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bobislit

DIY Extension Cords

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I'm in my 2nd year with the whole LOR journey and adding a 3rd controller this year.  I'm looking into the bulk SPT-1/SPT-2 wire to make my own extension cords.  Any tips/tricks/dos/donts would be appreciated. 

ps.  what I want to know is with 48 channels things are getting crazy with extension cords.  what the heck do these guys that have 1000-1500 channels do?  how do they handle extension cord management???????????????  :wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko:

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1000 cords isn't very messy when you use pre made short cords from a controller to your prop. I label and zip tie together bunches of cords for each prop. For example I have 12 4CH mini trees. R,W,B,G on each tree. I need 3 1602's controllers to accomodate these channels so they are positioned close to the props. I have 12 premade bunches of cords I use every year, for example tree 1 would be labeled: Tree 1 Red, tree one white, tree one blue, and tree one green. When i add channels to my display I always add the colors in that order so when I'm setting up i know what channel each color is without having to consult my binder. make a binder to make notes and keep track of everything that you do the previous year, it'll save so much time. I use a tote to store the cords in the offseason, it's labeled mini tree cords so when setup begins it's only one trip to the garage and the mini trees are quickly set up and plugged in and just like that you're 48 channels closer to getting up your display. Using and reusing the same short cords allows you to have network and power cords run all over your property instead of cords to props. My first year I had the stupid idea to place all the controllers by my house and run 64 CH worth of cords around my yard, it was a disaster and a real PITA when it was time to take everything down. In short, controllers with short runs of cord is the way to go. One last thing, SPT is good for connecting your lights to you controllers but make sure to always use a good heavy gauge extension cord for your power supply to your controllers. Good luck, 2 months 5 days until xmas!

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45 minutes ago, bobislit said:

I'm in my 2nd year with the whole LOR journey and adding a 3rd controller this year.  I'm looking into the bulk SPT-1/SPT-2 wire to make my own extension cords.  Any tips/tricks/dos/donts would be appreciated. 

ps.  what I want to know is with 48 channels things are getting crazy with extension cords.  what the heck do these guys that have 1000-1500 channels do?  how do they handle extension cord management???????????????  :wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko:

Two words:  Labeling and Sorting.

 

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Thanks for the feedback.  I'm not sure I have the guts to put the controllers out in my yard next to the props fearing that some scumbag is gunna take off with a couple of them.   I gotta think on that........  :ph34r::ph34r:

 

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What George said.

I also used colored Flag Zip ties (different color for each cable in bundle) I found on Amazon in addition to the number/name.

name <Red> 3  (Goes to port 3). 2 layers of stupid proofing ;)  

Tip: Those small U shaped 1/4" drip watering stakes to keep 1-2 single lines tight down on the ground

I also put the controllers close to the prop, rather than run long, fat bundles (besides, the walkways make fat things an issue)

huge channel counts, are probably Smart RGB nodes and not wires

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2 hours ago, bobislit said:

what the heck do these guys that have 1000-1500 channels do?  how do they handle extension cord management??????????????? 

The big answer is putting controllers near props.

However for the most part it's easy.  At that channel count, it's almost certainly mostly pixels.  A single three or four conductor cable feeding hundreds of channels.  Using my pixel tree as an example, there are 12 three conductor cables (one for each string of the tree), and four runs of Cat-5 (one for each "string" in the pixel star).  You can put your hand around the bundle of cables out of the box with the controller.  All those cables are less than three feet long. That's 2,880 channels.   From the controller back to the house is four pieces of 8 AWG wire for power and a single Cat-5 for LAN.

