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Old 07-14-2012, 11:47 PM   #1
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Tapping off circuit


I want to put an outlet on a circuit in my basement to run a couple of computers. There are two circuits I can easily tap in to - the sump pump or my sprinkler system controller.

Both use yellow romex wiring, 12/3 I think, and are 20 amp. Is a sprinkler controller really that beefy to require a 20 amp circuit? Should I try to come up with another solution or do you think I could tap in to one of these?

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Old 07-14-2012, 11:58 PM   #2
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Tapping off circuit


if the sprinkler controller has a plug and a receptacle then use that. Your pump could be 240v and even if it's not you don't want a motor load running on a line with a receptacle that's powering a computer. Your sprinkler controller probably draws less than half an amp so if it's a dedicated line just for that you've got plenty to spare there.

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Old 07-15-2012, 05:18 PM   #3
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Tapping off circuit


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if the sprinkler controller has a plug and a receptacle then use that. Your pump could be 240v and even if it's not you don't want a motor load running on a line with a receptacle that's powering a computer. Your sprinkler controller probably draws less than half an amp so if it's a dedicated line just for that you've got plenty to spare there.
Andrew,
Thanks for the reply. There is a receptacle but I would be putting another one in. I agree, putting it on the sump pump circuit was probably not the best thing to do.

But with this sprinkler circuit - if the controller draws so little why is it a 20 amp circuit and this is the only thing on it? Kind of weird I thought.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:26 PM   #4
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Tapping off circuit


sprinkler was probably added after the house was built and the person who installed it was probably planning for the future. You should thank them
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:31 PM   #5
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Tapping off circuit


That is odd.. How far away from your breaker panel is the timer? And where are your sprinkler valves in correlation with them?
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:13 AM   #6
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Tapping off circuit


The sprinklers were built when the house was built.

The timer is about 30 feet from the breaker panel. The sprinkler valves are outside, about another 20-30 feet from the timer/controller.

Does any part of the sprinkler system even use that many amps? I can't imagine the controller using much at all, what about the valves?
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:04 AM   #7
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Tapping off circuit


Just install a new circuit breaker and run a new separate wire and outlet for the computers.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:47 PM   #8
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Just install a new circuit breaker and run a new separate wire and outlet for the computers.
Super un-helpful answer!
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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Tapping off circuit


Throw a clamp on amp meter on the wire feeding the control and see what it draws with the system on. You'll see you have lots of room to add stuff.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:27 PM   #10
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Tapping off circuit


Another way to check is look at the plug for the sprinkler. That unit runs the valves and whatnot. I bet it rated output is probably only about 3 amps at low voltage. Looks sort of like an old school phone charger plug.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:48 AM   #11
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Maybe when the sprinkler system was installed they had the intention to add a pump to it and installed the 20 amp just in case of changes. Don't forget you need groud faults in a basement.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:34 AM   #12
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Super un-helpful answer!
Yes. But it is the best answer given so far. Run a new circuit for the computers. Not hard to do. Not a whole lot harder than "tapping" as you say.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:37 AM   #13
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Yes. But it is the best answer given so far. Run a new circuit for the computers. Not hard to do. Not a whole lot harder than "tapping" as you say.
If I wanted to run a new circuit, I wouldn't have posted here.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:53 PM   #14
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Tapping off circuit


It's your house. Pumps have a habit of causing a surge and a sag when they operate.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:44 AM   #15
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Another way to check is look at the plug for the sprinkler. That unit runs the valves and whatnot. I bet it rated output is probably only about 3 amps at low voltage. Looks sort of like an old school phone charger plug.
Only 1 amp! Lower than I thought too Guess its pretty safe to add my computers to that circuit?

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