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jtomason

Waterproof connectors... Aren't?

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So Friday we had a rather unusual rain event for Florida in December - training thunderstorms that dumped rain on us for a solid 2 hours.  That cancelled the show that night. 

2 hours prior to showtime last night I inspected the yard.. No standing water, everything electrical looked dry, etc, so I ran a quick test, and everything worked fine. 

At showtime, however, everything went wrong.

A little background:  I have one circuit that covers all the outside outlets, and it has a GFCI outlet right before the panel.   I only draw 10a when the entire show is lit, max brightness - so no worries there, and no issues since we bought the house or, indeed, until last night.   I use two outlets for the entire show.

So the first issue was the GFCI outlet kept tripping.  I would reset it, it would stay good for a few to several minutes and trip again.   So, I figured I had an outlet that was wet that I missed - but where?  So my first troubleshooting step was to pull one of the outlets and run an extension cord into the house.  When I saw which outlet tripped, I'd know which half of the show to focus on.  Problem was, it never tripped for the rest of the night. 

However, what did happen was that half the show stopped working intermittently.  I figured (correctly) that there was an issue with the RS-485 wiring, and began tracing it.   It was failing just before my LOR 50W floodlight - which ships with waterproof RJ-45 connectors.  When I moved the wire on the front side of the spotlight, things would start working.   However, it would stop working at a random point afterwards.  Thinking that maybe the RJ-45 connector went bad, I cut it and crimped on a new one - and in doing so, I noticed a decent amount of water in the connector.   Cleared that out, plugged the cable back in, and that fixed it for a short time before it began failing again.   However, this time the floodlight was working, but everything after it was not.   So, I checked the other connector, and it, too, was full of water. 

Rain hasn't been a real problem in December, so I haven't ever had to really think too much about water incursion.  I have almost everything off the ground - except, of course, those connectors - which are pretty close to the floodlight, which itself is on the ground.

So, my fix is going to be to simply zip-tie them to stakes and get them off the ground.  

 

Hopefully this helps someone else with similar problems.

 

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You're not the only one to have water issues with "waterproof" Cat-5 connectors (me included).  Welcome to the club!

 

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I have three of the 50w floods and I always have to take them apart and dump the water out of the connectors after every rain.

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Wer the Gland nuts firmly tightened? Were the 1" rubber rings in place?

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1 hour ago, TheDucks said:

Wer the Gland nuts firmly tightened? Were the 1" rubber rings in place?

Yep.  I’m guessing these are really more “weatherproof” than “waterproof”. 

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1 hour ago, Mr. P said:

I have three of the 50w floods and I always have to take them apart and dump the water out of the connectors after every rain.

Do you have them on or off the ground?

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1 minute ago, jtomason said:

Do you have them on or off the ground?

Off the ground, they are mounted to inverted milk crates.

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4 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

Wer the Gland nuts firmly tightened? Were the 1" rubber rings in place?

Yes and yes.  From some other reports, the water is leaking in from the back side (the part where the non-removable cable enters the back side of the connector).

 

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42 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

Off the ground, they are mounted to inverted milk crates.

Then I think I am going to wrap them in a piece of black trash bag and electrical tape.

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would these work? its been raining here since Friday and its now sunday. My back yard is under water. Third year in a row, I started these lights and mega tree. we had some much rain, that my 18" stakes I use for my guidewires came out of the ground,  So this summer going to put in cement footers with hooks. The good thing is My 20 foot mega tree is still standing. This year I installed 1" round stock inside my 1" black pipe.  

       I buy these at the end of the season and go from store to store get them at end of the season sale.

   https://www.amazon.com/Black-Extension-Safety-Cover-Water-Resistant/dp/B07C2M83Y4/ref=asc_df_B07C2M83Y4/?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583589101840180&psc=1

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1 hour ago, Richard365 said:

would these work? its been raining here since Friday and its now sunday. My back yard is under water. Third year in a row, I started these lights and mega tree. we had some much rain, that my 18" stakes I use for my guidewires came out of the ground,  So this summer going to put in cement footers with hooks. The good thing is My 20 foot mega tree is still standing. This year I installed 1" round stock inside my 1" black pipe.  

       I buy these at the end of the season and go from store to store get them at end of the season sale.

   https://www.amazon.com/Black-Extension-Safety-Cover-Water-Resistant/dp/B07C2M83Y4/ref=asc_df_B07C2M83Y4/?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583589101840180&psc=1

I would not trust them because that design is variable length.  Get the ones that are fixed length (the ones about the size of a Fosters can will work for straight plugs of any size. Yes 30A twistlocks). These have rubber edge seals and rubber cord seals)  I have 4 and am getting more. I also have smaller ones from Home Depot, but stacking plugs overwhelm  them

)

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I discovered the hard way that my HC "waterproof" connectors on my pixels were more of a suggestion than an actual accurate description.  had to strands on pixel nodes looking wonky after a hard rain, reset my controller thinking it was a controller issue but no luck.  Curiosity had me check the connectors and that's when I discovered water in both connectors I was having issues with (and not just damp but close to 1/4 of a teaspoon).  This seemed impossible because I had O-rings in place and the controller/nodes were new (no weather related stress).  With the help of friends I learned that WD40 and Dielectric grease are your friend.  Used WD40 to blow out all moisture and applied a generous amount of dielectric grease and all is good.  Has survived a couple of storms since.

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Once again we had a drizzle rain last night and the first sign of issues is when the mega tree goes down 30 minutes before show ending as that is very prominent in the yard. I go out and once again my three 50w floods are just before the MT in the chain and all connectors full of water. I rerouted cables bypassing the three 50w floods and everything pops back on again. I will be waterproofing them today and placing their order last in line so they don't affect anything after them.

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