2014_Top_of_strips-back.jpg

 

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I currently have 208 DIY custom length cords. My setup is different from others here as I keep all my controllers in two custom made plywood boxes that I put on the garage roof (for security and vandalism purposes as I have two schoolbus stops in front of my house). Then I run the extension cords out from one central location. I have bundled the cords together based on location of props (beginning of light strings) and the controller that they come from. Each bundle is numbered and I have marked the bundle number the underside of the eaves the near the cuphooks that hold the bundles along the path the cords will hang. Each bundle is held together with Velcro onewraps about every two-three feet. This allows me to easily replace cords (which I have not had to do), reuse the Velcro, and the cords can slide as needed to connect to controllers/lights and make turns/bends. Number of cords per bundle is 8-16. Each cord is labeled on each plug end using a label maker and metallic label tape. The male plug ends have the controller ID (1-1, 1-12, 10-4, etc) on it, and the female end has a light string code (Left RE-R,  Left RE-Grn, LW-Blue, etc) so I can easily locate, run and plug in each bundle of cords quickly. All of my lights are bundled similarly. Each color of light strings around a particular prop, say a window, are bundled together with their plugs labeled the same as the female ext cord bundles (Left RE-R,  Left RE-Grn, LW-Blue, etc). Just match the plugs together and connect them. I can have my entire display up by myself in about 4-5 days depending on how energetic  I am for that day. I store everything all bundled up as well. When I pull the display out for the season, I know where each light string bundle and ext cord bundle goes and hang them as a group and not individual strings or cords. Diagrams, spreadsheets and pictures are all helpful. As my display is very compact on a two story house and not spread out over a large area, this system works for me.

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for cord management I have each prop extension cords in the same bundle running to the controllers in my garage.  example, my spiral tree has 48 channels, so 48 extension cords zip tied together and ran to the controller in one big bundle. easy to store in totes, also each end of the cord labeled with the controller and channel number, i also have a piece of electrical tape indicating the color of light that cord will turn on as well as on the dongle on the controllers.

 

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9 hours ago, bobislit said:

Thanks for the feedback.  I'm not sure I have the guts to put the controllers out in my yard next to the props fearing that some scumbag is gunna take off with a couple of them.   I gotta think on that........  :ph34r::ph34r:

 

I really haven't heard of anybody losing a controller to theft.

I guess if I was too worried to put something out in my front yard that most people wouldn't even be able to understand and worried about them stealing it, I may reconsider where I'm living. 

 

 

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It never hurts to 'anchor' them a bit... even if the anchor really is not that great.  Theft is usually a Grab and Go thing.

A Security Camera (real or Fake) with a sign will stop almost all but the most stupid. 

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11 hours ago, bobislit said:

Thanks for the feedback.  I'm not sure I have the guts to put the controllers out in my yard next to the props fearing that some scumbag is gunna take off with a couple of them.   I gotta think on that........  :ph34r::ph34r:

 

NRA sticker along with cameras and guns work as a deterrent. 

JR

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2 hours ago, Ebuechner said:

I really haven't heard of anybody losing a controller to theft.

I guess if I was too worried to put something out in my front yard that most people wouldn't even be able to understand and worried about them stealing it, I may reconsider where I'm living.

We used to live in Milwaukee, and there's no WAY that I'd put any Christmas decor or LOR hardware in our front yard.  The most we ever did was put multi-colored lights on our 3 bushes in front of our living room picture window.  But we stopped doing that after hearing how yard decor was being stolen or vandalized in the neighborhood.

We live in a really nice town now with a very low crime rate.  Theft & vandalism don't seem to be problems here, but I'm still gonna secure the light controllers by chaining them to 2 or 3 cinder blocks.  They weigh almost 40 lbs each, so someone would have to be pretty desperate (and strong)  to run off with a light controller attached to that much weight.

I have almost enough extension cords for my 48-channel light show, so I'll just buy whatever I need.  But if I add more light controllers next year, I'll probably go the DIY route.

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4 hours ago, PhilMassey said:

Oh no. Not again.

lol I knew it was coming, just wasn't sure who would post it. :lol:

Alan...

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I've shared my sentiments on cord management here: 

Additionally, I have a vendor that I use for SPT-2 and accessories that I can provide in Private Messaging.

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