Need Help Calculating System Amp Draw

Hi, I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place but I thought I'd try.

I know this is kind of a newbie question but I'm having trouble calculating the amp draw of my system. I'm running a recording rig and it's hard to tell what some of the gear is pulling. I know Amps are Watts/Volts but I'm confused about what actual wattage is being used (for example, my DAW has a power supply of 850W but the company that made the computer for me says that the way I'm using it, it's probably only pulling 500-600W). Some of the gear, like my monitors, say 230W on the back, but then online it says 90W, so I'm wondering if it's the same kind of thing where the power supply is higher than what's actually being used. I'm looking to add some hardware and don't want to overload the circuit.

Here's what I have, any help appreciated! Thank you.

Microphone Power Supply - 8.4W / 120V = 0.07 Amps

Lavry Black AD11 - 14W / 120V = .116 Amps

Mytek 192 ADC - I can't find any info but I'm guessing similar to the Lavry AD

Lavry DA10 - 0.1 Amps ?
    Voltage 90-264 VAC, Frequency 40-63Hz, Current 0.1A
    Fuse Rating 2.5A “Time Delay”

Computer - 850W Power Supply, probably just using up to 600W / 120V = 5 Amps

Lights - added up all the lightbulbs, it's about 0.75 Amps

KRK VXT6 Monitors - says 230W on the back? which would be 1.9 Amps each. The internet also says 120W and 90W in different places, so I'm confused.

Great River Preamp - says the fuse is 0.75A, not sure if that means it's using that much?

TV - says 1.8A on the back.

I'm wanting to add a compressor and a few additional preamps but it's only a 15A circuit.




Well, if you really need Amps you could buy a simple Amp meter like the one I link below, but if you are trying to figure out maximum load on a 15A circuit the answer is 1800 Watts for short duration, 1440 W (1800 * 80%) for long term power.

Usually it's easier to add the watts than the amps. :)

@acar83 If I were to add up all the watts my system claims, I would be drawing about 30 amps.  In reality, when the entire system is running, I am drawing +/- 7 amps.  This according to the readout on my Furman power conditioner.  You could use a Multimeter and check the draw of each piece of equipment when running, or plug everything into a power conditioner that reads the total draw.  I suspect increasing the main line to a 20 amp breaker would be advisable, assuming you have the proper AWG to handle the load.  12 AWG wire at a minimum.  

Hi, Thanks for the responses.

Yeah I'm using a Transparent Audio power conditioner, it doesn't tell me the usage. I'll look into changing over to a 20 amp breaker, I didn't know that was possible.

@erik_squires I'm still confused about what the wattage is. On the speakers it says 230W on each one, but then the literature says 90 watts...

KRK VXT6 | Sweetwater

That meter looks interesting though, so I just plug each piece of equipment into it and it tells me the draw?

Ohh I just watched the video, yeah that would be a pain bc the meter wouldn't fit on the power conditioner's outlets.

Well ok another question... If I put too much on the circuit, what's the worst that happens? It just trips the breaker? Or could it damage anything. 😅

If the lights are not dimming to the beat of the music, you are not even close....

Haha I don't know if you're joking or not...

But yeah I just don't want to damage anything, this equipment is very expensive to fix, and I don't know much about the electrical stuff...

Excessive draw will trip the breaker at the panel.  The only issue you would have with your equipment is sudden loss of power and that should not be a concern.  The same as turning off the power button any the piece itself.  The concern for your equipment is always a sudden power surge, like a lightening strike.  Your power conditioner is supposed to look after that unlikely event.  If you are running off standard household wiring, you are most likely maxed out with the 15 amp breaker on 14 AWG wire.  Are you able to run a dedicated circuit for your system?  

I probably could...we own the building, but I don’t know how much that would cost (the wiring for 20 amp). But if the consensus is that I’m not even close to 15 amps (or 12 or whatever the ceiling is) and the worst thing that could happen is the equipment just shuts off, then I’m not too concerned. If I were to hit the ceiling and everything keeps shutting off, then I’d be more inclined to pay for the 20 amp circuit...

Will lightning jump a circuit breaker? Normally I just flip the circuit in a storm, it’s too hard for me to get behind the desk and unplug from the wall. I mean, I can do it, it’s just a pain every time we have a storm. Was wondering if flipping the circuit actually does anything or if a surge from lightning would just jump it anyway, can’t remember what I’ve read...

