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# A puzzle that should be easy for DIY forum to solve

## A puzzle that should be easy for DIY forum to solve

#1
05-19-18, 02:37 PM
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A puzzle that should be easy for DIY forum to solve

Hi!

I need a little help interpreting something. I have only an overhead light and no electrical outlets on my porch, and I need the outlets, so I bought an adapter that I'm sure is familiar to most at DIY-- you remove the light bulb from the socket, screw this device into the socket in its place, and then can screw the bulb back into the socket on the device-- meanwhile you also have two outlets you can now use for other things.

But here's the problem: although my device was handed to me at the hardware store without any packaging or even a sticker detailing the item's restrictions of use or the precautions that should be taken with it, similar items online contain the following descriptive words : 660-Watt, 15 Amp, Two Outlet Socket Adapter. But if those numbers represent the maximum wattage or amperage that should flow through the adapter, then I'm somewhat puzzled. New York City has, I believe, an electrical system that uses 110 volts. So since volts X amps= watts, if you plug into the equation 110 volts and 660 watts maximum usage, then you get only 6 amp appliances or tools that would be permitted. If, on the other hand you plug into the equation 15 amps and 660 watts, you get 44 volts. Are there places where you only get 44 volts at an electrical outlet?

Am I interpreting all this correctly?

#2
05-19-18, 03:08 PM
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Skip all the math and codes for the purpose at hand.

In most cases a light circuit uses 14 gauge wire on a 15 amp fuse or circuit breaker. Other than temporary lighting from an extension cord connected to the light / plug you should not use that to draw eclectic to run any type of appliance (garden equipment or any motorized item). Also the length of extension cord is very important. A typical 16 gauge 50 foot to 100 foot will heat up and either blow the circuit or catch fire. If you must run an appliance then get a heavy duty extension cord (12 or 10 gauge) and be sure it's connected to a 20 amp fuse or breaker outlet.

#3
05-19-18, 03:09 PM
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hmmm; the maximum bulb size is 660Watts. The maximum "outlet" rating is 15Amps.
But, don't ask me to come up with a bulb that big; not sure I've even seen one.

#4
05-19-18, 03:21 PM
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It's not a puzzle. Actually the puzzle is why are those screw in adapters are still available.

For some reason... any type of screw-in-the-socket adapter is rated at 660w. I have a feeling it's based on the rating of the light socket the adapter is being screwed into. The circuit is at least 15A but I'd never recommend connecting that. You could replace that light socket with a combination receptacle attached.

A similar thread on the subject....
https://www.doityourself.com/forum/l...et-outlet.html

#5
05-19-18, 03:46 PM
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The socket and/or lamp (bulb) screw base can safely allow 660 watts. It is not clear whether that limit has to do with the tip of the screw in part and the mating tab contact in the bottom of the socket or whether that has to do with the temperature that a 660 watt incandescent bulb can attain. Without more information you will have to assume the worse or worst case which means a total of 660 watts drawn.

I have not yet found a lamp socket of that kind (Edison medium screw base; E26 screw base) with a rating greater than 660 watts.

Today you can connect a large number of LED lights with cord and plugs to a single adapter of the kind you are discussing, in turn screwed into a pendant socket with pull chain hanging down from the ceiling, and get a lot of light using less than 660 watts.

Last edited by AllanJ; 05-19-18 at 04:40 PM.
#6
05-19-18, 04:41 PM
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PJmax, why do you say, "Actually the puzzle is why are those screw in adapters are still available. " ?

Are you implying they're dangerous in some way? Or merely that there's something else that's just as easy to install but better, so why are they still selling these old-fashioned things?

Norm201, with your talk of blown circuits and erupting fires, and all the things I dare not plug in, and the extreme precautions I must take should I disregard your dire warnings and plug one of the forbidden items in anyway, you've really confused me!

Norm, I'm only planning to plug in a 6-inch fan, and that fan has a self-contained fuse (apart from my house's circuit-breakers)! Norm, for a decade I had a LawnPup 12 Amp electric mower and used a 50 foot 16 gauge cord because it was the gauge recommended for 50 feet in the LawnPup's owner's manual! So why do you perceive such a threat from an unspecified appliance that you feel I should not only not use a 16 gauge cord, but should skip right past 14 gauge and go to 12 or even 10!!

Norm, here's what I basically don't understand about your reply-- why in your view is this light socket adapter posing a unique threat that calls for such extraordinary measures in response? Until I read your words, I was regarding it as just another electrical outlet, albeit one with a more limited capacity to carry current.

#7
05-19-18, 04:50 PM
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By the way, a 100 foot 16 gauge extension cord will carry 6 amps safely and without excessive voltage drop and without posing a fire hazard. unless spanning a short distance and left coiled up.

A 50' 16 gauge extension cord carrying 12 amp will result in about a 5 volt loss due to voltage drop. This more than ideal but not really excessive.

#8
05-19-18, 05:15 PM
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So, Allanj, if I plug the small, 6-inch fan, with a self-contained fuse, directly into the outlet I should have no safety issues?

#9
05-19-18, 05:31 PM
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OK, Lets clear the air and set things straight.

1st off you did not say what you were planning on doing with the outlet. For all I know you could've been running an electric range with full oven and 4 burners.

