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Power Cords for Hobbyist Boards

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I am starting to think about the power cords that I need to build by LOR boxes. I was thinking about using a 14/3 10' cord to plug into the outlet to supply power to the LOR board (example). I was thinking about using a 16/3 32" cord for each channel (example).

What do others use to power their boards and provide the power to each channel? Am I close to what others have done?

Thanks in advance!!

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I use the cords that Dan sells. They are the same specs as yours 14/3 for the males and 16/3 for the females. What I really like about Dan's are that they are tinned. This reduces the chances of me having a stray strand of wire short circuit on the adjoining channel.

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Hi Scott,

Well since you asked .. I will say that I used a pair of 25' 14/3 green extension cords to provide power the board ( I have the 16 channel boards) and used what I think were 9' 16/2 extension cords (Labeled indoor but with Christmas lights .. its not an issue) for each of the 16 channles.

For the input power I tied the grounds to the heat sink. There are some pictures in the HOW-TO (Should be how I did it .. LOL) under the MegaTree banner that shows our boxes and cables.

-- Bob

P.S. I tin all my cables to ward off those pesky strays .. especially in close quarters.

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I buy a 50'-100' 14-3 outdoor extension coard for my power cords, then cut them to length. It seems to be cheaper that way. I don't use the ground (plastic or wood boxes), and buy heavy duty male 2-prong plugs (in bulk for a better price).

For the pigtails I just use 6' extension cords (Big Lots), and cut them. I use the male pigtails for getting power to the various channels of animated wireframes. In my "ugly boxes", which are wood, I recess receptacles into the wood and don't use pigtails at all. I actually like that method better, it's lighter, and easier to store. Plus, set up and tear down seems to be faster. Also, as I said before, they are so ugly, nobody would ever suspect that there is something expensive inside. And since they are made out of wood, they blend right into the environment.

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I sent Scott a PM and told him to grab those short cords... They were a good deal and because this is a Surplus Outlet, once the 80 in stock were gone that was it. I didn't post that I thought it was a good deal because I wanted to help Scott (who found it) to get first dibs if he wanted to.

Unfortunately good bargains don't last long so by the Scott checked they were gone. ;)

A couple of lessons to be learned. One is that you have to jump on such bargains quickly if you want them. Another lesson is that if you think that you have a good deal on limited quantities then you may want to PM people to double check the sanity of the "good deal". Once it is posted it pretty much becomes fair game! Although I think it would be nice to give the person who finds a bargain first dibs it isn't real-world realistic. The longer you wait, the more people will get itchy and "if they don't get it soon someone else will jump in"... it is hard to wait to see if the original bargain locater is going to jump on the deal!!! The stuff can be sold at any moment to anyone in the world(wonder of the Internet).

I know that when I was building my own stuff, I used a lot of surplus SSRs, wires, connectors.... You can save a lot of money that way!... There were a number of times that I purchased all that they had of good deal product, but you have to be careful (at least I DO) because I still have boxes of stuff laying around that were such great deal that I could not pass them up. :laughing:

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Similar to what Bill said, couldn't you just buy a 50' extension cord and cut off like 6 feet from the male end...and use that for your power in? And then take the remaining 44 feet and cut that into 8 or 16 lengths for your power out. And then buy 7/15 female ends and wire it up?

Does that make sense?

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lkcubsrule wrote:

Similar to what Bill said, couldn't you just buy a 50' extension cord and cut off like 6 feet from the male end...and use that for your power in? And then take the remaining 44 feet and cut that into 8 or 16 lengths for your power out. And then buy 7/15 female ends and wire it up?

Does that make sense?

It makes sense if you can find a good price on the female ends and you have the time to do it... The female ends are usually pretty expensive.

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Personally, the cheapest I found the female side is to buy the tails from Dan. For the input power, I bought the 40' green landscape cords at walmart for something like $4.88 each. I cut the female end about 2' from the end and used the remaining cord on the male end to power my boxes. This eliminates the need for an extension cord to power the box. The female ends were saved for use in a future box. Some of them actually ended up getting wired in as a means to provide constant power to some low-draw items near the LOR box. Worked out pretty well. I don't have any pics handy, but I think the boxes turned out really well. I just wish the RiteTime boxes were still around.


Don't know what I'll do for sure this year, I've got a new location to light so everything will be different. I've got a lot more flat land that I had in the past.

Tom

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Sorry Scott no help from this end. I haven't received my lor board yet, But I have been thinking about how I am going to deal with the cords. I might mount the boards in the house and garage and lay PVC conduit on the ground outside and pull wire in it. Then branch out from there with plugs and extension cords. I really don't trust leaving the boards outside. Lots of kids around here. Don't want anything to walk away. I haven't seen you or Bill say anything on the ohio mini plus latelty any new news.

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Just received a bunch of cords I ordered from Dan today.

I have searched high and low online and couldn't find the female cords that Dan sells anywhere for the price. I didn't want to get caught short handed once LOR boards get ordered and start coming in April/May (happy dance)!

