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Extending My Candy Canes

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I have used 36, 28", candy canes to light the front edge of the yard. (Big yard, approx. 150'x75')

28 in. Christmas Outdoor Decorations Lighted Candy Cane (Set of 3)

I have cut and spaced them 8' apart, daisy chained them and put them on 1 AC channel. Next year I would like to add about  50 more and go around the entire perimeter, but, I want to separate them into 8 separate channels for chases. Does anybody have an easy way to do this besides 8 separate, 450' extension cord runs?

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I take it that you plan on having the controller no where near the lights.  I would put the controller out near the candy canes, and then it’s one long extension cord to the controller and eight much shorter cords - and one or two pieces of cat-5.  You could even get rid of the cat-5 if you used ELLs.  Might be a great use of a pair of the four channel controllers that have a built in ELL.

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1 hour ago, k6ccc said:

I take it that you plan on having the controller no where near the lights.  I would put the controller out near the candy canes, and then it’s one long extension cord to the controller and eight much shorter cords - and one or two pieces of cat-5.  You could even get rid of the cat-5 if you used ELLs.  Might be a great use of a pair of the four channel controllers that have a built in ELL. 

Jim,

   for my own curiosity, that would require one long power cord and one long CAT5 yes (if it didn't need to connect to another controller)?  Thanks.

 

Carl

Edited by Soupy8728

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1 hour ago, Soupy8728 said:

Jim,

   for my own curiosity, that would require one long power cord and one long CAT5 yes (if it didn't need to connect to another controller)?  Thanks

Correct.  This brings up the perpetual argument of should you place the controllers near the props or at a central location.  Advantages and disadvantages of each.  The biggest advantage of putting the controllers near the props is not needing miles of cord from the controllers to the lights (and yes, there are people here on the forum that have SPT-1 measured best in miles).  I have always operated in the mode of having my controllers near the props - however almost everything of mine is smart pixels which largely require keeping the controllers close to the props.  For example, here are two of my CCP based arches.  The controller is under the trash bag between the two arches.

2014_2_arches.jpg

 

 

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Why not do two 16 channel you could go 8 channels left and 8 channels right and a second box doing the same thing in a second location. 

This would cut down on super long lengths of copper wire.

I kind of do this with my Christmas trees. I have 80 with two channels each. I have wires everywhere. But I try to keep the controllers closer to the trees they are controlling.

 

 

With that. I have some Gen 2 boards I am retiring this year. You would need a box and dongles.

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Dont know if this matters much but what I did was used this

https://www.wireandcableyourway.com/16-9-soow-portable-cord-600v-ul-csa.html

Black for common ground and 1 wire each for POS+. You would run from the last group of 8 to the next group of 8 and so on all the way back to the controller, splicing in at each group of 8 with a different color of wire and using the same black for the return ground. 

Just an idea

Edited by Mr Grunts

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4 minutes ago, Mr Grunts said:

Dont know if this matters much but what I did was used this

https://www.wireandcableyourway.com/16-9-soow-portable-cord-600v-ul-csa.html

At $1.29 per foot plus shipping, that would get expensive in a hurry...

5 minutes ago, Mr Grunts said:

Black for common ground and 1 wire each for POS+. You would run from the last group of 8 to the next group of 8 and so on all the way back to the controller, splicing in at each group of 8 with a different color of wire and using the same black for the return ground. 

The original question involved AC controllers.  If that's the case, then electrical code requires the neutral to be white.  Although NEC may not apply downstream of the controller, it's still good practice to continue the NEC standard.

From your description, it sounds like you are talking about DC controllers.  Just so you know, the common is positive, and each channel is switching the negative.  So using black for the common positive may not be the best choice since in most low voltage DC wiring standards (at least negative ground systems).

 

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Neutral can be Grey or White, but you should never use Green (that Green black is non-standard. Green-yellow is the alternate) for anything but safety ground.

I don't remember the specifics for Low Voltage (RGB).  Also,your neutral is under size since the bank is on the same phase (I assume LOR left the neutrals split because there ARE many improperly wired outlets and cords, where the Hot and Neutral are reversed.)

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5 hours ago, k6ccc said:

I take it that you plan on having the controller no where near the lights.  I would put the controller out near the candy canes, and then it’s one long extension cord to the controller and eight much shorter cords - and one or two pieces of cat-5.  You could even get rid of the cat-5 if you used ELLs.  Might be a great use of a pair of the four channel controllers that have a built in ELL.

