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(Topic ID: 109321)

Setting up new outlets


By chuckwurt

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 37 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by chuckwurt
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 5 years ago

    Hello,

    I am in the process of setting up three outlets in my unfinished basement for my pinball machines. The pinball machines and a 42" TV will be the only items needing power down there. I was thinking of running 3 20 amp circuits and 3 20 amp outlets. I would run my pin collection on one outlet (I have 4 pins running at once sometimes), the TV on another(TV is way on the other side of the basement), and use the third for future pins.

    Is that a good plan? I am currently running everything off one outlet that is currently in the basement. I believe this to be only a 15 amp outlet since when I play pin on any of my machines, the lights will flicker on all of them when the flippers are engaged. I feel that these new outlets will fix that problem while preparing for the future.

    Thanks for the help

    #2 5 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I feel that these new outlets will fix that problem while preparing for the future.

    Well I believe your thinking may be a little off, when you hit the flippers the Pinball machine is not distributing 120v its using the voltage allowed by the power supply/cpu/etc. I would believe you have more of a contact or grounding problem and not a supply voltage problem. When it comes to voltage it is what it is. A 20 amp or 15 amp breaker is not going to change the voltage. Having "stuff" plugged in does not change that either. Your draw in amps is what's going to cause degradation with your supply. I think 3 20 amp circuits is over kill but if you are going to do that remember its also about the wire size. I recommending not putting 14 gauge wire in that 20 circuit. Use at least 12 gauge to strengthen your circuit. Hope that makes some sense and helps a little.

    #3 5 years ago

    Your electrician will probably put 5 duplex outlets on each 20A breaker.

    Most games draw 2 maybe 2.5 amps, or less if you use LEDs for the GI.

    #4 5 years ago
    Quoted from jwwhite15:

    Well I believe your thinking may be a little off, when you hit the flippers the Pinball machine is not distributing 120v its using the voltage allowed by the power supply/cpu/etc. I would believe you have more of a contact or grounding problem and not a supply voltage problem. When it comes to voltage it is what it is. A 20 amp or 15 amp breaker is not going to change the voltage. Having "stuff" plugged in does not change that either. Your draw in amps is what's going to cause degradation with your supply. I think 3 20 amp circuits is over kill but if you are going to do that remember its also about the wire size. I recommending not putting 14 gauge wire in that 20 circuit. Use at least 12 gauge to strengthen your circuit. Hope that makes some sense and helps a little.

    I just figured since on machine's flippers firing caused the lights to dim on all other games, meant I was using too many things on one outlet at the same time. No? Sorry, I am an accountant, not an electrician by any means. I forgot to mention in the OP, but I will be using 12 gauged wire too. Thanks for the help

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Your electrician will probably put 5 duplex outlets on each 20A breaker.
    Most games draw 2 maybe 2.5 amps, or less if you use LEDs for the GI.

    All games are without LEDs

    #6 5 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I just figured since on machine's flippers firing caused the lights to dim on all other games, meant I was using too many things on one outlet at the same time. No?

    It could be a few different things.

    Having dedicated circuits, with new 20A duplexes, new tight connections, solid grounding and a new breaker will be a great start.

    #7 5 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    All games are without LEDs

    Then figure 6 games per breaker when you do your math.

    #8 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    It could be a few different things.
    Having dedicated circuits, with new 20A duplexes, new tight connections, solid grounding and a new breaker will be a great start.

    That is all I needed to know thank you. Also, might be worth it to mention: just to see if other outlets upstairs had the same response from the games, I tried two different outlets from upstairs buy running a long extension cable downstairs, and I got the same flicker results. This could be that those are lower amped circuits too, but I don't know.

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    It could be a few different things.
    Having dedicated circuits, with new 20A duplexes, new tight connections, solid grounding and a new breaker will be a great start.

    Also, what would ensure solid grounding? I will have an electrician friend helping me, so I am not worried about it, I would just like to try and understand this process.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

    #10 5 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Also, what would ensure solid grounding? I will have an electrician friend helping me, so I am not worried about it, I would just like to try and understand this process.

    Grounding gives a safety path back to the neutral buss bar in the panel.

    As you have heard 100000 times, electricity likes the path of least resistance, so the safety ground is a better path than you are, in case of a fault.

    Make sure all your games have 3 prong grounded power cords on them.

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

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Grounding gives a safety path back to the neutral buss bar in the panel.
    As you have heard 100000 times, electricity likes the path of least resistance, so the safety ground is a better path than you are, in case of a fault.
    Make sure all your games have 3 prong grounded power cords on them.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/replacing-line-cords-plugs-wall-sockets-vids-guide

    Okay, that is what I have on everything. Just wondered if there was something about grounding I wasn't aware of.

