(Topic ID: 170051)

How many pins on a 20-amp circuit?


By HighVoltage

3 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 48 posts
  • 29 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by jbp8653
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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    #1 3 years ago

    I was doing some gameroom planning and am wondering about electricity requirements. I used my kill-a-watt on a pin to get some idea about consumption. I used WCS. It seems to use a little over 1 amp at most times, but there are some interesting spikes. I thought the ball motor might use a lot, but it didn't. But when a magnet activates the power usage can spike to 5 amps. I still need to check some older Williams games and modern Sterns, has anyone done this?

    Has anyone run into issues with triggering circuit breakers? What current and how many pins did you have that triggered? It seems if several machines are being played at once and you happen to activate magnets on multiple it could easily overload. I suppose that'd be a rare coincidence though.

    I'm basically wondering what's a safe value to determine number of pins on a circuit. Maybe about 1.5A/per, about 14 pins on a 20-amp circuit. Anyone have some real world experience?

    #2 3 years ago

    I keep it at 3, maybe 4 tops. Like right know, my 4 games are on 1 circuit. Do they all 4 get played at once EVER? No, but 4 is my comfort zone. I prefer not to push current to its theoretical limit of 15A. If I am pushing 8A-9A on a 15A breaker, I feel that's plenty. YMMV though.

    #3 3 years ago

    I just did my gameroom with 20A and so far the most I had were 10 turned on with 4 people playing at the same time. No issues FWIW.

    #4 3 years ago

    Ive had 18 on one 20amp before, playing 2 games and it didnt blow, but i was just testing the voltage drop at the time.i think i have no more than 5ish, maybe 6, all leds though

    #5 3 years ago

    I set my new game room up for 5-6 per 20a. At my last place I had 8+ on a 15A circuit ..had many of parties where they were all getting played (DMD pins)..an never had a problem.

    6 Seems like a safe sweet spot. You could probably get away with a couple more if needed

    #6 3 years ago

    Oh yes, the WCS was LED'd... that's a good point. I should measure some non-LED'd.

    Interesting variety of experience so far. Would really like to know who's triggered a breaker and the circumstances!

    #7 3 years ago

    Also, anyone have thoughts on how to load test a circuit? It looks like you can buy some testers for $150-$200. I wonder if a tool rental place has these. Any other ideas? Line up some space heaters maybe...

    #8 3 years ago
    Quoted from HighVoltage:

    Oh yes, the WCS was LED'd... that's a good point. I should measure some non-LED'd.
    Interesting variety of experience so far. Would really like to know who's triggered a breaker and the circumstances!

    I did, but it was a different home - 15 A circuit - 5 connected and I think 4 of the 5 being played at once.

    With 20A, you shouldn't have a problem with 8-9 pins per breaker.

    #9 3 years ago

    Tried and failed to trip one. I guess i need more pins! When i ran 18 on one, i tested the voltage drop at the last outlet in the circuit and it was only about 5v max

    #10 3 years ago

    Yeah, my measurements suggest 18 pins on 20A would be about acceptable if no unusual circumstances (multiple magnets) triggered on pins simultaneously. I wouldn't be confident in that level though. I have two opposite walls where I can put about 14 each, and each wall has 20A. I think I will upgrade the breaker to at least 25A maybe a bit more.

    I'm going to do some more consumption readings on various pins this weekend, and will update here. I also realized, will be interesting to see if shaker produces some spiking.

    #11 3 years ago

    I've done 5 per 20 amp for years. 8 amps on the label is of everything was energized all at once. I've used a amp meter on the power wire while 5 games were being played simultaneously. I used high power draw games like TZ which is probably the largest power consumer of all. Games with magnets usually have a higher draw. I saw no issues with 5 on a 20

    #12 3 years ago

    If you upgrade to a 25a, you need to make sure the wire is thick enough to handle that. 15a-14g, 20a-12. If a wire overheats you could have bigger problems than a tripped breaker

    #13 3 years ago

    Yeah, kinda like "that fuse keeps blowing in the game... Guess I should put a bigger fuse in"

    Been wondering this all myself when I suddenly realized a month ago that I had like 9 machines on a 15 amp circuit. Plan to buy some measuring equipment.

    #14 3 years ago

    Damn wire thickness... thanks for that reminder!

    #15 3 years ago
    Quoted from Wahnsinniger:

    Yeah, kinda like "that fuse keeps blowing in the game... Guess I should put a bigger fuse in"

    Ha... funny that it's recommended for the LOTR magnet though... I suppose it's safe sometimes...

    #16 3 years ago

    I play it safe. 5-6 pins on 20A. Pretty easy to have an electrician run as many as you want. Was pretty cheap too.

