Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
Sign in to follow this  
nnewby

Molex connectors

Recommended Posts

I use open back boxes bolted together. I think I heard an electrician call them box extenders. If anyone knows of an affordable plastic substitute, please let me know.


Attached files 152124=8845-IMG_0827.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One partially assembled box and one assembled. Remember to break the tab on the hot side of the outlet to seperate them.


Attached files 152126=8846-IMG_0913.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 8 hot wires are 16 AWG stranded 8 conductor jacketed cable and the neutral is 14 AWG stranded. I cover with a braided sleeve and shrink tube the ends. I reduced the fuse in the controllers to a 15A because I did not need the big amps and the available (read: cheap EBay) wire was a little light.

The wire and connectors I picked for the suitability to my application and anyone using the total potential of the LOR controllers should size up to match the maximum amperage draw.

I had a version that used a 10th ground wire and grounded the outlet boxes, but it was a pain to hook up and I was replacing two wire extention cords so I thought it was overkill. Maybe one of the electricians could give an opinion?

Thanks,

Doug


Attached files 152127=8847-IMG_0940.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Donald Puryear wrote:

You should always use a ground with metal boxes and 3 prong outlets. If your boxes were plastic and rec. were 2 prong it would be safer


Thanks Don, I suspected that would be true and will keep looking for affordable plastic boxes and covers. Otherwise I will switch to a CPC connector with more pins. Pulling the extra conductor, 14 AWG Stranded green, out of the sleeve and bolting to the box is a pain. My first revision had the extra ground wire implemented that way.

I do not hook up the ground pin on the outlets and only use two wire plugs for the lights, so it should not make any difference there. These are not regular extension cords and only plug into LOR controllers. I suppose I could epoxy the ground holes shut cheaper than changing the receptacles to prevent the possiblility of someone plugging a drill into one.

Maybe you would know this.

I lay these boxes directly on the ground and use GFI outlets or GFI circuit breakers coming from the house. If a hot wire came loose in the box and touched the metal box, (not grounded or hooked up anywhere except it is laying on the ground) would it trip the GFI through the LOR controller?

Thanks,

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff Millard wrote:

Doug,

Ditto on what Donald said. I don't know if you choose to use GFCI or not, and I've beaten my pro GFCI stance to death here on this forum. The thing that does scare me a little is using the metal boxes outside without a ground on them. . . .

Now, I have a couple questions for you. First, where did you find the #16 wire and how was the price? I need some cheap #16 and #18 for a couple projects I have.

Where did you get the braided sleeve? That's a very clean way to finish the cables. I hand wrapped 3/4" black electrical tape to mine. Most of them were 40' + runs from the controllers in the house out to the items in the display. (I made them 18 months ago and my hands still hurt)

Jeff


Thanks Jeff,

I am a believer and user of GFI and recognizable wire colors. I don't know if it is overkill with GFI, but I also consciously try to not have both phases (220 Volt potential) in any display element.

It is possible because I live in Cook County Illinois, where metal conduit is code, my local Home Depot and Menards do not have suitable plastic boxes and covers. I found I could not find the gray PVC conduit here either and needed to drive to Will County to get it.

Copper prices are high and multi-conductor wire is unreasonably high. I purchase all the wire and sleeve on EBay and just kept watching the auctions until I found what I needed. The sleeve size is not critical to be exact in size, because when you push it together it gets larger and when you pull it, it gets smaller like a Chinese finger trap.

The braided sleeve makes the cables less prone to tangle or knot and are very durable. I would use the sleeve even if I did not need to add conductors. Putting two or three wires into 36' segments of sleeve is a little bit of a pain, but I imagine much easier than wrapping them in tape.

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest wbottomley

Jeff Millard wrote:

I worked at a Nuke plant for five years. Jeff

So Jeff... That's what you're blaming it on. LOL :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doug Amazing Idea! I was thinking about the Molex, but now I think its going to be a for sure deal.

Thanks for sharing!

P.S. I think the Menards at 159th and harlem has plastic boxes...but don't quote me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff Millard wrote:

Doug McKalip wrote:
I lay these boxes directly on the ground and use GFI outlets or GFI circuit breakers coming from the house. If a hot wire came loose in the box and touched the metal box, (not grounded or hooked up anywhere except it is laying on the ground) would it trip the GFI through the LOR controller?

Yes or no. It all depends on how bonded the box becomes to a path to ground. If it was wet and a little dirty... probably. If it was dry and setting atop grass. No, not until someone picked it up to see what was wrong with it. Then your weight pressing down on Earth would be sufficient for your body to leak current away from the normal path. The protection will recognize a difference in the current on the hot and neutral and trip. Unless it's defective. . .

Jeff



Thanks Jeff for the clarification on the GFCI, I was thinking it worked that way but was not sure.

