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rjschwar 12-14-2009 01:55 PM

Home Theater Dedicated Circuit
I am planning to run a dedicated circuit for my home theater system. Currently I have a 46" wall mounted LCD, and plan to soon add a Home Theater PC, which will also be my main computer. I also would like the potential to add a 5.1 or 7.1 sound system w/ amp, receiver, etc. in the future. In terms of a dedicated circuit, would this be recommended for said components, and if so, should I go with 20 amp, or 15 amp? I figured 20 amp would be best, and not worry about it, but this raises some issues to me. Firstly, most surge protectors are rated for 15 amps. If I ran 20 amp wire and breaker, then just plugged everything into a 15 amp surge protector, wouldn't the 20 amp circuit be pointless? I assume surge protectors have a built in fuse or breaker correct? Also, am I correct that I need a 20 amp outlet, if it is a dedicated outlet? How I understand it is that you can put multiple 15 amp outlets on a 20 amp circuit, but if it is a circuit dedicated to one outlet, the outlet must be 20 amps. Also, since my TV is wall mounted I plan to have a recessed outlet in the wall, then run 12 gauge wire to an inlet down near the dedicated outlet. This way I can plug my TV into the surge protector via a short extension cord from power inlet to surge protector, and basically have a built into the wall extension cord. This allows me to have all my other home theater equipment near the ground, and my TV up high w/ no wires showing, and have it all going to one surge protector. (I also plan to run coax, and HDMI etc. in the wall to built in outlets behind the TV) With this being said, would the TV outlet/inlet need to be 20 Amps as well, since it is going onto the 20 amp dedicated circuit w/ the HTPC and audio equipment? I am not sure if I can use a 15 amp outlet/inlet, because the TV will not be pulling the 20 amps. Is this a code violation, because someone could come along and plug in a power strip, and overload the 15 amp outlet while not tripping the 20 amp breaker? Thanks, Richard

Scuba_Dave 12-14-2009 02:06 PM

I never run 15a outlet runs
I use 12g wire & 20a breakers
Most surges are 15a, you can always plug 2 in
15a duplex receptacle is OK, you could not use a single 15a receptacle on a 20a run:

15a are rated for 20a pass thru, each outlet can handle 15am whcih is why you need a duplex

Your in-wall run sounds fine, many people simply want to run the wire thru the wall cavity :thumbsup:

You can trip a 15a surge all day long & it will be fine - might wear it out
You do not need a a 20a surge on a 20a circuit
I think the recessed outlet/inlet should be 20a rated
If its a single it has to be a 20a to be on a 20a circuit
But sort of a grey area as yours will not be wired into the electric system
But I would go with the 20a rated...and use a recessed duplex behind the TV

pyper 12-14-2009 02:16 PM

If it was me, I'd run at least two circuits and put each one to numerous outlets, because 5 years from now you're going to "need" to buy new electronics that don't exist today, and you're going to want them on different walls.

I don't think there's any real advantage to having a wire going to a single outlet in this application. Any noise your other appliances make on the line is going to propogate through the breaker box anyway.

For the TV one option that elimintes all your questions and achieves what you want is to build a recess behind the TV with an outlet and put a surge supressor on it. In all my life I've never heard of a TV set being damaged by a surge that came in through the power lines. Ditto for computers. Have seen and owned many that were fried through antenna and telephone lines though. Then again, surge protectors are cheap... YMMV.

rjschwar 12-14-2009 03:02 PM

My concern wasn't so much for noise as it was for the sound system amplifier sucking up alot of power. How many amps (amperes) does a typical amplifier pull? Also, do surge protectors have built in circuit breakers that would trip at say 15 amps? In regard to power surges, it is possible to put a suppressor/protector at the cable/phone input to the house? I am also planning to put a distribution panel for my home network/cable and run this to multiple rooms. Is there anything that can go here to protect from surges on the cable/phone on all downstream connections? Thanks, Richard

Scuba_Dave 12-14-2009 03:10 PM

Large plasma TV's can pull over 500w by themselves
Sound systems can vary widely...100w or less up to 1000w (rated) or more
I'm not sure how much power they take
One I saw was rated at 1200w, but uses 290w (?) that doesn't sound too bad
But then some higher rated units say power draw is 120w

They do make surge protectors that will cover cable & phone

rjschwar 12-14-2009 03:21 PM

I have seen many surge protectors that protect coax and phone lines, but is there an easy solution to protect the incoming line, and have that surge protection flow to all the rest of my coax and phone connections in the house? Richard

Brik 12-14-2009 03:33 PM

I don't like the idea of running extension cords inside walls. Thats me. I would rather put in an outlet up high and one down low, even if on same circuit. Some areas require ALL new wiring to be 12g wire. Might as well put it in, it wont cost too much more now. You can put in those boxes that let you flush mount your TV without the cord getting in the way.

