)*( Electrical Power for Silicon Village is a key part of our infrastructure. It requires planning, attention and safe, wise use in order to operate continuously on the Playa. Generator start-up is on the Saturday before the event and runs 24/7 until Monday at 10:00 AM post-event. On Saturday, Camp Power Rangers place distribution points, called Quad Box Strings (QBS boxes – four sockets per box, three boxes per string… see pictures, below), run cables and initiate connections. Please contact your Camp’s Power Ranger to get connected.
A typical QBS String with three QBS Boxes; and, a QBS Box with four outlets, above.
Silicon Village Power Rangers are an all-volunteer power crew. The Village appoints a Lead Power Ranger and Camps designate a Camp Power Ranger and a backup. Power Rangers are on call 24/7. They provide safe and consistent power to camps and the Village. Please support your Power Ranger by respecting them and the time and effort they put into supporting you!
On Playa, any significant power related information will be posted on the Power Generator.
For the 2019 Burn, the Lead Power Ranger for Silicon Village is Steve Watson: shwatson [at] gmail [dot] com.
Quick Access Menu
- Getting Connected
- RV & Super User Power Considerations
- What to do when you lose power
- Power Piracy
)*( Getting Connected
Important! Please make sure that you have a duct-taped tab with your playa name at both ends of your extension cord, or write your name directly on the wire jacket. Doing so identifies your connection at the QBS Box, helps you to recover your extension cord and helps to identify where it goes when Power Rangers are looking for your connection!
)*( Extension Cords and Plug Adaptors
Important! You must obtain your own extension cord(s) to connect your dwelling to the Power Grid. Extension cords using 12-gauge, 14-gauge or 16-gauge wire are NOT acceptable to connect your dwelling to the grid via a QBS Box!
- Here are a few simple tips to ensure you’ll get the power you need. An undersized extension cord will negate your ability to connect to the grid!
- Buy 3-Prong, 10-gauge wire (10/3) extension cords, rated at 15 or 20 amp. Either a single, 100′ long or two, 50′ cords are permissible.
- Clearly label both ends of your extension cord with your Playa Name.
- Use the Power Examples chart and calculator utility to get an idea of your power requirements
- Contact your Camp Power Ranger if you need assistance in choosing an extension cord or an adaptor.
Some thoughts on shopping:
- To find good deals on-line, shop early and allow extra time for shipping!
- Buy cords with lighted connectors that make it easy to tell if the cord has power.
- You may find that 50′, 10-gauge cord is $65, while a 100′, 10-gauge is $100. You can save money by buying the 100′ cord
We have 1 type of receptacle, or socket, this year: a NEMA 5-15 120V 15A 3-prong (also called an ‘Edison’ plug), like you commonly use at home.
If you are in doubt connecting to a receptacle, consult your Camp Power Ranger!
Note: If you are dwelling in an RV, you’ll need an adaptor to connect to a 5-15R, 120V 15 amp, 3-prong ‘Edison’ plug on the extension cord you’ll use to hook up to our grid.
An adaptor MAY be required to plug into the Silicon Village Power Grid, particularly if you are eternally (so-called ‘shore’) powering an RV. QBS Boxes – the 4-resceptacle clusters that we’ll use this year – have 3-prong Edison-style receptacles. The photo-matrix, below, will help you determine what type of plug you have and what type of adaptor you may need.
|I Have…||I Need…||What to Get|
|A common house plug||No adaptor at all this year!||
|I Have…||I Need…||What to Get|
An RV Plug like this…
An RV to Edison Adaptor
A NEMA TT-30R to 5-15P adaptor(
Adaptors come in many colors and types. Get a wired (dongle-style) adapter as pictured. Those that have clear, LED indicator shows when the adaptor is powered.
Where to get them? Try Amazon:
- A good NEMA lTT-30R (Receptacle) to NEMA 5-15P (Plug)
- And, another NEMA TT-30R (Receptacle) To NEMA 5-15P (Plug)
Wait, 15 amp or 20 amp? For my RV? My RV has a 30 amp plug, don’t I need… ?
Most RVs draw up to, or more than, 20 amps when many appliances are running all at once. We don’t have any 30 Amp outlets, so we advise the L5-15 or L5-20 (the 20 amp, T-Blade Style receptacle allows for some versatility, but comes with considerations… see below).
Manage your power consumption by not running high-draw appliances at the same time (for example, hair dryer and a microwave oven).
A Camper is defined as a dwelling – usually a tent – that requires less than 500 watts of continuous (running 8 hours or more) power in a 24-hour period. All Villagers are assumed to be, at least, a Camper and must pay Camp Fees, accordingly. However, if your ‘footprint’ and/or power requirements fall outside the guidelines of a Camper, then you may be either a SuperUser or a Recreational Vehicle.
