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Bullet connectors?


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Along my eaves I have hung 1/2" conduit from hooks, and then hang my stings and icicles from the conduit. Then I can take the lights down en masse by unhooking the conduit. It also allows me to also hook my high gables without having to climb even half-way up the gable end. I can also run multiple SPT1s inside the conduit to provide power down line. So far it is working like a charm. My problem is the cluster of piggyback plugs at the end of each section of conduit. It is unsightly as it is, and will be even more so as I add more colors. I am thinking of cutting the plugs and using bullet connectors instead, or maybe spade and lug connectors. They are MUCH smaller so the look should be much cleaner. Has anybody used these for outdoor displays? I would use a little dielectric gel when making the connections. I will probably be doing white, multi, and blue icicles, and red, blue, green and multi LEDs for next year... so that's a lot of connections!

ShantaClausSm.png

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Bullet connectors as I think I understand what the gent is talking about is common on some applications like farm tractors and trailers that a car or truck might pull. They are a single wire connector and are round. The in-line male and female are press fitted together and a good firm pull is all it takes to pull them back apart.

I was silent due to the fact that I am not real sure if I would use them. I am not sure of how well it will seal and worry about shock or current leakage. I suppose I am nervous about its usage. But maybe I am just over acting.

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I can't imagine the potential for leakage on a bullet connector would be any worse than on a standard electrical plug. You'd have to keep them all labeled well though.

Have you considered using a custom connector block so all your wires could be built into 1 plug?

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I can't imagine the potential for leakage on a bullet connector would be any worse than on a standard electrical plug. You'd have to keep them all labeled well though.

Have you considered using a custom connector block so all your wires could be built into 1 plug?

I would probably color-code the terminals. I think they would do ok, being moderately protected from the elements by being under the eaves. I have entertained the idea of a multi-conductor connector, and that would be ideal (especially when making up connections 18' in the air!) but can't seem to find anything reasonably priced (i.e. less than the price of a pair of vampires per conductor). Either that or everything is for 12v max. If you know of a source I'd love to pursue the idea further.

I'm thinking of running 3 - 18/2 SPT1s and a single 14g THHN in the conduit. The SPT1 conductors would all be hots for 6 different channels and they would all share the THHN for a common neutral. Just thinking it would be easier than trying to jam 6 SPT1s in a 1/2" conduit!

Just 353 days until Christmas... so much to do!

ShantaClausSm.png

Edited by Shanta
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I finally bought my first spool of SPT1 and gave the bullet connectors (also called snap connectors) a try:

IMG_3581.jpg

As you can see the size difference is considerable. The price (for 2 M & 2 F) is a little cheaper than a pair (M & F) of vampires, about 80

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I definetly wouldnt use these for mains voltage unless i added extra protection to them like putting these in a junction box. Remember our displays are visited by many people including children so using something like this without ensuring you have some form of protection may be dicing with trouble.

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When I have used bullet connectors in the past I always swapped the Males and Females so I would never get the phasing wrong. The picture show above has Males on one end of the cable and Females on the other end. If you put a Male and Female on each end you can keep the phasing correct and use the same color terminals. I usually wrap them in white electrical tape so they do not catch my eye. I am sure no one else would notice them in the display but I know I would see them.

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I definetly wouldnt use these for mains voltage unless i added extra protection to them like putting these in a junction box. Remember our displays are visited by many people including children so using something like this without ensuring you have some form of protection may be dicing with trouble.

Just two things: first, I'd be using these along my eave line, so there should certainly not be any quisitive fingers nearby; and, there is really no more danger to these than a regular plug and socket... In either case there is a brief interval during plugging or unplugging where an exposed connector is live. The only reason I'd exercise extra caution is fear of the crimps coming loose while unplugging leaving a live wire in hand (while on top of a ladder).

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When I have used bullet connectors in the past I always swapped the Males and Females so I would never get the phasing wrong. The picture show above has Males on one end of the cable and Females on the other end. If you put a Male and Female on each end you can keep the phasing correct and use the same color terminals. I usually wrap them in white electrical tape so they do not catch my eye. I am sure no one else would notice them in the display but I know I would see them.

That would work, as long as on the load side the hot is the female. You sure don't want a hot male dangling... Never mind, I really don't want to finish that thought ;-)

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I used them 2 years ago when I re-wired my low voltage landscape lighting. I also used grease and wrapped them in electrical tape. I'm going to have to replace them all this year due to some serious oxidization and corrosion. Remember, these have been exposed to the elements (Not directly) for 2 years, so I'm not surprised they are in such poor shape. By only exposing them to the elements for 2 or so months out of the year you may get them to last a few more years, but I would definitely check them each year to be sure. The only reason I know I need to replace them is because the lights started going out, and I traced it down to the connectors. Just my experience, but I will not use these again for anything that will be outdoors, even for short periods of time.

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Another type of connector that you can use is Anderson Power Pole. You can assemble these into bundles to keep all the connections correct. I have not used these yet in my display but have used them in the past with high load applications. The other nice thing is there are different color insulator cases that can be used to keep everything easy.

here is the link to what I am referring to http://www.andersonpower.com/products/standard-powerpole.html

Just thought I would throw another option out there to consider.

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I used them 2 years ago when I re-wired my low voltage landscape lighting. I also used grease and wrapped them in electrical tape. I'm going to have to replace them all this year due to some serious oxidization and corrosion.

Thanks for the cautionary tale... I may rethink going this route and just do tried and true vamps.

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Years ago I made up some multicircuit strings, and I used Jones connectors. They're simple and available in various pin counts.

They are rated for 250 volts and I think usually around 10 amps per circuit.

They won't be quite as cheap as equivalent vampire plugs, but they're pretty inexpensive. As I recall, I bought them from

Mouser.

jones.gif

Gary

Edited by Gary Sutherland
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I had great success using these waterproof connectors, all i did was solder the wires together and heat shrink, but makes a great waterproof connection and it comes in 2, 3, 4 and 5 core

[ATTACH=CONFIG]42028[/ATTACH]

Link to the 5 core

http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/701799/210128048-400098876/100-pairs-5-Core-White-Waterproof-Line-15cm-long-each-male-and-female.html

Link to the 2 core

http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/701799/210128048-331631111/100-pairs-2-Core-White-Waterproof-Line-15cm-long-each-male-and-female.html

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I would second looking at the powerpole connectors. Pretty inexpensive and used extensively by Ham Radio operators and lately by a lot of Model Railroaders. I use a lot of them with 12ga stranded wire. I don't use them outdoors, but I don't think they would be much different than using vampire plugs.

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I had great success using these waterproof connectors, all i did was solder the wires together and heat shrink, but makes a great waterproof connection and it comes in 2, 3, 4 and 5 core

Link to the 5 core

Five core for $1 per mated pair is a great price point. Thanks for the link!

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