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aja1216

Extension Chords and Waterproofing

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Hello,

I have 2 Questions:

  • Do you make your own extension chords? While doing research I found you can get a spool of wire and connectors
  • How do you waterproof your plugs? most of mine will probably under a layer of snow

Thanks,

AJ

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I've been making my own cords for years using the spooled wire and vampire plugs.

I've never messed with waterproofing the plugs and we get snow and rain pretty much each season. Although standing water could be an issue whether you try to waterproof or not. But snow hasn't been an issue with me.

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36 minutes ago, Santas Helper said:

I've been making my own cords for years using the spooled wire and vampire plugs.

I've never messed with waterproofing the plugs and we get snow and rain pretty much each season. Although standing water could be an issue whether you try to waterproof or not. But snow hasn't been an issue with me.

I’m with Tom. Only gfci popping issues from using vampires and spt are when the connection is setting in a puddle, not once from snow.

Worst part about vampires is that with some brands the plastic pieces are cut a hair too tight. So during take down I need a flathead screwdriver to separate the male and females. BE SURE POWER IS OFF! 

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Hi Aj,

Yes, I too make my own cords. I have been using SPT1 for several years and will never buy extension cords again other than as needed to power controllers. Not sure which SPT you are looking at but considering each channel of a LOR controller has a max amp of 8, I feel there's no need for SPT2 that has an amp rating of 10. The SPT1 usually has a amp rating of 7 or 8 I believe. If you are using LED lights you should be well under 7 or 8 amps per channel/cord. Unless of course you have a TON of LED's on it! LOL

I have a great, but unsightly way of waterproofing the connections. I learned years ago from other member on here about using food storage containers. Any type/brand of plastic container that has a removable lid will work. Since you will be destroying them I'd suggest the cheapest you can find. Take a Dremel type of rotary cutting tool and make two "incisions" on one side. On the other side across from those make two more incisions. You can now bend the middle section between the two cuts down. This is where you'll run the cords through. Have the connection in the middle then snap the lid on the container. If you don't cut too deep the cords will be suspended above the bottom of the container. This way air can flow into and out of the container so no condensation will build up and if by chance a little water will get in the container the cords are suspended above the water. I usually secure the cords to the ground on both sides of it just to prevent it from blowing around or upside down during windy days. I also paint them flat black so at night they are not visible at all. Obviously during the day you'll see them but as long as that doesn't bother you this has worked for me for years.

Hope this helps.

Al

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I use 5 gallon buckets over the large outdoor receptacles' and on some of my singing props for the extra light bulbs. Works great. Lowes, HD, Walmart all have the buckets for next to nothing.

As far as aesthetics most of our light shows probably don't look like much in the daytime anyway , I use inflatables . so having a bucket here or there in the yard, not really a big deal. You may have to watch out for your city rubbage person, yes they took my "Slow Down Turtle" flag, Army PT belt and everything the day after last Halloween. Not realizing I had video security (huge sign on my mailbox) the driver told his supervisor it was destroyed that's why he took it. The video shows otherwise.

JR

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On 1/7/2019 at 5:16 AM, Santas Helper said:

I've been making my own cords for years using the spooled wire and vampire plugs.

I've never messed with waterproofing the plugs and we get snow and rain pretty much each season. Although standing water could be an issue whether you try to waterproof or not. But snow hasn't been an issue with me.

Same thing here, almost.  Since the beginning I've used spooled wire and vampire plugs to make my own.  I did not shield them for the first 2 years until I noticed water getting in the plug and rusting out the wire where the teeth were digging in.  Thus, 3rd year some of them didn't make good connection.   Then I started putting a sandwich bag over the top of the plugs to prevent water getting in.  Been using the same wire and plugs for over 12 years now and never a problem rusting out.  Also never had a problem with any GFCIs tripping.

 

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On 1/7/2019 at 8:57 AM, Mega Arch said:

I’m with Tom. Only gfci popping issues from using vampires and spt are when the connection is setting in a puddle, not once from snow.

Worst part about vampires is that with some brands the plastic pieces are cut a hair too tight. So during take down I need a flathead screwdriver to separate the male and females. BE SURE POWER IS OFF! 

This year I have had probably the worst time separating the vampire connections and I also used and flat head screwdriver to get them separated, a few were so hard that one of the male plugs came out of the socket. I was wondering if dipping the male ends in die electric grease or Vaseline before connecting the would make them easier to separate them........Any thoughts on that?   

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1 hour ago, gmac said:

This year I have had probably the worst time separating the vampire connections and I also used and flat head screwdriver to get them separated, a few were so hard that one of the male plugs came out of the socket. I was wondering if dipping the male ends in die electric grease or Vaseline before connecting the would make them easier to separate them........Any thoughts on that?   

Nope. It’s that some of the brands have the plastic molding just cut too tight. After several years, you’ll get so good at separating with a screwdriver - you’ll forget what a pain it is. 

😎

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My local ACE Hardware has 2 15ft cords for 9.99 . I have about 4500 ft of  cords. My setup changes a little every year so my cord needs change a little every year. I looked at the vampire plugs this seem to be the better way for me.

HVACR

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On 1/7/2019 at 7:56 AM, aja1216 said:

Hello,

I have 2 Questions:

  • Do you make your own extension chords? While doing research I found you can get a spool of wire and connectors
  • How do you waterproof your plugs? most of mine will probably under a layer of snow

Thanks,

AJ

Yes, we make our own cords.  This year alone I made 1500 feet of new cords.  It's really easy and so much cheaper than buying from your local big box.

This is the first year we were not super diligent about waterproofing.  Despite tons of rain, we did not have any breakers trip during the season, unlike years past.  Well we did have one breaker trip, but it was on a spotlight timer that sits outside our house 24/7/365 and that we've had for at least 5-6 years.  Completely unrelated to the show itself.

That's not to say that waterproofing shouldn't be done - I think it can be important.  But this year we just never got around to it and our show was fine (and our area had the 8th rainiest December on record this year).

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