So I live in a dorm room at a college, and I am looking into getting 2 1050w ASIC miners for mining Litecoin.

My issue is, that as far as I know, you can't pull +/-3000 watts from one breaker. (2 miners = 1050w, + desktop computer 500w, + laptop 300w+ fan/chargers/etc) (I live in Canada btw, so you know what electrical standards we use)

I am trying to see if there is a way to figure out what outlets are hooked to different breakers. I know there are devices that allow you to send a signal to the breaker, but I don't have access to the breaker, so I'm hoping there's a device where I can plug it into one outlet, and check all the other outlets to see if the signal is coming through.

As far as I know, in our dorm we would have multiple breakers, so I'm trying to figure out where they are, so I can distribute the power usage between them. I'm assuming there is a separate breaker for the kitchen, bedroom #1 and bedroom #2.

Anyone know of a device that will help me figure this out? Thanks.

  • Do you have access to your circuit breakers and control of them? Are you certain your circuits are not shared among rooms? Sep 24, 2018 at 16:28
  • I don't have access to the breakers, the circuits could be connected between both the rooms, but I don't think they would also be connected to the kitchen as well, considering a fridge would use 100w, plus microwave using 1200w, + the load of my PC and other stuff using about 1000w, that would mean we would be pulling at least 2100w, not including my roommates power, so I think that at least the kitchen would be on a separate breaker. Sep 24, 2018 at 16:33
  • 5
    Check your housing contract and the colleges networking terms. Miners are specifically prohibited by most learning institutions since they consume power and bandwidth.
    – Tyson
    Sep 24, 2018 at 17:09
  • Can be a quick way to not have a dorm room anymore....
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 26, 2018 at 20:27

2 Answers 2


The only answer here is to contact your Facilities Department and ask them.

Your whole idea of throwing big loads into a building on a "rogue" basis is only going to result in breaker trips. And since you can't reset a breaker, you'll end up talking to Facilities anyway, or they may end up having a talk with you. I know the child's impulse is to sneak until he can't... but when you're adulting, it's better to get out ahead of it and intercept the objection before it becomes one.

Power supply

Your 1050W unit is a DC figure, it will need a power supply (PSU). That is not 100% efficient. Some brag 89% efficient, and 94% power factor, and if that's true that means 1255 VA of actual draw.

This is a continuous load. That means when provisiong (planning) power to the device, you must derate it by 125%, or 1570 VA. Normal 120V/15A circuits have 1800 VA available, and one ASIC will totally dominate it with only 230W available for maybe a small console screen. Larger 120V/20A circuits, sometimes reveaked by the T-shaped neutral socket, have 2400 VA to give, so they also can support one ASIC, and 830 VA of other stuff will fit. VA is a unit very similar to watts.

You will not find an 850 watt air conditioner. This will require a third circuit. You have not stated any plan to remove 2510 watts of heat energy from a dorm room, and that is a fatal flaw.

Colleges do not like miners. The reason is mainly the excessive power used. When dorms proffer "free electricity" they only mean for incidental use for normal student needs. They do not mean for you to use it as the primary resource input into a side business that profits yourself - and everyone knows the coin-mining game is All About the cost of electricity. So yes, you are definitely violating campus rules against exploiting university assets for personal gain.

It's different if you're running an ebay business and use the power to run the heat shrink gun 30 seconds a day. An eBay business doesn't have electricity as its primary resource input.

You're using a VPN and the traffic is low. How does their incompetent IT department catch you? Easier than you think. Someone from the Facilities Dept. comes out at 5 am and aims a FLIR at the side of the building. The dorm rooms where power is being overused light up cherry red. They can do the same by aiming the FLIR at the service panel, the high-current breakers will light up warmer than all the rest. It's not rocket science.


Not sure where you are getting the "+/-3000 watts from one breaker" idea, that's not accurate. Assuming 120V, you are limited to 1440VA (80% of 15A x 120V) continuous on a standard residential circuit. It's possible that they used heavier wire (12ga) and a 20A breaker for 15A outlets (legal in the US, not sure about Canada), but that's still limited to 18A, so 2160VA. then assuming the Power Supplies in the severs are at .8 power factor, that's either 115W or 1728W respectively. Bottom line you probably cannot use one circuit to run both of your servers (assuming you are not prohibited anyway) or even one of them if there is almost anything else on that circuit.

  • 16A or 1920VA on a 20A circuit. Sep 24, 2018 at 18:20
  • As correct as the information may be here, this doesn't actually answer the question, which is about how to tell which receptacles are on different breakers.
    – mmathis
    Sep 24, 2018 at 20:10

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