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Running multiple strands of lights


syncman

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I am a newbie and I'm trying to figure out what arrangement of lights I should use. I am assuming it makes sense to run mulitple separate strands of lights along my gutters to allow me to be able to animate and change colors during the show. So, I'm thinking of buying three separate light strands with three separate colors and running them along my gutters.

 

In looking at lights, though, I can't find an resources that suggest whether this is the right approach and how best to hang three seprate strands running along the same path. Should I tie them together? What's the best way to hang them?

 

More importantly, I'm uncertain about what kinds of lights are preferred. I was leaning toward using LED rope strands. However, these would mean somehow hanging all three in parallel so the color would all be viewable. Is this even practical? And, if so, how are people hanging multiple strands of rope light?

 

BTW, I'm aware of the RGB LED option, but that's too pricey. I'm just trying to find basic insights into how I can get multiple channels of lights hung from my gutters. Should I be looking at something other than LED rope lights? What are the alternatives and how are they hung when there are many strands along the same path?

 

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated?

 

 

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I don't have any experience with bundling 3 light strings together but we have bundled 2 strings together for the roof and have used them for the past 3 years. We also have bundles of 2 that we put next to the driveway that are mounted on PVC pipe. We just bundle them together with zip ties. It takes a lot of zip ties though and your fingers start to hurt after like 20 and when you have 150 bulbs with 2 zip ties each (i think) its a bit of a pain in the finger. I will try to get pictures of them soon.

-Chris-

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We did exactly what you are talking about. We did three strands, white red and green, and we electrical taped them all together. Just kept wrapping the tape around the bundle, working our way down. I used white tape as my fascia is white. It took quite a while. Did 8 sets this way. The biggest problem we had was trying to keep all the bulbs evenly spaced, and rotated all inline. I wanted to be able to have the effect of movement by turning on each colour in order. Along the fascia, I used white wire staple to attach the bundle, this worked well. Along the eaves trough area was tougher to hang. I had some cheap plastic clips that sort of did the job, but not great. Not sure how I'm going to do it for next year. Thinking about the zip ties with a srew eyelet in one end and screw them into the top edge of the trough.

 Our lights are LEDs.

 I also did up an extra bundle as if one went out it would be very difficult to replace one string. But its quite cold here.

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My house is all outlined with 5 strings of LED's zip tied together about every foot or so.

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You might consider getting into dumb RGB strips therefore allowing you to run one string/strip and have "any" color available. Yeah, a bit more expensive and there's additional hardware needed such as the DC controller card, power supply and wire length limts but it might be worth it in the larger picture in the years to come. I'm doing it this year for the first time to illuminate my window frames.

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I use 3/4 inch wide Velcro one wrap to bundle 4 strings (one each of red, blue, green, white) of lights. What I like about it is you can moved the velcro if you need to, it's reusable, and you won't pinch any of the wires. If you need to replace a string, remove the velcro, separate bad string, install new string and reattch velcro. I have all LED's so any possible concern with heat from the bulbs is not an issue. The only down side is it wouldn't work very well in keeping the bulbs positioned in a certain direction. Each string of lights is looped back and forth 2-3 times. In other words, I take a 33ft string of red lights and loop it back and forth so the actual length of the string is really only 11ft. Gives me three times the lights in a shorter distance but still only have to plug in one string.Once I bundle and label the strings, I store them away bundled too. No need to undo everything and then put it back together again the next season. I bundle all the extension cords going to a section of lights together the same way.

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Believe you can buy LOR dumb RGB ribbons with controller cheaper than buying (4) LED 70 count light strings and using 4 channels on a standard controller. You get as many colors as you want instead of just red/green/blue/white, easy to mount, easy to program and they look awesome.

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First year last year and I zip tied 4 colors (RGBW) together and it took forever! Also since they weren't the same brand of lights they were all different lengths and it was a real pain. I used clips to hold them to the gutters but i was disappointed there was still "sag" between the clips. Also the lights didn't always face the right direction which i think also contributed to the uneven look. If you think this kind of look will bother you then i would think about mounting them to PVC or something else. There are lots of suggestions for that in the forum.

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speaking of mounting methods, what materials besides PVC Pipe and wood do people use? Also if you use wood, how do you protect it from the elements? because if you don't protect it seems like it wouldn't last for more than or 3 seasons, or am i wrong about that?

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Just an example how I did it. I have on my gutter 4 color strings of icicles zip tied every foot or so. I have cup screws about every 18" and I have them alternated between out and in. Go right up and down but I have yet to have any of it blown off of the hooks.

 

But if I was to do it again now that LED strips have become common. I would go with the dumb strips. Check out the pricing difference between LED strings and then the price of controllers, power supplies, and strips. If you do go with LED strips. Study power injection. Plasma is a good man with lots of info about power injection.

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Will never again buy single color led light strings. Future purchases will be RGB strips. Cost is equal. Many options with RGB.

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Will never again buy single color led light strings. Future purchases will be RGB strips. Cost is equal. Many options with RGB.

Also if you want the Bulb look you can buy RGB bulbs from various places and possibly control them with a CMB24D or with DMX.

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