    #17 3 years ago

    A 20 amp breaker will only carry 16 amps on a continuous basis. There is no way you will run 14 pins on a 20 amp circuit for very long.

    #18 3 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I play it safe. 5-6 pins on 20A. Pretty easy to have an electrician run as many as you want. Was pretty cheap too.

    Like <$500 ?

    #19 3 years ago

    I paid 300 parts and labor to install two 20A breakers and run two outlets that are across the room from each other and about 50 ft from the breaker.

    #20 3 years ago

    Get good digital volt meter with a clamp on amp meter if you want a good measurement.. You want no more than 80% of the max amperage. 12 gauge wire handles 20 amps max and should have no more than a 20 amp breaker. So 16 amps would be the most you would want to pull to be safe. I have 14 games on one circuit (all with leds). I rarely have them on all at once but when I do it is for parties (5 hours or more) and have never had a problem. The breaker is there to protect the wire if it is needed. I have not found that to be the case yet.

    #21 3 years ago

    My electrician worked out that 6 pins per 20 amp breaker would be perfect with negligible voltage drops.
    He was using the 8 amp stickers on the games as a guide.
    This was important as I was putting in some modern PC driven games like WOZ and TH.
    Voltage drops would interfere with the PC's and cause reboots etc...

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from Swainer80:

    Get good digital volt meter with a clamp on amp meter if you want a good measurement.. You want no more than 80% of the max amperage. 12 gauge wire handles 20 amps max and should have no more than a 20 amp breaker. So 16 amps would be the most you would want to pull to be safe. I have 14 games on one circuit (all with leds). I rarely have them on all at once but when I do it is for parties (5 hours or more) and have never had a problem. The breaker is there to protect the wire if it is needed. I have not found that to be the case yet.

    In order to get a reading with the clamp on ammeter you have to clamp it on one wire only, either hot or nuetral. If you put it around the entire cord you are not getting a correct reading. To see a machines amp draw you would have to be inside the machine with the meter. To see the whole circuit you would have to be in the fusebox.

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from HighVoltage:

    Also, anyone have thoughts on how to load test a circuit? It looks like you can buy some testers for $150-$200. I wonder if a tool rental place has these. Any other ideas? Line up some space heaters maybe...

    I'd ask an electrician how to test current draw for a set period of time (hours). Seems like a Fluke 376 might do it, record results to a smartphone. amazon.com link »
    At $400 it's more than I'd pay for just testing but an electrician might have a good solution on hand.

    #24 3 years ago
    Quoted from Swainer80:

    Get good digital volt meter with a clamp on amp meter if you want a good measurement.. You want no more than 80% of the max amperage. 12 gauge wire handles 20 amps max and should have no more than a 20 amp breaker. So 16 amps would be the most you would want to pull to be safe. I have 14 games on one circuit (all with leds). I rarely have them on all at once but when I do it is for parties (5 hours or more) and have never had a problem. The breaker is there to protect the wire if it is needed. I have not found that to be the case yet.

    Excellent, I may be golden, thanks for weighing in. But if I knew an electrician who'd do it for around $300, I'd upgrade the breakers and wire on my 2 circuits. I may call around. Anyone know someone in Seattle?

    #25 3 years ago

    If it were me i would have the electrician install a dedicated subpanel from the meter just for the game room. It will cost a bit more, $800-$1000, but will guarantee you'll have all the juice you need for pins, arcade, jukes etc. It will leave plenty of room in the panel for additional breakers should you want to run some more conduit down the road.

    #26 3 years ago

    I try and keep 4-6 per 20 amp circuit. I just added another 20 amp the other month. Currently have 3 20 amp and 1 15 amp circuit. Had them 11 pins on at once with three video games and almost all pins being played at once. Nice piece of mind.

    Agree on subpanel. And one thing I'm seeing in my small, crowded basement: all machines on for hours and many people gets very warm. So plan to have circuits for fans, dehumidifier, split unit, etc.

    #27 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    HOW MANY GAMES ON A SINGLE CIRCUIT BREAKER?
    ===========================================
    By now you have probably heard that commercial arcades put 6 pinball machines on each 20A circuit.
    How did they come up with that formula?
    The National Electric Code wants circuit breakers to see 80% of their rated load. So for a 20A breaker, the ideal number is 16 amps.
    Most pinball machines draw about 1.6 to 2 amps peak.
    Some pinball machines with a ton of lamps may even draw 2.4 amps.
    If you take any random 6 pinball machines at an arcade and measure their amperage draw at the breaker panel, you see that each breaker is seeing ~13 amps. Well under our 16 amp goal.
    In your home, where you don't have to worry about employees moving games around and messing up your breaker loads, if you measured a 13 amp draw on a circuit, you could safely add one additional game and still be under your 16 amp target.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/replacing-line-cords-plugs-wall-sockets-vids-guide#post-1945126

    #28 3 years ago

    I just tested all my circuits in the panel in the gameroom to balance the loads. You don't want a lot of load on one bus vs. the other or you can burn up the feeder breaker. I wanted to make sure phase A and B were close in amperage.