As for surge protectors - read the fine print, the guarantees dont apply unless every connected wire has protection (network, a/v, phone) at every possible point. The warranties are a scam. oh and they exclude lightning and certain other surges too.

For really high end gear some people want power conditioners. These will even out the powers ups and downs. They are expensive and I double what will be needed for your setup.

pyper 12-14-2009 03:36 PM

My 31" TV, surround sound system and the works takes about 100 watts to run, according to my kill-a-watt meter. I think it's a "250 watt" amp.

If you've ever been to a bar to watch a band play where the music was way, way too loud, they probably had the PA, mixing board, and who knows what else all on the same circuit. Hardly anything electronics draws as much current as what it's rated at.

After a lightning strike took out the phone system at work we had a lightening arrestor installed. It's the one on the right hand side of this page:

It works.

jerryh3 12-14-2009 03:51 PM

My TV is hooked to an UPS/Power Conditioner with this:
You should be alright with everything on a single 20A circuit unless you a running a large amplifier/sub.

mgarfield 12-14-2009 05:27 PM

You need to get some real high end preamp/amp combos and subs to worry about anything more than a 20a service. Run a 20a service to where ever your gear is going to be, do a 2 gang box with 2 15a duplex receps. This will give you 4 plugs, get a good surge protector for the stereo gear, Rotel makes a nice one for about $200 bucks (RLC-900) and it fits in the rack with the rest of the gear!! Get a "standard" PC surge protector for the PC, add a UPS for the PC if you wanna go all out. Run the TV off the same service, you can get surge protected outlets for this purpose.

As far as the coax and phone, dont bother with the surge protectors that "protect" coax and phone, your wasting your time, and most of them will not pass 2way which is a big issue if your using a cable box. The better alternative is to make sure the cable and phone services are properly grounded. The cable should be grounded with a ground block or at the first split, 12g solid copper, bonded to the power service ground, and no longer than the shortest cable run AND less then 15 ft is ideal. Same for the phone, only the phone should be grounded at the NID/Demarc, separate 12g wire and bonded to the power ground with its own connection.


Scuba_Dave 12-14-2009 05:34 PM

If it's a hard area to wire run a 12-3
Then you can add a circuit (MWBC) if needed in the future
I have access underneath thru the basement, & thru the garage in my other room

rjschwar 12-15-2009 12:20 PM

I like the 2 gang box idea w/ 4 plugs. I think I will put these four outlets on a 20 amp circuit. I had been looking at the monoprice "in wall power cord": Would an inspector have a problem w/ this on the 20 amp circuit as there would be the 4 other 15 amp plugs on there as well? I know it is kind of a gray area as it is not actually hard wired to the circuit, but if it was would this be a code violation because it is a single receptacle on a 20 amp circuit that has 4 other outlets already on it?

AllanJ 12-15-2009 01:23 PM

Monoprice "in line" just preceding -- The link did not work, page could not be found.

Nothing wrong with putting receptacles in convenient locations for the TV etc. and wiring themm to a male receptacle (or inlet) possibly in thee next room where a UPS or surge protectir can be put.

Howcome the forum types back what I tupe a t just one character perseoncdd? so i cannot see what I ma typing?

If you have a 20 amp circuit ending in an inlet fed by a 15 amp surge protector, some day you or someone else may put in a 20 amp surge protection so the 12 gauge wire is not wasted.

An "extension coud" per se may not be put inside a wall.

pyper 12-15-2009 01:45 PM

I still vote for more outlets. I just got done wiring my livingroom, carefully thinking through were everything was going to go. Guess what?

rjschwar 12-15-2009 02:48 PM

For some reason when I post, it removes the white space from the posts. Is there something simple I'm missing that will let me enter newlines other than simply pressing enter? I use enter and it works in the text box, but the post removes this. The link is the same link that was shown three posts above it. I know I can't put an actual extension cord in the wall, but I am replicating that by running 12-2 NM from an outlet behind the TV to a male inlet down by the rest of my outlets on the dedicated circuit. This in effect creates an extension cord in the wall, but it is to code, as I will use 12 gauge NM. The four outlets are meant for use only with home theater/electronics. I will be rewiring most of my house over the next year replacing all the knob and tube and increasing service to 200 amps, and will have a separate 20 amp circuit for the rest of the living room outlets to code...outlet at least every 12 feet, etc. I feel it is safe to say that this is really the only place in the room where a TV "works" as it will be hung above the fire place. The other walls just wouldn't make sense. I just wasn't sure if the single (not duplex) recessed receptacle can be one of several 15 amp outlets on a 20 amp circuit. Thanks for all the help, Richard

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