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Thread: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

  1. #1
    xLights or BUST in 2018 kidcole's Avatar
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    Default GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    I am looking to get some solution suggestions. I need 3 outdoor boxes with 2 GFI outlets in each box. Two of the boxes will be mounted in a roof peak under the eaves. One of them will be somewhere near the front of my front porch deck. Probably just under the front edge. All three boxes will each have a pair of 20a circuits wired back to a main panel. Luckily I had half of a 200 amp panel open from when I added onto the house 10 years ago.

    I searched Lowes / Home Depot and they have some metal boxes that come with a pair of 20a GFI outlets already mounted. But they are green so they would have to be painted gray, and the front flap is completely open at the bottom which would let bees and bugs in year-round. I love the boxes and hate that they don't close up. I prefer something in a gray plastic that seals up. And it needs to look decent since the roof eave boxes will be in full view year round.

    How have you guys rigged your outdoor outlets, and do you have suggestions that would work for me ?
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    I Went Static in 2017. FINALLY Moving to Xlights for 2018 !

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    Burn baby burn.... melwelch's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    I was not going to chime in but since you asked.... GFIs are not needed... They cause more problems than they cure... Stay away from using zip cord for extention cords...

    And before you ask... Yes I run my show, rain or shine (wind is my only problem). I even setup lights in the pouring rain... Because water is a poor conductor of electricity... A scientific fact...

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    xLights or BUST in 2018 kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    I have been using good grounded extension cords from all outlets to all controllers. But I do use zip cord (SPT2) for all the controller channels.

    What kind of outside boxes will work for getting a nice clean looking pair of outlets into my eaves? I have easy access to mount the boxes and prefer them to be small, with cover access for the extension cords (but also seal up for the rest of the year when they are not being used).
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    I Went Static in 2017. FINALLY Moving to Xlights for 2018 !

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    Mel -

    I don't use the GFCIs because of water issues, I use them to cut down on possible electrocution issues. I've been out in the rain cussing mine out trying to reset it because a cord end got wet, even though I go through pains to try to keep them off the ground. Deer going through the yard tend to move those cords around, and knock them off the light stakes I use to suspend them up. I don't use the GFCI's to protect the deer either. I do sort of use them to protect vandals, but that's only due to potential lawsuits by survivors.

    I use them because of my neighbors' kids that walk around in the yard, especially the 4 year old boy next door. His parents are constantly after him to not touch things, but we let him and some of the other kids place some of the yard art, so he/they sometimes do a touchy-feely thing with the effects while it's running, out of eyesight of the parents. I also admit I'd rather cuss and reset than get shocked myself.

    Denny -

    Have you considered putting the outlets in a controller enclosure box? Those may be too big, though. How about buying the components separately (Harbor Freight is much lower cost on the GFCI outlets) and using the gray metal boxes you can get that way. I've seen spring-loaded covers that look like they would seal pretty well when the outlet isn't in use.

    Afterthought - for the outlets up high, use regular outlets, and use a GFCI circuit breaker. That can save ladder climbing during inclement weather.
    Last edited by Jack Stevens; 09-29-2010 at 09:45 AM. Reason: adding the afterthough.

  5. #5
    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    There are other people on this forum far more qualified to state this, but I am pretty sure that the NEC code requires that the receptacle be GFCI protected and must have a cover that protects the receptacle even with something plugged into it. I could be wrong if the box is mounted in a "rain proof" location. You could try a NEMA 3R (rain tight) or a NEMA 4 (almost water "proof") enclosure and mount a receptacle inside. I have ordered ( a couple times) hinged covered, NEMA 3 enclosures from these folks and they were surprisingly cheap even with shipping. http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/...7a3b375b637f68

    Mel, I have spent my life harnessing and working with electricity, and I have a respect for electricity that only comes from knowing about it and working with it. Water in its purest form is a dielectric. However, when impurities are introduced then it becomes conductive. Impurities can be introduced with acid rain, metallics, dirt, salt, etc. I consider you a friend of mine and would grieve your passing. Electricity will kill you if you give it an opportunity. GFCIs are not just about water, they provide a last result protection for you from your contact with the earth and an electrical source. You could simply touch the ground and a faulty extension cord and end your life. Poof. Gone in milliseconds. Water is only one scenario for using an GFCI. Erring on the side of caution is what has kept me alive all of this time. I took a poll of people that care for me and they said I was worth the $12 for an GFCI. They even said I was worth the $300 for putting all of my circuits on GFCIs. I think you are worth it too.

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    Registered User duke's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    I use the In use weatherproof receptical covers from the link below and the Grey PVC electrical boxes from lowes.

    http://www.electricalmarketplace.com...spx?k=in%20use
    Larry & Rachel Charpiat
    Pilot Mountain Christmas
    Web Site: http://pilotmountainchristmas.com/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pilot.m.christmas

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    Official Lurker DanoNJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    You can also just use 'normal' boxes and have a GFI breaker in the panel box, or set up another outlet (last one before the breaker) and have a GFI in there. Will protect the entire circut.

