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Rain Is Killing My Display


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Thank you for the advice. I have tried to make sure they are all facing down. Might have missed one. I have a few bulbs touching the ground from the mega tree but only a couple. (I am all LED if that matters)We have had a tremendous amount of rain lately, more so than normal. I will try to correct these suggestions and go from there. Thanks again.

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Any metal display elements touching or stuck into the ground will act as a grouding rod and do the same thing as having lights laying on the ground. This goes especially for any wireframes and those tomato cage mini trees. Every connection should be elevated above the ground and you can simply let the water flow through with no issue. (use lot's of those little green plastic stakes)

Removing GFIs is kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" type of thing and would probably need to be under the "Rogue Practices" and not the "Best Practices" forum.

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Rain is killing me also this year, except for me it is all my new DMX connections. The tried and true A/C control box are working great just major issues with all the things I moved to DMX this year. Of course now I'm having second thoughts about why I moved all my roof elements to DMX.

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This is my first year with LOR so I need some experienced aide. The rainy weather is killing my display. I keep tripping my GFCI plugs. Any suggestions to correct this?

Here in Seattle, we get our fair share of rain during the season. :-)

That said, I've had one GFI trip in 9 years. The rules that I follow:

- Keep lights and plugs off the ground.

- Keep exposed plug-in connections "closed". Use built-in socket covers, baby-proof covers, or electrical tape.

- Keep the display wiring neat, with as little exposure to the yard and open areas as possible. I try to keep multiple connections or other such hotspots concentrated in certain areas, if I can. If one can have a problem, several could -- so I can address any potential problem aggregately.

The last straw is to sometimes just shut the display down. It's not particularly appealing, but if it's too wet out -- don't risk the possibility of a bigger problem than tripped GFIs. Live to light another day. :-)

Good luck, hope the rain lets up.

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You can try to find the plug/connection that's giving you the problem and fix it.

You can do this by running a test sequence.I would suggest making up a quick sequence that turns on an individual channel for a few seconds, one at a time.Save it as a show and schedule it so that you can be outside to watch it.

While the sequence plays out, see which element causes the GFI to trip, and fix it(any one of the methods suggested by other members).

Edited by alfram
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The electrical leakage is cumulative amongst all of the elements on a circuit.

You might also try splitting the display among several GFIs. My mini trees (wire frams sitting on the lawn) were tripping the GFI. I made a little handy box with two GFIs and plugged each side of the controller into a different GFI. I plugged the box into a non-GFI outlet. It fixed it for all cases except for the heaviest rain.

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The electrical leakage is cumulative amongst all of the elements on a circuit.

You might also try splitting the display among several GFIs. My mini trees (wire frams sitting on the lawn) were tripping the GFI. I made a little handy box with two GFIs and plugged each side of the controller into a different GFI. I plugged the box into a non-GFI outlet. It fixed it for all cases except for the heaviest rain.

I have a static display fed from a 50 amp sub panel. My electrician put a 50 amp GFI circut breaker in the main panel as a way to protect the 8 circuts feeding my display. I'm uncomfortable with this on 2 levels, one is that the cumaltive leaks are enough to trip this breaker whenever it rains, and 2 the total needed to trip this breaker makes me wonder if how "protective" it would be for people.

I am thinking that by putting each of the 8 circuts on it's own 20 amp GFI outlet I can increase the level of protection and spread the cumaltive leaks out to the point of minimizing triips. Also instead of the entire display going out when it rains only the effected zone would go out.

I'm also toying with the idea of homemade extension cords plugged into a non GFI outlets in the basement and then ending in a weather tight box that has a 20 amp GFI outlet in it. This way I could add GfI protection down to individual display elements (if needed). Right now this is outside of my budget though....

Finally I'm also going to get very aggressive in finding a solution for eliminating current leaks to ground, but I don't want to highjack this thread......;-)

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That whole cummulative leak thing was killing me last year. I'm 100% LED and had everything running off of 1 20 amp GFCI circuit. It was always popping in the rain. As a quick fix last year I split the load between two GFCI circuits and didn't have a pop the rest of the season. This year I installed 6 new GFCI circuits so hopefully I won't have any issues at all. It is supposed to rain tonight so I'll see how right (or wrong) I am!