I seem to read or hear on the radio every year about some guy killing himself working on his 220v pool pump. I never saw an article on someone killing themselves on their Christmas lights or electric hedge trimmer (110v). Maybe some of that is because of GFCI installations, but I know most older homes do not have it and even I had been guilty of plugging in on the only circuits not overloaded already when the lights would not stay on. (not GFCI)

In my old house I had one outlet pair that was powered by two phases and it first came to mind when I build my first controller. I thought if I put two power cords on my LOR controller and I plugged into that old outlet, that would put 220v potential in the box and possibly the same display element.

I agree totally and I stay away from non GFCI circuits and make an effort to not mix phases in the same area of the display.

Thanks for the input.

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ndiaz wrote:

Doug Amazing Idea! I was thinking about the Molex, but now I think its going to be a for sure deal.

Thanks for sharing!

P.S. I think the Menards at 159th and harlem has plastic boxes...but don't quote me.
Thanks for the kind words.

I did not see anything that was a direct replacement for what I was using locally. They either needed much modificaton or were ten times the cost (and still needed some modification). I was looking for something a little easier / cheaper.

I found some 6 inch ID shrink tubing and will try to find some new non conductive covers and try the shrink tube. I will report back with the results.

Thanks,

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doug, wonderful idea. I'm looking into doing that.

I'm having trouble finding the wiring, there do not seem to be any auctions at eBay for it at present. I did find 16 AWG 9 conductor wire for $1.24 a foot (at Elliots Electronics in Tucson), and 18 AWG with various numbers of conductors up to 10 (the latter at Home Depot) for under $1 per foot. 16 guage should be fine for the power circuits, but I don't think it will be big enough for the common return. If I have to, I might string separate power return and ground wires inside the loom.

The web site above seems a reasonably priced place to get the CPC connectors. I found them locally, but the price was horrendous. Still, got one set to play with; bulk will be from the internet.

I did find an auction for the loom; their eBay store has all the sizes and a few of the colors.

Elliots had a 'pliar type' crimper by GC they claimed would work, under $30. Model 12-464. It works, but is very slow (takes 4 operations to crimp each pin).

I have a bunch of those plastic 'power stakes' which rotate downwards to protect the cords plugged into them from the weather. Hopefully those will be usable to convert from the cable to regular outlets. If only they had 4 outlets instead of 3... They do have a switch; maybe I can replace that with another outlet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff Millard wrote:

I have 6 new work PVC quad boxes with 3 prong recepticals that don't have the ground connected either. I went with this due to cost. The 2 prong outlets were 3X the price. I really should have spent the extra $4 and got the right thing...

So why not convert the 3 prong outlets into 2 prong outlets with some epoxy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, it seems to have thrown away my edit of the append above.

In any case, I found that by putting the pins in the GC crimper with the correct orientation, it works much better; down to 2 operations (crimp the wire then crimp the insulation in a different postion of the tool).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been looking for the wire to make the '8 channel' cords and found a company which will make a custom wire of 8 16 ga and 2 14 guage wires. Price looks pretty good, under $2 a foot for 500' and under $1.50 a foot for 1000'. Interior insulation I specified was Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet and Gray (1 - 8 in resistor color code) for the 16 guage wires, and White with black stripe and green with black stripe for the 14 guage wires (AC common return and ground). External color could be tan, green or gray, or perhaps another color.

With this wire, the braided loom would be optional. If you didn't hook up the ground wire, the size 13 9 conductor connectors would do; the next size up appears to be size 17 14 conductor (there is a 17 - 10 with 2 of the pins much bigger than normal, but the pricing might be much higher, particularly for the bigger pins).

Is anyone else interested enough that I should find out what price we can get a bigger quantity of this wire for?

Would there be a configuration which would be better or preferable to this?

Lead time to get this made should be under 2 months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Hertig wrote:

Interior insulation I specified was Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet and Gray (1 - 8 in resistor color code) for the 16 guage wires, and White with black stripe and green with black stripe for the 14 guage wires (AC common return and ground).

May I suggest you use solid green for one of the 14 gauge wires and something like red with black stripe instead of green for one of the 16 gauge wires? Consider that at some time you may get a helper and if he's used to electrical wiring at all, he's going to think "Green = Ground".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also got a quote for a wire with 12 16 ga conductors; it is a bit cheaper than the mixed guage wire. I figure that we could tie 2 of the 16ga conductors together for the common return.

Anybody know if 2 16 ga conductors can carry as much current as 1 14 ga conductor? Any reason why tying 2 16 ga wires together would be a bad idea?

Per the above comment, I'm thinking of a color scheme for this wire of Brown, Brown with black stripe, Red, Red with black stripe, Orange, Orange with black stripe, Yellow, and Yellow with back stripe; these are for the individual signals. Then white and white with black stripe to be tied together for common return, and green and green with black stripe to be tied together for (optional) ground.

