Inadequate power cords

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chucko58, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I bought a new Juice Goose JG Junior rack mount power strip (a.k.a. "power conditioner") for a rack rig I put together over the holidays. The price and features were right for my application. And it says right on the front "1800 WATTS".

    Come to find out, the power cord into the JG Junior is 16 gauge, not 14 gauge as would be expected for an "1800 WATTS" power strip. 16 gauge is only rated for 13 amps! 14 gauge wire is required to carry the full 15 A that can be drawn from a standard North American power outlet.

    In fact Juice Goose says that the power cord is only 16 gauge in their spec sheet.

    This may not matter to most, but for those of us hooking up large power amps, it's essential to have a power cord that can handle all the current the rig may require. So I went to the local Home Labyrinth and bought a 10 foot, 14 gauge power cord to replace the inadequate 5' 16 ga cord.

    While I have your attention... check the standard IEC power cords in your rig.

    18 gauge is adequate for signal processors (e.g. preamps, effects, mixers, etc.) but not for anything with a power amp in it. 16 gauge is adequate for most amps up to 1000 W or so. Above that you really need 14 gauge.

    If in doubt, go to the next larger gauge (lower number). 14 gauge is adequate for anything that plugs into a standard 15 A outlet in North America.
  2. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I really wouldn't worry too much about that. Your amp is only going to approach peak wattage intermittantly, and when it does it's only for a millisecond or two. Your average output power will be WAY below your amps rated maximum. 16 gauge wire will handle 15 amps just fine for the brief periods your amp will require it.

    Using 14 gauge certainly won't hurt anything, though.
  3. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Hilarious! The POWER SENTRY surge protector strips I bought for 2-for-$14 at Costco came with 14/3 right angle cable, proper grounding/polarity indicators, 7 inputs with 3 of them widely spaced, wire management thingies, circuit breaker, and very high specs that were fully annotated (unlike what is provided in the Juice Goose specifications pdf).

    Actually, every cheap surge bar I've bought in the past 20 years or so had 14/3.
  4. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Does bring up the IEC cords shipped with power amps though: I've seen some with only 18/3 (should have been 16/3), and I think some of the 16/3-equipped ones had potential draws high enough to warrant 14/3.
  5. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    The ampere rating of wire is based not only on gauge but also length. With a ten odd foot length 16 ga will handle 20 amps. 100 feet, different story.