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I run a lot of lights and pull an unbelievable amount of juice. It used to kill me when I had to shut down for rain but i have learned to get over it. for every day I'm forced to shut down I add to the display in January....I know it's not quite the same but at least the display runs the same length of time.

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My display is split among 2 gfci's. If one trips, I will leave that tripped until the rain stops. I still leave the rest of the display on. My only trip this season was when I dropped a string of lights in a puddle while decorating, and it prpbably saved my life.

I have a static display fed from a 50 amp sub panel. My electrician put a 50 amp GFI circut breaker in the main panel as a way to protect the 8 circuts feeding my display. I'm uncomfortable with this on 2 levels, one is that the cumaltive leaks are enough to trip this breaker whenever it rains, and 2 the total needed to trip this breaker makes me wonder if how "protective" it would be for people.

5 miliamps, the same as any other 15 or 20A gfi device.

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So the number of milliamps needed to trip a 50 amp breaker is the same regardless of the amperage rating on the breaker? Good to know from a protection point of view, and no wonder I'm tripping the gfi so frequently!

I'll definitely begin converting over to putting each circut on it's own GFI.

I also found a bad extension cord last night so as someone else has noted, the gfi probably saved my life last night! The socket part was completely filled with rain water!

I put some of those plastic/disposable tupperware containers over hotpoint connections, replaced 2 extension cords and am able to run 7 out of 8 zones with no trips! Looks like I'm heading to the store to buy some more of those little containers!

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When all of you are referring to tripping GFCI circuits, are you talking about typical duplex outlets tripping? The house I moved into had both bathrooms and both rear/front outside outlets on a GFCI breaker in the panel. I read on a few electrical websites that GFCI breakers seems to be less sensitive to false tripping. I believe there is some merit to that since a duplex outlet goes for $10 and a breaker goes for $50-60; the quality just can't be the same with that price difference.

I've only been running my display to 2 years at this house and I have yet to trip the breaker in rain or snow.

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I realize the GFCI breakers as well as outlets both trip at 5mA, but what I'm saying is that the breakers have much more accurate circuitry to prevent false trips. Starting current surges from Inductive loads like motors false trip GFCI devices often, but these motors are false tripping (unless you have a real problem like a motor in water).

Whether your GFCI's are false tripping or you actually do have current leakage to ground would determine what measures to take (ie: the great tips earlier in this thread).

My old house had only icicles hanging on hooks screwed into wood. There was no possible path to ground when it rained - yet my GFCI outlet tripped all the time.

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Anyone know if there is a way to sense a GFCI trip from the sortware side? Would like to be able to automatically shutdown the show when one of the controllers goes out. (Only running 32 channels, so when one controller trips it kills half the show)

Looks like its going to be a rainy Christmas season...

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For what it is worth.

At every connection point I installed a wooden stake.

(A simple 1/4" wooden dowel hammered into to the ground.)

Ty wrapped my connection to the top of the stake. (about 3-5" off the ground)

Cover the connection and top of the dowel with a plastic baggie

and tie wrap the baggie further down the stake to the stake.

Naturally.The open end of the baggie is facing down.

This includes all mid points and ends of strings.

Flood lights were more difficult.

I built boxes for all of them so that the rain does not get on them.

Finally, I did make all connections on dry days. Not in the rain.

Ran last year ok.

So far this year.

Knock on wood. Ok.

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This has really been useful information and tips. I have a 100' lead out to a 40 amp subpanel in the front yard. i am running two GFCI plug circuits out of that subpanel. They are daisy chained which I will be redoing next season (budget for new subpanel). I too, am all LED. This is my first year up from static to LOR and am loving it so far. I have never had a problem with trips with my static displays, but I have hever had so many lights, cords, and unbelievable fun with my Christmas display. Thank you to all my fellow decorators. I look forward to continuing the joy of Land-O-Lights. (LOL)

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