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nnewby

Molex connectors

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Ok, because when i get an idea, i run far and long with it; and because i like things to be easy to change (read: difficult for anyone but me to understand) - I've been thinking about expandability using molex connectors.

I have an idea for this season to make some leaping arches (probably 4 or 6) with 7 sections. each arch would have 1 connector on each end; a 4 plug (3 hots and 1 neutral) and a 6 plug (4 hots and 1 neutral). I would also use connectors for the mega tree we're building and for a couple of other things.

what i'm curious about though, is whether i can make a daisy chain of connectors (like they do in computers), for using at least 2 of the arches off of the same channels.

i'm thinking i can make a connector thats wired to the controller and make a connector to connect to that, which would have 2 connectors that the arches hook in to.

my main reason for doing it so modularly is for expandability; if i wanted to make it 3 arches next year on each channel for example, i would just make a new chain with 3 connectors instead of the one with 2.

am i making sense or is that just random rambling?

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Modular and expandable, sounds good to me. As long as they're kept dry to avoid leakage current between contacts, is there any reason this wouldn't work?

When I worked in test engineering, we used Molex connectors all the time when building equipment. Very handy. I think they'd be great for making foolproof cables with common neutrals, to minimize the possibility of accidentally frying a controller.

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Guest wbottomley

nnewby wrote:

Ok, because when i get an idea, i run far and long with it; and because i like things to be easy to change (read: difficult for anyone but me to understand) - I've been thinking about expandability using molex connectors.

I have an idea for this season to make some leaping arches (probably 4 or 6) with 7 sections. each arch would have 1 connector on each end; a 4 plug (3 hots and 1 neutral) and a 6 plug (4 hots and 1 neutral). I would also use connectors for the mega tree we're building and for a couple of other things.

what i'm curious about though, is whether i can make a daisy chain of connectors (like they do in computers), for using at least 2 of the arches off of the same channels.

i'm thinking i can make a connector thats wired to the controller and make a connector to connect to that, which would have 2 connectors that the arches hook in to.

my main reason for doing it so modularly is for expandability; if i wanted to make it 3 arches next year on each channel for example, i would just make a new chain with 3 connectors instead of the one with 2.

am i making sense or is that just random rambling?


Jeff Mill is the expert in this department.

He may want to chime in with his fine invention(s).

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I work with Molex connectors in my display they work great, also use 5 wire 18gaw cable that I get off ebay!!!

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DanCampbell wrote:

Modular and expandable, sounds good to me.  As long as they're kept dry to avoid leakage current between contacts, is there any reason this wouldn't work?


i was worried about possibly overloading a connector pin by some how putting too much current on the neutral; which if i do my math right, i guess wouldn't be a problem as i'd be using 12AWG for the neutrals and most likely SPT2 for the hots unless i can find something cheaper that works just as well...

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I think Chuck Smith over at PlanetChristmas said he used some Molex connectors in his "behind the scenes" video. You could ask him about his use. If you remember (Or if you know nothing about his show), all of his "blue boxes" aka "controllers" were located inside his house, I think he made a reference to the connectors while talking about the number of cables coming out the window.




--Daniel L

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I use the Standard .093" Pin and Socket Crimp Terminal set the size wire that can be us is 22 to 18ga at about 11amp max.

the do make larger Pin and Socket size I order my Molex Connectors from http://www.mouser.com

http://www.mouser.com/catalog/633/1365.pdf http://www.mouser.com/catalog/633/1366.pdf

Jerry Plak

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I was going to use the .084" connectors that jeff uses that are for 14-20 AWG, 13.5 amps. (i'm in college and i can get these a bit cheaper than the .093")

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Thank you all for this thread! I was going to build custom cables anyway, so why bother with standard plugs and connectors? I only have 1 of 5 controllers installed/wired up, so this is a good time to make that change. It'll be cheaper and much neater to go with Molex. Thanks for the Mouser links Jerry!

And there's a certain cool factor, too.

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I have been using AMP/Tyco 9 pin CPC connectors with no problems for two seasons. I have 24 double arches (Dave Horting of Westhaven Light's kits) daisy chained off two controllers. The total length is 192 feet and the pattern in the lights repeats three times.

