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Last year, I had 6 mini trees I got from a local store around here. They worked great, minus the wind blowing them over issue, until it was time for tear down. When I started taking these outdoor tree

Well, today I got a lot done! All the roof elements are up and ready to rock! I posted a Video of just the pixels running.. I wanted to see what they actually look like! And the neighbors think I am a

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Something for all of you to think about. You all know that every years there are several people going crazy cause their GFI is tripping. Now many of these people have the tomato cage mini trees. Some have learned to drive into the ground 3 or 4 pieces of PVC pipe and mount the trees on the pipe up off of the ground. Reason is that the wires for the lights are in contact with the wire cage. No, not shorted, but the plastic of the wire is in contact with the wire of the cage. This causes what is known as capassive coupling. It makes the GFI think that there is a current leakage. Enough of this capassive coupling will trip the GFI.

Now, this design of the mini tree using PVC pipe will null in void any such capassive coupling. Reducing the chance that your GFI will trip and drive you crazy. There is still the wires laying on the ground that can cause this. Esp if the ground is wet. But I think that this PVC frame for mini trees is a great idea.

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Something for all of you to think about. You all know that every years there are several people going crazy cause their GFI is tripping. Now many of these people have the tomato cage mini trees. Some have learned to drive into the ground 3 or 4 pieces of PVC pipe and mount the trees on the pipe up off of the ground. Reason is that the wires for the lights are in contact with the wire cage. No, not shorted, but the plastic of the wire is in contact with the wire of the cage. This causes what is known as capassive coupling. It makes the GFI think that there is a current leakage. Enough of this capassive coupling will trip the GFI.

Well dang.... I have 6 tomato cages in my basement waiting for garland and lights. :) But I do like the PVC in the ground idea... Guess I need to do that or just scrap the cages... Thanks for the heads up.

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Micky,

does not happen to everyone. But it does happen. Just like keeping your ethernet wires, aka communicaton wires seperate from the power aka 120v wires both the feeders that supply power to the controller and the wires going out to the lights. Some people have noted in the past that lights will blink turn on or fade or shimmer all by themselves without it being programmed into the sequence. Later to discover that by moving the comm wires away from the power wires that the problem goes away. And if you have to run the wire either parallel about 6 or more inches seperate or at right angles to each other.

All kinds of little tricks we as a group have discovered and try to pass on to the newbies.

Back to the GFI issues. Some have actually had to raise their wires up on stubs of PVC driven into the groud to keep the wires a few inches off of the ground. Depends on how many wires/light strings on a single GFI. Keep some of this in the back of your head. If you start having problems, start applying these and other little tricks. As for your tomato cages, you might not have any problems. But keep the above tip in mind that you might need to raise them off of the ground so that the metal of the cage does not touch the ground.

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Micky,

does not happen to everyone. But it does happen. Just like keeping your ethernet wires, aka communicaton wires seperate from the power aka 120v wires both the feeders that supply power to the controller and the wires going out to the lights. Some people have noted in the past that lights will blink turn on or fade or shimmer all by themselves without it being programmed into the sequence. Later to discover that by moving the comm wires away from the power wires that the problem goes away. And if you have to run the wire either parallel about 6 or more inches seperate or at right angles to each other.

All kinds of little tricks we as a group have discovered and try to pass on to the newbies.

Back to the GFI issues. Some have actually had to raise their wires up on stubs of PVC driven into the groud to keep the wires a few inches off of the ground. Depends on how many wires/light strings on a single GFI. Keep some of this in the back of your head. If you start having problems, start applying these and other little tricks. As for your tomato cages, you might not have any problems. But keep the above tip in mind that you might need to raise them off of the ground so that the metal of the cage does not touch the ground.

Max-Paul provides some great tips. With it being so warm here last year, we had a number of rain storms and it was then that I saw this problem with my tomato cage trees. As long as it was dry, we were OK and didn't have any GFCI trips I'm taking a couple of additional steps this year to try and avoid them, even if they're wet. I'm keeping the tomato cages, but I'm gonna elevate them off the ground a bit. And I'm also going to NOT use a metal landscape stake to stake them to the ground. Duh. Oh well, I usually learn more from my mistakes than my "victories." Hopefully, you can learn from some of ours, make some of your own, and then let us learn from you. Just don't let your lessons be of the electrocution or fire variety. :)

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The whole gfci thing was the 2nd reason I made these pvc trees. Last year, the 6 trees that these are replacing kept on tripping the gfci. It took awhile to find the main issue, but when the wind blew and knocked over the trees I had to refind the issue and fix it.

Now, I am using tomato cages as well. But going to try to wrap it with a plastic mat so to speak.

These guys have a lot of good advise. I absorbed as much as I could last year, and learned a few myself.

Thank you all!

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  • 1 month later...

Well I'm finally back to these darn trees! I picked up about 800 feet of garland last weekend.. Lastnight, I pulled 2 of the 6 trees out of the attic. The plan is to paint the PVC black and start wrapping this week. I want ato know how many feet I actually need to do each tree. I will take pictures as progress is made. I spent today glueing the remaining loose pieces that I thought I could keep loose, but in Texas heat, plus attic, most of them came loose.. Tomorrow, I will clean the trees and start painting!

