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Old 05-30-2011, 01:05 AM   #1
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Christmas Lights


Hello. I joined this forum just to get help with a question I've been trying to get answered for over a month. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have a tree lined driveway at my house, and I want to put Christmas lights in each tree. (I'm getting married this summer, the wedding is in our backyard, and white lights in each tree lining the driveway would look cool)

Here is the problem: it's a long driveway with many trees, and the only power outlet is on the outside of the shop at the end of the driveway. (I drew a little map for a picture of what I'm working with)

How can I safely get power to each of these trees to make this work?
We've already bought 22 boxes of lights. There are 2 strings of 200 lights in each box. So that is 44 strings of 200 lights. There are 25 trees total, so most trees will have 2 strings, but some of the smaller trees will only have one. Each string of lights has a 3 amp fuse, with 2.5v bulbs. The breaker that the outside outlet is on is 20 amps. Each string consumes 48 watts, which is 0.4 amps. I have 44 strings, so 44*.4=17.6 amps. So I'm thinking that is about perfect on the 20 amp breaker. The only thing I am unsure of though is the distance. Does the fact that I need to run around 400 feet of wire change anything?

Can I just run burial cable in trenchs along each side of my drive way, put outdoor outlets every other tree or so, and make this safely work?

Thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon26 View Post
Can I just run burial cable in trenchs along each side of my drive way, put outdoor outlets every other tree or so, and make this safely work?
this sound like a good way to start.

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Old 05-30-2011, 09:57 AM   #3
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this sound like a good way to start.
I just wasn't sure if there would be too much voltage drop for this to work.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:08 AM   #4
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I would use 12 or even 10 awg wire with upstream GFCI. Conduit is probably a good idea, with a plug sticking out every now and then.

Last edited by Red Squirrel; 05-30-2011 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:48 PM   #5
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lights are more tolerable than most electrical loads of voltage drop. up sizing your wire one size will help
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:17 PM   #6
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Christmas Lights


I don't think they are 2.5v bulbs, but 2.5w bulbs.

I can understand wanting to have the Christmas lights in the trees for
that 'special occasion', but Christmas lights are Christmas lights.

I would not spend the time and expense doing a direct burial for Christmas lights,
but do 2 generators behind the trees with extension cords to power the lights.

If I was going to actually go through the expense and trouble of doing
direct burial, I would do spot lights in the ground facing up at the trees
maybe lighting up 3-5 trees at a time. Face the spot lights at the trees
across the road from each of the lights.

If you really want to be special, if you run the cable also run a cable to the
end of the trees and install a motion detector at the first tree, that whenever
someone comes up the road the tree lined road would light up.

To be really, really special, have motion detectors every couple of trees that
would turn on the light ahead as the car drives up, instead of all the lights at once.

Would make a 'heck' of a preventative security system also.

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Old 05-30-2011, 08:53 PM   #7
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THAT would be awesome. It should only work with Coke transports though.

I need to start thinking up of Christmas lighting ideas myself, now is the time to do any installations... not when it's 40 below.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:58 PM   #8
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Christmas Lights


If you run two cables,
One on each side of the driveway,
That would solve the problem of voltage drop,
As each line only has half the load.
But double check that the power consumption is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airon26 View Post
Hello. I joined this forum just to get help with a question I've been trying to get answered for over a month. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have a tree lined driveway at my house, and I want to put Christmas lights in each tree. (I'm getting married this summer, the wedding is in our backyard, and white lights in each tree lining the driveway would look cool)

Here is the problem: it's a long driveway with many trees, and the only power outlet is on the outside of the shop at the end of the driveway. (I drew a little map for a picture of what I'm working with)

How can I safely get power to each of these trees to make this work?
We've already bought 22 boxes of lights. There are 2 strings of 200 lights in each box. So that is 44 strings of 200 lights. There are 25 trees total, so most trees will have 2 strings, but some of the smaller trees will only have one. Each string of lights has a 3 amp fuse, with 2.5v bulbs. The breaker that the outside outlet is on is 20 amps. Each string consumes 48 watts, which is 0.4 amps. I have 44 strings, so 44*.4=17.6 amps. So I'm thinking that is about perfect on the 20 amp breaker. The only thing I am unsure of though is the distance. Does the fact that I need to run around 400 feet of wire change anything?

Can I just run burial cable in trenchs along each side of my drive way, put outdoor outlets every other tree or so, and make this safely work?

Thank you in advance for any help.

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