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Thread: Extension cords, UPS, and power strips safety

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2

    Extension cords, UPS, and power strips safety

    For fire safety and inspection purposes, does the NEC prohibit operating several video appliances (4 TV monitors 65+65+65+105W, 6-10 VCRs 10*20W, 2 camcorders, and 1-2 laptop computers 19Vdc*4.7A) with the following chain of connections using an uninterruptable power supply?

    The UPS would be plugged through an extension cord into a wall receptacle and power strips or extension cords from the appliances plugged into the UPS. No power strips or extension cords would be daisy-chained directly together without the UPS between. This would be set up for church service and disconnected afterward, except that 3 VCRs would remain always plugged into the UPS through a power strip. The extension cord to the wall would run under a 3 inch wide cord cover 30 inches long at the end of the front pew.

    A second UPS backing up power to 6 VCRs on a cart would be temporarily connected either into the first UPS or else into the same extension cord as the first UPS.

    My estimates are 500 to 700W or 4-7A depending on the number of VCRs and the power dissipation of the big screen speaker monitor.

    Can I do this?

    Tnanks for your advice,

    Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    7,264

    Re: Extension cords, UPS, and power strips safety

    The code does limit how much load can be served from any one receptacle outlet and on any one branch circuit. However, the user of the code hardly ever has control of owner use of the electrical system.

    Though your example seems excessive in the amount of appliances and equipment being served by one circuit and one receptacle, the overall load seems minimal.

    What bothers me is all the use of extension cords and plug strips, however you claim this setup is only temporary and broke down after relatively short use. I think splitting up the loads and reducing the use of extension cords would certainly add to overall safety and more efficent operation of the equipment.
    Bryan P. Holland, MCP

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2

    Re: Extension cords, UPS, and power strips safety

    My specific question is whether a UPS can be plugged in series between single extension cords or power strips, when those cords and strips cannot be daisy-chained directly together.

    It is not allowed to plug a power strip or extension cord into another extension cord or power strip. But can I put a UPS between two extension cords or power strips?

    I am trying to get this answer from the local fire inspector, or earlier if possible.

    The reason for temporary setup is to lock equipment away for security after services (except for three VCRs screwed in place under the front pew). One reason for the two UPS systems is for maintaining settings on VCRs when unplugged or carted away. The reason for this question is the fire safety of the congregation during services.

    If my proposed connections are not allowed, I suppose an electrician would need to install permanent power strips / receptacles under the front pews or into the floor which is carpet on concrete.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    TAMPA FLORIDA
    Posts
    4,576

    Re: Extension cords, UPS, and power strips safety

    Is this a one time thing or something that happens every week? If it happens every week my concern would be the wear and tear on the plugs and receptacles and the likelihood that nobody would really be checking there condition every time.Out of safety i would suggest trying to have an outlet installed.If that is unpractical at least use heavy #12 cords
    Tampa Florida

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    113

    Re: Extension cords, UPS, and power strips safety

    Dear original poster. I tend to agree with you. If you have a permanent board operator or a pre-set crew It is my opinion that brief them on how to check the outlets loose fittings and no unplugging with power switchs on Then I would agree with your logic. If the fire inspector makes you put in a rec for the vcrs put it in the bench leg not the floor on the floor thay are a hazard big time. Thats what we did in our new church and that is what we are doing in our temporary video cafe church except all vcrs and computers are kept in a padlocked cabinet with outlets inside and they are never unplugged so they stay safe.Great post and good luck with your facility. Need any help please call me my e-mail is electricjack2003@yahoo.com located in South Florida. Or as my pastor calls it ,"Hurricane Alley" Thanks for missing us 3 times this year Lord!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Northern Indiana
    Posts
    295

    Re: Extension cords, UPS, and power strips safety

    Article 605.5 of the International Fire Code states that extension cords shall not be used in lieu of permanent wiring. A temporary set-up can be used for less than 30 days. We have a problem with this in almost every school and office complex and the fire inspector writes them up every time. The multi-plug adapter is allowed if plug directly into a wall receptacle, but not plug into an "extension cord".

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