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  • 1 month later...

Finally made progress lastnight. I have all the trees wrapped in garland. It took about 175 feet of garland per tree. Lastnight, I stripped the lights off the old trees, and started to put them on the new..

post-6842-0-72616200-1350400882_thumb.jp

Edited by Arnoldc
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After taking a fresh look at it, I will probably add another strand of each color. Right now there are 200 of each color.. I figure 300 of each should do the trick.. Easy enough to unwrap and redo.. Got 5 more of these to do... Fun times!

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Question from someone that has never built props (I only use what is growing or built like a house). Is the only reason you wrap the trees with garland is to make them look good in daylight? I have to build 5 4' trees but was just going to do lights, lol not even sure how many lights I will use.

There are several reasons that people use garland.. In the case, I wanted to hide controllers.. And the garland does a great job of that.. Plus, I don't like the look of a bunch of wires at night or daytime.. So the garland also hides that. Its all preferance. These trees are 5' tall x 2 1/2' wide at base.. I redid them and have 300 of red white and blue.. Honestly, the white seems to be lacking.. Course, Im using LEDs for everything but white... that's the difference.

I also have tomato cages that sit about 4' in front of these.. Now those Im just using lights.. No garland on those..

Here are 2 of the 6 trees that have been completed. I am a lot happier with these than the first one.

Arnold

post-6842-0-15532800-1350442468_thumb.jp

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These are the trees that I am replacing from last year.. I had many issues with these.. the final straw was the outdoor trees are not really outdoor.. I couldnt take the bloody things apart after the season.. Even with WD-40!

These are the trees that I am replacing from last year.. I had many issues with these.. the final straw was the outdoor trees are not really outdoor.. I couldnt take the bloody things apart after the season.. Even with WD-40!

post-6842-0-50767900-1350442616_thumb.jp

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There are several reasons that people use garland.. In the case, I wanted to hide controllers.. And the garland does a great job of that.. Plus, I don't like the look of a bunch of wires at night or daytime.. So the garland also hides that. Its all preferance. These trees are 5' tall x 2 1/2' wide at base.. I redid them and have 300 of red white and blue.. Honestly, the white seems to be lacking.. Course, Im using LEDs for everything but white... that's the difference.

I also have tomato cages that sit about 4' in front of these.. Now those Im just using lights.. No garland on those..

Here are 2 of the 6 trees that have been completed. I am a lot happier with these than the first one.

Arnold

Those look alot better.

"Question from someone that has never built props (I only use what is growing or built like a house). Is the only reason you wrap the trees with garland is to make them look good in daylight? I have to build 5 4' trees but was just going to do lights, lol not even sure how many lights I will use."

Using garland is a perference. Just like I don't like the look of tomoato cages. they look funny to me toward the top and I also don't like seeing the cords.

Arnold is right...it's mainly to hide things they you don't want to see.

Edited by dknahoolewa
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Those look alot better.

"Question from someone that has never built props (I only use what is growing or built like a house). Is the only reason you wrap the trees with garland is to make them look good in daylight? I have to build 5 4' trees but was just going to do lights, lol not even sure how many lights I will use."

Using garland is a perference. Just like I don't like the look of tomoato cages. they look funny to me toward the top and I also don't like seeing the cords.

Arnold is right...it's mainly to hide things they you don't want to see.

Thanks.. Trying to hurry up and get these knocked off the to do list.. I'm so far behind this year.. Partly due to the late arrival of lights, and a small Halloween project that I wasn't expecting to do. It gets bad when you blow off dates to work on Christmas stuff! As it stands, I am about 3 weeks behind..

I will finish 2 more trees tonight, and the last 2 tomorrow. Next week, I need to focus on my redo of the wreath, I have a lot of pixels that go on it.. Since I start putting up the roof elements in 2 weeks, I need to get my rear in gear..

Once the roof stuff is done, I start putting things on all the non-grassy areas. then the weekend before Thanksgiving, I put everything else out..

the to do list as of today

4 more trees

16 tomato trees

2 3-d stars

wreath

4 controller stands

and need more beer!

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Arnoldc

I sympathyze with your what you have left to do. My suggestions would be to alter your to do list a little as follows:

Beer

4 more trees

Beer

16 tomato trees (beer between every 2-4 trees)

etc.

Remember-----beer is like extension cords, you can never have enough!

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Arnoldc

I sympathyze with your what you have left to do. My suggestions would be to alter your to do list a little as follows:

Beer

4 more trees

Beer

16 tomato trees (beer between every 2-4 trees)

etc.

Remember-----beer is like extension cords, you can never have enough!

That's true until you wake up the next day in the driveway with no shirt...... :lol:

But then you realize your display is up :D

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Arnoldc

I sympathyze with your what you have left to do. My suggestions would be to alter your to do list a little as follows:

Beer

4 more trees

Beer

16 tomato trees (beer between every 2-4 trees)

etc.

Remember-----beer is like extension cords, you can never have enough!

Edited by jeff bush
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