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    Making Your Own Extension Cords


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    So, I recently order 60 pairs of attach-on plugs from Paul at CDI (ordered them on Tuesday, delivered today) and went to Home Depot yesterday and bought 250' of 18-2 lamp cord to go with the 18-2 plugs that I got from CDI. However, in sitting down and planning out my display for this year, how do you usually determine what size cords to make? Do you actually go out in the yard and "estimate" the length of each cord that you will need. I ordered 60 pairs, but am expecting to make about 100 cords total.

    Second question, when you guys are hanging lights on your gutters, has anyone ever run extension cords on the inside of their gutters? I've been thinking about doing that for some things (mostly to get from one side of the house to the other), but am wondering if by doing this, the cords could possibly become damaged, due to the ice buildup and freezing.

    Thanks!

    Paul

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    I had a single strand from my icicle lights that are hung off the gutters blow over and go into the gutter itself. It then got frozen in solid ice and tripped the GFI. It took me two days of going over every extension cord and looking at every lighted item to figure out that this was the cause.

    The problem is you can't just pull it out of the ice. I tried melting the ice with a heat gun to get it out, and in the process melted the wire itself. (was doing this at 11:00 p.m. in the dark) I ended up just cutting off the strand which turned off a 2 ft. section of lights.

    So to answer your question, I would say don't do it. I guess if you keep the ends out it might work, but if there is a problem you will not be able to do much if it is frozen in place.

    just my 2 cents.

    Steve

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    However, in sitting down and planning out my display for this year, how do you usually determine what size cords to make? Do you actually go out in the yard and "estimate" the length of each cord that you will need.

    I usually make the cords as I need them. Because I have quite a few manufactured cords, my need for custom cords is less. If you make them as you go, you can measure them out and install them at the same time, too.

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    So, I recently order 60 pairs of attach-on plugs from Paul at CDI (ordered them on Tuesday, delivered today) and went to Home Depot yesterday and bought 250' of 18-2 lamp cord to go with the 18-2 plugs that I got from CDI. However, in sitting down and planning out my display for this year, how do you usually determine what size cords to make? Do you actually go out in the yard and "estimate" the length of each cord that you will need. I ordered 60 pairs, but am expecting to make about 100 cords total.

    I think the great thing about making your own extention cords is being able to have exact lengths and if you are running multiple colors to your controllers you can make small wireing harneses and tape them together. ............Also Makes for quicker setting up of your display in the coming years. I would recommend taking the wire outside and run the exact lengths you need then put the ends on.......BTW don't be like me, make sure the polarity is correct when putting the ends on......I was careless and had to do most of them over again.

    Edited by gmac
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    I concur, do not use the gutter as a wire way unless you want added problems. GFCI trips and ice are just the beginning. It would be less trouble with premade cords that are insulated better but not with the SPT wire. And as stated, be sure you have the polarity correct.

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    I put some cords through the gutter this year. It was a pain to get them out. They froze in. But if you don't put your connections in the gutters and you can wait till spring to take them down. I don't see why you couldn't do it.

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    My technique is the same as others here - put the spool on a pipe at the controller so the wire feeds out. Push on a female zip line socket and drag it out to the element. Back at the controller, I give myself another 5' or so and cut it, adding a male zip line socket and plug it into the proper channel of the controller, after first plugging it into an extension cord for a quick test. For somethings, I pop on the inline zip line sockets as I pass the element. I recommend testing as you go. I also use a few inches of duct tape to label each line in case I have to re-plug things.

    Just curious, why would you have to run a cable in the gutter rather than connect from the ground on either side? For my lights along the gutter, I just use zip ties if there is an extension cord along the light run.

    Test often, use plenty of zip ties, and label everything. Throw your future self a bone!

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    Thanks for the input. I wasn't planning on having the connections in the gutter as well, just the excess cord and have the connection hang over the edge while being zip-tied to the gutter. Due to lack of power, one of my controllers is going to be positioned on one side of the house; and the way it worked out, I have 3 channels on that controller that are in-between (distance-wise) this and another controller. I'm figuring its only a 20' run through the gutter. In thinking about it, I may just run the cords on top of the gutters (zip-tie them to the nails holding the gutters onto the house), that way they aren't being frozen and water isn't pooling around them.

    As long as I leave the connections clear of the ice, I think I should be fine.

    Thanks!

    Paul

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