Jump to content

Pluging everything in question


midnight302
 Share

Recommended Posts

Getting everything in order for next year and have a question again.



My arches have 6 sections of 200 (same color) minis Im doing 3 arches all using the same channels. So I will have 18 plugs for the 3 arches going to 6 diff channels. How is the best way to go about conecting them all together. Do you use power strips? IF so do you just put them in plastic bags to keep the rain out? Can you cut the plugs and wire them all together and just run one cord per channel in to the controller. Thanks for any help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think most people will tell you that "bagging" connections is a no-no. That's a good way to build condensation on your connections.

Personally I followed Ken Maxwell's excellent instruction (

)

Cheers!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I were building arches your way, I would use enough sp1 for each section to reach the controller. I would terminate each section with a recycled stackable plug taken from the strings of lights. I would plug the each arch section section together then plug into the controller.

+1 on no bagging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok so bagging is out the window thanks for the help. So you say go with 6 sp1 cords from each arch? That just seems like a waste of cord?? Now I see why you put the controller outside and save cords.:shock: Sorry I can not look at youtube as I am in Iraq right now on a gov computer and they have it blocked.:X



On each section Can I cut the 3 strands and splice them to make one long one of 300. I would shrink tube the wires so there water tight?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you want to control each section independently, you will need 6 cords. There is a controversial practice of sharing a neutral that can shave some cords. Yes, you can splice them together. No more than three though.

I think the biggest surprise of this hobby is the amount of extension cords used. My display is relatively small and I have thousands of feet of wire running across my yard. I can only imagine what some of these mega displays look like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin McQuarters

I agree. NO plastic bag wrappers, they do collect condensation no matter what you do. I run individual cords per channel to the controllers located in house (1700' worth for 32 ch). Much less trouble, since the "plug" connections are indoors, for the minimal cost of the lamp cord. Show has run trouble free this season through rain, sleet & snow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The correct observation is that placing the controllers near the arches will save you the cord, but possibly increase the security/exposure headache...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If each section is not going to have its own channel then what would be wrong with running one run of SPT for each section then put a vampire plug on where needed for each arch?

So for example your arches are 6 sections where each section will share its own channel. You run one run for channel one and at each arch put a vampire plug on for that section. That way you have only 6 cords running to the controller each controlling one channel.

I hide my controllers in boxes disguised as presents. The lids slid on top and have latches that are locked. The bottom of the boxes have two holes drilled to anchor the boxes down. I use two L shaped pieces of rebar to anchor it to the ground. Very solid and theft proof because it would take ALOT of time and trouble to get to the controllers and they look nice and keep them out of the elements. People target things they can grab and run, this makes it very hard for them to do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

iresq wrote:


I think the biggest surprise of this hobby is the amount of extension cords used. My display is relatively small and I have thousands of feet of wire running across my yard. I can only imagine what some of these mega displays look like.


Amen to that! I used 750 ft of cord this year and I only have 80 channels.



I love the recycled stackable plug idea. I'll be using that next year!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me back up and see if I am understanding this correctly.. The arches are 6 channels, and all three arches are completely in parallel.. Each section is 200 lights, and thus each channel is 600 lights..

Here is how I would like to do it, but I seldom have the time to do it like I want...
Mark out your sections on the arches. Personally, I would plan to put the male cord ends either between the 1st and 2nd 100 strand on the arch, or between your first and second segment. This way they are mostly out of sight, but also up off the ground to avoid GFCI issues.. Either run SPT 1 inside the pipe for each segment that does not end at the designated male endpoints, or zip tie the SPT1 to the arch.

Go ahead and splice your two sets of 100 per arch section together, with heat shrink tubing for insulation. When connecting to the SPT1 in the arch, it is tempting to splice there also, but consider how much easier it will be to service if you put a female SPT cord end there, and just plug it in...

As for paralleling the arches, many of this years Action lighting SPT2 female cord ends have a pre scored breakout to allow them to be installed mid cord.. So make a SPT2 cord for each of the 6 sections that runs from the controller, to the first arch, then the second, then the third... At the last one, put the female end on normally. On the others, break out the tab, and install as a mid cord outlet...

This way you get your 18 sections on 6 controller channels, with no power strips, and minimal extra cord or hardware...

In reality, all the arches, or wrapped elements I have dealt with have wound up with all the original cord ends in place, and you don't know it at night.. Though I have built in SPT2 cords so that all the male ends are one section from the end...

- Kevin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

-klb- wrote:

Let me back up and see if I am understanding this correctly.. The arches are 6 channels, and all three arches are completely in parallel.. Each section is 200 lights, and thus each channel is 600 lights..

Here is how I would like to do it, but I seldom have the time to do it like I want...
Mark out your sections on the arches. Personally, I would plan to put the male cord ends either between the 1st and 2nd 100 strand on the arch, or between your first and second segment. This way they are mostly out of sight, but also up off the ground to avoid GFCI issues.. Either run SPT 1 inside the pipe for each segment that does not end at the designated male endpoints, or zip tie the SPT1 to the arch.

