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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => AC Power and Grounding => Topic started by: Gordon Brinton on December 04, 2018, 06:47:37 am

Title: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: Gordon Brinton on December 04, 2018, 06:47:37 am
All of my outdoor extension cables are 3-prong grounded type. Yet all of my outdoor Christmas lights are tabbed to prevent me from using the third prong. What if I need to jump the strings from one place to another? Am I forced to use cheap indoor cords?
Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: Nathan Riddle on December 04, 2018, 10:06:00 am
You'll find you can't even use the cheap indoor cords unless you're using commercial light strings because the extension cords check for polarity and the lights don't.

That said, I've gone overboard on xmas light decoration (lights synced to music, mega trees, 80+chs of control, etc).

The best thing to do is get a spool of SPT-2 and vampire plugs and make your own cables.
After that using the indoor SPT-2 cords outdoors is fine, just check the cables for abrasion/UV damage each year.
I've had mine for 10+ years, though most are indoor/outdoor 16/2 (I couldn't find any on lowes though, times change...dunno).
Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: Taylor Hall on December 04, 2018, 10:27:01 am
Well that's neat, I didn't know those vampire ends existed. Might make use of those around the new house for the light setup next season...
Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: Rob Spence on December 04, 2018, 12:04:39 pm
I think they do it because
a) they only expect another light string
b) they donít want to get certified for other power use

I could see a bozo homeowner plugging his electric drill into the end of a 100í of lights if he could.


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Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 04, 2018, 12:08:03 pm
I think they do it because
a) they only expect another light string
b) they donít want to get certified for other power use

ding ding ding....  not rated for current of daisy chaining a whole house worth of outdoor lights.

JR
Quote

I could see a bozo homeowner plugging his electric drill into the end of a 100í of lights if he could.


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Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: Nathan Riddle on December 04, 2018, 01:24:23 pm
The general rule of thumb is you can safely connect 5 strings (6 absolute max) of standard incandescent Christmas lights together.

LED would probably 10x that.

https://www.planetchristmas.com/figuring-power-needs/
Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on December 04, 2018, 01:50:57 pm
The general rule of thumb is you can safely connect 5 strings (6 absolute max) of standard incandescent Christmas lights together.

LED would probably 10x that.

https://www.planetchristmas.com/figuring-power-needs/
But not plug anything grounded like a drill or saw into one. Of course small modern electrical tools don't routinely use safety grounds these days either.

JR
Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: Nathan Riddle on December 04, 2018, 01:58:03 pm
But not plug anything grounded like a drill or saw into one. Of course small modern electrical tools don't routinely use safety grounds these days either.

JR

agreed, but they make it hard to plug anything grounded in. also, the fuse would blow.
Title: Re: Outdoor Christmas lights in the US have me scratching my head.
Post by: Craig Hauber on December 07, 2018, 01:36:40 pm
agreed, but they make it hard to plug anything grounded in. also, the fuse would blow.

Yes there is a really tiny little fuse built in to the cord ends on these products.  Way too small to service out in the cold with frozen fingers.  One of the reasons so many of these products just end up in the landfill.  Anything with a decent surge such as a drill meter just blows that fuse almost instantly.

I've found they are using such thin wire nowadays -especially with the LED products that voltage drop is significant enough that anything past 2 long strings is slightly dim compared to the first string.