All About Power
To the average Joe, plugging into power is an everyday occurrence. You plug in your phone to charge, the vacuum, blow dryer or something similar every day. But what is that power outlet and will it work for our the equipment you’re renting from us? We’re here to break that down for you. You most definitely won’t be a certified electrician after reading this article, but you will certainly have a better understanding of the type of power we will need you to provide for us for your event.
If you’re looking for a quick summary to this article, scroll to the bottom of the page. If you’re looking for more of an in depth understanding of power needs, keep reading!
Going back to the type of power you use every day (phone, vacuum, blow dryer, etc.), in most cases that is called a 110v/120v outlet on a 20 amp breaker. Now to break that down a little more, the “v” means volts. When we say 110v that means one hundred and ten volts and same thing for 120v, one hundred and twenty volts. You may even see 115v but frankly, think of them all as the same. The reason that there are multiple sets of voltage numbers listed above (110v/115v/120v) is frankly preference to reflect the load capability of an outlet, plug end or cable. The normal operating range for this type of power is 110 volts and can go up to 124 volts. As long as the power is in the advertised/listed range of 110v-120v, you’re all set.
Now the 20 amp breaker portion refers to the “master switch” for the outlet(s) on that breaker. Here’s the tricky part, there can be multiple outlets on one breaker. So for example, if you look at a wall and see 4 outlets running down the length of the wall, it’s highly probable that they are all on the same breaker. That being said, when we say you need 2- 110v/20 amp circuits to run the equipment you rented, we’ll have to plugin to power on that wall and another wall to avoid popping the breaker. No, there is no fuse anymore. It is simply just a switch that you have to reset. In some cases, each outlet is labeled with the circuit number which makes it incredibly easy to identify what outlets are on what circuits. Circuit boxes are typically located in the garage or basement for a residence and in a storage, maintenance or electrical room for a commercial building. If you do not know where your circuit breaker box is, we’d highly recommend locating that and making sure you have access to it before the day of your event.
Now that we’ve gotten past the most common power, it’s time to go a little bit bigger; Single Phase 220V. The similar situation rings true when it comes to this voltage range, it may be advertised as anywhere from 220v to 240v. The difference here over the power mentioned above is there are two hot/positive legs instead of one like in 110v power. These two 110v hot legs combine to make 220v power, see what happened there? Same rings true when we talk about 120v, take two of those hot legs and put them together to make 240v which brings us back full circle to the rang of 220v to 240v. Typically 220v-240v will be on a 50amp breaker, frankly it’s very rare for that not to be the case. We use 220v/50 amp power for our some of our rides.
The final type of power is 3 phase. This is rarely found in any buildings, frankly only industrial buildings have 3 phase power and most of the time the voltage is out of range for our needs. We operate 208v 3 phase while most manufacturing facilities operate 480V 3 Phase. Expo centers will likely have have the type of power we need like in the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. There’s an immense difference between single phase and three phase and frankly, we just aren’t going to go into great detail about it. If we need 3 phase power, we will most likely have to bring our own generators to power those rides. This leads us beautifully into the final portion of our power talk, generators.
We are often asked, “Isn’t it just easier for you to bring your own generators for power?” The short answer is yes but don’t give up hope just yet! If you are bringing a few inflatables to your event and the setup location is near a building, there’s a good chance you’ll have enough power to run 2-3 inflatables if not more. Typically there are only 1-3 circuits outside of a building but that’s not the standard across the board either. Again, please refer back to your building manager or maintenance department as they will definitely be able to tell you that your power situation looks like. In some cases we can use a generator that you provide but please contact us first before assuming your generators will work. Not all generators are equal and not all of them will power our equipment.
If you do need to rent one or multiple generators from us, we have many different options to choose from. Our smallest generators, what we call Class A generators, are able to power up to 3 inflatables and are pretty loud. These Class A generators are roughly 94 decibels at 3 meters away. Class B generators can power 1- 220v/50amp ride or up to 5 inflatables and is about 99 decibels at 3 meters. Our largest generators, Class C, are actually the quietest generators in our fleet ranging from 68-72 decibels at 3 meters. Our Class C generators range anywhere from 20KW to 60KW. To put it into perspective, the 60KW Generator will power your house and 5 of your neighbors houses running the entire house like normal-that’s a lot of power! You can hear the differences of each generator by watching this video, click here. Our event specialists will be able to pair the right generator for your event.
In Summary, which is what you may have been wanting this entire time:
- A 110v/20amp circuit is a regular outlet that you have in your home or business
- A circuit is what the individual outlets are wired to, be aware that in most cases multiple outlets are wired on the same circuit. Please know where the circuit panel is and have access to it on the day of your event in case a breaker is blown.
- Most of our rides take 220v/50amp or three phase service and in most cases we will have to provide the power for these
- Of the generators in our fleet, the large Class C generators are the most powerful and the most quiet and can power both rides and inflatables all at the same time
If you have any further questions about power requirements for your event, give us a call and we’d be more than happy to assist you.