Nope. Controller will be right at the end of the string of canes. I'm thinking of running 8 SPT pairs either:

1. From the controller, around the entire perimeter in one direction, (150'+75'+150'+75'=450') using 1 SPT for each channel and tapping in every 8th cane. (450' perimeter x 8 channels = 2600' of SPT) This would give me 11 canes on each 450' run of SPT.

2. Split in both directions from the controller. (((150'+75')*2)=450' total) This would give me two 225' runs with 5 or 6 canes on each SPT.

If these were minitrees with 300+ lights each then #2 would be the way to go. But, the canes only have 12 incans ea. So, #1 would be 132 incan lights on each 450' channel of SPT. #2 would be 72 (max) lights on each 225' channel of SPT

I would like to just have one run in one direction (#1 above). Would this be safe?

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Now I have a better idea what you are doing.  I was visualizing something different.  Assuming that these are mini-lights, either option should be fine.   If in doubt, measure the power on either one or several candy canes to confirm the power draw.

 

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2 hours ago, MikeERWNC said:

Why not do two 16 channel you could go 8 channels left and 8 channels right and a second box doing the same thing in a second location. 

This would cut down on super long lengths of copper wire.

I kind of do this with my Christmas trees. I have 80 with two channels each. I have wires everywhere. But I try to keep the controllers closer to the trees they are controlling.

 

 

With that. I have some Gen 2 boards I am retiring this year. You would need a box and dongles.

The math is giving me a headache already... 88 canes... 2 controllers, 16 channels each, etc. Mapping this out in sequencing would be a pain. Good thinking though. Two controllers would definitely be cheaper than a buttload of SPT. But I would still need a buttload of SPT.

 

On one hand, I'm starting to wonder if it would be worth it all. On the other, it has become a challenge to see if it can be done!

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2 hours ago, Mr Grunts said:

Dont know if this matters much but what I did was used this

https://www.wireandcableyourway.com/16-9-soow-portable-cord-600v-ul-csa.html

Black for common ground and 1 wire each for POS+. You would run from the last group of 8 to the next group of 8 and so on all the way back to the controller, splicing in at each group of 8 with a different color of wire and using the same black for the return ground. 

Just an idea

I DID think about this (great minds...). Did you use LOR AC controllers? I thought I read somewhere that LOR controllers switched the grounds (-), not the power (+). So it would be a common +, not common -. I have read a LOT of info the last few weeks, so I could be mistaken.

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2 hours ago, k6ccc said:

At $1.29 per foot plus shipping, that would get expensive in a hurry...

The original question involved AC controllers.  If that's the case, then electrical code requires the neutral to be white.  Although NEC may not apply downstream of the controller, it's still good practice to continue the NEC standard.

From your description, it sounds like you are talking about DC controllers.  Just so you know, the common is positive, and each channel is switching the negative.  So using black for the common positive may not be the best choice since in most low voltage DC wiring standards (at least negative ground systems).

 

Yep. Agree to all, except these are AC incan canes...

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4 minutes ago, HSSUSC said:

I DID think about this (great minds...). Did you use LOR AC controllers? I thought I read somewhere that LOR controllers switched the grounds (-), not the power (+). So it would be a common +, not common -. I have read a LOT of info the last few weeks, so I could be mistaken.

For DC controllers, the controllers are using a common positive and switching the negative.

For AC controllers, the hot is switched and the neutral is always connected.

 

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Now that I understand how you are wiring, the nine conductor cable would be a FAR greater pain to pull out one pair for each candy cane than SPT.  With SPT, just add a passthrough vampire female every eight candy canes on each run of SPT and you're done. 

One other thing to keep in mind.  With the nine conductor cable, the neutral for all eight circuits would be riding on one wire.  Although with your about 1,000 incan lights, that's only about 400 watts, so within the limits of a 16 AWG wire (even with derating because it's in a multi-conductor cable), it is something for other people to keep in mind if considering this kind of cable.  And of course it would be seldom (if ever) that all eight circuits were on at 100% at the same time.

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2 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

For DC controllers, the controllers are using a common positive and switching the negative.

For AC controllers, the hot is switched and the neutral is always connected.

 

Gotcha, thanks. I knew I read that somewhere.

