Setup concerns

John C. Gonzalez
Feb 7, 6:56 PM PST

I recieved my unit this past Wednesday and I am supper excited to start using it. Unfortunately I have not heard back from Glowforge other than to tell me that they received my question. I really want to use my unit and don’t want to wait much longer, so I’m coming here for some help hopefully. I have a problem in the area of the wall outlet. It states in the instructions, “Make sure you connect the printer directly to a wall outlet and not a surge protector or power strip.” I don’t have a close enough wall outlet to reach the unit without a power strip. Is this a must and what is the risk associated with using a power cord? Secondly, the vent hose is not long enough to reach my window. Is it ok to buy a second hose and connect them to reach the window? My air filter isn’t shipping for a couple of months so I need another option. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.


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If your cord won’t reach an outlet find or buy a heavy duty extenton cord that is not much longer than what is needed and you will be fine.

I am not :glowforge: and I do not speek for them.

Anyone know what is the issue with this? I’ve had mine running like this for two weeks.

I have been using my GF with a high-quality APC surge protector for several months with no issues. I suspect that the issue is that low quality surge protectors do not always work correctly and battery backup units often don’t provide smooth power due to the conversion between AC and DC.

You should not exceed the hose length without adding a booster fan because the head loss through the longer hose may exceed the ability of the fan on the GF to exhaust the smoke.

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I believe the difficulty is that the Glowforge’s internal power supply has surge protection built in. There can be an issue where some of these protections connected in series can defeat each other and in that case increases the risk of damage or electrical fire. Since they don’t know what protection circuit you’ve got, it’s tolerances, etc. they can’t recommend it.


The GF has a power filter built-in which protects it from power surges. A surge strip and most battery backups have a power filter built-in. When you daisy-chain surge strips, the power filters can work against each other, causing you to have the sort of degraded power that you’re trying to avoid and possibly cause one filter to burn up or start a fire.

About 10 years ago at work, I personally witnessed my office mate’s surge strip catch on fire at the outlet the 2nd surge strip was plugged into. It was mostly a loud pop, with a bright flash of light from that one outlet, then smoke rolling out. He unplugged it from the wall and I grabbed the extinguisher. The plug from the 2nd surge strip was welded into the plug of the now melted first surge strip.

Nearly 20 percent of all failures and fires stemming from surge protectors happen as a result of daisy chains, according to a publication by the U.S. Office of Compliance.

If you don’t want to believe this particular article, Here is what APC has to say: There are countless others to find if you search “can I plug a surge strip into a surge strip?”

An APC or battery backup can be OK as long as it does not have surge protection on the outlet you plug your GF into.


I don’t think the issue is due to chaining surge protectors as such because the actual protection devices are in parallel, not in series. I think it is simply that daisy chaining socket strips can easily exceed the current rating, especially in the US where currents are twice as big for the same wattage.

Thank you for the info and insight on the issue. I decided to avoid possible problems and relocated my printer where it reached both an outlet and a window. I really wanted to avoid that but I feel it’s best. Thanks again everyone!:slightly_smiling_face::+1:t3:


Holding down the grass for a new path can be frustrating.
Sounds like you went the right route though.

I do believe that if you bought a sufficiently sized (as in proper amperage rating) extension cord that was the minimum length you needed, you would be fine.

A standard extension cord does not have any surge protection built in.

Make sure it is a cord with a ground (3-pronger) and has adequately sized wire (I’d recommend at least 14 gauge).

EDIT: You can also buy longer power cords that will plug into the standard power connector on the back of the Glowforge. Here’s a 12-foot one on Amazon.


Huh, I always thought that it was because surge protectors are known to the state of California to cause cancer. :thinking:

I read both of those and they refer to overloading the protection, not one causing the other to fail.

APC went a bit further in that it states that the filtering might cause the UPS to incorrectly sense load and therefore end up with a overload situation when switching to battery. They then went on to state that APC branded surge suppressors do not suffer from this drawback. Now that’s convenient. :wink:

Now don’t get me wrong - I’m not advocating that chaining surge protectors and power strips together is a good thing.


APC says you can plug a PDU into their UPS units. A PDU looks like a surge strip, but has no filter for power surges. It’s just a fancy extension cord.

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A number of years ago I listened to a lecture from the power company about surge protectors particularly as frequent lightning storms are a problem here that makes sometimes very “dirty” power. His recommendation was two surge protectors at least six feet apart that the first would suppress most of a spike and the next would pick up the remainder. He also recommended that they be replaced after an event as they would lose the ability to do any good at all.

This was not practical as there seem to be events every week and replacing all of them every few weeks, would get pricey. Even so most events you might never notice and I don’t know a way to see what the abilities are.

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My grandfather didn’t use surge protectors much until a surge caught his dishwasher on fire. During the rebuild he put a whole house surge protector in place.
Quality surge protectors will have a fault indicator meaning that they are no longer active or there is a ground fault that is preventing them from operating correctly.

Surge protectors have a device called a MOV, whose function is to short out when there’s a power spike and prevent it from getting through to the equipment. Unfortunately, shorting out can be accompanied by catching on fire. On top of that, repeated small surges can degrade them over time so they become ineffective or just decide to catch fire on their own. I came home from a vacation once to find every power strip in my house blown up, presumably from a major storm that had gone through while I was away. They did the job though they sacrificed themselves in the process.