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A bit more on heavy rain and display setup


Darin Miller
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Darin Miller

As a newbie, I have certainly enjoyed the information on this forum. I assembled my first CTB16K over the holiday break and it has tested out great. After reading several threads on rain, water, grounding and GFCIs, I am very nervous about next year. Living near Portland OR, the climate is wet and rainy pretty much all of the time. I understand there are two schools of thought on the remedy for rain causing constant GFCI trips

1. Keep the connections off the ground (any extension cord and between light strings)

2. Plastic bag, rubber band, and invert the connections.



My static display this year was constantly tripping the GFCI when wet. I had a hybrid approach to elevated connections with some wrapped. There were only 2-3 nights in December without rain. This kind of weather makes me not even want to do an animated display. A storm for a couple days may seem managaeable if you get a few days to dry out, but we had no dryout time.



I’m certainly not trying to beat a dead horse with the whole GFCI and water debate, but I found myself wanting more information. Here’s my question: Have any of you had a multi-channel animated display run without GFCI trips, for 10-15 days of contiguous heavy rain? Basically the same is putting your cords and strings under a yard sprinkler while powered up.

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Darin, I'm just up the coast from you, in Greys Harbor Wa. I'm running 96 chnls, and just got two more kits. Didn't have any problems with water this year, and it did rain most of the month. I don't seal everything in plastic, just so water won't get trapped anywhere. I do keep em up off the ground, just so there not sitting in a puddle, but I ran my show with everything covered in snow, and had no problems.

The only problems I had were those freak category 2 hurricane winds, I lost 3 thousand lights, and had 6 windows blown out. We got the show all back together and used it for a fund raiser for the storm victims..

I know its easy for me to say, but don't be scared..

Ken

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Darin Miller

Ken, Thanks for information. That's exactly what I was looking for; someone in my climate belt. Have you ever had to troubleshoot grounding and water issues in years past? I am somewhat skeptic of the mini-trees being essentially a grounding tomato cage. I also have some thin metal farm fencing with metal posts. These objects bring the physical ground potential up to within centimeters of the lights, cords and plugs. Figuring out which circuit is the culprit can be tricky because it will sometimes take 1/2 hour for my portable GFI plug to trip a given circuit.

thanks for info -Darin

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Darin.. Most of my fixtures are all rope light. I've custom built 2 and 3 color spiral trees, and 2 and 3 ft dia ball lights. have some small spiral trees and ball lights that fit on a spiral tower. There all built out of 9 gauge fencing wire and conduit.

I work with the local fire dept, and sometimes have to set it up in three different locations a season. I designed everything to be knock down and all fits into a 14 ft trailer.

The only water problems I had was with communication cables the first year. I had connections outside the controller box's, and had a problem with water in them. I have all the controller box's fitted with quick disconnects, so I can take em in and lock them in the trailer at night after the shows.

I have a gfci protected load center mounted in the trailer, and recommend gfci protected circuits for your safety and the publics. I've never tripped a circuit, or had a water grounding problem.

Light it up!!

Ken

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