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ItsMeBobO

SPT vampire plug "in-line"

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This version of the vampire plug is absent from the LOR offerings.   This year I have several dozen strobe strands which will not be end to end and are planned to be all on one channel.  I need to build a 60 foot cord with a plug every two feet.

Notice this one has both ends notched so the cord can continue. 

 

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I usually just cut the opening myself with snips, but that's a lot of snipping.

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Same thing - easy to snip them...

 

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If you have wire strippers with the flat tips you can use those. I normally just pop those in there and bend it to break that section off and open it up. Better than getting stuck with a bunch of in lines that you really don't need all the time when you can just break the ends off and make a female a female in line

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I usually just buy them from Holiday light express during their sale, no sale right now but they aren't too bad at .65 each. Or I used to use a Dremel to do a quick neat job till I found these. https://www.holiday-light-express.com/SPT-1_Plugs.php

 

Either way it for sure saves wire and time.

 

Keith

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The triangle split the side off!  Phil and Jim you owe me 25 cents each!  Gris is the winner with the tear out method.     Still.  Even with spare females in stock I would have purchased the in-lines if available from LOR.  I enjoy having spare parts laying around. 

VampireInLine.jpg

 

 

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I normally purchase my plugs from Lowe's in bulk and the ones they sell have tabs on the end. You leave the tab in if it is a terminal plug or you pull the tab out if it is an in-line plug.

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1 hour ago, Mr. P said:

I normally purchase my plugs from Lowe's in bulk and the ones they sell have tabs on the end. You leave the tab in if it is a terminal plug or you pull the tab out if it is an in-line plug.

Will have to look into that. I never knew Lowes carried them. Then again I normally used Home Depot in the past because they accepted Paypal in store and I could always just type in my mobile number and password and pay with my onlne business account. But now that they stopped doing that at HD, I've been going to Lowe's more often and finding things that Home Depot doesn't have or is much less than Home Depot.

Thanks for the tip on Lowes :)

 

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I never was able to find them at Lowes, I did get them from Home Depot for a couple years, they were a little hard to find but eventually did and at a good price, I believe it was 100 plugs in bulk box for around $40 dollars. They shipped to store for free and were pretty quick. But last year I couldn't find them anymore even with my saved link so just went the LOR and other source route for a little more $.

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7 hours ago, ItsMeBobO said:

The triangle split the side off!  Phil and Jim you owe me 25 cents each!  Gris is the winner with the tear out method.     Still.  Even with spare females in stock I would have purchased the in-lines if available from LOR.  I enjoy having spare parts laying around. 

VampireInLine.jpg

 

 

I should have pointed out these females were purchased from LOR last year and they do not have a break off tab.   

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I just use the side of a large (10")  Mill Bastard file  to  make a clean notch

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2 hours ago, TheDucks said:

I just use the side of a large (10")  Mill Bastard file  to  make a clean notch

Heh.. Heh...  He said 'Bastard file' /beavis

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1 hour ago, DevMike said:

Heh.. Heh...  He said 'Bastard file' /beavis

Is that the offspring of the master file who walked out? Lol

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I usually get my inlines from Novelty Lights.  The female plugs are already notched, quick snip and your good.

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For those that might like to risk loss of some fingers, a dado blade on a table saw would work well :)

OK, to keep the lawyers out of my hair, I AM NOT recommending that method!!!  ☠️

 

 

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4 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

For those that might like to risk loss of some fingers, a dado blade on a table saw would work well :)

OK, to keep the lawyers out of my hair, I AM NOT recommending that method!!!  ☠️

 

 

How big are your adapters?  I was  thinking maybe a dremel.

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1 minute ago, Mr. P said:

How big are your adapters?  I was  thinking maybe a dremel.

That would likely be a whale of a lot safer!  Heck, my podiatrist uses exactly the same Dremel tool that I have at home when he trims and files my toenails.

 

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Bob, Chuck once told me that he ground a pair of snips down to the correct width so that he could us them to make inline plugs.

I think he started with something like this.  https://smile.amazon.com/Cutting-Pliers-Precision-Nipper-Jewelry/dp/B01NCN4J0K/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1535111086&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=end+cutting+pliers&psc

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I love this site for tips and tricks just like this!  I am starting plans on my third year display and never even knew this was an option. I was running 16channels and using scores of splitters and extension chords to run my display. I ended up with a lot of delay....items I wanted triggered together would have a noticeable lag

i do have a couple questions on this method. Is there delay?  Will the 30 strobes listed in this inititial post fire at the same time visually. Or will the last one in-line have a noticeable delay from the first?

Also, I like to change my layout around. Can vampire plugs be removed and the wire reused in a different layout or will the vampire plug leave too big a hole to use safety another time?

thanks all, sparking ideas here!

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11 minutes ago, Goldie1970 said:

I was running 16channels and using scores of splitters and extension chords to run my display. I ended up with a lot of delay....items I wanted triggered together would have a noticeable lag

i do have a couple questions on this method. Is there delay?  Will the 30 strobes listed in this inititial post fire at the same time visually. Or will the last one in-line have a noticeable delay from the first?