A Camper may run continuous loads, like an Energy Star-rated small refrigerator, as long as the total watt/hours consumed is below 500. Check the nameplate of the appliance to know how many watts/hour the device will draw or use the Power Examples utility. Intermittent loads, like a hair dryer or a microwave oven, may overload your circuit. If you need more, continuous power (to run an Air Conditioner, for example) please pay for power as a Super User.
A SuperUser is defined as a dwelling that requires an average of about 1000 watts/hour of continuous (running 8 hours or more) power in a 24-hour period. If you have an Air Conditioner, your dwelling is most likely classified as a SuperUser.
An air conditioner consumes a lot of power on start-up. This may affect other appliances you may have, like a microwave, and may cause your GFCI or Breaker to trip.
Since a SuperUser uses more electricity, for an A/C or other larger items, you’ll need a 3-prong, 10-gauge Extension Cord that is 100′ long
An Extension Cord with a NEMA L5-20 plug (male end) and an Edison receptacle (female end) can be used if you have one. Extension cords thus configured provide less flexibility than an Edison-style plug/receptacle arrangement. An L5-20 to 5-15/20 adaptor at the plug (female) will be required for appliances to access power at your dwelling.
)*( Recreational Vehicles (RV)
A Recreational Vehicle is defined as a Class A, B or C motorhome, travel trailer or truck trailer, towed or self-propelled dwelling equipped with a minimum-rated 30amp internal electrical system. Please refer to the following link for further information about classes and types of RVs:
Special case: If you have an small, towed camper, such as a teardrop or a pop-up camper that is 8 ft. long or less and that does not have an on-board electrical system, you may request to be classified as a SuperUser, rather than an RV. Please consult with the Silicon Village Lead Power Ranger to determine the best fit for your power needs!
Due to the rising popularity of RVs in Silicon Village, we are not offering 50 amp electrical service to large RVs, so that we can accommodate as many campers as possible. Additionally, we can only promise a total of 20 amp service per QBS. So, that means 1 RV on a QBS, or 2 SuperUsers and maybe a camper or two, or 4 campers per QBS. The total draw on the combination of 4 sockets, in any case, must not exceed 20amp, or the breaker will ‘pop’. Please consult your Power Ranger for ‘boots-on-the -ground’ determination, before plugging in to a QBS.. By the way, this doesn’t mean that RVs with 30 amp service can’t plug in to our grid. It DOES mean that RVs with 30 amp service will have to manage their appliance usage, so that high demand, continuous use appliances like Air Conditioners are turned off before using hair dryers or microwave ovens over a short time duration.
RV Villagers, please reserve your space early. Contact the Silicon Village Lead Power Ranger with concerns or questions.
RVs often use a special 30 Amp connector (TT-30). An adaptor is required for use. Some newer RVs or RVs with a disconnectable cable use a Twist Lock (L5-30) receptacle.
Purchase a 100′ 3-Prong (NEMA 5-15 or 5-20), 10-gauge Extension Cord or a L5-20/30 10-gauge Extension Cord. If possible, avoid purchasing a “hockey puck” style adaptor.
Finding a 10-gauge corded adaptor may be difficult, but it’s worth the time. A corded adaptor will help take some of the plug weight off the receptacle. This will help eliminate the chance that the cord might become unplugged, or loose, in the socket.
Larger RVs should contact a Power Ranger to discuss their power needs or cable needs well before arriving on Playa. This will ensure that adequate power is available in your location.
If it rains more than a mist, we may likely shut down the generator for safety reasons. The time frame for the shutdown will depend on the weather conditions. You must be especially careful about touching your electrical connections while on a wet surface (duh!). Safety is our first concern, so please do not take a chance.
If a lightning storm approached, and is at or within a 20 mile distance of the event, we may shut down the generator. We will also disconnect the grounding rod in a severe storm. Do not approach the generator or interact with the electrical equipment during a lightning storm.
)*( What to do when you lose power
Try to be patient if you lose power. Find your Theme Camp’s Power Ranger. The outage may simply be due to a circuit break trip that needs to n=be reset.
)*( Camper Outages
If you are a single tent and use a single extension cord, the outage may be very simple. Your cord may have been disconnected. You may have popped the circuit breaker by turning on an appliance that drew a lot of power.
Follow your cord, or find it’s label, ensure it’s still plugged in. If unplugged, DO NOT plug it back in yourself. Find a Power Ranger and ask for assistance.
