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Extension Cord Routing ideas

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I am interested in knowing if any one has a better idea on how they handle their extension cord setup.  Currently I have two controllers on for each side of the house and I have 16 power cords for each controller cut to the distance to each bush or location.  Each year I have to pull the cords out, (I have them numbered) and lay each one out.  I was thinking what if I had one PVC pipe for each side of the house, with holes drilled in the pipe for each location of a bush.  This way all I would need to do each year is get that PVC pipe out of the attic, lay it down across the front of the house and  bam, putting out all those cords are done.  Doing this could take 15 minutes instead of the hour or more laying out each extension cord to each location.   Anyone have any better ideas or how are they doing it. Thanks.

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Sounds neat, but those could be LOOONNNGGGGG  pieces of pvc in some cases!  Why not just zip tie the cords together into a bundle, then you can roll the whole bundle together.  easier and smaller storage space.  We do this for items with cords running the same direction.  Label both ends of course!

 

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7 minutes ago, bdwillie said:

Sounds neat, but those could be LOOONNNGGGGG  pieces of pvc in some cases!  Why not just zip tie the cords together into a bundle, then you can roll the whole bundle together.  easier and smaller storage space.  We do this for items with cords running the same direction.  Label both ends of course!

 

why label both ends?  Where is your sense of adventure!! :) 

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Why not just make a 'Wire loom" and coil it up from the LOR end (because those ends are even). 

Tip  I use Drip Water (hoop or J) stakes  to hod down bundles.

Start your setup at the far bush and stake as you go.

Depending on the length and wire size,  Oil change pans, 5Gal paint pails make easy coil and haul storage

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Since my display elements aren't always in the same place, I have to reroute cords every year.   I don't want my display to be "canned" where every year every thing I have is in the same exact location.   I like to change things around and out, makes my display more interesting to me and for folks that may visit, things don't look exactly the same year after year, I just find that boring.   But that's just MY preference,  Others mileage may differ. :D

 

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When I installed my electrical boxes outside on my home while knocking out the hole for box installation I drilled a hole for 1" sch 80 pvc conduit. Where the cords go up to the roof line I placed a junction box with outlets and ran conduit to the corner of the eve.

Where it went down to the ground I just used a 45 deg angle to keep it close to the house. I then used 3" sch 80 to my sidewalk and drilled holes on each end and used 16" spikes to secure the conduit to the ground. Keeps everything together and so people do not trip on the cables.

In my previous home I dug a hole on each side of the sidewalk and used my pressure washer to dig under the sidewalk. I then put a 3" sch 80 pvc conduit into the hole and a 33 deg elbow on each end. Allowed me to go under the sidewalk. After take down just get caps to place over the pvc conduit to keep rain out. Not required but keeps it debris free.

JR

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I zip tie my bundles together by prop or area of the yard, I have 42 controllers and they are all in the garage and it makes it easy to put them out and run them to the place they need to be.  I label each of the wire.

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Posted (edited)

We let our extension cords grow wild.  You all would be horrified if you saw them.  Green cords, white cords, orange cords, red/white cords.  All running willy-nilly all over the yard like a web built by a spider doing coke.  The only cords we have labeled are the ones that are directly connected from a prop to the controller.  

Edited by Jaynee
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3 hours ago, Jaynee said:

We let our extension cords grow wild.  You all would be horrified if you saw them.  Green cords, white cords, orange cords, red/white cords.  All running willy-nilly all over the yard like a web built by a spider doing coke.  The only cords we have labeled are the ones that are directly connected from a prop to the controller.  

I let mine grow wild one year, was hoping they'd reproduce so I could take a break from buying more of them.:wacko:  Alas it didn't work!:P

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Orville said:

I let mine grow wild one year, was hoping they'd reproduce so I could take a break from buying more of them.:wacko:  Alas it didn't work!:P

Gotta feed them lots of electrical tape. But be careful they do get gassy from it and produce a foul smell when they grow...  But by that time you got much bigger problems than you think because all the electrical cords start shedding and duplicate into tiny little ones but they don't grow plugs back... they take on this funky black color and don't like to be plugged in after that..... 

