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Old 12-05-2012, 03:38 PM   #1
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Where are the GOOD components?


The latest in a long string....
I have a grounded extension cord run out of the garage for some outdoor christmas lights on the fence. At the end of that I have a non-grounded light-sensing receptacle. Into that I have plugged a series of cheap outdoor light strings.

So far so good.

Now, need another extension in another direction to light a tree.

Put pigtail and 3-outlet cube into light-sensor. Then first string of lights into one outlet, another extension cord and tree lights into another.

Well, there is so much wiggle somewhere---everywhere?--- in this stack of plugs, the fence lights go on or off or half-strength; the tree lights go on and off. Also, half that string of 200 mini-lights doesn't light up, right out of the box.

I have receptacles in my kitchen, installed by the last owner, in which the plugs for the Cuisinart and so forth wiggle enough that sometimes the appliances don't work.

Could I be buying better receptacles, cubes, light-sensor receptacles, light strings?

Is it a problem, like "cheap Chinese junk" --- I don't know where anything is made, actually --- from Walmart? Is this prevalent? Are there outdoor Christmas lights made to last more than a few weeks?

What --- and where --- is the good stuff?

TIA for info and opinions.

denno

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:33 PM   #2
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Where are the GOOD components?


Receptacle runs from cheap to better and then hospital grade.
Is it the receptacle, or the wring thats loose.

Extension cord do the same.

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:33 PM   #3
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Where are the GOOD components?


For loose plugs, I bend the blades either in or out such that you can barely get the blades in the slots. The bended-ness sometimes helps them make good contact.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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Where are the GOOD components?


Yeah, have always done that, of course. Works partially. Looking for not having to!
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
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Where are the GOOD components?


Get better receptacles! Hospital grade are the best, but overkill. Whoever originally wired your house probably got the cheapest ones they could buy.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:47 PM   #6
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Where are the GOOD components?


Lemme start from the top: How do I identify a better receptacle (and other items, as above) and where do I find them?
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:40 AM   #7
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Where are the GOOD components?


Receptacles basically come in 4 grades, residential, commercial, industrial, and hospital. The prices increase as the quality increases. In this instance you really do get what you pay for. You can get the cheap ones from HD for $0.59, these are junk. Pro grade from HD about $7.00 each. If you pay, say, $2.50 - $3.00 per outlet you will get a good quality residential.
Next time you are in the big box store, grab a cheapo from that big box of receptacles, and plug a plug into it, then stick the plug into a higher priced outlet. You will feel the difference!

When I was in the Coast Guard, one of the standard preventative maintenance that we did was to check all of the outlets on the ship with a pull tester, you stick it in and then pull it out and it actually measures the amount of force that will hold onto the plug in ounces. Under a certain value, and that outlet was replaced! Hospital grades are rated to 20 in lbs!


Last edited by TTW; 12-06-2012 at 06:02 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:24 AM   #8
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Where are the GOOD components?


Do the strings of lights work better using a different receptacle? Without the cube tap or with a different cube tap? This'll help narrow down on the shoddy component.

Some power plug blades are made of two layers of metal. Using a knife blade you don't care about, spread the two layers apart a tad so the blade is now "thicker". Then it will fit in the receptacle more snugly. Not too much or you will deform the receptacle innards.

Do not hold the plug in your hand while trying to insert the knife blade. Too dangerous.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:52 AM   #9
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Where are the GOOD components?


These are much better...

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:16 AM   #10
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Where are the GOOD components?


Thank you all so much. I had to interrupt this thread with "side business."
Posts have been helpful. I will start with the local hardware; there's an electrical store not far away after that.

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:37 AM   #11
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Where are the GOOD components?


Nice little side business!

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