Go ahead and splice your two sets of 100 per arch section together, with heat shrink tubing for insulation. When connecting to the SPT1 in the arch, it is tempting to splice there also, but consider how much easier it will be to service if you put a female SPT cord end there, and just plug it in...

As for paralleling the arches, many of this years Action lighting SPT2 female cord ends have a pre scored breakout to allow them to be installed mid cord.. So make a SPT2 cord for each of the 6 sections that runs from the controller, to the first arch, then the second, then the third... At the last one, put the female end on normally. On the others, break out the tab, and install as a mid cord outlet...

This way you get your 18 sections on 6 controller channels, with no power strips, and minimal extra cord or hardware...

In reality, all the arches, or wrapped elements I have dealt with have wound up with all the original cord ends in place, and you don't know it at night.. Though I have built in SPT2 cords so that all the male ends are one section from the end...

- Kevin

Agreed, I think we are talking about the same thing as I was above. If so, I would do it that way too.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got 4 arches, and I had a lot of concerns about the effects of the winter rain on all these plugs. A big portion of my display is actually lights in the grass (I wish it was snow). When I did this last year, it was great...until it rained. It shorted out every time.

I read all of the help I could here, and spent a huge chunk of time in the rain, just watching what was happening on the ground. So I got an idea.

Everyone says bagging is a no-no because of condensation, but what can I do with all the plugs that more or less have to run on the ground - and more importantly, not go broke in the process?

For single plug connections:

I cut some 1-1/2" PVC into 5" lengths, got some tester caps (about 60 cents each), cut a notch about 1" down - that way, even when the cap is on, the condensation can escape - zip-tied each one to a small stake or wooden dowel with the notch toward the stake, then put the stake into the ground at an angle, notch-side down. I plugged the lights into the extension cord, then pushed the connection into the PVC cover.

For multi plug connections:

For the arches (8 channels each), I used 4" PVC and followed roughly the same procedure (cut 12" lengths and instead of a dowel, I used cut down wooden stakes - about $4 for 36 at HD). There is actually plenty of room to put in 10-12 channels if necessary.

Either way, I have run my show in the pouring rain with lights and plugs on the ground without incident. My controllers are exposed to the elements, which worried me, but I guess since the connections are vertical, water doesn't collect enough to cause a problem.

These pictures are probably a little big, but I'm new to this posting business, so I hope I don't offend. I'm just glad it all worked this year.

img_0071.jpg
img_0072.jpg


img_0073.jpg
img_0069.jpg


img_0068.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nicely done.. I've also thought about using 24 oz gatorade bottle bottoms to keep the rain off of the plugs.. However, I have found that just keeping ungrounded cords up off the ground resolves over 90% of the issue.. So I never made it to the point of painting them black and figuring out how to retain them over the cord ends. Currently I have a bunch of plastic stakes for C9 lamps that I zip tie the cord ends to that would otherwise be on the ground...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had tried that last year. In fact, that's why I have those little green stakes. It never seemed to last through and entire rainstorm without shorting out. I even went so far as to raise all of my lights up off the ground with about 400 stakes. Even then, it didn't make it through 1 whole show in the rain.

That was part of my concern about the exposure of the controllers. But at least as far as they go, no issues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys!:D I will use your methods. Alot better than so many cords. I get back to the states in Apr so I will start to post pics of me making them then. I'm sure I will have a lot more question and thanks for all the help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Push Eject wrote:



Personally I followed Ken Maxwell's excellent instruction (
)

Cheers!




Darn, the video is block for copyright infringement.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

james campbell

eurbani wrote:

Push Eject wrote:


Personally I followed Ken Maxwell's excellent instruction (
)

Cheers!




Darn, the video is block for copyright infringement.
that can happen to a 4 year old thread:)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

james campbell wrote:

that can happen to a 4 year old thread:)


Mr. Spock said, "That thread is approximately 3 years, 2 months, two weeks, 2 days, 11 hours and 32 minutes old. Approximately."

Personally, I was wondering if there was an updated version. :D
Link to comment
Share on other sites

james campbell

eurbani wrote:

james campbell wrote:
that can happen to a 4 year old thread:)


Mr. Spock said, "That thread is approximately 3 years, 2 months, two weeks, 2 days, 11 hours and 32 minutes old. Approximately."

Personally, I was wondering if there was an updated version. :D

+1 lol
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not going to read all of the replies, so this might have already been covered.

I would run my 6 cords from the controller out to one of the arches. at that arch my cords from the controller would have 6 3 way taps. then cords from all 3 arches would go to the proper 3 way tap. This will save you cords coming from the controller. By not cutting and splicing you will be able to do quick changes if a string of LEDs were to go bad.
Frankly, I would put the controllers out in the yard. Then there have been mentioned several different ways to secure the controller and box out in the yard. And if your really afraid that someone will try to defeat your security, there is a method of monitoring the Cat 5 cable going through each controller where you can have a buzzer go off, as long as you have the Cat 5 wire terminate in the house

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...