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Thread: Extension Chords

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    Senior Member ozarkboy2's Avatar
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    Default Extension Chords

    Well we're a week away from starting this years Christmas light display and about time to get extension chords, and I really don't want to drop a chunk at the hard wear store.
    Some of you guy's n gals are making your own chords and I'm wanting to know what type of wire (I'm thinking lamp chord, but what gauge, heavier the better though) and what type of male and female plugs, and are they water tight???
    Thanks
    Bob

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extension Chords

    The best stuff is SPT2 wire and the associated Vampire plugs and sockets. I've had examples on display at all the TASL meetings, but I guess we just missed discussing them. Heavy wire is completely not needed for the wiring between the controller channels and the light strings. SPT2 wire is 18 gauge and handle far more amperage than anything you will connect to a LOR controller. Of course, continue to use at least 16-3 for the line to each controller. 14-3 is even better. Look for good sales during the off season and you'll save a lot.

    The best way to buy SPT2 wire is in 1000 ft spools. The best prices seem to be in the $130 to $140 range (less than $.15 per foot). The vampire males and female connectors simply crimp in place, and they can be removed and reused if needed. There are also in-line females that let you connect multiple strings to the same cord. I cannot remember the cost of these connectors, but I think they were in the range of $25 for 50 pcs. If someone has purchased them recently, please chime in. SPT2 light cords will save you a bundle !

    Labeling is also very important when you make up your cables. If you search back to older posts, you will find a bunch of labeling discussion. The best labels are UV protected so they last for many years with no fading. I always suggest that you never put your channel numbers on the labels. Instead, use terms like "bushes 1" "bushes 2" etc .. That way if you need to re configure your channels to use controllers that are closer, the wire label and use does not change. Mostly I have found that as I add controllers, many of the wires get shorter. I would simply pull off the male end, shorten the cable and put the male back on.

    As for waterproof, no they are not. But if you maintain perfect polarity and use GFCI outlets, you should not need to worry about the tiny amount of water than can get into your wiring. You get more water into your lights from their own plugs than you will from the SPT2s. Many light strings have a fame socket on the back of the male plug. I make sure to put a little patch of electrical tape over all of those open females on the light strings. With over 40,000 lights, I have only had one time when there was enough rain to cause a GFCI breaker to blow. But I have had the entire show running while burried in snow, and during heavy rain.

    If you are still looking to make waterproof connections, the cheapest way I have seen is to use short sections of PVC pipe with end caps on them. Use wide enough pipe to your SPT2 socket with the light plug installed can sit up inside the PVC. Then stand the PVC pointing up. You need to attach a stick of some sort to the PVC, to stake it in the ground. A piece of coat hangar would work, using a couple screw to attach it. You might also find a handfull of small cups at the dollar store (or any cheap plastic item that would serve the same purpose). I never found this to be necessary.
    Thanks,

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

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

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    Senior Member ozarkboy2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extension Chords

    Thanks Denny, your always a lot of help.
    We're using the same outlet that we used last season, and it is a GFCI. I sure don't want to give a box store a couple hundred dollars for a hand full of chords, again. So I'll get busy on that wire and plugs this morning, thanks again.
    Back to work, plenty to do on the Peanuts Characters we're hoping to get finished by lighting time next Thursday evening.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extension Chords

    Quote Originally Posted by ozarkboy2 View Post
    Thanks Denny, your always a lot of help.
    We're using the same outlet that we used last season, and it is a GFCI. I sure don't want to give a box store a couple hundred dollars for a hand full of chords, again. So I'll get busy on that wire and plugs this morning, thanks again.
    Back to work, plenty to do on the Peanuts Characters we're hoping to get finished by lighting time next Thursday evening.
    Glad to hear it. Since I am not babysitting my own display, I'll be getting around to see everyone else's display.
    Thanks,

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

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User AnniesSS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extension Chords

    We were making extension cords today! Man I liked that - so easy and convenient.... however, we ran out of vampire plugs quickly and in need of some more - if anyone has any extra lying around, I'm willing to buy some

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    Senior Member ozarkboy2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extension Chords

    We'll have to do better next year for getting the SPT2 wire and plugs, not enough time for it now. We're just half a dozen cords away from having enough to power everything, so to the box store it is. But we should be up and running.
    Time to get working again.
    Hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving this Thursday.
    Bob
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