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Old May 12th, 2010, 01:19 AM   #1
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Extension cord requirements for Lowel Tota

I searched this forum for extension cord requirements to no avail...my apologies in advance if I missed the topic elsewhere.

I have 2 Lowel Tota that will be outputting 750w each. I need to buy power extension cords...preferably 50 or 100 ft in length.

What do I need to look for as far as attributes in extension cords?
Does the gauge of the cord matter?

Are there brands that are more reputable than others? Or, is any extension cord from Lowe's or Home Depot able to cut it?

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 02:27 AM   #2
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Hi Gabroo.................

The two lights combined take 1,500 watts.

Assuming they're both on the end of the same cord, that means the cord need to be quite comfortable with a steady current of 13.6 amps @ 110 Volts.

That's a lot of current. And a lot of cable.

By my reckoning (and you'll have to forgive me if I'm a bit out, my Electrician days are well behind me and I've never worked in the USA) I'd say you need nothing short of a 2.5mm cross section conductor on both the live and neutral.

Don't know about the States, but finding an extension cord "off the shelf" with that sort of rating would be nigh on impossible here (all the sockets here are limited to 10 amps @ 240, no wonder).

You may have to buy the cable and have suitable fittings attached and basically "make your own".

Beware, you cannot just buy "in the wall" single strand twin and earth 2.5 or 3.0, it was never designed to be used as flexible extension cords, it has to be the proper multi - strand copper PVC sheathed with PVC outer as used in normal extension cords.

The thing that is important is that current, not the voltage.

Hope that's some help.


CS
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Old May 12th, 2010, 02:49 AM   #3
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To translate Chris' quite accurate dissertation in North American English:
SOME extension cords are labeled with maximum wattage and/or cable gauge. Wall cable is 14 gauge. I would suggest that 12 gauge SHOULD be more than adequate to run 1500 watts out to 75 or so feet but look for extension cords that have their ratings printed on the box/packaging.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #4
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Would this work?

For only $19.48 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 12AWG Power Extension Cord Cable - SJTW 12/3C NEMA 5-15P TO NEMA 5-15R (15A/125V) AP305+SP506 - 50FT | Power Extensions
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Old May 13th, 2010, 01:22 AM   #5
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Hi again............

On the face of it, yes, tho' I have a reservation or two.

At 75 to 100 feet, the voltage drop on a cable rated for 15 amps MAY be enough to put a significant dent in the light output from the, er, lights, due to voltage drop along the cable run.

A 5% drop in the voltage would significantly impinge on the light quality being delivered.

You'll only know if either:

1. The packaging gives a voltage drop/ current figure for the relevant cable (I'll eat my shorts if it does)

OR

2. You buy it from somewhere where it's easilly returned and you have some way of measureing the voltage drop yourself (I guess you're not an electrician/ technician, so that seems unlikely too).

Heck, buy one and see if it does what you want, but personally, for such a long run I'd go a gauge/ rating up and be satisfied you'd done the best you could.

Incandescents are amazingly sensitive to voltage variations and a 5% drop can be quite a brown out experience.

I'll do some work on my North American English, hey, you're never too old to learn (the bugger of it is I started out speaking Canadian, ferchristsakes! Just got corrupted by all those Poms, Aussies and Kiwis).


CS
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Old May 13th, 2010, 01:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
I'll do some work on my North American English, hey, you're never too old to learn (the bugger of it is I started out speaking Canadian, ferchristsakes!
The "give away" was "2.5mm cross section conductor" instead of wire gauge! <laughs>

Are you a Canuck originally? Did I know that??
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Old May 13th, 2010, 08:44 AM   #7
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Thank you for all of your help thus far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Heck, buy one and see if it does what you want, but personally, for such a long run I'd go a gauge/ rating up and be satisfied you'd done the best you could.
CS
What is a gauge/rating up?

Also, does it make a difference if I use a 100ft wire to run a single 750w light as opposed to powering both (as far as the ~5% drop you referred to)?
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Old May 13th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Gabroo,

You'd just go from a 12 AWG UP to a 10 gauge cable. (In US wire sizes (AWG means American Wire Gauge), the smaller the number, the larger the cable conductor.)

100' of 10 gauge cable is something you'll need a box and hand truck to comfortably move. It's too heavy for an individual to carry to any practical distance unless they're a weightlifter type.

100' of 12 gauge cable is something most crew types can likely toss over a shoulder and schlepp to the next setup.

As perviously noted, the 12 gauge is rated at 12 amps - the 10 gauge is rated at 15amps. The issue is the length of your run. If you do a lot of warehouse shooting, 100' cables might make sense since it's typically a long distance between outlets. For retail stores, it's usually overkill. I carry 25' and 50' cables for general use (12 gauge exclusively) and only take along the 100' 10 gauge stock if I KNOW I'm going to need it.

Never underestimate the value of the pre-shoot scouting trip to a location!

Good luck.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #9
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Uhhh...I'm getting some LED studio lights!
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Old May 14th, 2010, 02:59 AM   #10
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Yes, Shaun...............

I'm a true blue, dyed in the wool, Canuck by birth.

London, Ontario if that counts.

As the song say's, since then "I've been everywhere, Man" and boy, you better believe it!


CS
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Old May 14th, 2010, 03:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
The two lights combined take 1,500 watts.
That's like trying to run a supermodel's blow dryer!!

Regarding cables, someone who did a lot of independent production work told me it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

At 1500 watts and 110 volts, you'll be drawing 13.6 amps. Bill Davis provides excellent practical advice. You can cheat a bit but not much.

Another option is to put a splitter close to the outlet, and run lighter individual cables to each light, rather than run a single, very heavy cable. It'll also allow more flexibility in placement.
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