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First Year and learning


Panteradon
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I ordered the 16 channel LOR during the sale. It is great. Through downloads and modification, I have about 20 minutes of songs layed out.

Now come planning for setting this thing up. I have WAY underestimated the need for extension cords. By my rough calculation, I need about 650 feet of cord and that does not count getting power to the LOR unit.

Could it be that cords are the major expense?

Buy them? Make your own?

Don

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Panteradon wrote:

Could it be that cords are the major expense?

YES - I have always said this - the Hardware and Lights are cheap in comparasion.

Panteradon wrote:
CBuy them? Make your own?

6 one way - Half a Dozen the other.

Harrison
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The planning part is usually the aspect that first timers overlook. When the light bulbs finally goes off, things like this come to the surface.

Extension cords will be important. My suggestion is to keep the controllers as close to your display items as possible. People get really wrapped up about hiding, securing, mounting etc... It should be a consideration, given your situation. If you can keep the controllers close or central to keep extension cords to a minimum that is best.

Now to answer your question. Buy or make. Depends. Sometimes you can find 6ft cords at a buck or even under. 9ft cords for $1.50. Anything around this pricing, pick up what you can. Sometimes 25-40-50-70-80-100' go on sale too depending on where you buy them. The big box stores won't have sales now, it is too close to the season where these are needed. Check these 2 online sites, they are great deals right now:

http://www.overstockdeals.com/Extens...64%20c201a.htm

http://www.lwws.com/shop/electric-co...bab02194db18b2

If you need custom lengths or multiple taps, making is the way to go. Most of us use either SPT1 or SPT2 and vampire/zip connectors. These can be costly when you figure both a male/female connectors alone will cost you anywhere form $1.50 to $2 depending on where you bought them from, how much and then amoratize the shipping.

650 ft for 16 channels. You need to make the decision which way is best.

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Brian Mitchell

I haven't found that making cords is any cheaper than just buying them. The things to do are to buy a few at a time every time you go into a Walmart or Target. Watch for sales at Home Depot or Lowes. Also pick up things like the little 3 way splitters and power strips.
I found one of the best ways to get cords is at yard sales. If I don't see any I will often ask. I was at one yard sale where they had a bunch of Christmas items but no cords out. I asked and they sold me 2 big boxes of cords for $40. I got about 50 cords of all lengths plus a bunch of splitters. At any sale that has tools or Christmas items, I always ask.

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I have 368 channels and all are mounted in the garage. So needless to say I use a lot of extension cords.

My first year of 16ch I used about 30 cords, many 100 feet long and I spent about $400. These were the standard 3 prong cords from Lowe' that have a rating of 15 amps, even though most of mine carried a 1-2 amp load.

Year 2 176 channels. I bought 1000' rolls and vampire plugs. These are good for 8 amps I think. Most of mine had a load of .3 -.5 amps. Plus I was able to make 32' cords, 66' cords and 87' cords. Something you can't do with store bought.

Once you get up in the big numbers, you are far ahead to make your own.

Scott

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Shubb wrote:


Year 2 176 channels. I bought 1000' rolls and vampire plugs. These are good for 8 amps I think. Most of mine had a load of .3 -.5 amps. Plus I was able to make 32' cords, 66' cords and 87' cords. Something you can't do with store bought.

Once you get up in the big numbers, you are far ahead to make your own.

Scott


Yes, making your own can be cheaper (if you can find the plugs/sockets cheap enough) and certainly more versatile. I often make my own by taking commercial cords, cutting them into the lengths I need, and then adding plugs/sockets. This is not really a cost savings, because I only use outdoor rated cords and the plugs/sockets are usually outrageously priced.

Using indoor cords (commercial or the SPT/Vampire handmade ones) is very popular because it is cheaper, and probably easier to store (smaller and more flexible). Just keep in mind that it is not 'recommended', since the components are not rated for outdoor use, ie are not weather, UV or abrasion resistant. That being said, many people do use these cords and I have not heard of anyone having trouble. I'm just too anal to do it myself (except under the eaves where they can't get rained on, sunned on or walked on).
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Try yardsales for extention cords. I have bought 15-20 the last couple monthes& most paid was $3 most cords are 40-50' but did buy a 100' last weekend for a $1.

Mike

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I've been buying 2 -40ft green cords from walmart every payday since april, thought I had enough last week til I started laying it out and I'm 6 short, and getting short on cash...time to go borrowing from the neighbors!

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Donald Puryear

Last year I used 35 indoor cords, 40- 50 footers, 10- 100 footers, 4- 150 footers, and several custom made cords. Never had a problem, still adding to the collection. If you take care of the cords you should have no problems. Watch for the indoor ones to get brittle and crack after a few seasons. At 1.50 a cord their cheap enough to replace as needed.

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Jeff 1S.A.H.D.

I know it will be to late but...
after Christmas the "Christmas extensions cords" are 50% off.
Bought most of mine for next year

Jeff

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Hello, i am new to the forum and to light o rama. I ordered the 32 channel package during the sale. Last year after Christmas I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased my extension cords. They marked the cords 90% off. I bought cases of 40 foot cords and 3 way splitters for pennies on the dollar. I am in the process of running underground plugs all of my yard to minimize using cords for the power to the units. Light O Rama is wonderful!

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Just today I finished a controller. The cords were thanks to Target's 90% off sale last January, and were all but free. The box was thanks to our cable company abandoning their pre-VOIP phone service box on our house (I asked the tech, he said 'do what you want with it'). The board itself was a PC-Kit bought during the "big sale". So I don't think I could have done a board for much less cost/channel. :(

The enclosure is actually really nice. It housed electronic equipment so it has to be totally watertight. If I ever see a Comcast tech working around the neighborhood I might wave a few bucks at him to see if he can get me some others out of the dumpster or something...

-Tim

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is my first year as well. I lucked out. I found a hardware store that is going out of business so I have been buying out almost all of their extension cords and 250' spools of bulk wire and all of the parts to run my dedicated circuits at the current 40% off. Each week or two the discount gets bigger so I am in there a few times a week buying more.

I am centrally locating my 16 and 8 channel controllers in my basement and will use zip cord for low amperage and short runs and heavy duty wire for long runs and larger loads.

Finding a hardware store that is going out of business is a great find but if you don't have one near you, always search the clearance aisles at walmart.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is my first year as well. I think it all depends on the individual situation. I am using both store bought and custom made. I try not to have a lot of excess cable laying around in the way. If you need 20ft, then make a 25ft cord instead of using a 50ft one. Now you have 30ft of cord to put somewhere.
This is just my thoughts on it. In some cases the load on the circuit will dictate what you need to use too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Where I'm at Home Depot has the best price on extension cords that I've seen. I bought mine when OSH had one of thier tax free week ends and I wish I'd waited.

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Best price I have seen here in Houston is Lowes. 40ft for $7.48. I will need about 5 more to get my first year display up an running. I can't wait to get this up and see what it looks like in real life.

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I understand completly. In january I bought a 16 circuit controller. Then I bought anouther in July. I've had it programed for a month now but wonder how much different it will look live than watching it on the screen.

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