But hey we all are trying to light things up... Why not light up a few cords while we're at it? You only short circuit once right? Live a little haha :)

Edited by GriswoldStyle
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Posted (edited)

Disclaimer: please do not attempt to try my previous reply at home. All stunts were performed by a not-so-smart electrical engineer that when he was 15 set his cords on fire. Although it had a cinnamon type smell, it was a harsh life lesson that electrical tape is not really for electrical.... Be smart... Don't be a fire Marshall Bill.... 26 years later I have learned a thing or two about a thing or two and we did not have Farmers Insurance but I'm sure they would have put me in a commercial if we did... ?

Edited by GriswoldStyle
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1 hour ago, GriswoldStyle said:

Gotta feed them lots of electrical tape. But be careful they do get gassy from it and produce a foul smell when they grow...  But by that time you got much bigger problems than you think because all the electrical cords start shedding and duplicate into tiny little ones but they don't grow plugs back... they take on this funky black color and don't like to be plugged in after that..... 

But hey we all are trying to light things up... Why not light up a few cords while we're at it? You only short circuit once right? Live a little haha :)

Believe me, I've fried, baked and broiled a few electrical cords throughout my life transitions. :lol:?:lol:?:lol:

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Believe me, I have let the magic smoke out of a goodly number of devices. Not all were cheap  ?

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11 hours ago, TheDucks said:

Believe me, I have let the magic smoke out of a goodly number of devices. Not all were cheap  ?

Not me man but I have felt the tingle of 110v current and not on purpose (let me grab this bare wire, what's the worst that could happen).

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I quess I would just keep it simple.  Lay the cords out for the 2018 season and zip tie every few feet, multiple cords that are going the same direction.  After the season, just roll  the "bundled" cord up.   Easier than trying to storage lengths of PVC.  Want to move a few displays around, just smip a the needed zip ties, reaarange cord and re-zip tie.

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2 hours ago, mpageler said:

I quess I would just keep it simple.  Lay the cords out for the 2018 season and zip tie every few feet, multiple cords that are going the same direction.  After the season, just roll  the "bundled" cord up.   Easier than trying to storage lengths of PVC.  Want to move a few displays around, just smip a the needed zip ties, reaarange cord and re-zip tie.

If you keep it simple you miss out on an opportunity to use some first class profanity!! :) 

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The picture on the right was my first year the one on the left is after that!  :P

1-cable-ties.jpg

637f241151f97bace129f0cf6a7de5ac.jpg

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, mpageler said:

I quess I would just keep it simple.  Lay the cords out for the 2018 season and zip tie every few feet, multiple cords that are going the same direction.  After the season, just roll  the "bundled" cord up.   Easier than trying to storage lengths of PVC.  Want to move a few displays around, just smip a the needed zip ties, reaarange cord and re-zip tie.

This is pretty much what I do in some cases.  In others where I know the controllers are NOT going to be in the same location, all extension cords get their zip ties cut and rerouted for the next display setup.  

This is just a part of why I don't do Halloween and just do Christmas only now.  Having to move all the controllers to where the Christmas props/lights all go, that being quite different from Halloween started becoming too much work, so now it's Christmas only for me.

   Although I'm thinking of possibly doing an Easter {Christian} themed display next year for 2019.   But still thinking on that one.  No Easter bunnies or Easter Eggs, so trying to think up just what type props and lighting to use to make for a Christian themed Easter display. 

Determining light colors{using RGB pixels} that would be to set for that type of theme for my Easter display.   

Might be more than I can handle with my limited ability to cut a straight line,  even if use a jig, my straight lines still come out at an angle!

Edited by Orville

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On 6/25/2018 at 3:13 PM, ericm said:

I zip tie my bundles together by prop or area of the yard, I have 42 controllers and they are all in the garage and it makes it easy to put them out and run them to the place they need to be.  I label each of the wire.

