P20 using 20amp power cable on a 15 amp circuit?

I currently have a 15 amp circuit in my home with 15 amp receptacles.

I have an opportunity to get a good deal on a 20 amp power cable and I’m wondering will it work if I use this 20 amp powercable on my P20 even though my home power circuit is 15 amp? Will the P20 function normally if I did this?


No. 20amp cord requires a 20amp receptacle with the sideways lug and 12awg or heavier wiring and 20amp breaker.

Don’t do it. You could start a fire.

That said, yes it will work if you change the outlet and don’t draw more than 15amp.

Best to call an electrician and have him or her upgrade to a dedicated circuit using 10awg first. This will probably be less money than the good deal power cord and will without question be more impactful.

Then get a 20amp cord for the P20 and use it in 20amp mode.


In a general sense, if the 15 amp circuit is properly protected with a 15 amp breaker or fuse then it won’t matter what cable is connected. Having a 20 cable does not, in and of itself, increase current draw. You would have to connect devices that draw more than 15 amps to benefit Current wise from using the 20 amp cord. Of course if connected to a 15 amp circuit it will just trip the breaker or blow the fuse when it exceeds 15 amps, which is not really a good idea.

With respect to the 20 amp cable itself, The female end is unique since a 20 amp IEC is different from a 15 amp IEC. I’ve not seen the male connector (that plugs into the wall) on the cable you are considering, but there is a 20 amp plug with the return blade horizontal and the hot blade vertical. A 15 amp plug has both the hot and return blades vertical. I did a quick look at Music Direct and they had several 20 amp power cords from AudioQuest and Shunyata, none of them used the “special” 20 amp male connector. So you probably could use the 20 amp cable with your 15 amp receptacle.

Having said All that, as Brett recommended, adding a 20 amp circuit wired with 10 Gage wire would be the best thing you could do for your P20.

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Here is the grub on that issue. A 15A outlet supplies 15A x 120V = 1800 VA. A 20A 120V = 2400 VA. You have 1800/2400 or 75% the power needed to run a P20 to FULL capability. In essence you have a P15 that can be upgraded as needed.

The P20 DOES have a 15A IEC socket to safely use until you NEED to use a full P20. Just don’t use the IEC C19 connector. Slide the door to uncover the 15A IEC socket.

Ok, is this an issue UNTIL you need more power? Likely not. I use just 350-374 watts running EVERYTHING at 85 dB SPL average to 90 peaks dB SPL on my P20. This is the stereo server PC, the amps, electrostatic speakers, subs, sources, EVERYTHING runs off the P20.

Get the P20 so you can upgrade as needed. Hook it up as a P15, with the C15 15A IEC connector and just watch your power percentage in the display. I doubt you will see over 50%, leaving the P15’s peak VA intact (what all those capacitors provide).

If you are in the 50% or less use range, spending the money on 20A service won’t impact anything at all. The P20 will supply just what your stuff draws. My P20 isn’t coming close to needing the 20A service in use.

Read the on-line owners manual, it covers all this.
Don’t over analyze. Use the 15A IEC and you’re set UNTIL you go CRAZY with power! If you see 50% or more then it makes sense to upgrade to keep the 3600VA PEAK of the P20 intact. The higher you run average, the lower the PEAK reserve will be. Under 50% and it is all there. The P15 and P20 both deliver a 3600VA quick PEAK, so the P20 benefits a higher average draw over the P15.

Galen Gareis


Good excuse to install a 20 amp dedicated circuit. Have your electrician use 10 gauge wire.

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I’m not going to argue with Galen’s comments, but I do have an “issue” with what PS Audio put in the P20 manual. To use the 20 amp IEC they say to install a dedicated single outlet which is not shared with any other devices. From an audiophile perspective that’s good advice, but they say it is to meet the electrical code. My (limited) understanding of the code (I’m not an electrician) is this is incorrect. 20 amp circuits are required in various parts of the home, e.g., two separate 20 amp circuits are required in the kitchen. Those 20 amp circuits can have multiple receptacles and can have duplex outlets. So what’s so special about a P20 with respect to the National Electric Code? Of course there may be local restrictions, that’s why they always recommend getting a local electrician to do the the work. Anyone here have a “professional” answer?

The circuit BREAKER and wiring has to supply 20A total. The number of outlets is “open” as any number from one to ??? could draw a total of 20 Amps. 20 outlets at 1 amp or 1 outlet at 20 amps. All the same to the circuit’s total load.

A circuit needs to have outlets at least every 8 feet or so to avoid using extension cords and thus the number of outlets will be variable to the room. The total DCR requirement determines when you’ve gone too far with 12 AWG or larger wire and won’t see the proper voltage at the last outlet. This isn’t usually a problem, though.

The important thing is to use the P20 with the 15A IEC service until a 20A line can be installed.

The “dedicated” line stuff is assuming that you will draw the full power of the P20 (gads!) consistently, leaving no current for anything else. I will never tax the line and the circuit can service other things no sweat.


