Stupid Question Regarding Power Cords
So I just completed a long cross country move from Arizona to New York to Maine, and I recently unpacked all of my non-essential musical items. Included were several amps (bass, guitar, power). Long story short, the power cords to each of those amps were all mixed together and not labeled, so I have no idea which cord goes to which amp. To further complicate matters, only two out of eight are marked with 'specs' (both as 10 amp / 125 volts). So are all power cords created equal? If so, thanks all! If not, how the hell can I match them up?
They should all be fine in any amp that they fit in. Some are better quality than others. But functionally, unless they crap out, they are the same. Mine all live in the gear box that travels around with me and I just grab whichever one is on top.
PS: Not a stupid question. Not everyone is an electrician or electronics guy. I'm sure you are great at something I would have to ask basic questions about.
They all carry 120vac @ 10 amps or less which will suit any bass amp.
The guitar head I have is a custom tube job:
10 watts, switchable 16 / 8 / 4 ohm.
The power amp I have is a QSC GX5:
8 ohm; / both channels driven / 1 kHz: 500 W
8 ohm; / single channel driven / 1 kHz; 600 W
4 ohm; / both channels driven / 1 kHz; 700 W
4 ohm; / single channel driven / 1 kHz; 850 W
Just dont try to run your electric lawnmower or weedwhacker with these power cords.
They will heat up and burst into flames. :eek:
Thanks two fingers and skychief - I appreciate the help!
And for your power amps you are still good to go. The electrical world is trying to protect us from ourselves. Have you ever noticed an outlet (maybe in a commercial building) that has two of the slots turned sideways? (see pic) That's (probably) a 15A 240V outlet. The reason the slots are turned sideways is to keep you from plugging in a device that is not rated for that much juice. In many cases, the same concept applies for power cords. If it fits, it's fine. If the device is rated for a bunch more juice, it will (likely) be shaped differently.
That all makes sense to me! Thanks again!
They should all be (but it can be VERY SUBTLE if you don't know what you are looking for) marked with the size & type of the wire, as well as a UL symbol. "number of amps" is not uniformly marked, but wire gauge is.
99% of the interchangeable "IEC" (also same connector most computers use) powercords are going to be marked something like:
(UL) SJT 18/3 (and a bunch of other gobbledygook.)
It's usually imprinted (no color, just an indent) or faintly printed repeatedly (often 2 foot repeat) along the length of the cable.
If you happen to have some that are actually "better" (many that are "thicker" than average just have fat rubber) they might be marked 16/3 or even 14/3 (the lower the first number, the fatter the wire) and those should go to whatever draws the most power - evidently your GX5 amp.
The specs you need to look at for the GX5 are the power INPUT, which are a bit further down the chart. You're looking at the input power input cord, after all. That one probably should have a 14/3 power cord, or at least a 16/3. I've picked out just the amps in and the GX5 from the spec chart for the whole series I found:
QSC GX Specs
AC Current, 120 VAC GX5
Operating Condition AC amps
8 + 8 ohms, 1/8 power 1 3.3
8 + 8 ohms, 1/3 power 2 8.5
8 + 8 ohms, full power 3 16.2
4 + 4 ohms, 1/8 power 1 5.8
4 + 4 ohms, 1/3 power 2 11.2
4 + 4 ohms, full power 3 24.5
1 1/8 power represents typical operating conditions
2 1/3 power represents peak program levels
3 Full power is breaker limited to short periods
To what extent are "typical" "peak" and "full" power actually being drawn? We can guess a bit: Note 3 mentions that peak power is limited to short periods by a circuit breaker, which are probably "very" short periods, since normal 120V outlets are limited to 15 amps (plugs with just one of the blades turned sideways can run 20 amps - the matching outlet in the wall has a "T" shaped hole on one blade, so both 15 and 20 amp plugs can be used in it, usually.) So 24 amps for more than the briefest time is not really OK for 120V input (can be fine with 240V input, where it would only be 12 amps, as explained by another note I didn't copy.) So unless you trip breakers a lot, "full" either happens for milliseconds or not at all.
Still, worth a careful look to see if one cord really IS different from the rest, and belongs in that beefy power amp.
My QSC PLX2402 has an attached power cord which is quite thick. The amp is rated for up to 2400w but I would not use more than 1500w. However, the extension cord I use is average diameter. Seeing that super heavy duty power cord coming from the amp makes me wonder if I should be using an equally robust extension cord.
YES - It is important to check the actual gauge - some cords are fatter just because they have more insulation. AND your extension cord can and maybe should be larger than your line cord, as it has a much longer distance to run.
Also for a very long cord it's better to be bigger than the power cord to allow for "voltage drop" if you are using a high power amp.
Edit: long = 100' or more
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