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Extension Cords indoor or outdoor rated


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I've been purchasing some outdoor rated extension cords for use in my display. but lately I've been seeing a lot of you are using what's looks like the indoor rated brown cords with your outside displays. Am I missing something here, and it's actually a bulk outdoor cable your using, or is it safe to use the less expensive indoor cables outside?

Thanks

Patrick

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Hi,

Most of us use them, and think it's safe. The wire is better than you'd find on most C7/C9 strings (SPT2 vs SPT1), and mini-lights have open ends on them, just like indoor cords do.

If you want to strictly follow UL guidelines, then you shouldn't use them.

-Tim

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I have always used the normal household extension cords for outside use. I have never had a problem yet with them. Well with all the rain we got last night something got wet and tripped the gfi. But the outdoor cords will do that also.

Peggy

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Like others, I use the outdoor ones for the main run to my LOR box and then from the box to my lights I use indoor ones. The ones I have have "caps" for the ones that aren't used, I don't know about everyone else, but I put the caps on and have never had any problems.

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I use outdoor cords for the main runs, and indoor cords for the shorter runs from there. I buy the green cords that will blend in with the grass

I have GFCI on everything & in use wet covers

My last house the crawlspace was floode din a downpour

I went down to toss a pump in & pump it out

I realized the radio I had plugged into the overhead lights was on

(This to prevent me leaving the light on & burning out the bulbs)

Shouldn't be on because it was plugged into the extension cord, and the junction was under water.

Didn't move - followed the radio cord to the extension cord

About 5" from my foot

Very carefully climbed out of the water & sat there for 40 minutes while the water pumped out

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chartrand wrote:

I've been purchasing some outdoor rated extension cords for use in my display. but lately I've been seeing a lot of you are using what's looks like the indoor rated brown cords with your outside displays. Am I missing something here, and it's actually a bulk outdoor cable your using, or is it safe to use the less expensive indoor cables outside?

Less expensive indoor cords are more likely to trip the GFCI's. On non-GFCI's they are extremely dangerous around water and you can get a heck of the shock easily with them. They can pool water and also sit up correctly to catch the water. Ourdoor cords are positioned to lay sideways and drain. I cant say a big display using hundreds of circuits arent tempted to use them for items within 15 ft of your control box. At $1.25 for a 15 footer or $5.50 for 20 ft outdoor grade, the price difference is very tempting and also the cord comes WITH its own 3 way outlet to boot.

In testing for electric leaks and trips of GCFI, I found you can have cords laying all over the yard and provided there are no puddles or standing water submerging your cords, outdoor cords can take sprinklers and pounding rain and not trip the GCFI. Throw a couple indoor cords to the mix and they WILL trip the GFCI. I did these tests of the GFCI with 50 powered outdoor grade cords laying all over the yard with nothing plugged into them and left powered up in the rain and sprinklers. The indoor grade definately popped the breaker laying on the ground, but stake the outlet end up above the ground so that water runs away from the outlet and they did just fine. This is my from my experiments, I seriously doubt that with proper use of cords, drip loops, elevate the connections, etc that cords are responsible for any GFCI trips. Its all in the light strings themselves.

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tfischer wrote:

Most of us use them, and think it's safe. The wire is better than you'd find on most C7/C9 strings (SPT2 vs SPT1), and mini-lights have open ends on them, just like indoor cords do.

The wire is better in another way also. The wire on retail store sets of C7 and C9s is 20 guage zip cord. The indoor extension cords use 16 guage wire so they are quite a bit heavier duty!

TED

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This was my first year and I used about 100 indoor cords from 6' to 15' each. I was thinking about using a plastic wrap next year around the connections just for a little added protection. I'll probably be buying another 100 cords this year.

I think the indoor cords have less UV protection and not a good idea to use them constantly outside for long periods. You should also not run your wead wacker, leaf blower, edge trimmer using indoor cords... DUH! My opinion is the "indoor only" cords are fine outside for x-mas lights a few months a year. If you notice one cracking or falling apart, toss it and get a new one.... use GFI outlets.

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Once the indoor cords lose there flexibility I stop using them outside

I keep buying more outdoor cords on sale

But I keep buying more decorations :)

I let my friends know if they "destruy" / cut a cord to give them to me

I cut them apart & use them to make a multi-cord

I also save hair dryer cords that have GFI plugs on them & re-use them

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Scuba_dave wrote:

Once the indoor cords lose there flexibility I stop using them outside

I keep buying more outdoor cords on sale

But I keep buying more decorations :)

I let my friends know if they "destruy" / cut a cord to give them to me

I cut them apart & use them to make a multi-cord

I also save hair dryer cords that have GFI plugs on them & re-use them

I think you have way to much time on your hands! if your ever coming through my way I will gladly give you the lights I throw away every year! That is if I have storage space for them!

Peggy

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I use a mixture and let the GFCI handle everything. we get so little sunlight in ohio in december I dont worry about a few years of the small amount of UV getting through the clouds.. I found when I used to wrap the connections moisture would get trapped in the connections form condensation and trip GFCI long after the rain had stopped.. I find putting the cord connection on a Light stake helps with pooling.. I put the connections up a few inches and allow the cord end to dangle slightly so water will tend to run out if it gets in. I use HEAVY outdoor cords to the runsof the controllers themselves.. some of the connections are done inside the totes where my ELD's are and these are vented as to keep rain out but allow air to crculate around.

-Christopher

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