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Old 07-19-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
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Draw from a computer?


Hey guys,

not exactly a homeowner myself

Living in an apartment rental with a roommate. Just wondering a few things about my setup, since I just bought a 6000btu window AC today. Sidenote, putting off purchasing an A/C until the SWELTERING heat is a bad idea They were out of stock on the smaller units and I didnt want to drive all around town.

My buildings older. I noticed one day when painting, that when I popped my outlet/switch wall covers off, everything was wired with aluminum, not copper. Not sure if that makes a big difference to these questions.

So my AC says it uses 585 watts. My PC tower which I custom built for gaming and graphic design has a pretty beefy power supply. Its been a while, but I believe its a 600w power supply. Does that mean my computer is drawing 600w whenever its on? Also if I run the AC on low, is it using 585 watts, or is that only when its cranked to the limit?


I *think* by bedroom has just 1 circuit. I figure most are built this way. I haven't dug too much into my electrical panel in the unit, but I took a quick look once and noticed 5-6 fuses in there. 5 looked the same, 1 looked different. I should look with my flashlight. I bet 1 is seperate for the oven, and the others probably correspond to bathroom, bedroom 1, bedroom 2, kitchen, living room.

If I remember the basics right, a 15 amp circuit at 120v can do 1800 watts. My PC and AC eat up 1200 alone. I haven't got around to bringing all my home audio/DJ equipment/TV in yet, but I assume I couldn't run everything at once? I don't know what kind of power they draw, I think I have a 400 watt stereo reciever and a 31" flat panel. My computers typically on all the time, but after 15 mins it goes into sleep mode. However I'd like to connect my DJ gear to my computer but I'm worried I'll be blowing fuses left right and center if I do this in the summer with an AC on.

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Old 07-19-2011, 03:54 PM   #2
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Draw from a computer?


The stereo system doesn't draw anywhere near 400 watts unless it is playing really loudly with a lot of bass. Most of the time it will be drawing less than 100 watts.

The computer does not draw its maximum of 600 watts unless you have a lot of accessories and expansion cards in it.

The air conditioner probably draws more than half the 585 or so watts on the low setting. A 6000 BTU air conditioner is not all that big in terms of cooling power. All AC units will take awhile to cool down a 90 degree room when you just get home from work.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-19-2011 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:37 PM   #3
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Draw from a computer?


You have several circuits in the apt. You may want to determine which fuse controls which receptacle. You can do that by plugging in a lamp and unscrewing the fuses until it goes out. You may want to try to keep the A/C on a circuit by itself but it only requires about 5 amps. you can use an extension cord for the computer if necessary. AL wire is not great but that's what you have. As long as the connections are tight you should have no problems. You may be lucky the stores were out of A/C units. 6000 BTUs is not that big.
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:37 PM   #4
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Draw from a computer?


So I shouldn't have any problems right? And if my setup did somehow draw too much power (I dont think it would) all that would happen is the fuse would blow right? I dont fully understand fuses. Are they a form of protection for a room, like if you use too much power it blows the fuse? I know the more power you draw the hotter a wire gets. How does a fuse work? By wire temperature or something? Thanks for your advice. I've been in my roommates room, he tries to keep his 5000btu at 70 but on days like this his room still feels hot. He runs an AC in his room too, but I would assume bedrooms are on their own power circuits. I should investigate that fuse panel anyways, find out what controls what in case something blows.


My room isn't that large, about 10x10' so I hope the unit is enough, I think it should be for a smaller room like mine. Thursday is supposed to be record hot, I hope to get the whole AC install done tonight or tomorrow. My window is shapped a little odd, and I have this marble granite bottom. So I'm thinking about another trip to the HD to pick up some lumber, it looks like I'll need to make a custom frame/brace to support the unit.



For unscrewing a fuse, is it that simple? I don't seem to have a way to turn the power off for my apartment (dont think theres any "master" switch). So power is live in the fuse panel (I believe...new at this). So I can simply unscrew a fuse and that will shut down the circuit? Any other safety tips, I dont want to zap myself

Last edited by mtr_can; 07-19-2011 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:02 PM   #5
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Draw from a computer?


Before you unscrew the fuse make sure all of the major loads are off. Lamps are ok but not the A/C. Yes, its just a matter of unscrewing the fuse. You don't have to take it out. Plug a lamp in the plugs to see if they light up. Once you determine which plugs are on the ckt, just screw the fuse back tightly but don't break it off. You and your room mate need to put your A/C's on different circuits. Do you know what the amperage rating of the fuse panel is? If should be on the inside of the door. Is the A/C the major load on the panel. No elect range or dryer? If its new I am suprised it has screw in fuses.

Last edited by wareagle; 07-19-2011 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:31 AM   #6
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Draw from a computer?


Your A/C unit is more than adequate for the size of room. Your PC won't draw 600 watts unless you have all the 12v rails fully loaded and every component at chugging at full power - not realistic. Your stereo will draw very little unless you crank the bass/volume to max - and even then, that's peak power. I can't see your PC + stereo using more than 250-300w under normal usage.

I entered your room into the Consumer Reports (ugh) A/C sizing worksheet in a worst-case scenario.

Living in the south, with two exterior walls in full sun, uninsulated walls, uninsulted ceiling with no attic, 20 sq ft of windows, 2 people in the bedroom, a 600w constant draw and the day's sun, you'd need 9800 (+/- 500) BTUs. More realistic measures give an estimate of about 4500-5000 BTU's during the day.

Window shades are pretty key to keeping the heat away from the center of the room. Also consider tinted/UV window films... they really work. I rented a 750 sq ft studio circa 1950, with a flat chip and seal roof directly above, single pane windows and a sliding glass door (all facing North), and no A/C. A 10% film on the sliding glass door cut it down from about 115 degrees to 105 degrees. When they upgraded to dual-pane, that gave another 10 degrees or so. Right before I moved out after 5 years, we got small Chinese made patio A/C units, and we were stylin!

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