LAN Party How To - Part 1: Planning and Power

Power - Distribution Boxes

Again, using the Ethernet network metaphor, a distribution box (Figure 10 ) is a lot like an access switch you might put at the concentration layer of your network. This box connects by large rubber covered power cable to the switch gear and breaks down into various large capacity circuits which ultimately feed the table boxes.

Figure 10: Distribution box
(click image to enlarge)

You will need distribution capacity to match the amperage requirements of the table boxes in order to prevent circuit overloading since it is expected that all systems will be on all the time. In our example power system shown in Figure 8, each distribution box takes a 100A three-phase circuit from the switch gear and converts it into three 120V 100A circuits. Using a rule of thumb of 4A per attendee, each distribution box would be able to handle 75 gamers. Of course power needs of the LAN party staff and network core must be added into your total power budget.

Table Boxes

A table box connects to the distribution box and, ideally, is sized to handle the number of players in each table row. Since our preferred table double-row seating handles 24 players, table boxes running off 100 A feeds match this nicely with one 4A load to spare (24 players X 4A = 96A)!

Table boxes usually look like a breaker panel that you might have in your home with a series of duplex outlet boxes mounted along each side. Each duplex outlet is wired to its own 20A circuit with both outlets connected to the same circuit. In our sample power system in Figure 8, each table box has five 20A duplex outlets, which matches our table setup. Figure 11 shows a different table box that handles up to 80 players via 16 20A outlets - obviously sized to handle about three rows of tables.

Figure 11: Table box sized for 80 attendees
(click image to enlarge)


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