    Anyway, the one circuit that was loaded up the most had 8 games on it. It was fluctuating between 15 and 16A. All my games have incandescent lighting but they were all late model WMS DMD games. So about 2A each in attract mode.

    Basic rule of thumb is 6 games per 20A circuit if you are planning a gameroom circuit layout. This way you have spare capacity for other incidental loads or another game, etc. Breakers are 80% rated devices in that a 20A breaker will hold 16A continuously. As the load increases, the trip time decreases.

    #29 3 years ago

    I have 5- 20 amp lines in my gameroom. I have between 5-7 games on per line plus some neon lights. I have never tripped one "yet". They don't even get warm.

    #30 3 years ago

    I tripped once with four games on a 20 amp circuit. All DMD. All being played at the same time. It was the magnets that did it. There was a ball going around the supercharger in Getaway when someone hit the magna-save on WCS. The Dock Ock magnet on Spiderman may have been triggered at the moment too. It was a pretty flukey event. I've had no other problems and would add another game to the circuit since I'm down to one game with magnets.

    #31 3 years ago
    Quoted from HighVoltage:

    Also, anyone have thoughts on how to load test a circuit? It looks like you can buy some testers for $150-$200. I wonder if a tool rental place has these. Any other ideas? Line up some space heaters maybe...

    I have one of these: amazon.com link »

    It is $18 for the older model, it tells you how many amps 1 outlet is using. You could plug multiple pins into it by using a power strip. It will give you wall voltage and amp draw.

    Good luck. I agree with others when they suggest getting an electrician to add more circuits. It is what I had done.

    Best regards,

    Tom

    #32 3 years ago

    Oh yeah, I have the kill-a-watt, I mentioned using it earlier. I'm talking about load-testing the circuit, ie. putting a load on the circuit to see exactly how much it would take to trigger the breaker.

    Wow, there's a Vid's guide for this too, didn't think to look for that, well done.

    I did a bit more consumption testing on some machines (note, all LED'd):

    Game, Idle, Playing, Max

    WCS (WPC), 1.2, 1.4-2, 4.6 (magnet)
    T3 (Whitestar), 1, 1-2, 2.5
    ST Prem (Sam), 1, 1-3, 5.5 (magnet)
    Black Knight (W7), 1.2, 1-2, 3 (both magnets)

    Yes, it's definitely the magnets that max the current. That explains why you can trigger the breaker with 4 or 5 if you're unlucky, but also can run 14 simultaneously.

    I'd be curious to know how a machine like TAF that uses the Power magnet continuously would measure.

    But the max number is clearly machine dependent and related to magnet features and their usage.

    #33 3 years ago

    I've had around 10 arcade machines and 10 pinball machines (mostly EM) on a single 15A breaker for a few minutes and it never tripped. Everything was idle, though, and I'm guessing it is because the EM factor.

    Of course, this was only for testing and since they're in separate rooms I NEVER have them all on at once.

    #34 3 years ago

    Holy crap. I never realized the magnets draw so much amperage. Good find.

    1 week later
    #35 3 years ago

    I'm confused, help me understand here. If a #47 lamp draws .15 amp , or #44 is .25 amp, then I should multiply about 60 GI lamps when you add the backbox (33) and pf (27) and get 9 amps and 15 amps respectively, right ? I have 8 pins and 2 vids on same circuit, trying to run half to another circuit and learned here that I need to split up my two pins with magnets to help the situation. Thanks for the info there.
    But I don't understand the lamp usage at idle,unless its all LED GI , then it would make sense. What am I doing wrong adding the lamps consumption? Trying to figure out what a pin uses at idle with old #44 or 555 bulbs in it.
    JP

    #36 3 years ago

    I don't think a single 44 bulb draws .25 amps, might be missing a zero there, .025 amp.

