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dirknerkle
06-27-2009, 02:08 PM
Here's an inexpensive way to make an extension cord from SP1/SP2 wire and still preserve the fuses inside the light string plug.

1. Cut off the tips of the plug. Step1 picture shows before and after.
2. Lay down a small strip of solder on the clipped ends of the plug for strength. Most strings use a folded-over plug end and this ties it together again. (closeup picture Step2)
3. Use 14-16 AWG insulated female crimp-on connectors and crimp onto the SP wire. (Step3) These connectors are really cheap.
4. Connect the plug to the cable. The connection is very tight and secure. (Step4)

The downside: having clipped off the ends of the plug, they no longer will plug into normal power cables. But if your wiring needs are like mine, you probably use specific cable lengths for your displays anyway, so it's not a big loss...

Edit: If you don't want to cut off the plug tips, then use a short piece of shrink tubing to cover the portion of the plug that the crimp-on connector won't cover so as to prevent accidental contact with an open plug. Then no soldering is necessary, either.

-d

budude
06-27-2009, 04:57 PM
Great idea:!: - I was planning to build my arches this weekend so your timing is perfect and I think this will look better on them. Need to make a run to the Depot I guess...

Brian

deplanche
06-27-2009, 10:27 PM
I like the idea, but I am not sure what the targeted use would be. Can you please explain what you use this for?

Wayne J
06-27-2009, 10:42 PM
I like the idea, but I am not sure what the targeted use would be. Can you please explain what you use this for?

According to a how to at CC, it saves a few bucks and gives a cleaner look. Also to be able to make the cords the exact length needed using bulk cable.
http://computerchristmas.com/christmas/link-how_to/HowToId-94/LowLimit-0

budude
06-27-2009, 11:42 PM
Well thanks Dirk - you made me go out and buy MORE stuff today - - luckily the wifey was out of town today so I got it snuck in the garage (shh - don't say anything). :p

I don't plan on cutting the tips off and as you indicated it does leave about 3/16" left on the blade showing. I was thinking of using the liquid tape stuff to seal it off and then wrap in electrical tape. It should be OK - even it gets pulled off (which is probably impossible since the wire will be have multiple winds of wire on top of it), it doesn't leave a open metal blade. Using shrink tubing just seems like a lot of extra work. Not sure how easy it is to scrape the stuff off if I reuse for something else - but I'll worry about that then...

But - it should make the arches look better in the daylight at least (I know it won't at night - but it bugs me - what can I say?).

Brian

dirknerkle
06-27-2009, 11:45 PM
Well thanks Dirk - you made me go out and buy MORE stuff today

Sorry.... but what's a hobby without STUFF?!?!?! :D :D :D

-d

deplanche
06-28-2009, 12:31 AM
I see where I was confused now. The thing you are making is the white "extension" cord in the photos. Because 3 of the 4 steps talked about the plug, I had it in my head that the green wire in the photos was what you were making.

Thanks for the clarification.

budude
06-28-2009, 01:11 AM
Yep - that's the bit in question.

I got a box of 100 of the connectors for about $10 (and you can probably find them a lot cheaper than I got them) - so about 20 cents for the pair. Plus it's a bit less bulky than a vampire plug - very clean look.

RPM
06-28-2009, 02:23 AM
I still don't get how this is connected... you use crimp-on connectors on the light string, but where do you connect the other end? These would just be bare wires, I assume.
Do you connect these directly to your controllers (or SSR's)?

budude
06-28-2009, 03:13 AM
You could do that - it would make storage a bit more cumbersome or you just put a plug on the end - which is what I'm doing. Really it's just a way to extend the string to the end of the arch the cheapest way.

bmcgeeny
06-28-2009, 08:49 AM
Here's an inexpensive way to make an extension cord from SP1/SP2 wire and still preserve the fuses inside the light string plug.

1. Cut off the tips of the plug. Step1 picture shows before and after.
2. Lay down a small strip of solder on the clipped ends of the plug for strength. Most strings use a folded-over plug end and this ties it together again. (closeup picture Step2)
3. Use 14-16 AWG insulated female crimp-on connectors and crimp onto the SP wire. (Step3) These connectors are really cheap.
4. Connect the plug to the cable. The connection is very tight and secure. (Step4)

The downside: having clipped off the ends of the plug, they no longer will plug into normal power cables. But if your wiring needs are like mine, you probably use specific cable lengths for your displays anyway, so it's not a big loss...