:waycool:


Now where are those enclosures I keep hearing so much about? (I can't wait)

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Like Bill I use Big Lots style extension cords for the female ends.

I saved all the male ends for other projects. For instance: I cut my 5 and 10 light sets of lawn stakes apart so I could control each one individually. I plan to solder and shrink wrap all of the connections, but for this year they were just connected using wire nuts.

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My only problem with the big lots extension cords is that they are all only 2-prong. Short of destroying a perfectly good (and expensive 50') extension cord by cutting off the ground prong, I would not be able to run the extensions to the pig-tails.

Does anyone else have a solution? I've got a box of those brown 6' extensions, but they are all only 2 prong polarized!

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Michael,

Go to Menards, or any hardware store, and pick up some adapters. It will have three holes for the grounded cord to plug into and two prongs to plug into the pigtails. I have done this for years and it works very well.

James

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Last year I went round and round with the decision on what to use for my controllers. Ended up using the 6 foot indoor extension cords like others have said.

I went back and forth a couple times on the decision. At the time, the LOR cords weren't quite as expensive as they are now, but still more than the 6 foot indoor. On the other hand, if I have to buy a $.47 adapter to connect my 3 prong extension cords, that drives the price up. Back on the other hand however, the 6 foot indoor cords have 3 connections. I need a $.97 triple tap to do that with the LOR cords.

So ultimately it came down to what was going to be plugged in most. 3 prong extension cords, or lights directly. For me it was lights directly. So I got the indoor cords. One more thing, I used almost the whole 6 feet of the indoor cord. It doesn't look as neat, but it gave me a huge reach to get to my lights. If I had used the LOR cords, I may have needed a 6 foot extension anyway just to reach my lights... (I guess I'm back on the other hand again... or was that the same hand??)

For the male ends, I got some 14 gauge pigtails from a local electronics supplier for about $2 each. That turned out to be my biggest problem. My outlets were less than 10 feet from all of my LOR boxes. So to connect them up I used 8 100' 12 gauge outdoor cords (costco had a deal for $20each). This was a BIG MESS. Way too much cord on the ground (about 90 feet each coiled on the ground). This year, I'm going to hack 1 or 2 of them up for the wire and create some 10-15 foot feeds for my LOR boxes.

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New member here. I am going to get the 16 channel board in April. I have access to a bunch of unused computer power cords. I should be able to cut and use them for the pigtails can't I?

TIA

Even

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Even wrote:

New member here. I am going to get the 16 channel board in April. I have access to a bunch of unused computer power cords. I should be able to cut and use them for the pigtails can't I?
Usually computer power cords have a IEC320 type receptacle which will not work for pigtails. However if your cords have a standard NEMA-5-15 receptacle then you will be fine... Those cords are usually 18awg and can handle the maximum load of a single channel.

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For those (Like me) who are Nema jargon challenged, the difference between computer cords and power cords can be explained as follows

Computer cords have a configuration of 3 relatively flat vertical slots; Power cords have 2 flat vertical slots and a circle (sort of). Now, if you don't care about the grounding pin, you could use only 2 prong power cords in the computer cables, but you won't be able to plug in any longer 3 prong extension cords (without some mods)

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MichaelC wrote:

Computer cords have a configuration of 3 relatively flat vertical slots; Power cords have 2 flat vertical slots and a circle (sort of). Now, if you don't care about the grounding pin, you could use only 2 prong power cords in the computer cables, but you won't be able to plug in any longer 3 prong extension cords (without some mods)

I might be missing what you are saying but... I don't think mini lights & such can be plugged into the end of a computer cord - at least not with out modifications. The computer cords have prongs that are wider in width than standard power cords and the height is not quite as tall as those on standard 2 wire plugs. You might want to try one before you buy a bunch of computer power cables.

Charlie

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Here's a place I bought female pigtails: http://www.bb-trading.com



You have to click on their catalog, go to page 132, then it's halfway down on the left. Their 95 cents each if you buy a lot of 10.



Hope this helps everyone.



By the way... already talked to Dan, and he said it's a great deal.

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Actually, you are correct, he would have to MOD anything going into those cords.

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mountainwxman wrote:

Here's a place I bought female pigtails: http://www.bb-trading.com






GREAT find. I've been looking for a circuit breaker for my pool pump and I checked out their website and they are almost halfprice.... :waycool::waycool:This made my day... :waycool::waycool:Thanks!

Ken Gelinas

KLG 28

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I put an order in today for 32 6' 3 wire female plugs. The girl said usually the order has to be $100 minimum, but she put it through and we'll see if it flys. I think they also only sell to businesses. I had to use my business name on the order.

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I went to menards and bought 18- 16/3, 25' outdoor extension cords for $3.00 each, cut the male ends off of 16 of them, and the female ends off the other two. This way, they act as their own extension cords. I mounted the board into a metal box. I can go about 25' from the outlets to the box, and another 25' to each light's cord. The whole thing coils up and stores in a plastic tote.

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