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?
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!:thumbup:
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!
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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