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Thread: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

  1. #1
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    Default Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    As the title implies, I'm curious if there is any other ways or types of cables to run from the controller output, to the pixel string. Obviously the 3 or 4 core pigtail cables with the screwed connection are well regarded, but it occurs to me that they can't be the only real, safe way of accomplishing this other than DMX XLR cables. I assume that any 3 or 4 cored wire (or 3 individual wires for that matter) that match the gauge needed to minimize voltage drop could technically transfer the power and data, correct? The connection being waterproofed and the ease of just screwing/unscrewing obviously makes pigtails ideal.

    How would people make a waterproof connection if they didn't have the pigtails? I live in Vancouver, BC, as close to rainforest as you can get north of the amazon lol, so it matters.

    On a related note, I'll be doing power injection for the first time this year. I understand the concept and layout/schematic, but it occurs to me that I have no idea how people are actually making those connections to T off from the power run to the pixel string except for using a pigtail "Tee" or 3 way pigtail adapter. Or for that matter, how they are connecting the power injection wire to the the existing pixel power wire? Are they just stripping a section of insulation in line without cutting or damaging the copper within, and then wrapping the power injection wire and soldering/sealing it? Or are they cutting the pixel power wire and just twisting together the 3 wires, and then sealing it somehow? Sounds stupid, but when you research this, you can find lots about theory and layouts, but next to nothing about how the actual connection is made and sealed from the elements. I've heard people say that shrink tubing waterproofs the connection, but i've seen enough less than airtight looking shrink tube that couldn't be reduced further, and I wouldn't trust it to actually have anything more than some drops on it.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    As someone that is a fellow PacNW person, I know your concerns. I have been building my strings with the power pigtails and the new solderless heat shrink connectors. This is my first year of putting everything outside for the entire season so I am hoping it all goes well - I didn't have any leaks last year with the props I had outside.

    FYI, the solderless heat shrink connectors can be bought off different sites, including Amazon, DIYLEDExpress and Holiday Coro - and you can get a larger number (I bought 200) off eBay. Here's a link to an assortment off Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Connectors-So...15854642&psc=1

    in case you need different sizes (I went with one box of the assorted and all the rest have been 18ga).

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    I found the screw together pigtails to be cumbersome ( added luggage to the control box), sightly( to bulky of a connector) , time consuming( a general pita for setup and take down ) and an unnecessary added expense .

    I found the 18awg waterproof spades to fit the bill for my purposes .
    They are easy to use ✔ have 0 added weight ✔ cost effective ✔ and look great ✔ .

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    Do you have a link to the spades that you're using?
    [url]http://www.facebook.com/LightsOnGildayCourt[/url]

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    I use these and I love them, hated the screw together pigtails.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A6M2ZN6...v_ov_lig_dp_it
    Flash Flash Blink Blink,,Oh What A Relief It Is

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikel3332 View Post
    I use these and I love them, hated the screw together pigtails.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A6M2ZN6...v_ov_lig_dp_it
    I've got some of these and there is a little bit of a learning curve to properly crimp the wire onto the pins. Not saying it's hard, just saying there is a learning curve. Hit a couple YT videos to help you see how.

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikel3332 View Post
    I use these and I love them, hated the screw together pigtails.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A6M2ZN6...v_ov_lig_dp_it
    I am in Michigan so my display sees rain and then snow and ice during the show season. I use these type of connections but build them myself so I can accommodate my different cable sizes (I've been able to use 18 (for data) through 14 (power and ground) gauge wire although the 14 gauge is about the limit for these). I use the single wire connector for data and the double wire connector for power and ground which keeps things straight and accommodates power injection more readily than a three wire connector. I crimp and solder all connections and have not had a single issue. They are reasonably priced and are readily available which is nice since I have used several hundred so far.
    Ed
    Happily retired

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    If you need a lot of these, they are available off aliexpress for very good prices.
    For example: Here's 100 of the 3 pin for $37 shipped. Hard to beat for 37 cents each.
    Other pin counts are available too. 1,2,3,4,5,6 pin options.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100-...AbTest=ae803_4
    Quote Originally Posted by mikel3332 View Post
    I use these and I love them, hated the screw together pigtails.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A6M2ZN6...v_ov_lig_dp_it
    Last edited by ukewarrior; 10-20-2018 at 09:43 AM.

  12. #9
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    Quote Originally Posted by cnbales View Post
    Do you have a link to the spades that you're using?
    Here is an example

    The female spade connectors work great for making your own inline fuse holder also , which I have posted a video of last year .

    These are just awesome in versatility and perfect for DiY

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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Are there any alternatives to pigtail cables for waterproof connections?

    I have also moved away from the circular water resistant pigtails. Currently, most of the DC connections (pixels, rgb strips, etc) use Neutrik X-HD series connectors, with AC power using the Neutrik True1 connectors. All of the high current DC wiring uses Neutrik STX series connectors. I am also testing out the Neutrik ip rated cat6 connectors this year (NE8MC6-MO) as well as 19pin and 7pin Socapex connectors from P3. Definitely a faster setup this year.

    -John

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