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General Questions From Another New Guy


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I'm sure some of these basic questions have been asked and answered before, so please forgive my ignorance. My display gets slightly larger every year (still very, very small) and I'm tired of struggling with everything due to me simply not understanding some basic principles.

- For incandescent lights, I know the rule of 3's, but I'm still confused. Is it ok to string them together this way....3 light strings, extension cord, 3 light strings, extension cord, etc. for as long as I need, assuming the total power doesn't exceed the outlet's capacity? Or do I have to plug every 3 string set into an outlet? If that's the case, I don't know how you guys put together these huge displays.

- For LEDs, is it really ok to put together as many strings as the manufacturer says? That sounds too good to be true. For my size display, I would barely have any extension cords to speak of. Again, I realize the total power draw can't exceed the outlet capacity, but that would still mean hundreds of LED strings before my limit would be reached (assume one GFCI 15 amp plug).

- For LEDs, is it ok to plug in different types of lights? 100 light string to an icicle string or to a light net for shrubs. Along those lines, is it ok to plug in a 50 string set to a 100 string set?

- To help prevent GFCI from tripping, I was thinking about using thin wooden shimps with a notch carved out and hammered into the ground to hold all single connections off the ground. For bigger connections, like an extension cord with a 3 outlet connector, how about using something as simple as a brick to raise them up? After reading a lot here, I'm no longer going to wrap the connections with electrical tape.

- Finally, the outside outlet I've always used is not a GFCI itself, but is tied into other GFCI outlets at the back of the house and the lights have tripped in the past due to rain, etc. I assume this is still safe since they are tied in together.

I'm glad I found this site. Tons of info. Thanks in advance.

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1. You cannot string 3 then a cord. Your limiting factor is the first cord. The thin wire used can only handle so much. Plus there are fuses in the first cord to prevent you from going beyond the limitations of the cord.

2. Yes. LED's don't use much power so you can string a lot together.

3. Stringing different types of lights together can be a little tough. Hypothetically it's ok if you don't exceed the limitations but with different lights that can be difficult to figure out. Probably want to stay away from this for now.

4. Anything that keeps cords from shorting isn't a bad idea.

5. You can only have one GFCI on a circuit, and you have one, you’re in good shape.

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