I am a retired electrical contractor. The NEC does not restrict how many 20 amps circuits you can have in a home. A dedicated circuit is one were there are no other outlets in series which is what you want for your P20. In the kitchen, along with your 2 counter top circuits, you need a dedicated circuit for each appliance like a dish washer or garbage disposal because of their current draw. You can have a dedicated circuit anywhere you need one like for the P20 which will be drawing a lot of current which is recommended. If you are going to do a new circuit at your stereo, I recommend putting 2 dedicated 20 amps circuits with #10 wires since they do sound better, yes wires can affect the sound, one for the P20 and another for other things you might have.


That’s the safe thing to say, however, … as I stated above if the 20 amp cord is plugged into a standard duplex outlet on a 15 amp circuit that is wired with 14 gage wire and has a properly operating breaker the breaker will trip before you can reach the 20 amp limit of the P20. This is no different than if I try to run my 1 HP air compressor on a 15 amp circuit, it will trip the breaker. This is not inherently unsafe since the load of the P20 is variable, unlike my air compressor. The one thing you should NOT do is just replace a 15 amp breaker with a 20 amp, that would be BAD! The unknown to me is how the P20 changes operation when the 20 amp inlet is used. I would assume the percent load and any warnings with respect to approaching an overload would shift to higher values, but is there more? This might only be answerable by PS Audio.

With respect to Waymanchenn11’s comments, I agree with all of them. The only thing I ask is with respect to PS Audio’s statement to require use of a single outlet to meet code, I question whether this is true. Good practice? Absolutely. Required? I say no.

The P20 is considered like a major appliance because of the potential current draw witch requires a Dedicated circuit meaning only one outlet per code.
This is probably stated by PS Audio to protect themselves from potential lawsuits if you burn something, if the circuit is overloaded and get too hot and you do not have circuit dedicated for it.

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Well that makes more sense, though in my house I had a kitchen remodel about 20 years ago and the electrician used a duplex outlet for the refrigerator and another duplex for the dishwasher and disposer which passed inspection. I have no issue with recommending the single outlet, but I wonder how many folks use a duplex? I have a 20 amp dedicated line wired with 10 gage and a duplex outlet for my components which are all plugged into a P10. If I ever upgrade to a P20 I would have no qualms about using the duplex, but I can see the reasoning so I’ll leave it at that. If I ever visit PS Audio again I will try to check their plugs! Thanks for the info!

Not only say but do. You use a 15A powercord, not a 20A C19 cord, into the IEC 15A inlet on the P20 from the 15A wall service. ZERO infractions and why it is made this way. The P20 runs as a P15 until you change the service AND the power cord, both.

The service could care less what uses the amps. Where ONE device will be EXPECTED to use the total service, a dedicated outlet is good, yes. My P20 is way, way under that situation.

Remember too, the P20 is NOT really a dedicated service. It is an exotic buss with sixteen outlets to all manner of items, and any one can’t use the TOTAL service.

How is this so compellingly difficult to grasp? Of course the P20 won’t reach it’s potential as the user asked, and how to run it safely with what they have. Many don’t need that total VA service and they do need the extra outlets. As long as all those outlets don’t exceeed your service, 15A or 20A, you’re OK.

My P20 is loafing along and could EASILY be run on a 15A cord and service, all in complete safety.

Galen Gareis

Is this aimed at me? I grasp the reality of the situation, what I was having a little trouble accepting is the electrical code and how it applies specifically to a P20. I get it now, I won’t say any more …

The comment is directed at the P20 service options. I can’t plug you or me into the wall.

The P20 can be correctly used per code with 15A and 20A service. The two methods are clearly covered in the manual and the trade-off when used with 15A service with a 15A cord.

You are correct that you don’t want to use a 20A C19 IEC cord out of the P20 into a 15A wall service. That is NOT per code. But the P20 wasn’t designed to be used properly that way.

No one is even suggesting to use a P20 with a 20A IEC into a 15A wall service. PS Audio was nice enough to allow a second servive option as some just can’t get 20A service installed.

Don’t forget, the P10 or P anything, will have several items plugged into it. So it is far more than even a Duplex plug. The wall service doesn’t care what’s drawing all the current just that it is designed for the maximum expected draw and not keep popping the breaker.

ANY service can be overloaded. It is just the odds of a clock radio and a lamp doing it or an AC unit. Some big items just can’t share the service.

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That is what I am doing with my P20 currently. No problem. At full blast the P20 is under 1/3 capacity.
Some day that 15 will become a dedicated 20. But my wife has to vanish first. I’m hoping she doesn’t.

What bugs the hell out of me is I have six dedicated 20 amp circuits with hospital grade outlets maybe 18 feet away on another system. Code don’t ya know.

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I re read my comment today and it was easy to take snarky. I’m sorry about that. But I did mean that the manual explains the DUAL nature of the P20 pretty well and what to expect.

I apologize for not seeing my comment being DUAL in nature too! Text isn’t the best for communiction as I know you would have understood person to person. So when we meet don’t plug me into an AC outlet!

Galen Gareis


Ok, so I tested the P20 with a 15amp and a 20amp power cable.
With the 15amp the usage capacity was at 55-60% and with the 20amp it showed about 38% capacity with the same components plugged it.

Everything works normally, however this was just for testing. I’m still gonna convert the 20amp plug to 15amp for safety! Thanks everyone for your input!

Thanks for taking the time to post this. Very informative & useful.