Power Strip compared to home network: How does the currents rise?

Thread Starter

babaliaris

Joined Nov 19, 2019
58
In a home network, everything is connected in parallel (of course we have different lines for heavy loads) which means that every load has its own current that is only dependent on the load itself. But the currents in the lines of the network rise while the load of the network rises as well.

A power strip is basically a parallel connection of power ports. This probably means that a power strip has its own lines, where the currents will actually rise if you increase the load (too many devices on the same power strip).

If the currents inside the power strip get increased a lot, what happens? Are the lines strong enough like the lines inside of my house walls? Will the power strip catch fire? Will the safety get triggered (of my home network)?

Thank you.
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
3,985
In a home network, everything is connected in parallel (of course we have different lines for heavy loads) which means that every load has its own current that is only dependent on the load itself. But the currents in the lines of the network rise while the load of the network rises as well.

A power strip is basically a parallel connection of power ports. This probably means that a power strip has its own lines, where the currents will actually rise if you increase the load (too many devices on the same power strip).

If the currents inside the power strip get increased a lot, what happens? Are the lines strong enough like the lines inside of my house walls? Will the power strip catch fire? Will the safety get triggered (of my home network)?

Thank you.
A properly designed power strip includes busses rated for the full load specified (e.g.: 15A) and a flex to the wall that can also handle this. It will also include a resettable circuit breaker to prevent against overloading. The main breaker will interrupt the circuit if the in-wall wiring is overloaded while the breaker on the power strip can't do anything for up or downstream loads, only those plugged directly into it.
 

Thread Starter

babaliaris

Joined Nov 19, 2019
58
I struggle a little bit to understand because of some terminologies that I don't know.

Upstream loads mean the loads before the power strip and downstream are the loads after the power strip?

If I understood correctly a well-designed power strip has at least two protections. The main breaker protects it from
the in-wall wiring overload and another that protects it if the full load of the power strip itself gets exceeded. Of courses, these breakers can't do anything for up or downstream loads (that makes sense).
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
3,985
I struggle a little bit to understand because of some terminologies that I don't know.

Upstream loads mean the loads before the power strip and downstream are the loads after the power strip?

If I understood correctly a well-designed power strip has at least two protections. The main breaker protects it from
the in-wall wiring overload and another that protects it if the full load of the power strip itself gets exceeded. Of courses, these breakers can't do anything for up or downstream loads (that makes sense).
Yes, you understood correctly. In the US, at least, power strips are generally designed for a maximum of 15A in order to avoid overloading the receptacle circuit which is could be as low as 15A. Many circuits are 20A but since it could be less a power strip designed for 20A without a special plug (one that requires a 20A outlet) is a potential danger, so it is avoided.
 

Audioguru again

Joined Oct 21, 2019
4,117
Some very cheap and poor quality power strips will catch on fire. Poor quality anything that is electrical will catch on fire!

My electricity supplier/utility company gave away compact fluorescent light bulbs for free. The light bulbs were Chinese and needed to be recalled because some of them dripped flaming plastic. The supplier discovered that the company who made the bulbs stole the safety-certification number from a competitor so these bulbs were never properly tested for safety (but they were very cheap). The bulbs I got did not catch on fire but were replaced by higher quality ones.
 
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