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@GG1 4877 posted:

The reality is simply this.  A typical 120V AC receptacle is rated for 15 amps assuming it has 14 gauge wiring or 20 amps with 12 gauge wiring.  The ground or the third prong is simply a safety device in case your hot side of the receptacle overloads and draws more than the rated amperage for the circuit.

As long as you are not exceeding 15 amps total you will be perfectly safe and meet the code requirements for the rating of a typical residential receptacle.  Even then it assumes that every device is on at the same time to draw the maximum amperage.

It doesn't have to be any more complex than that, engineer - electrician - or other.

I'll speak from a completely foreign perspective, that of a retired semi-pro musician.  Not advocating this at all, but we plugged in an entire rock band setup for a gig during my college days into a mogul screw in adapter from a light bulb. (Mogul as in the type of screw base, not the 2-8-2 )  We did not start a fire and we made a heck of a lot of noise.  I never said we were good, but we sure were loud!

So, exactly how many "tuck 'n roll" Kustom amps can you plug into one light bulb socket ?  

@Richie C. posted:

So, exactly how many "tuck 'n roll" Kustom amps can you plug into one light bulb socket ?  

This takes me back a bit as it was in the 80's, but we plugged in a Peavey 1960's 900 Watt powered mixer, two 120 watt guitar amps, 3 keyboards (pre-wall wart), and several effects units into the one plug.  At the time I played bass and keys in that band and and all my gear ran through the powered mixer which we nicknamed "big power".   Now that I've done the math we didn't exceed 15 amps with all of that wattage, but we were right at the limit.   I think we had more UL violations with the age and quality of our gear than we did with the NEC.

Being honest, we were dumb and we were lucky.  The moral of the story is that our trains don't draw nearly that kind of power.  

So, I just read this thread, I would imagine the average person without a good understanding of household electricity could be confused and nervous. This should probably include anyone who doesn't truly understand the meaning and relationships of voltage, current, resistance, load, power, other terms that might well include GFI, AFI, ground etc. Maybe I can help clarify some things in this discussion even if I still have a lot to learn.  I do feel understanding electricity is the safest thing someone who wants to work with electricity can do.

Most respectable electrical contractors are willing to have a look, render an opinion and/or options with reference to applicable codes. They will also provide an estimate that you can compare with other contractors, including comparable rationale.

A ground wire provides a low impedance path for an electrical fault that will trip the breaker (OCPD or over current protection device). This will result in the fault no longer being an immediate danger. Think of the hot wire in your washing machine coming in contact with the grounded chassis, causing an over current through the ground wire and tripping the breaker.

A GFI will trip whenever the current in Amps on the hot wire from the panel to the device (GFI receptacle) has a difference between the amperage on the neutral wire and the hot wire; above the rated milliamps. So, if 20 milliamps is flowing through your body to earth it would mean 20 milliamps less would be on the neutral when compared to the hot wire making the 6ma rated GFI trip and save you the shocking experience.

An ARC fault breaker will recognize a pattern of arcing in a series, or depending on the breaker rating arcing between different potentials (parallel).  An arc (spark) can have an internal momentary temperature of 2000deg F. This heating will cause an ever-worsening condition that may ultimately end in insulation failure followed by ignition and fire. Consider a poor connection in a wire nut or poor contact in a receptacle, until the arcing causes failure. The arc fault breaker will trip instead.

Most household receptacles are only rated for 15 amps even if 12gauge wire and a 20-amp breaker make up the branch circuit. Of those 15 amps. only a continuous load of 80% is allowed. A branch circuit with a 20-amp breaker, 12-gauge wire, and a 20-amp rated device (identified by a unique prong shape) is restricted to 80% of 20 amps or 16 amps continuous duty.

Electrical equipment in the USA must be approved by UL or another acceptable laboratory. This approval will come with minimum safe parameters of use. A plug strip will often be rated at less than 15 amps. Any other conditions of use would be prudent to observe. Most extension type cords have a maximum rating on them when purchased.

Most electrical codes discourage the use of portable cords and do not allow for the permanent installation of extension cords. When considering electrical service, you can think, where is the weakest link?  The wire, breaker, receptacle, cord, equipment etc. consider and evaluate the suitability. I believe as GRG stated if you are not exceeding the ratings of any of the equipment and it is being used in a manner that is consistent with UL or another certifying Laboratory it is fine, and I agree with GRG.

Most states do not allow an insurance company to disallow a claim based on accidental and unknowing events.

All that said, and I understand enough about household and commercial electricity and have taken my own shortcuts but only as they affect myself and no one else (I often worked hot circuits out of ease, and I paid often for that disregard.) I use cords, temp connection, and quick attachments that I am comfortable with for myself but would never dream of giving others, advice that is contrary to safe and acceptable or perform work other than in an approved manner.

The point being error on the safe side if you don't understand everything about what you are doing, your loved ones in the same house will appreciate it.


I was making a point that when one uses electrical items in ways they are not designed or recommended -one is putting their trust in God to protect them in that situation  

I suppose I should have started with a disclaimer..”The point of my comment is not to detract or distract from the topic at hand, but only to point out the potential dangers…”

According to the EFSI

  • Multiple power strips are pretty much essential. But despite being commonplace in the home, these little plastic gadgets can be extremely dangerous when used improperly or when they malfunction. According to the ESFI, over 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords and power strips each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more.



And using a multiple outlet on one’s work bench is not the same as daisy chaining -because the point of possible failure is the mechanical connection between the plug and the outlet..

but hey, I just don’t want anyone to risk losing their home and possessions

because until you’ve seen first hand what uncontrolled fire does …and have to walk into the emergency room at 4 A. M. to see family members-that because of potential burns from smoke and heat in their lungs-they immediately put into a coma and intubate…you really don’t think about what destruction a house fire can cause…

and just because your experience has been good for you, and you’ve been no basis to expect it will be for others.

So, I am sorry that my comment did so much to offend-that was not my intent.

Let me be clear. A ZW poets three trains and some traditional Lionel accessories. A 1033 powers a trolley.  

Four Menards structures and a like # of vehicles use 4.5 (volt? amp?) DC current & are plugged into the second power strip  

Six or so Christmas village buildings (some Dept 51 and some Leemax) have small Christmas tree type incandescent bulbs and are powered by the third power strip.  

The Christmas village is currently at the end of the daisy chain - closest to the alternate wall outlet .However, if that strip were moved to that out let they could not be controlled from the control panel  

A 12 gauge extension cord is visible as it runs across ceiling from a wall socket with a 15 amp fuse to a power strip which hosts the control panel to which the two transformers are attached.

The two additional power strips - both with 14 gauge wiring are needed because of the size of the layout - the distance between the clusters of buildings. They do not have to be daisy chained   The second and third could each be plugged into the first, or both could be daisy chained from a different outlet (losing control panel access).

when I wired my basement, I asked electrician to install a discreet line for the train. He did so using a 20 volt fuse.

lI thought it unwise to run my engines on a 20 volt line. Also my plan changed and the control panel ended up midway between the dedicated 20 volt outlet and a 15. Hence the decision to use the 15.

There is yet another alternative. I could run a line from the second outlet to a second. control panel peer strip using the same ceiling approach. The. Second and third strips could each be plugged in there & possibly not daisy chained at all if they have 6 and 9 foot extension cords.

I could sketch out a drawing if helpful.

I think where you can run into trouble daisy chaining them is that while the whole “assembly” might be rated for 15A, one outlet on the strip may not.  So if the last power strip has more load on it than the contacts of the outlet on the first strip its plugged into can handle, you can melt something.

The metal they use in those things is like tinfoil.

Last edited by rplst8

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