    #37 3 years ago

    The amp draw for the Eiko #44 is .25A

    The amp draw for the Eiko #47 is .15A

    Says the spec sheet @6.3vac

    #38 3 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    The amp draw for the Eiko #44 is .25A
    The amp draw for the Eiko #47 is .15A
    Says the spec sheet @6.3vac

    So I'm sure someone knows how to make that convert to 120v... so reading the interwebs watts=volts x amps.. a #44 is 6.3volts x 0.25amps means the bulb draws 1.575 watts which if you then divide by 120volts for standard US electricity equals 0.0131 amps for a #44, and 0.0079 amps for a #47

    Of course I may not know what I'm talking about.

    #39 3 years ago

    Remember P=IV

    .15A at 6.3 VAC is a lot less power consumed than .15A at 120 VAc.

    #40 3 years ago
    Quoted from BorgDog:

    So I'm sure someone knows how to make that convert to 120v... so reading the interwebs watts=volts x amps.. a #44 is 6.3volts x 0.25amps means the bulb draws 1.575 watts which if you then divide by 120volts for standard US electricity equals 0.0131 amps for a #44, and 0.0079 amps for a #47
    Of course I may not know what I'm talking about.

    Posted before I saw this. I believe you have it right. Just use P=IV and plug in the numbers as you did.

    #41 3 years ago

    That makes sense to me now, thanks .
    I forgot it was 6.3 VAC? That makes 60- #47 bulbs equal about 1.5 amp ( .023 per bulb at 110 VAC) , that sounds about right to me.
    I was puzzled for a minute, thanks to my friends here, I now have a clear understanding to my power requirements, which is still an issue with 8 pins on one 15 amp circuit.... but not for long

    #42 3 years ago

    I run 7 or 8 on one circuit along with two very large LCDs - have never had a problem even with everything on and in use at the same time. House is relatively new - not sure if this makes a difference or not.

    #43 3 years ago
    Quoted from BorgDog:

    So I'm sure someone knows how to make that convert to 120v... so reading the interwebs watts=volts x amps.. a #44 is 6.3volts x 0.25amps means the bulb draws 1.575 watts which if you then divide by 120volts for standard US electricity equals 0.0131 amps for a #44, and 0.0079 amps for a #47
    Of course I may not know what I'm talking about.

    I mis-read , or mis-understood, but :
    Using this info above, 60 -#44 bulbs in the GI uses .78 amps per game, so 8 games all incandescent would use 6.24 amps for just GI lighting. If converted to LED in the GI string only ,it should cut that down to just over 2 amps. That is a savings of 4 amps with just bulb conversion, that's another game or two added to your 20 amp line. Seems worth it to me, not to mention the cooler temps in your gameroom, which is an issue when all my games are on at once in the summer months. Even just doing just backbox would reduce the power consumption by two or so amps, that's easy- a no brainer! I'm doing that... just gotta wait to black Friday specials and load up on Sunlight or warm white LED's
    JP

    #44 3 years ago
    Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

    I'd ask an electrician how to test current draw for a set period of time (hours). Seems like a Fluke 376 might do it, record results to a smartphone. amazon.com link ยป
    At $400 it's more than I'd pay for just testing but an electrician might have a good solution on hand.

    I don't know what this would do (testing over time_) unless you were concerned with your power bill.

    Safety etc. will be dictated by the load on the wires (and breakers) over a short period of time as they heat up and bad things happen.

    Something like a TED http://www.theenergydetective.com/ would give you a history of usage. so would a kill-a-watt meter amazon.com link »
    (I believe they do usage over time) or a few of them with all your pins plugged into them and you could add up the results.

    #45 3 years ago

    Yes you'll save a bit of electricity going from incandescent to led and some heat. There's a lot more going on in a game than just lamps contributing to power and heat coming from a game. Those voltage regulators and triacs give off a ton of heat as well.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I have one circuit that has 8 games on it in the gameroom. With a Fluke 87 and a 1000 clamp on ammeter I was pulling between 15 and 16A. All incandescent lamps.

    #46 3 years ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    Yes you'll save a bit of electricity going from incandescent to led and some heat. There's a lot more going on in a game than just lamps contributing to power and heat coming from a game. Those voltage regulators and triacs give off a ton of heat as well.
    Like I mentioned earlier, I have one circuit that has 8 games on it in the gameroom. With a Fluke 87 and a 1000 clamp on ammeter I was pulling between 15 and 16A. All incandescent lamps.

    Great ! Then all LED could be as low as 11 to 12 amp with your findings on your pins . That's suitable (on the high end ) for a 15 amp line, no problem for a 20 amp. Keeping in mind consideration for magnets I guess .
    Thanks .
    JP

    #47 3 years ago

    You guys are really over thinking this!

    #48 3 years ago

    I have 7 on one circuit and it seems to be ok. All 7 have total LED's. Before I switched out all the bulbs they would sometimes pop the breaker at powering up.

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