Well I just did the math (somebody tell me if I'm wrong). From the factory each string of 3 canes is 0.12 amps. 0.12 amps / 3 canes = 0.04 amps per cane. With one long run of 450' that would put 11 canes on each channel. 11 canes x 0.04 amps = .44 amps per channel. The longest run will be 450' (of course each channel will be 8' shorter than the previous). Will voltage drop/brightness come in to play with these amperages and distances?

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Another thought...

These lights are just traditional AC incans. All this work would just be to add chases. I am doing all this planning under that the assumption that 8 channels would give a much better chase effect than 6, 4, or 2. Would this be correct? If 4 channels would do just as good, I could cut the SPT cost in half.  

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IMO the chasing effect looks best with 8 channels, but 6 or 7 would look good too.  I know of one LOR member that actually prefers 7.   I'll always do 8 channels since I like what that looks like.  You may want to experiment to see what looks good to you.  Like me, once you've seen 8 chasing channels in action, you may never want to do less than that.  But a few less channels might look good with your setup too.

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4 hours ago, HSSUSC said:

The math is giving me a headache already... 88 canes... 2 controllers, 16 channels each, etc. Mapping this out in sequencing would be a pain. Good thinking though. Two controllers would definitely be cheaper than a buttload of SPT. But I would still need a buttload of SPT.

 

On one hand, I'm starting to wonder if it would be worth it all. On the other, it has become a challenge to see if it can be done!

 

You just sequence 8 channels, then copy to the other 24 channels.

I use 8 channels for my  chaser but use 16.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, MikeERWNC said:

 

You just sequence 8 channels, then copy to the other 24 channels.

I use 8 channels for my  chaser but use 16.

The biggest issue with that is he now gets to buy another 2 miles of wire.  Just running eight runs of 450 feet is about 3500 feet.  Making it 32 channels adds about 10,000 feet to that.

 

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31 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

The biggest issue with that is he now gets to buy another 2 miles of wire.  Just running eight runs of 450 feet is about 3500 feet.  Making it 32 channels adds about 10,000 feet to that.

 

Not if he puts the controllers near the props.

Less distance = Less wire.

His yard is only 150x75 right? That is what is up top.

There is NO WAY he needs to be running 450 feet of cord. He can put the controller in a garbage bag in the front yard and run the cord from there. The longest possible run would be 75 feet in either direction.

As for the 450 feet? He should bury 1 1/2" conduit and run 450 feet of 12/2 with 450 feet of CAT5e to where the controllers are being placed.

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Read post 9 in the thread.  He explains exactly what he is doing and why he needs 450 feet per channel with the controller at the first prop - and he does.  No way around it.  Actually it is a few feet less, but not much.

 

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1 hour ago, k6ccc said:

Read post 9 in the thread.  He explains exactly what he is doing and why he needs 450 feet per channel with the controller at the first prop - and he does.  No way around it.  Actually it is a few feet less, but not much.

 

Who'da thunk some cheap $3 candy canes would turn in to such a project?!?! If they didn't look so good, or last so long, I would've just scrapped the whole thing...But, here we are.

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2 hours ago, MikeERWNC said:

Not if he puts the controllers near the props.

Less distance = Less wire.

His yard is only 150x75 right? That is what is up top.

There is NO WAY he needs to be running 450 feet of cord. He can put the controller in a garbage bag in the front yard and run the cord from there. The longest possible run would be 75 feet in either direction.

As for the 450 feet? He should bury 1 1/2" conduit and run 450 feet of 12/2 with 450 feet of CAT5e to where the controllers are being placed.

I think your thinking about pixels... I am using traditional incandescent lights (AC) in these canes.

1 hour ago, k6ccc said:

Read post 9 in the thread.  He explains exactly what he is doing and why he needs 450 feet per channel with the controller at the first prop - and he does.  No way around it.  Actually it is a few feet less, but not much.

 

Ugh, math... With the one 450' run, I'll need 3376' of SPT. If I add a second controller, I'll only need 2720'. So, yeah, a second controller would need less cable, but it has the added expense of a second controller.

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8 minutes ago, HSSUSC said:

I think your thinking about pixels... I am using traditional incandescent lights (AC) in these canes.

Ugh, math... With the one 450' run, I'll need 3376' of SPT. If I add a second controller, I'll only need 2720'. So, yeah, a second controller would need less cable, but it has the added expense of a second controller.

Try and find 4 used Gen2's .That way  38' would be your longest run (controller in the middle a PAIR of  75' sections. . A side benefit. spare channels (or more props). You probably can find used CTB16'sfor about the price of a1Kft of SPT

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