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Has anyone run into a problem with water getting into the pile of cord connections causing electrical shorts???? If so, how did you solve this????

Last year I had a problem with water getting into some of my connections under my megatree:tree::tree::tree:. Now I am trying to head off any future problems and my loving wife getting the opportunity to say "OK Genius, now what are you gonna do!!!???"

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Did you really have a short? I have used all kinds of extension cords over the years and the only one that ever shorted was one my neighbor got snowblowing.
I've heard of and had leakage current problems with GFI's where you get a lot of cords on the ground and when wet each one "leaks" a little bit. These little leaks add up and in turn trips out the GFI which IS supposed to happen. The best way to keep this from happening is to keep the ends off the ground and under something so they can't get wet directly. I don't reccommend taping connections because the water WILL always find a way in. However when taped the water can't always find a way out..... It may wick into te cord "filler".
I've used kids green beach bucket (don't tell them where the bucket went) or similiar cut in half top to bottom as a rain shield. To keep the connection off the ground use a loose looping knot with the connection up in the air under your rain guard.

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The more extension cords, the more problems I had. With my LOR display, I have found it wiser to make custom cords for several reasons: they are cheaper than store bought, lack multiple connections that trip the GFI circuits and are pre-made (during the off season) so they fit just right to avoid adding "just one more cord". The best source for the materials is:

http://www.actionlighting.com/index.asp

Plugs: Items Nos. 100STP1PLUGWF (Female Plug) & 100STP1PLUGWM (Male Plug)

Lamp Cord Item No. 100SLAWIR1W (500 Feet)

Do NOT exceed the electrical capacity of the wire and plugs. Use an Electric Clamp to measure exact amperage draw. Always cut your wire lengths 1 to 2 feet longer as being a couple of inches short in length is a real pain. Marking each circuit number on the plugs is an absolute must! (Just trust me on this one.)

Following is a photo of most of my extension cords. The white cords are custom.


Attached files 130117=7725-Cords.jpg

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Sounds like I have the "leaking" problem. Will try to keep everything off the ground this year. The big word in that sentence was try.

Maybe I can go to the pharmacy and buy a box of "Depends" to wrap around all my connections!!!:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

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NWSanta wrote:

Where the heck did you get all the cool MultiColour Extension cords.. Coolness factor 10!

-Evan

Bought the colored cords out of necessity! When the show is up and running, there is no time to guess what cord has a problem.

The cords were purchased everywhere and anywhere: Ace, TrueValue, Home Depot, Lowes, Fry's Electronics, and independent hardware stores. Each colored cord is 100', AWG12.
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I put my electrical connections above ground on a plastic light stake so they don't have a chance of sitting in water.
You can get these at on-line stores or Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and many more around the holidays.





Attached files 130164=7728-light_stake.jpg

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NWSanta wrote:

Where the heck did you get all the cool MultiColour Extension cords.. Coolness factor 10!

-Evan
Pretty Colors!!!;) I am a cord taper. I use black duct tape to tape up all my connections for my peace of mind. Last year during a heavy rain, one of my PC friends had his whole display out because of GFCI trips, I had 2 out, out of 8 GFCI protected circuits. I use C9s standing up outlining the 4 edges of the roof and with the heavy cords just laying on the roof, I'd be nervous NOT to tape them, with all the water running down the roof. And I've never had an outage up there. The outages tend to happen because of a small broken bulb or contact with a wireframe or the ground. Well taped connections also stay together better and I don't have to worry about current leakage to the grass. Sure there may be a little moisture there, but that has never caused a problem. My goal is to light the whole display in any weather.
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Griswold wrote:

I put my electrical connections above ground on a plastic light stake so they don't have a chance of sitting in water.
You can get these at on-line stores or Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and many more around the holidays.





If anyone can attest to the need to keep something electrical dry, it's a person that lives in Lumberton New Jersey. This is a very good idea and works to prevent GFCI trips too. Taping up connections traps water. Your best bet is to raise them off the ground, and let the water pass through and drip dry. In 2006 I used 10 dedicated GFCI circuits for my display. Every connection was raised in this manner. I only had 2 trips the entire season. One when a person cut a string of yard lights with a knife, and the other when someone stepped on the same string while stealing a plastic star from a Gremler mini tree. Good thing they were safe huh?

jeff
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CrazyRed wrote:

Has anyone run into a problem with water getting into the pile of cord connections causing electrical shorts???? If so, how did you solve this????