I have been terminating the cables into four or eight outlet groups, but might cut the plugs off some of the new display items and terminate them in CPC connectors.


A couple pictures is worth 10,000 more words.

One controller, two cables and 16 outlets.

Doug


Attached files 152081=8840-IMG_0936.JPG

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I assemble these cables myself and they do take some time to make but putting up the display, taking down the display or changing out a controller is ultra fast.


Attached files 152083=8842-IMG_0803.JPG

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Jeff Millard wrote:

... Oh, and by the way, GFCI doesn't trip if the current takes a parallel detour through your hand and back to the normal source. Current can't find a nice ground to leak to if you're standing on a clean new fiberglass ladder.... even if it's wet...

Oh, I'm such a bad person for chuckling as I read this! I'm sure it wasn't amusing at the time.

We have been warned.

(but haven't stopped smiling. and grateful you're here to tell the tale.)

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I have never seen anything like these molex connectors. So you all just make your cords then insead of putting a regular prong on the end you put htosr 9 pin connectors? How does that speed up the putting up and tearing down process? Not knowing what I am looking at it looks like to ne you still have to plug it in. Just curious is all.

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JimCanfield wrote:

I have never seen anything like these molex connectors. So you all just make your cords then insead of putting a regular prong on the end you put htosr 9 pin connectors? How does that speed up the putting up and tearing down process? Not knowing what I am looking at it looks like to ne you still have to plug it in. Just curious is all.


They are AMP connectors. They push in and twist to lock.

http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=SW0E2EFvizb2QSZ6CA3fBg%3d%3d


I am using them to power 24 double arches: 32 channels times three daisy chained segments or 96 extention cords total. I use 14 of my 'made up' cables instead. 82 less items to install / plug in and unplug / store.

Instead of having 32 extention cords running down the lawn per segment, I have 4 cords.

Yes I still have to plug in the lights to the outlet boxes, I just eliminate a large number of extention cords.

Hope that helps explain it.

Doug

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WOW what a difference. You eliminated many extention cords. This is almost worth looking into and learning how to assemble this stuff.

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So by re-reading your post I am gathering that the cords you are running are an actual power source run from your LOR controller somehow? So that instead of having 16 dangles out of the controller you have the 1 cord running to a block at the opposite end where you plug your lights into. The 1 cord takes the place of the 16 dangles and 16 extention cords. If this is so I can really see how it helps in set up/tear down/storage.

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JimCanfield wrote:

So by re-reading your post I am gathering that the cords you are running are an actual power source run from your LOR controller somehow? So that instead of having 16 dangles out of the controller you have the 1 cord running to a block at the opposite end where you plug your lights into. The 1 cord takes the place of the 16 dangles and 16 extention cords. If this is so I can really see how it helps in set up/tear down/storage.

Thanks for the compliments Jim and Jeff.

Actually two cords per controller. I use 9 wires, 8 hots and a common neutral per cable. Outlets 5, 6, 7 and 8 are on the other side of the outlet boxes.

A big part of the extention cord savings is that you can plug into the outlet box and power the next segment.

Here is a little closer picture of the wiring.

Doug


Attached files 152108=8843-IMG_0942.JPG

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Doug, do you have to purchase the tool that they sell for the connectors or can you crimp it with something else? It looks like the tool for 18-14 ga wire is $520.00.

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rangebob wrote:

Doug, do you have to purchase the tool that they sell for the connectors or can you crimp it with something else? It looks like the tool for 18-14 ga wire is $520.00.



I bought a Paladin CrimpALL with a replaceable die set for around $100.00 shipped. I remember that the same outfit had a cheaper tool as well. I will try to find if the place is still around.

I found most of the connector and cable items I used on EBay and the electrical stuff from Home Depot or Menards. I have more pictures that may save time if anyone wants to see them.

Doug

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I make up these pigtails for the outlet boxes first. The short ones are for terminating boxes and the long ones are for daisy chaining.


Attached files 152122=8844-IMG_0791.JPG

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You look like a true tinkerer Doug. Hats off to you for creativity! cheers.gif

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