On the QBS Box, check the RED circuit breaker button. If it has popped UP, you can attempt to reset the circuit breaker by pressing the Red reset button. When working properly, the Red Button should stay down.
The Circuit Breaker button appears on top of one of the left receptacles on a QBS Box, like in the picture, above.
If you still need assistance, find a Power Ranger.
)*( SuperUser Outages
Check your larger appliances. Air Conditioners often have a built in GFCI. This may need to be reset first. After you have checked locally, take the following steps.
Follow your cord, or find it’s label, ensure that your cord is still plugged in. If you find it unplugged, DO NOT plug it back in yourself. Find a Power Ranger for assistance.
On the QBS Box, check the RED circuit breaker button. If it has popped UP, you can attempt to Reset the circuit breaker by pressing the RED Reset button. When working properly, the Red Button should stay down.
If you still need assistance, find a Power Ranger.
)*( Recreational Vehicle Outages(RV)
RV’s can have a number of points of failure. It’s wise to try to understand how your RV works before arriving on Playa.
Check your RV’s breaker panel
This is often near the entrance door or near the power tie in
Some appliances may have plugs and outlets, check these to ensure the appliance is plugged in correctly and seated fully
Do not attempt to switch to your generator, assuming you have one!
Check the connection from your RV to your Extension cord, make sure it is connected and seated well
Follow your cord, or find it’s label, and ensure that your cord is plugged in. If you find it unplugged, DO NOT plug it back in. Find a Power Ranger for assistance.
Check the GFCI – AC Units and Fridges can sometimes trip the GFCI when powering up. You can attempt to Reset the GFCI by pressing the Reset button. The GFCI green indicator light will be on when working properly.
If you still need assistance, find a power Ranger.
)*( RV & SuperUser Power Considerations
If you are in an RV or if you’re a SuperUser, do not run your air conditioner and microwave or electric coffee maker at the same time. The Air Conditioner consumes a lot of power for about a minute, then levels out. During start-up, a circuit breaker may trigger, shutting down your dwelling. Thus, if possible, please use propane to run your stove/oven and hot water heater. It’s not possible (and, in fact, could be dangerous) to run high power-consuming appliances at the same time, given the limitations of shared, Village-wide electrical power.
)*( Power Examples
To better understand your electrical needs, review the following chart. The chart uses estimated values. Check your appliance nameplate to find watt/hour power consumption for which the device is designed.
Non-Motor Driven Appliances
These appliances do not have motors and start at full power. They do not have a “Starting Watts” value.
|Appliance||Estimated Running Watts||Estimated Running Amps|
|Light Bulb – 60 Watts||60||0.5|
|Microwave Oven – 1000 Watts||1000||8.33|
|Household Coffee Maker||1000||8.33|
Motor Driven Appliances
Running Watts refers to the continuous power needed to run the appliance. A spike in power demand, or Start Watts, are needed for the first few seconds to start the motor.
|Appliance||Estimated Running Watts||Additional Starting Watts||Estimated Running Amps||Estimated Starting Amps|
|Box Fan – 20″||200||0||1.3||1.3|
|Refrigerator / Freezer||700||2200||5.83||18.33|
|RV AC Unit – 11,000 BTU||1010||1600||8.42||13.33|
|Window AC Unit – 10,000 BTU||1200||1800||10||15|
)*( Power Calculator
You can use this tool to help calculate your power usage. Use the Add button to add appliances you would plan to plugin on playa. The calculation assumes you would run these all at once and give you a total when that occurs.
Safety precautions are taken to ensure that people and equipment are not damaged. Mistakes can cause serious damage to the grid and may deprive us of power entirely. Please be sure to observe the following, important safety rules!
- No-one, except the Silicon Village Lead Power Ranger, Senior Power Ranger or Her/His designee, may set up or start the Generator,
- No-one, except the Silicon Village Lead Power Ranger, Senior Power Ranger or Her/His designee, is authorized to make adjustments or changes to the Generator,
- You must have a 3-prong (5-15/20) grounded power cables and connections on your appliances for safety. Refer to Extension Cords Info.
- Get help from your Camp Power Ranger if an additional QBS Box needs to be connected.
- No more than 2 Spider Boxes per circuit from the Generator’s Distribution Panel are permissible.
)*( Power Piracy
As Un-Burning Man as this may sound, periodically, nearby camps have surreptitiously connected to our Generator. This is not only rude, but it steals our power and fuel. Please help ensure that only our camp is using our power. Notify any Power Ranger if you suspect abuse.
Questions? Contact the Village Lead Power Ranger or your Camp Power Ranger!