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RobertB

Cheap or FREE Extension Cords...

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Mmmm. Wonder how many hits will get with that title! ;-)

As a newbie this past year, I really didn't realize how many extension cords I was going to need. Every year, with my static displays, I used "dead lights". Huh? Ok, so half the line doesn't work. Take a second with them...ok, they don't work. Ball them up in a little ball...shove em' into the bush and connect the next line. Kind of like an extension cord, right? I read an earlier thread on here about others doing that as well. Ok.

I am at the very end of my display for 2009. Just bought 12 (more) 20 and 25 foot extension cords. Cheap ($4.00 per I think), but still busted my budget. Then....I suddenly realize...I have to connect the arches...I have no more extension cords for that! I need 16 more!!!!

So I had light in my stash left over. I had a few lines that I had not thrown away as well. (never throw away dead lines, repeat after me...) Stupid me had "cleaned out my storage tubs of dead lights the year before. Very stupid of me. Anyway...the lights that worked...found the circuit at both ends...and pulled the main light out. The dead lines that didn't light up...no problem. Instantly I had 16 extension cords. Carefully laid them out...hooked them up...and they worked. Yeah!!! Covered them up with some pine straw (since this was in the pine island anyway) and away we went with the show.

Now looking back at the "dead lines"....I had several I just could not bring back to life (or had the patience for). I thought...why don't you just cut out the lights. I looked closer and saw for some length or circuit (I'll call it), you had a bunch of bulbs in series. Cut one end....low and behold, you can unwind half the string. Go to the next circuit and do the same thing. Make a few cuts, twist wires (I also solder), tape....and your done!

So, for the next couple of weeks while I watch TV, I'll just make up several "low amp" extension cords. Don't know about you, but I have about a dozen or more in the floor here. Might be the trick for my arches next year...and won't cost me a thing...except some time.

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Interesting idea. I would be just a little worried though. They would be very low amp cords. You can only run, I believe, up to 1.78 amps on those light strings. If you're plugging in standard lights that's only about five strings and even that much on that guage wire would worry me a bit. Still, for a few strands or LED's not a bad idea.

I get most of my cords the year prior at Target. So far they are the only store I've found that carries a "holiday" brand for their extension cords so they mark them down just before Christmas. Picked all mine up for 30% and a few afterwards for 50% off.

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I've used them too. If your using GFI's there are 102 more potential paths to ground. so this will make your GFI's trip easier. Especially if you are using them on the ground....

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I've used them too. If your using GFI's there are 102 more potential paths to ground. so this will make your GFI's trip easier. Especially if you are using them on the ground....

I use them (sparingly). I usually remove the light sockets, except for the 1st, 50th, 51st, and 100th (the ones that deal with the two 'main' wires) and fill them with hot glue. If you were really concerned, you could instead splice them out.

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Interesting idea. I would be just a little worried though. They would be very low amp cords. You can only run, I believe, up to 1.78 amps on those light strings. If you're plugging in standard lights that's only about five strings and even that much on that guage wire would worry me a bit. Still, for a few strands or LED's not a bad idea.

I get most of my cords the year prior at Target. So far they are the only store I've found that carries a "holiday" brand for their extension cords so they mark them down just before Christmas. Picked all mine up for 30% and a few afterwards for 50% off.

Your right. I had couple of my "mid sized trees" with 500 lights plugged in to those "dead light" extensions. Worked fine.

Also with Target...I had my eyes on those this year too (and several other places). They only dropped prices on those 30%. Not enough for me since I could find them at Big Lots about $2.00 cheaper.

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I use them (sparingly). I usually remove the light sockets, except for the 1st, 50th, 51st, and 100th (the ones that deal with the two 'main' wires) and fill them with hot glue. If you were really concerned, you could instead splice them out.

And that is pretty much what I did. However I was able to get it to "go dead" with just the 1st and 100th (believe it was). On the splice...that is honestly why I am splicing them out. Even with them hidden, I just didn't like the fact of "the mess of lights" laying on the ground....so my arches (that will only have 200 lights per line) will use these cords.

I was just excited to find the little short cut in making these.

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That's right, never throw lights away. In every dead string there is at least 22' of 22 Gauge wire. I have bundles of that wire from old dead strings. I just cut the wire out of the string. Then when I make up my string I solder a 22' extension (or whatever I need) to the end of my string.

I had 16 Gauge cords that went to the controller, and all my controllers have 6' to 15' pigtails and all my props have 6' to 22' leads on them. With 320 channels and about 400 plugs, I used less than 2 dozen 18 gauge extension cords other than the controller power.

Next year with a little better planning I should be down to less than 6.

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That's right, never throw lights away. In every dead string there is at least 22' of 22 Gauge wire. I have bundles of that wire from old dead strings. I just cut the wire out of the string. Then when I make up my string I solder a 22' extension (or whatever I need) to the end of my string.

I had 16 Gauge cords that went to the controller, and all my controllers have 6' to 15' pigtails and all my props have 6' to 22' leads on them. With 320 channels and about 400 plugs, I used less than 2 dozen 18 gauge extension cords other than the controller power.

Next year with a little better planning I should be down to less than 6.

You know, that is a fantastic idea! I'll be putting my LOR boxes out on the roof this year and won't it be nice to have all 9 of the reindeer just plug right into the boards without the extension cords. Wow! Never would have though to use these before! I'll be hording the old wire again

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Guest csx5861

I've been using old incandescent light string female/male plugs and wiring without the light sockets for well over 15+ years now.

I use them for both Halloween and Christmas. On my motorized contraptions that are commercially made and those I've created on my own.

I made up another 22 of these last year for my 2009 Christmas display. And they are of varying lengths, as short as 4" to as long as 10'. Sometimes I will plug one into another to extend it further. I also use a yard light stake to hold the plugged connection up and off the ground with the female plug in the down position and zip tied to the stake. I may place a clear sandwich bag over the plugs and stake and zip tie it, poking in a few air holes around it so condensation doesn't build up inside the bag. Usually I just leave them exposed. And since they are also fused in the male plug, I feel that is an added benefit to making them an excellent extension cord over a non-fused one. I'll have a fuse blow in the extension cord as opposed to one that could get too hot and melt, trip the GFCI or circuit breaker.

I have used these on as many as 5-6 incandescent strings plugged into one of them at one time and this year I had 2 - 200ct C6 - L.E.D. Stings, 8 - 60ct C6 - L.E.D. strings and 2 60ct C-7 L.E.D. strings plugged into one of these home-brewed "green-colored" extension cords, which was then plugged into a wireless Mr. Christmas controller module that was plugged into another of these home-made extension cords into my photocell/clock timer outdoor outlet. Worked fine for the entire time my display was up and running, from 5:30pm-11:00pm 7-days a week.

Been using these home made cords for years without any issues or problems.

This will be my first year with LOR and I don't forsee any problems using these home-brewed from old incandescent light strings extension cords with the LOR controller either, the voltage isn't any different than any other 120v ~AC~ outlet and I just see the LOR unit as being a little more controllable, but pretty much the same as plugging in my lights to a Mr. Christmas Wireless module of basically the same rating.

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