So, you're only going to plug in a six inch fan. Fine, if that is in fact the only thing you plug in. But I will nearly guaranty that when that fan starts up and you have a light bulb in at the same time, you'll notice a micro second dimming of the bulb. And that's assuming that that is the ONLY thing on that circuit that is running. What else will be on that same circuit. I'm betting a porch light is not the only thing on a 15 amp circuit. Note most motors will draw a momentary high amperage starting EMF, then once it's spinning the amperage draw drops down dramatically. I'll also go out on a limb and say most people (not necessarily you), will use that same plug for many other things.

And what was that lawn pup mower you used connected to? A 20 or 15 amp fuse? And did you ever actually feel the cord? Sure it might not have given you a problem, but I'm betting it was border line. And today's China made extension cords are not best quality, even if they say UL. To both you and AllenJ, I would not feel comfortable with a 16 gauge extension cord at 100 feet running a power appliance. But that's just me.

Norm, here's what I basically don't understand about your reply-- why in your view is this light socket adapter posing a unique threat that calls for such extraordinary measures in response? Until I read your words, I was regarding it as just another electrical outlet, albeit one with a more limited capacity to carry current.
I'll answer that with PJ's reply "Actually the puzzle is why are those screw in adapters are still available." I'm sure you will put more faith in his response than mine (as you should). But lets face facts, we all cheat at times and push the envelope. I'm not about to encourage that kind of practice. Many times I've been chastised in this forum because I unknowingly offered advice that was wrong or boarderline wrong.

I answered your inquiry based on safety concerns and wire protection. If my concerns are correct we (members and moderators) are not allowed to knowingly give unsafe or erroneous answers.

If I'm wrong I'll admit it when proven as such.

If you're only going to power a low wattage fan and only that, then go for it.

Last edited by Norm201; 05-19-18 at 06:00 PM.
#10
05-20-18, 07:06 AM
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The 100' 16 gauge extension cord will run a 6 amp appliance just fine and if you feel the cord it will be cooler than the 50 foot (or 25 foot) 16 gauge cord powering the 12 amp Lawn Pup mower. That 100' cord should not be used for the Lawn Pup because the voltage drop will be too much. Secret: Heat given off by the extension cord is distributed evenly along its length. Estimate the total heat from the wattage dissipated in the cord in turn computed from the voltage drop in turn computed from the wire resistance and current flowing.

After overloaded circuits, the next biggest cause of fires due to faulty wiring is loose connections including plugs not fitting tightly into worn receptacles. Loose connections can develop tremendous heat while drawing far fewer amps needed to trip the breaker with.

#11
05-20-18, 07:42 AM
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Norm201 says, "So, you're only going to plug in a six inch fan. Fine, if that is in fact the only thing you plug in. But I will nearly guaranty that when that fan starts up and you have a light bulb in at the same time, you'll notice a micro second dimming of the bulb."

All right, Norm, let's assume that scenario and consider it. The light bulb harmlessly dims for a micro second when the fan starts up-- I've observed bulb dimming for a micro second literally countess times in my life when an appliance like a refrigerator or air conditioner clicks on. Why do you even raise that point as though it were a safety issue?

Then Norm, you continue, "And that's assuming that that is the ONLY thing on that circuit that is running. What else will be on that same circuit. I'm betting a porch light is not the only thing on a 15 amp circuit. Note most motors will draw a momentary high amperage starting EMF, then once it's spinning the amperage draw drops down dramatically. I'll also go out on a limb and say most people (not necessarily you), will use that same plug for many other things."

Norm, if you take a quick look-- this doesn't a careful perusal!-- at my first post, I was trying to find out what 660 Watt 15 Amp meant in my effort to make sure that I stayed well within the electrical limits of this device I had bought. My sole concern was safety. You said in your most recent comment, "1st off you did not say what you were planning on doing with the outlet. For all I know you could've been running an electric range with full oven and 4 burners."

Accepting your 'electric range with full oven and 4 burners' comment as humorous, in your very first reply on this thread you said, "Other than temporary lighting from an extension cord connected to the light / plug you should not use that to draw electric to run any type of appliance (garden equipment or any motorized item)."

I think you will now acknowledge that that all-encompassing VERBOTEN of yours was ridiculously overly broad and, frankly, not defensible on theoretical grounds or justified by empirical evidence of danger. Sure, it made sense for you to warn against my rashly over-taxing the socket by plugging in very high-wattage appliances (something, of course, none of my posts remotely implied I was even contemplating-- quite the contrary, I was in this forum precisely because I wanted to know the safe limits of the socket and to carefully calibrate my usage based on that) but it made no sense to essentially forbid even the most conservative and reasonable uses of the socket, by invoking the blanket threat of fire.

#12
05-20-18, 08:39 AM
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You know, I would agree with you, but then we both would be wrong!

All you seem to want to do is ague. You did it before and you continue to do it.

I'm done!

If I comment on your post, I do it to inform or converse with others who may be reading. Please do not respond to my replies.

#13
05-20-18, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by LatestCraze
Blah Blah Blah

#14
05-20-18, 09:59 AM
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It looks like this subject has been well covered and there is no need to keep re-hashing it.