Y-E-S! We zip tied our bundles this year and it made installing all of our props so much easier! Anyone who's seen our videos has seen our 5 mini trees in our yard. We staggered the plugs for these five, zip tied where we could so they would be relatively close to one another still, then worked our way back to our controller, zipping every 2 feet or so. Both ends are labeled for their destination. (One end says "MT 1" for example, and the other end has the channel it plugs into.) We did this across the yard for all of our lightings, which helped us immensely when we took it all down. All we had to do was coil up each prop's / prop grouping's wire. We stored the wiring with the prop itself if we could. We further labeled each box with the context of what's in the box so that when it comes the time in a few months to deploy, we both can work parallel to one another instead of having to work to install the prop and the wiring together. HIGHLY recommend for people who have fairly static changes to their display where each prop has it's own home and new props are given a destination, much like our house.

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21 hours ago, caniac said:

If you keep it simple you miss out on an opportunity to use some first class profanity!! :) 

Yep....when we start to overthing stuff, we do risk "mental stability". 

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21 hours ago, caniac said:

If you keep it simple you miss out on an opportunity to use some first class profanity!! :) 

Simple ahhh yes that strange word we avoid.   I like to talk to myself often while doing this hobby. Although most of the time it is some first class profanity.... I like to think of it as a learning moment. Obviously I am realizing an error on my part and learning not to do it again when the profanity bombs start flying out my mouth lol.   My version of simple involves blood, sweat, tears, and profanity lol. After that comes the pretty lights for all to enjoy :)

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Posted (edited)

we gave up on the zip ties thing a long time ago.  We constantly change our show thru out the season.  What you see October 15th for Halloween will not be what you see October 31st.  Likewise what we start with November 15th will not look like that on December 23rd.   I will setup what I think we want to do in my Model Preview.  The wife and I will go over it and then move it around a bit, that will be the basis of our sequencing.  As most of you, know once you start setting up things it doesn't always work out the way you think they should.  Things get changed based on access to power/controller/landscaping/sunlight et al.  Then the first night or so of running the show my wife and I will sit outside and watch it start to finish a few times.  Don't think I have had a night when after that run we didn't say "well that sucked".  Next afternoon we move it around a bit then wait for nightfall, lather/rinse/repeat.  Next up is issues with sequencing, timing is off, singing faces have mustaches, we have seen it all.  Make sequence corrections and try again.  Usually by 3-5 days out everything is on point.  And once orderly extension cords are everywhere!! lol 

Edited by caniac

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On 6/27/2018 at 11:01 AM, idahocampers said:

The picture on the right was my first year the one on the left is after that!  :P

1-cable-ties.jpg

637f241151f97bace129f0cf6a7de5ac.jpg

I like the photos, but somehow I doubt you need 48 pairs of fiber optic cable to run your show!

OK, the scary part is that by Christmas this year, some of my E1.31 traffic Will be running over fiber optic cable for part of the route...

 

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15 hours ago, k6ccc said:

I like the photos, but somehow I doubt you need 48 pairs of fiber optic cable to run your show!

OK, the scary part is that by Christmas this year, some of my E1.31 traffic Will be running over fiber optic cable for part of the route...

 

Looks more like 96 pairs to me Jim.   I see 6 across and 4 down, 24 for each section by 4 sections = 96 fiber optic cables. 

I wouldn't even know where to begin or how to even set up my display using fiber optic cables.   Not even sure it'd be worth the time, effort or the expense to convert over to something like that.   But hey, if you can do it and that's what you like, go for it.    Me I'll just do it the old fashioned and easy way {at least for me}, electric extension cords that plug into standard electrical outlets. ;)B)

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6 minutes ago, Orville said:

Looks more like 96 pairs to me Jim.   I see 6 across and 4 down, 24 for each section by 4 sections = 96 fiber optic cables. 

I wouldn't even know where to begin or how to even set up my display using fiber optic cables.   Not even sure it'd be worth the time, effort or the expense to convert over to something like that.   But hey, if you can do it and that's what you like, go for it.    Me I'll just do it the old fashioned and easy way {at least for me}, electric extension cords that plug into standard electrical outlets. ;)B)

fiber isn't that much different than ethernet only 1000 times faster so what you are doing now would work, not sure how it would deal with RS-485 though.

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