    #12 5 years ago

    I have 5 pins, surround receiver, TV, and a subwoofer on a circuit in my garage. With all of them running and playing I peaked at 13 amps, but that number obviously varied as different things would fire. I didn't feel comfortable adding my 6th pin I added recently on that circuit so ran a new one.

    It sounds like you'll easily be in good shape with 3 circuits.

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Most games draw 2 maybe 2.5 amps, or less if you use LEDs for the GI.

    Is that while the games are running or at start up? I thought most games drew more than 2.5 at the initial power on - is that not the case?

    #14 5 years ago

    I've used a logging meter and there never seems to be that giant inrush that people talk about, nor do any games ever draw 8 amps like people always say around here.

    I know some arcades that turn on banks of games all at once, rather than turning them on individually, and they don't have a problem either.

    Many games draw 1.7 amps.

    Some games will go from 2 amps to 2.2 amps during multiball, but it's never a giant difference.

    Using a Kill-A-Watt can be an eye opening experience around your house. Like your satellite box draws the same amount of current, whether it's on or off.....

    #15 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Like your satellite box draws the same amount of current, whether it's on or off.....

    Now that you say this. With the TV, there is a sound bar w/ woofer, Direct TV box, Xbox one, gamecube, a modem and router, and a VCR (I know haha). So these plus my four pins are currently running off one outlet and sometimes they are all running at once.

    -1
    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Then figure 6 games per breaker when you do your math.

    Disagree. I have several williams games that reset in that state but when limited to 4 per 20 will never reset. (TZ, shadow, STTNG). I think it varies game by game so to be safe, 4 per 20 is a good rule.

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from markmon:

    Disagree. I have several williams games that reset in that state but when limited to 4 per 20 will never reset. (TZ, Shadow, STTNG). I think it varies game by game so to be safe, 4 per 20 is a good rule.

    That is what I was thinking. 4 per 20, and it will guarantee that my power source is not the problem.

    #18 5 years ago
    Quoted from markmon:

    Disagree. I have several williams games that reset in that state but when limited to 4 per 20 will never reset. (TZ, Shadow, STTNG). I think it varies game by game so to be safe, 4 per 20 is a good rule.

    TZ and STTNG are garbage designs that are notorious for resetting if you look at them sideways. Williams was famous for underengineering their power supplies and connectors, but those games took the PS's cake. As the games get older, every connection is losing a little more voltage from oxidation and loss of clamping pressure. You can't really use those games as the reason that normal games won't function 6 on a breaker. Again arcades do it all the time.

    Shadow is solid. Even at shows with voltage sag, Shadow seems to hold up fine.

    #19 5 years ago

    We have six pins, one claw machine, and an incandescent sign all one a 20A breaker at my location. All games get played at the same time for several hours every month at our tournaments. We've never tripped the breaker. I've had as many as 3 of the 6 games be WPC with no resets, but I've gone through all of them and repinned everything to eliminate the problems vid mentioned. Six pins on a 20A breaker is no problem.

    The one and only time we had an issue was our first tournament. The problem was the neutral wire was not screwed down tight in the breaker. Once the electrician fixed that, we've had no problems for 2.5 years. The electrician put his clamp meter on the circuit and we had employees play every game at the same time, operate the claw machine, and we had the sign on. The highest current draw he saw was 11 amps.

    #20 5 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Also, what would ensure solid grounding? I will have an electrician friend helping me, so I am not worried about it, I would just like to try and understand this process.
    Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

    Phew! You had me worried when you said you were an accountant and doing this yourself. Electrical work is something that I almost always farm out. Sure, I'll swap out switches for dimmers or replace ceiling fixtures, but the real stuff gets a pro. Better safe than sorry with electricity.

    #21 5 years ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    Phew! You had me worried when you said you were an accountant and doing this yourself. Electrical work is something that I almost always farm out. Sure, I'll swap out switches for dimmers or replace ceiling fixtures, but the real stuff gets a pro. Better safe than sorry with electricity.

    Oh yeah. Don't worry. I will be the "supervisor" on this project haha. I just want to make sure my friend knows all the pinball information first since he doesn't know anything about what kind of power they require especially when running multiple machines at once.

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from stangbat:

    We have six pins, one claw machine, and an incandescent sign all one a 20A breaker at my location. All games get played at the same time for several hours every month at our tournaments. We've never tripped the breaker. I've had as many as 3 of the 6 games be WPC with no resets, but I've gone through all of them and repinned everything to eliminate the problems vid mentioned. Six pins on a 20A breaker is no problem.
    The one and only time we had an issue was our first tournament. The problem was the neutral wire was not screwed down tight in the breaker. Once the electrician fixed that, we've had no problems for 2.5 years. The electrician put his clamp meter on the circuit and we had employees play every game at the same time, operate the claw machine, and we had the sign on. The highest current draw he saw was 11 amps.