Last year I had a problem with water getting into some of my connections under my megatree:tree::tree::tree:. Now I am trying to head off any future problems and my loving wife getting the opportunity to say "OK Genius, now what are you gonna do!!!???"

Well with a mega tree sounds more like water running down long runs of wire directly into sockets. This my friend is why you see street lights and other outdoor installations of not only electrical things but also phone and cable TV using what are called drip loops. You use loops so that water doesnt run straight down the wire into the sockets.
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  • 2 weeks later...
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joshuashu wrote:

please fill me in, what is or what does a drip loop look like? i kept having one side of my gfi go bad last year

Something like this ...




Attached files 131205=7776-driploop.gif
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Here is a Quick scan of a "drip loop" from an aquarium Installation Manual. The Drip Loop is circled in red.




Attached files 131208=7777-Drip Loop.JPG

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I have a rabbit problem so I hang as many cords above the ground as possible. This also keeps the mosture off of the connections. 2005 I had lots of problems with my GFCIs tripping. 2006 was much much much better and my first year with automation. I only had 1 GFCI trip and that was on a non controller outlet, so the show went on with out a hitch. I use these wire stacks that I buy at Menards to hold up my 79 blow molds and used the loop at the top to route the extentions cords and wrap everything up into a nice lilttle package and hid it behind the blow mold. Worked great.

Steven

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Hello All-

This is a great forum. I am learning a lot by just reading your questions and answers.

I have a question. How do you manage your power cords? Last year was my first attempt at a lighting show (LOR 16 channel) and it went well. But, there were cords all over my driveway. Anyone found a way to "tidy up" their power cords? I was thinking of placing the cords in large 3" pipe under my driveway. But I don't know. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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T.S.

I'm planning the same thing with 3" pvc but it's only going under the sidewalk.
At each end I'm using an underground sprinkler single valve box. They have a lid they're about 7-8" in diameter and have a lid so it's not a trip hazard the rest of the year.

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I have 6 archways that I use to create link between the parkway trees and the main lawn area. I have a corner lot so I put 2 in the front and 4 on the side of the house. I use these to hold the extension cords that go out to the parkway trees. It works great and has no eliminates the trip hazards. I put rope lighting on the archways and use them in my show. I have some out door speakers that I use for the people that like to actually get out and walk around. I try to create a christmas wonderland. Its very rewarding to see the kids faces light up in awww when they see the show and lights. I also use the stakes to line the yard so nobody actually walks on the grass. It deters vandals from getting to any expensive equipment.

steven

ps I wish I had a website to post links of pictures and video. One of my goals for this year.

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  • 1 year later...

ggregzim wrote:

The more extension cords, the more problems I had. With my LOR display, I have found it wiser to make custom cords for several reasons: they are cheaper than store bought, lack multiple connections that trip the GFI circuits and are pre-made (during the off season) so they fit just right to avoid adding "just one more cord". The best source for the materials is:

http://www.actionlighting.com/index.asp

Plugs: Items Nos. 100STP1PLUGWF (Female Plug) & 100STP1PLUGWM (Male Plug)

Lamp Cord Item No. 100SLAWIR1W (500 Feet)

Do NOT exceed the electrical capacity of the wire and plugs. Use an Electric Clamp to measure exact amperage draw. Always cut your wire lengths 1 to 2 feet longer as being a couple of inches short in length is a real pain. Marking each circuit number on the plugs is an absolute must! (Just trust me on this one.)

Following is a photo of most of my extension cords. The white cords are custom.


Hi all.

The link above seems not to have any stock this year I guess you lot bought it all already.

Is there another source for cable, plugs and sockets?

Many thanks.

Steve. (Rogie)
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Jeff Millard wrote:

Wow,

You dug this thread up from the depths. In fact, you were the first person to post in it since it was migrated over from no-mans land.. er, um, I mean Planet Christmas.

Here's a thread to All American Christmas' plugs for SPT1 and 2.

Jeff


Thanks jeff I just bit the bullet in the end and went and got a load of wally world (Walmart) cords.

It worked out to be about $150.00 and I don't have to mess about putting them together.

My 48 Channel display is just about finished now. should have show's running tomorrow night as a first test

This is my first LOR display.

Couldn't have done it without you guys and this forum.

Many thanks to all who posted here.

Rogie.
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