I'm using a Transparent Audio power conditioner

Plug a Kill-A-Watt to the wall outlet and plug your power conditioner to it, then you can monitoring the total ampere draw of all the equipment that plug into the power conditioner.

Most equipment only provide spec of maximum power consumption, not the normal usage.

If I put too much on the circuit, what's the worst that happens? It just trips the breaker? Or could it damage anything.

Yes, the circuit breaker will trip to prevent overloading the circuit.


Add up the wattages on the back of the units.  For things like amplifiers and powered speakers this is the maximum power that the could draw, but with normal amps your actual usage is usually much lower. The 230W on the back would be used up only if you were using test tones at maximum output. 

Yes, you can get a new circuit, but you can't upgrade the breaker UNLESS you know you already have 12 gauge wiring everywhere.  If this is a circuit that is shared with lights I'm sure you do not.

Sounds like you may be better off getting a new additional circuit run.  I try to keep really noisy things like Ethernet switches and PC's outside of my clean power zone which is where my amps and DACs go.

The easiest way is to simply add up all the power line fuse values in each piece of equipment. 

Will lightning jump a circuit breaker...

It jumps miles to get to the ground, so yes it will jump a circuit breaker. 

Get all this crap off your audio power circuit.

And if your computer is really using 600 watts, that will really heat up the room.

And what’s the compressor for? Doing motorcycle maintenance in your man cave?

Finally, there are a lot of wrong answers in this thread. Listen to Erik.

Edit to add: I currently have the following equipment powered by my PS Audio PP10

1. Tube amp

2. DAC

3. Streamer

4. CD Transport

5. A total of 6 linear power supplies that supply my DAC, upscaler, Roon Core, and Ethernet switch.

My Powerplant tells me the instantaneous power draw is 231W. Actual use is never close to nameplate value. If it is, something breaks soon.



It's a music production system, not an audiophile listen-to-music system, although I use it for that too. I find approaching it like an audiophile system yields better monitoring and recording quality. The compressor is a vocal chain compressor. Compresses the audio, very common in vocal chains. ;)

Not sure what other "crap" you'd be referring to, it's quite streamlined for a music production system. But thank you for the the tips, sounds like I should have a lot of headroom with the power. I will review Erik's posts. 😎

@imhififan thank you I will check this out. The kill a watt meter looks a little simpler to use than the other one recommended.

@acar83   Hope you weren't offended.  My message was meant to give you a hard time.  You did see that the actual load is much less than calculated load.  Erik also recommends measuring.

@carlsbad haha nah not offended, I did think you were serious though ;)

Yeah, I will look into measuring. Thanks to everyone for their feedback.

i don't think you have enough to worry about worse case it pops the breaker and you know. 

@acar83 Is all of the equipment you listed on a dedicated circuit? In other words, there's nothing else on the circuit (in the building) except for what you've listed? If that's the case, the circuit probably doesn't even come close to being maxed out, so you should not have a problem adding additional equipment. For amps and active speakers, many times the figures listed on the back are for when the amps and speakers are running full-tilt, continuously, for long periods of time. If you're not running them full-tilt, your amps and speakers are consuming much less current (amps/watts) than what is listed. The Kill-A-Watt meter listed above is a great little tool to possess, but keep in mind it is slow to react to amplifier peaks, so it may not be very accurate for the dynamic current you're trying to measure. 

Will lightning jump a circuit breaker? Normally I just flip the circuit in a storm, it’s too hard for me to get behind the desk and unplug from the wall.

That's good as long as it's not a direct strike!👍

One thing to bear in mind is DO NOT USE THE BREAKER AS A "MASTER SWITCH" to turn on everything at once! Sometimes the inrush current can trip the circuit breaker.

Will lightning jump a circuit breaker? Normally I just flip the circuit in a storm, it’s too hard for me to get behind the desk and unplug from the wall.


A direct strike will, but 99% of damaging lightning surges are not direct strikes.

Turning off breakers is a great idea, but storms and surges happer when you are away and unable to predict them.

Use a whole house surge protector plus a Furman with SMP at the outlet for the best outcomes.