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flamtap 01-14-2011 12:49 PM

making outdoor extension cords for Christmas lights
 
Yes it's early but I just got a bunch of light-up stuff for our yard for next year on clearance.

I got ~ 16 light-up candy canes that I'm hoping to set along our driveway & walk, spaced every 6 - 12 feet. Each one has a 2-prong male and female connector at the base. I need to find some sort of extension cord solution for these.

The ideal solution would be a multi-outlet cord. Typically these are 25 feet long and have 3-4 outlets spaced at 6 or 8 feet intervals. These are somewhat expensive... one of them would easily cost more than I spent on all the lights, and I might need 3 or 4.

Another option is a simple 6-10 ft extension cord with one male plug and 2 or more female taps on the end. (one for the light, one for the next cord in the chain.) These would not be cheap either given I would need ~16 of them.

My next thought was to somehow wire them myself, either making cords from a longer cord cut-up and replacement ends, or somehow hard-wiring the lights, or one long cord with junction boxes and outlets added along the line. I need to somehow make whatever solution I come up with reasonably weatherproof.

Any suggestions on a good (and relatively inexpensive) way to do this myself? What parts and where do I find them?

Of course I need to make sure I'm not overloading the cords I use or the outlets I plug them in to.

Thanks for any tips,

flamtap

gregzoll 01-14-2011 01:01 PM

It would be easier to run conduit to the locations that you are wanting lighting at, and install weather proofed GCFI outlets at those locations. The bad thing about using extension cords, that unless you have a Megger to test them every season, you would have to toss them after the season if out in the weather & continuously used.

mpoulton 01-14-2011 03:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flamtap (Post 570016)
Yes it's early but I just got a bunch of light-up stuff for our yard for next year on clearance.

I got ~ 16 light-up candy canes that I'm hoping to set along our driveway & walk, spaced every 6 - 12 feet. Each one has a 2-prong male and female connector at the base. I need to find some sort of extension cord solution for these.

The ideal solution would be a multi-outlet cord. Typically these are 25 feet long and have 3-4 outlets spaced at 6 or 8 feet intervals. These are somewhat expensive... one of them would easily cost more than I spent on all the lights, and I might need 3 or 4.

Another option is a simple 6-10 ft extension cord with one male plug and 2 or more female taps on the end. (one for the light, one for the next cord in the chain.) These would not be cheap either given I would need ~16 of them.

My next thought was to somehow wire them myself, either making cords from a longer cord cut-up and replacement ends, or somehow hard-wiring the lights, or one long cord with junction boxes and outlets added along the line. I need to somehow make whatever solution I come up with reasonably weatherproof.

Any suggestions on a good (and relatively inexpensive) way to do this myself? What parts and where do I find them?

Of course I need to make sure I'm not overloading the cords I use or the outlets I plug them in to.

Thanks for any tips,

flamtap

I really doubt you can build a multi-outlet cord for the same cost as buying one. They are not cheap, but neither are the parts to make one using weatherproof boxes and cord-grip connectors. The commercial ones with molded receptacles on them are more durable anyways.

flamtap 01-14-2011 04:04 PM

I found a Christmas light enthusiasts forum and the people who put up the big, synchronized, animated displays make their cords using SPT2 lamp cord (2 conductor) and press-on "vampire" connectors.

The connectors are under $1 each and the wire is $40 for 250 ft. This is a less-permanent solution but the price is right.

mpoulton 01-14-2011 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flamtap (Post 570101)
I found a Christmas light enthusiasts forum and the people who put up the big, synchronized, animated displays make their cords using SPT2 lamp cord (2 conductor) and press-on "vampire" connectors.

The connectors are under $1 each and the wire is $40 for 250 ft. This is a less-permanent solution but the price is right.

Well it's not the least bit weather-resistant, but if it's on a GFCI it might be OK. Be careful.


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