M

    Bob M Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I have arc fault breakers on my outlets. I have had cheap power strips as well as old tube amps trip these breakers. I think we take our power for granted. I’m pretty careful when I plug stuff into the wall.
     
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  15. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    The amps don't know if you're flipping the power at the switch on the amp, a power strip, the breaker, or where. As long it's getting juice, it's fine.
     
  16. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Holic

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    Nobody asked if we're talking about five Frontman 25Rs, five tweed Deluxes or five SVTs.
     
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  17. bcorig

    bcorig Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    These are expensive but I picked one up at Amazon for 40% off.
    It replaced my Furman 6 outlet
    I’m curious about 5 amps on simultaneously.
    https://rocknstompn.com/
     
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  18. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    `
    I really don't see the point of powering up that many amps at the same time - unless you're this guy:

    jimi.jpg


    ...and even then I'd still only power them up one at a time.

    I have two of my amps (and effects pedals) on a single power strip, but I always turn on the power strip first then one amp at a time - even if I decide I want to use both for whatever reason.

    I'm not saying you can't power them all at the same time, but like @Telecastoff1, I wouldn't do it myself either...



    `
     
  19. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Anybody here know how much a window air conditioner draws to start up?
     
  20. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Holic

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    Depends on the window, I think. The bigger 120v units can draw 10 or 11 amperes. That's why the manual will tell you not to use an extension cord. And all the newer ones I've seen have some manner of resettable breaker built into the plug.

    As far as the original question, you're probably not going to break anything or burn the house down, but I'd want to use a switch designed for the current demand.

    How about this? Have an electrician add a switched wall socket, like people used to have for the lamps in the living room. Come into your music room, turn on the lights and turn on the amplifiers with two wall switches!
     
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