If you are seeing delay with all your extension cords, you are a better man than I, Superman.  Yes, there is a delay in wire - it's about 5 microseconds per mile of wire.  BTW, that delay also applies from the light to get from the light source to your eye.  Since human visual acuity is measured in milliseconds, you would need several thousand miles of wire in order to barely detect it.

Particularly with strobe strings, there can be quite a delay between different strings and even the strobes on a single string.  As a general rule of thumb, that variation is considered a good thing as it looks kind of funny when all the strobes fire in sync with each other.  In fact, on my mega tree (assuming I actually get it built this year), there will be multiple strobe channels used for different strings specifically so I can turn on one channel, then wait 50 or 100 mSec and turn on another string, etc.

11 minutes ago, Goldie1970 said:

Also, I like to change my layout around. Can vampire plugs be removed and the wire reused in a different layout or will the vampire plug leave too big a hole to use safety another time? 

I would recommend against that.  Two issues.  First is a safety issue.  Unlike an unused female outlet along a wire (which you can see), the holes left in the insulation could very easily be missed visually.  Although the hole is small enough that for example you are not going to stick your finger into it (more on that in the next sentence), add a little moisture and salt (like sweat) and there could easily be a conduction path.  Also, with a hole started, there is a far greater chance that the hole will get bigger due to cracking which could leave the damaged section large enough that it could be directly contacted.  The second issue is a wire with a small hole in the insulation laying in wet grass is an invitation to causing GFCI trips.

If you REALLY want to reuse the wire, I would split the wire so you can tape each conductor individually with electrical tape.  Then cover that with another layer of electrical tape or FAR better, a layer of heat shrink tubing (yes, you would have to slide the tubing from one end so there would have to be a clear path with no other connectors).

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Length and splits in AC lines should not introduce any noticable delays. Lag is usually associated with the controller side of the connections. Cat 5 length, computer capability, interference, for instance. You should NOT split the RS485 cable except with the RS 485 B adapter which has two outputs if you should need to do that.

 

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On August 23, 2018 at 8:55 AM, ItsMeBobO said:

I should have pointed out these females were purchased from LOR last year and they do not have a break off tab.   

Hi Bobo I have probably 30 or 40 of the female vampire plugs for inline since I'm almost all pixels I really don't have a need for them  pm me and I'll send you how many you need   Dennis

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I examined the delay issue I was seeing last year and traced it to the generic splitters I picked up at the dollar store. Will not be using them this year. Thanks for the feedback K6ccc

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1 hour ago, Goldie1970 said:

Also, I like to change my layout around. Can vampire plugs be removed and the wire reused in a different layout or will the vampire plug leave too big a hole to use safety another time?

I have to agree with @k6ccc that would be nothing but opening the door for more problems. Speaking from first-hand experience. I learned many years ago never to try to attempt to reuse a section of wire you had a vampire plug in. Even though I taped the heck out of it somehow water got in and my yard was wet and boy did I feel it. needless to say after that I learned never do that again and always use GFCI Outlets.

With wire being the price it is for a reel it is always best to buy a couple reels when they are on sale of the 1000 feet. It's better to have too much wire coiled up so you can reposition the same wires each year and much safer than attempting to reuse the wire. It's just not safe. To this day if I only need 20 ft for a wire I will add another 10 ft to it just in case I ever have to trim an end off or want to reposition that same wire somewhere else the following year.

Main thing I learned many years ago in this hobby. There's the proper way to do it, and then there's the hurry up and get it done way of doing it. Nothing good ever comes from the hurry up and get it done method. 

Nothing like electrifying your yard or setting a cord on fire. I have done both back in the late 90's when I was still new to this Hobby.

Just some friendly advice. Always default to the proper way to caution on the side of safety.

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2 hours ago, k6ccc said:

I

 

I would recommend against that.  Two issues.  First is a safety issue.  Unlike an unused female outlet along a wire (which you can see), the holes left in the insulation could very easily be missed visually.  Although the hole is small enough that for example you are not going to stick your finger into it (more on that in the next sentence), add a little moisture and salt (like sweat) and there could easily be a conduction path.  Also, with a hole started, there is a far greater chance that the hole will get bigger due to cracking which could leave the damaged section large enough that it could be directly contacted.  The second issue is a wire with a small hole in the insulation laying in wet grass is an invitation to causing GFCI trips.

If you REALLY want to reuse the wire, I would split the wire so you can tape each conductor individually with electrical tape.  Then cover that with another layer of electrical tape or FAR better, a layer of heat shrink tubing (yes, you would have to slide the tubing from one end so there would have to be a clear path with no other connectors).

You have pierced the insulation (typ 300V for SPT).  Is it really worth the hassle a of sealing to save a $?

I put a bunch at a standard spacing. Sometimes I don't use them all, other times I plug another into one of the outlets for a 'branch'

2 MAJOR things.  Maintain Polarity (Wide pin to the Rib. ) for lamp holder shock safety (silver screw).

Do not overload the run (getting hard to do with LED strings), ~3A on vampireplugs as the connection is NOT a 'pressure' (screw) connection.

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