Trade Show Tips: How to Order Electric

Take it from us!

As we prepare to venture off to SXSW for some upcoming booth build out’s including the oh sooo cool AOL Studio (20’x30’) and Mapquest’s 20’x20’ on the tradeshow floor for Film & Interactive, it is not only guitars and amps that are on our mind!!! Discount deadlines are due and of course we don’t want to fry our muthaboards at the most anticipated music festival of the year where the brightest minds dine on BBQ, beer, and BEATS! So before we venture out and explore the city…here are a few tips to help you get your orders in so you can venture out to Maggie Maes or go see Fitz & The Tantrums perform at the Rusty Spur!

Ordering electric is an inevitable part of trade show preparation. Doing it right can be quite the challenge. Without understanding the “ins and outs” it can be difficult to order electric service for your exhibit.

For most tradeshow exhibits, the given electrical requirements are pretty cut and dry. For example: a 10’ backwall exhibit will typically require one standard minimum service outlet placed behind the booth, and that will be all that is needed. If the plan includes a table or counter on the aisle, another minimum service outlet nearby may be helpful to provide power to a laptop or another lead retrieval device. As tradeshow displays get larger and more complex, it is nice to have an electrical drawing. This is usually a simple floor plan that shows exact placement of all electrical outlets and the required watts or amps for each outlet. It is best to provide as much detail as possible. Most exhibit/trade show production companies provide this service as part of their prep procedure.

Once you have the electrical diagram, count the service outlets and fill out the given order form. Submitting the form early enough will help ensure to take advantage of any available discounts.

Heavy duty electrical service such as 220 or 440 volts is used to power machinery. This type of service is expensive and when placing the order it should be done by someone who is familiar with the equipment. Most convention centers turn off the electrical service to the displays at night. If you have equipment or computers in your exhibit that must be kept on, consider ordering 24 hour service. Again, this can be costly.

Now, let’s determine how much power your equipment requires. Most equipment has an amperage and voltage rating located at the bottom of the piece. Simply take the amperage and multiply it by the volts to get the watts. amps x volts = watts

2000 watts is the highest single service provided. Multiple pieces may use the same outlet just as long as it does not exceed 2000 watts.

Below will give you an idea of watts per device.
Appliance Typical Requirement for one device

Blender 375 watts
Cash Register 500 watts
Coffee Pot, standard 600-1000 watts
Coffee Pot, Large 1500-2000 watts
Coffee brewer, Industrial 208V single phase
Computer, laptop 300-500 watts
Computer, desktop 500-750 watts
Computer Monitor, Regular 200 watts
Computer Monitor, Flat 250-500 watts
Crock Pot 1000-1500 watts
Hotplate, single element 1000 watts
Hotplate, dual element 2000 watts
Lighting, halogen 100-500 watts per bulb
Lighting, conventional 60-250 watts per bulb
Popcorn Maker, small 1000 watts
Popcorn Maker, large 1500-2000 watts
Printer, ink jet 750-1000 watts
Printer, Laser 1500-2000 watts
Stereo 100-500 watts
Toaster 1500 watts
TV, standard 200-500 watts
TV, LCD 500-1000 watts
TV, Plasma 1000-1500 watts
VCR/DVD/TV combo 500-1000 watts

  1. Helpful tip when preparing for Consumer Electronics Show for sure!

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