  8. #8
    Registered User rescue_653's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    Considering that as little as 50ma is enough to send you into V-Fib I would really play it safe and ground fault. Not unless you want to meet my little friend the Defibulator with 360 joules your choice but no promise of success at that point!

  9. #9
    xLights or BUST in 2018 kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    I already have every circuit in my Christmas Sub-Panel protected with GFI receptacles. And I will continue using them for everything. I have the good fortune of having a modern low-pitched roof that I can walk around on easily. I can walk right up to the roof peak outlets while standing on a lower roof. The outlets in the peak will be sitting just about eye level. Very simple to walk up and reset them.

    My entire system uses 20a breakers in the panels and I never exceed 15 amps on each breaker circuit. So if I blow a GFI anywhere, it's from moisture and I will shut down. That only happened once last season in a near-blinding rain storm. I ran well during normal steady raining and snowing.

    From what you guys have posted so far, I am liking the plastic covers that Larry mentioned. And it turns out they make a larger "dual" version that will hold my pair of circuits in each box. I just need to make sure I get a good weather seal between those covers and the 4 gang boxes I will mount through the side of the house. I did not see those covers when I looked in the store, but the layout of the LOWES on Maynard is odd compared with the other ones. And I was thinking more of a box at the time.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    I Went Static in 2017. FINALLY Moving to Xlights for 2018 !

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    Member davecw's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    I looked into installing GFCI breakers but quickly found out how much more expensive they are! So I installed 2 standard 4 gang boxes in the garage and used standard GFCI outlets together with dual breakers (total cost is much less than the GFCI breaker). This gives 8 seperate GFCI protected outlets and only uses 4 slots in the power panel. I then ran house wire from the GFCI's protected side to standard outdoor outlet boxes. The boxes are plastic with the plastic watertight outlet covers. For the outlets, I clipped the wire between the two outlets and ran a seperate GFCI to each plug. So a single box has 4 GFCI protected outlets suitable for the LOR controllers. All parts came from Home Depot.

    Hope that helps.
    David

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    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    The bottom line is electricity and water (rain) do not mix. Don't work on your display in the rain or wet conditions. My life and yours is more important than some flashy lights in the front yard.

    I know what Mel is saying and I know he has more sense to work on his display in the rain or wet conditions. The problem comes when people don't know the danger. GFCI or not, water and electricity don't mix.

    Denny, I like the idea of the GFCI breaker best. You may be able to find an existing circuit up in your attic to tie into, which was wired with #12 romex to meet your needs. Then just switch the breaker in your panel to a GFCI for the circuit you tapped into. Your only other option is to run new wiring up to your new box and this is difficult to do with existing home. Lowes sells the outlet boxes and covers you need. Mount the boxes under your eves to keep them out of the rain if possible.

    For me, my entire system is GFCI protected.

    Hope this helps,

    Vic
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

  12. #12
    xLights or BUST in 2018 kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    Thanks Vic. I purchased 250' of 12-3-G wire. I have real simple access from inside the attic, to a fake chimney shaft. The shaft drops down within about 5 feet of a new 200 amp panel in my shop, with almost no load on it. I also learned from Dariuisz that I can use 12-3-G wire to get two circuits from the panel. With 12-3-G I can share a common Neutral , as long as they are wired to opposite phases (side-by-side) on the panel breakers. I will also make sure the load on each breaker does not exceed 15 amps, so I won't ever had any load issues. The result will be two circuits on each side of the center roof, and two new circuits under my front porch. I will save at least 2000' of SPT2 wire by getting the controllers out of my garage and out near the lights they control.

    I pull the wires and mount the boxes. Dariusz is licensed so he makes the final connections. Then I am sure I am totally within safe specifications on everything...
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    I Went Static in 2017. FINALLY Moving to Xlights for 2018 !

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    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    Denny, your right on track.

    I'm working in Cary now not far from you, so I will definatly be stoping by to see the show this year.

    Vic
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

  14. #14
    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    Well we all need to have lunch now that you work in Cary.

    Sharing a neutral can be dangerous when working on the circuits. If you turn off one breaker and not the other and remove the neutral life gets painful quickly.

  15. #15
    xLights or BUST in 2018 kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFI Outlet Boxes for Outside

    Quote Originally Posted by Al in Raleigh View Post
    Sharing a neutral can be dangerous when working on the circuits. If you turn off one breaker and not the other and remove the neutral life gets painful quickly.
    This will be permanent wiring. So there won't be any messing around with the Neutral(s) .. Each box will be in spec for a pair of 20a GFCIs. I won't exceed 15a per circuit with the loads I assign.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    I Went Static in 2017. FINALLY Moving to Xlights for 2018 !

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
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