Edit: If you don't want to cut off the plug tips, then use a short piece of shrink tubing to cover the portion of the plug that the crimp-on connector won't cover so as to prevent accidental contact with an open plug. Then no soldering is necessary, either.

-d

I'm not sure I like the idea of having Crimp on connectors used as the ends of extension cords for 110volts. This is not how they are designed to be used and look like a dangerous situation. The plugs on the end of the lights are supposed to be plugged in to a UL listed receptical. This is DANGEROUS!!!!!!
The chances of one of these coming loose is way to great. Just a slight tug and you have 110'v that is less than a 1/16 of an inch from being bare wire. Or worse yet, if only one side comes loose, you have the bare plug exposed and even though it goes through 50 or more lights, it still has enough there to kill you.

I don't quite see what the advantage is. It looks like you are trying to save a little money by using SPT I wire without buying female plugs. Also, the fuse you are trying to "save" is after all of the home made connections. Again not a good idea. SPT I could easily short or overheat before it trips a breaker.
If your goal is an economical solution and and still have the lights fused, buy some hookup wire.

I bought 3000' of 22 Gauge hookup wire for $90 (same as a light string is made of) and spliced in, solderd and shrink tubed whatever length I needed between the lights and the fused plug. I take the plug end of the wire put it in the cordless drill, clamp the wire to the orkbnech just before the lights start and twist it, just like the 2' that they come with out of the box. Use green shrink tube and most people wonder where you got lights with such long leads.

If the goal is time, I will bet you I can cut, strip, solder and shrink tube the 4 connections I need faster than you can make this connector

My Renard 24's have 3 different lengths of cords comeing out of them 6' 9' and 15' (I would have used some 12' if I could have found them) That means I can set a Renard centered and have a span of 30'. Then I put whatever else I need on the ends of the display item strings and I have 320 channels with the only extention cords being the 14/3's that feed the main power to the Renard 24's

Sometimes we forget what we are working with here.

dirknerkle
06-28-2009, 04:00 PM
I'm not sure I like the idea of having Crimp on connectors used as the ends of extension cords for 110volts. This is not how they are designed to be used and look like a dangerous situation. The plugs on the end of the lights are supposed to be plugged in to a UL listed receptical. This is DANGEROUS!!!!!!
The chances of one of these coming loose is way to great. Just a slight tug and you have 110'v that is less than a 1/16 of an inch from being bare wire. Or worse yet, if only one side comes loose, you have the bare plug exposed and even though it goes through 50 or more lights, it still has enough there to kill you.

Your points are well taken and this isn't for every connection. I use this as a quick-fix when not many others are available. Sometimes I use it for testing, etc. in a controlled environment such as on the workbench.

However, if you double-back the wire from the plug and affix a zip tie around both the plug cord and the zip cord, you get something that is at least as strong as the light string itself while virtually eliminating the chance that a slight tug will pull it loose.

I believe that it's incumbent on the user to apply reasonable care in making connections appropriate for the situation involved. For example, certified electricians use wire nuts inside junction boxes to connect things, mostly because the box will be covered and the wires won't likely move. The same logic can be applied here.

In any event, everyone should be reminded to take exceptional care when working with potentially lethal electricity!!!

-d

budude
06-28-2009, 04:22 PM
Yeah agreed wrt to safety - I only plan to use these within my arches and they will be well wrapped up and tied down and impossible to pull out once the other cables are wrapped around them. Overall I would put it pretty much as safe as cutting off the plugs and extending them in this context.

I certainly wouldn't do this if the power cable was sitting loose!

dadams14
06-30-2009, 07:50 AM
If you use gfci's you should trip that before being electricuted . NO?
I hope you use GFCIs in the yard.

Macrosill
06-30-2009, 08:12 AM
You could do that - it would make storage a bit more cumbersome or you just put a plug on the end - which is what I'm doing. Really it's just a way to extend the string to the end of the arch the cheapest way.

Maybe!
A GFCI will trip when current faults to ground, whether it be through you or an inanimate conductive object. If the current goes through you but goes to the neutral side and not the ground then the GFCI will not trip and your only hope would be that the 15 or 20 amp breaker trips before the Lord takes you away. Unless you can pull yourself away from the circuit. Not something I would want to experiment with.