    Wow! I saw 13 with one less pin. I wonder how much my receiver and sub draws?

    #23 5 years ago
    Quoted from Geocab:

    Wow! I saw 13 with one less pin. I wonder how much my receiver and sub draws?

    I did have LEDs in the GI of some of them, so that saves some current, maybe 1 amp per game. I could see six pins with all incandescent bulbs pulling 12-15 amps, so your numbers don't seem out of line. 6 on a 20A circuit should be fine, but that's probably as many as you can run without having to worry.

    #24 5 years ago

    I would hire an electrician and ensure the wiring is to code.

    #25 5 years ago
    Quoted from SealClubber:

    I would hire an electrician and ensure the wiring is to code.

    I did. He works for beer, so that works for me.

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I did. He works for beer, so that works for me.

    Make sure he does the work BEFORE you pay him ...

    1 year later
    #27 4 years ago

    Just put in my new 20A circuit and ran two outlets off it with 12 gauge wire. I have 5 games on it with a 6th coming soon and I get no flickers anymore when the flippers are engaged! Yay. Also I guess I didn't realize all my trough kickers were weak as now all the ball feed to the shooter lane on each game like lightning. Haha. Thanks for all the comment and help!

    4 weeks later
    #28 4 years ago

    I work as an electrician, It sounds like your old flicker problem has to do with a loose connection in the circuit somewhere, like an under tightened screw or poor wirenut splice, or connection in the panel like Stangbat mentioned above. Such problems are not unlike old and worn out connectors on your boards. Those back wired outlets where you just push the wire in the hole are junk and notorious for such problems, under heavier loads they loose their grip and conductivity. I always use "spec" or commercial grade receptacles as they hold up longer and "grip" the prongs tighter.

    If you have six machines I would recommend four or more duplex receptacles on that one circuit. gives room for expansion and eliminates need for splitters or powerstrips.

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from Platypus:

    I work as an electrician, It sounds like your old flicker problem has to do with a loose connection in the circuit somewhere, like an under tightened screw or poor wirenut splice, or connection in the panel like Stangbat mentioned above. Such problems are not unlike old and worn out connectors on your boards. Those back wired outlets where you just push the wire in the hole are junk and notorious for such problems, under heavier loads they loose their grip and conductivity. I always use "spec" or commercial grade receptacles as they hold up longer and "grip" the prongs tighter.
    If you have six machines I would recommend four or more duplex receptacles on that one circuit. gives room for expansion and eliminates need for splitters or powerstrips.

    Thanks for the heads up! We are moving in the near future so I am in a holding pattern on buying anymore games so this setup is fine for me now. At the new house I plan to have 7-8 games per 20a circuit and have an outlet for every two games. No power strips. I didn't know you could get outlets that are protected from surges.

    #30 4 years ago

    In addition to what Platypus said you should never use the receptacle as part of the circuit but splice the wires together with a pigtail for the receptacle.

    #31 4 years ago

    I had this problem in my basement too. Everything - and I mean everything (TV, 7 pins, three rooms of lights, etc.) was running off of one 15 amp circuit. I had the same problem with the overhead lights flickering when hitting the flipper buttons - sudden draw of power on the system. Same went if I used a heat shrink gun - the lights would flicker just the same. This last week I finally got around to wiring in two dedicated 20 amp circuits that will be only used for running my pins - 3 or 4 pins on each circuit. Previous to running the separate circuit my JD and IJ were prone to resetting - with the new circuit I have not had any resets.

    #32 4 years ago

    awesome Scott!!!!

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from Out-West:

    In addition to what Platypus said you should never use the receptacle as part of the circuit but splice the wires together with a pigtail for the receptacle.

    I agree, using the receptacle as a splicing device and connecting lines in and out both to the receptacle is a problem especially if they are the cheap residential back wired push in type. Always use pigtails

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    Sorry, I am an accountant, not an electrician by any means. Thanks for the help

    Oh that's funny, from your photo I thought you were a gynecologist.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from Platypus:

    Oh that's funny, from your photo I thought you were a gynecologist.

    I moonlight as a gyno.

    #36 4 years ago

    I am building a new house with a dedicated gameroom. I had the electrician install 6 twenty amp circuits and I am planning to run 3 machines on each circuit. I figured that was conservative but would rather over do it than come up short. Also each circuit is controlled by a switch in the closet behind the bar.

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from Lonzo:

    I am building a new house with a dedicated gameroom. I had the electrician install 6 twenty amp circuits and I am planning to run 3 machines on each circuit. I figured that was conservative but would rather over do it than come up short. Also each circuit is controlled by a switch in the closet behind the bar.

    Nice! I plan to do something similar.

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