Looking closely at the 9 pin connectors (which don't make a ground practical), I find that the panel sockets have the pins sticking out (but protected from physical damage by the socket wall). The socket is big enough that one could fairly easily touch or short the pins which would not be good if they were live. The plug has the female pins recessed so it would be very difficult to accidently touch or short a live circuit on it. Since it would seem to be a poor idea from a safety standpoint to have 110v on pins which could be touched or shorted, I'd say that if you were going with the 9 pin connector, have your source (from the controller) be an inline plug (no inline panel mount is available). The 'source' end of your cord would be an inline socket and the 'load' end would be another inline plug. For the input to your 'plug box', either a panel mount socket or inline socket would work. If your 'plug box' has a passthrough, only an inline plug would continue this pattern. Using another panel mount would leave 110v pins which could be touched or shorted. The risk could be minimized by having a blank plug locked in there when it was not in use, but even that would still leave me nervous (but then I put my normal plug connections in zip lock bags to protect from getting wet).

Going with 14 pin connectors allows ground and the sockets have the female pins recessed. The plugs then have the pins 'exposed', but that is what we are used to since the only way to have them to be 'live' is to plug them into something and then they are not exposed any more. This is known as 'reverse sex' connectors. The price is comparable, the major cost of this would be a slight increase of size of the connectors (size 17 instead of size 13). In this case, your source would be a panel socket (perhaps even in parallel with normal power socket dangles) or an inline socket (instead of power dangles), the 'source' end of your cable would be an inline plug and the 'load' end of the cable would be an inline socket. The 'plug box' would have to be powered by an inline plug, but the passthrough could be either an inline or panel socket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, it is 'Reverse Gender' rather than 'Reverse Sex'.

There appears to be a 'panel mount flange for plugs' available, which might allow panel mount of a plug. I don't know how user friendly this would be, since the locking ring would be on the panel rather than the cable. But it might provide additional layout options.

Lots of other neat accessories for this line of connectors, including seals, internal cable clamps, boots and right angle cable clamps. Probably overkill for this application though.

As for the metal vrs plastic plug box question, I found a plastic, 8 outlet power box at Targets for about $12. It has big plastic 'ears' on each end for cord managment, but these easily come off, leaving a smaller, black box. It looks like it would be easy to convert it for 8 individual circuits; the hot pins are on a common strip which could be cut between each outlet and individually powered. There would be no need to modify the return or ground circuits. There is even a 15 amp breaker in the box, which could be inserted into the return circuit if desired. Probably not to 'code', of course, but better than nothing and 'for free'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Hertig wrote:

There is even a 15 amp breaker in the box, which could be inserted into the return circuit if desired. Probably not to 'code', of course, but better than nothing and 'for free'.

Actually, putting the breaker in the return circuit would be worse than nothing. If the breaker were to trip, then 120 volts would appear on the return. If you were [properly] using polarized cords and C9 sockets, then this voltage could appear on the screw part of the bulbs.

So, for example, if it's wet outside, and this "neutral breaker", trips, so you go out and unscrew a bulb to test it, you could get zapped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There does not appear to be any interest in this custom multi-conductor cable, so should I just get enough for my needs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bad news for multiple channel cord fans.

1) 16 AWG wire in a multi conductor cable of 12 or fewer conductors will carry up to 8 amps, which is fine for LOR controllers. However, even in a 9 conductor cable, 14 AWG is derated to carry only 13 amps, which is risky since each set of 8 channels can put out 15 amps collectively.

In 'free air', the current capacity of 14 AWG is 19 amps, so perhaps the running of a separate 14 AWG wire for return as shown above might be ok.

2) National Electrical Code (NEC 310.4) appears to prohibit running 2 conductors in parallel to increase current capacity. So my idea of using 2 16 AWG wires connected together for the common return appears not to be wise.

3) Found potential sources for all the parts and the cost computes to higher than anticipated. Buying most parts in quantity of 10 or less, with 1000' of wire, the cost per 50' set seems like it would be $127; this would be $254 per controller. This is with a detachable cord between the controller and plug box; if the 50' cord is hard wired into the plug box the cost per 50' set would be about $108. It's not the plugs, it's not the sockets, it's the cable clamps and the pins...

I'm giving up on it for now until I see what is available in cheap extension cords.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been following these wire and plug threads for a while now. My two cents has come to the following conclusion:

The more someone tinkers with making cords more "efficient", the more it seems to cost. Comes down to how much your time is worth to you for set up and tear down. It seems to me that ever year, I am going to want to change things around in the yard, so making custom cords could present problems. I have about decided to make custom boxes for controllers, and just mount the old style screw terminals to the outside. Than just use crimp connectors on the ends of my cords.

I agree with buying 18g wire for small low draw runs, with a larger common, but keep the runs down to a minimum. My thought on the NEC ratings are that they are designed at 50-60% of capacity at a 100% draw. We are only using the wire mostly momentarily to switch on and off.

But for a side note...My boxes are still be planned on be mounted on my house under a eave to keep somewhat dry. And I am NOT an certified electrician.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Hertig wrote:

Ok, I'll bite. How did you get 89 channels in 5 cords for $120?

18/24 sprinkler wire?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...