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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 01 Jun 2006 (Thursday) 15:36
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extension cords?

Senior Member
477 posts
Joined Feb 2005
Jun 01, 2006 15:36 |  #1

i thought i read somewhere (unless i was dreaming again :rolleyes: ) not to use extension cords with strobes, but... if you have to then what amp should they be? (2 600w strobes)

214 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Oct 2005
Location: Santa Clarita, CA USA
Jun 01, 2006 19:46 |  #2

I did a quick search on the web. I found this in an AlienBee FAQ:

"If you use an extension cord that is 25 feet or longer, use a 16-3 or larger gauge wire (3 #16 AWG wires) extension cord. Smaller numbers indicate a larger wire (go figure), so a 14-3 extension cord (3 #14 AWG wires) is larger than a 16-3 cord."

I didn't come across any statement positive or negitive regarding the use of extension cords, however since AlienBees does mention them I'd assume it was ok as far as they are concerned, but I'd check with the manufacturer of whatever brand you have.

No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen. Minor White

Light Bringer
50,920 posts
Likes: 333
Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Jun 01, 2006 21:39 |  #3

I didn't know that, I bought some extension cords at a cheap place here and they work fine.

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Inspired ­ Photography
2,096 posts
Joined Jun 2005
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Jun 01, 2006 22:17 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #4

From an Electronic Engineer's perspective, i can't see any problem with it. Maybe use one per strobe, but that'd be it...

If you are using powerpacks and running at full power with hundreds of flashes an hour, then maybe you would start causing some heat issues, but i can't imaging it being a real problem otherwise.

Some of the big strobe (like an AB1600 or something) will be sucking some power on a full recycle, so maybe keep an eye on it, but yeah... if it doesn't blow your circuit breakers, and extension cable should be fine.


Robert Bell - Inspired Photography (formerly "Inspired Graphix" [and "Shooter-Boy" a long time ago])
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Senior Member
477 posts
Joined Feb 2005
Jun 02, 2006 10:01 |  #5

yeah, these units are roughly the same as the bee 1600 (600 true w/s opposed to AB 640). tim, most of the time i couldn't imaging any cord being a problem except with the cheap tiny ones. make sure it's a "heavy duty" one. they often come in orange. i bought a red one that is 100ft, 14 gauge and 13 amps. it says that it can support circular saw, reciprocating saw, and a chain saw lol. i don't think i'll have any problems. i also bought a surge protector. most likely i'll be running both lights off this cord, but i usually never go over half power anyway. the next size up was 14 or 15 amps and ran generators and other larger objects, but that cord was around $45... thanks for the confirmation guys!

tim, does your cord get hot when you are using the flashes alot? make sure to keep an eye on it like shooter-boy suggested. we don't want any fires!!!!!

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extension cords?
FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
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y 1600

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