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Lights On The River

Extension Cord Cleanup

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Hi Everyone:

 

I run a holiday light show event for a charity, and we're doing the clean up right now.  We currently have a pile of extension cords (close to 10 dozen I'd say) waiting to be wound up, and for the past 2 years we've done that by hand.  This year we've added ALOT more extension cords to the mix with the LOR addition, and I'm trying to find a reel of some sort that will help us wind it all up, rather than wrapping it all on our arms (very tiring after the first couple dozen 100 footers to say the least).

 

Can anyone suggest a reel, hand crank &/or motorized, that could help?  

 

Thanks!

Scott

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I must say that anything that is <15' like SPT 16 is individually wrapped.  This is most of my display.  For the 50' runs, I start with the female end in my left hand and guide the cord with my right hand...  I swing my left hand out away from my body and where it stops I grab the wire in my right hand and make the loop.  I stopped wrapping around my elbow many years ago when I had 50+ 100' extension to wrap up.  now its just a matter of:
Arms center

arms apart--- stop with right hand and connect to loop

arms center

arms apart--- stop and make loop.

repeat...

 

When I have enough to make one more loop, I stop and wrap around the center of the cord then push the male end through the string and carry by the male plug. 
I never had a problem with this. Got consistent with it and have never had a tangle.  I then slip them onto a metal pipe I have hanging on 2 hooks in the basement.  They stay their till the next season.  Downside is that your triceps will "feel the burn" as you do this.  It is a good shoulder and arm workout! 

My friend is a general contractor and I know at the end of the day that I'm the one to wrap all the extension cords because, "You are the only one who can do it and not have them tangled." 

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I like the garden hose reel idea.  It does have merit.

 

Most reels that I have seen, can not be used to wind the cord and then "unload" it.  You will need one for each cord.  Adds cost and makes for bulky storage.

 

The garden hose reel would hold multiple cords.  Depending on the size, maybe a couple dozen.  Plus it has wheels.

 

Thought #2 would be a Wonder Winder without the basket and and several 5 Gal buckets.  Even that is troublesome as I think you have to disassemble the winder to load each cord.

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I use a reel cart, I got mine at the flee market for 30.00. It looks lke this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GK85PQ/ref=asc_df_B005GK85PQ2333950?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=nextagus0039507-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395093&creativeASIN=B005GK85PQ the only bad thing is storage. If you can get some empty wire reels lowes or home depot. Take two saw horses and a pipe then just roll then up. I put 6 reels on mine a mark the reels with length. Set up s great You just walk the cord back out, never tangles.

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I use a reel cart, I got mine at the flee market for 30.00. It looks lke this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GK85PQ/ref=asc_df_B005GK85PQ2333950?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=nextagus0039507-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395093&creativeASIN=B005GK85PQ the only bad thing is storage. If you can get some empty wire reels lowes or home depot. Take two saw horses and a pipe then just roll then up. I put 6 reels on mine a mark the reels with length. Set up s great You just walk the cord back out, never tangles.

This is a nice idea too!

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I got several reels at the local utilty (these are not the giant reels that hold wire, but are about 2.5 feet or so, they hold rope I think), they are plastic, I use the sawhorse idea, except, I put the pipe on a rack on the back of a ATV.  also use the spool to put lights on.  I label each reel of lights, and sometimes a run of lights.  may try and add a picture later.

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Another choice is the over under technique.   A little work needed to learn but you'll never go back.    Do a Google search "over under wrapping of cables".

 

One example here:

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I have 200+ extension cords between 40 and 100 feet long in my display.  Most are 40’ to 60’.  I use the method described by Clyde Lindsey to loop my cables but I make smaller arch’s with my arms so that the final cable loop will fit inside a Rubbermaid box without bunching.  I use a piece of wreath Velcro to secure the cable.  That way when I pull them out of the box they do not tangle.  One beneficial trick that I use is two walk the cable down the street until it is in a single straight line.  Then as I wrap the cable I walk towards it.  This does two things 1) gets most of the twist out of the cable so it wrap flat; 2) makes it easier to wrap because I am not pulling on the length of the cable in my arch’s.

 

Next year I plan to put some of the controllers in the yard so they are closer to what they control…shorter extension cords.

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I have 200+ extension cords between 40 and 100 feet long in my display.  Most are 40’ to 60’.  I use the method described by Clyde Lindsey to loop my cables but I make smaller arch’s with my arms so that the final cable loop will fit inside a Rubbermaid box without bunching....

 

...Next year I plan to put some of the controllers in the yard so they are closer to what they control…shorter extension cords.

Yep, I put my 20' cords in an  18 gallon tote for storage too... I also begin wraping with the female end ALWAYS!  When I've get to the male end I loop it around the entire bundle 4 times then  run the male ind thru one of the 2 sides that are created by the loops.  they never untangle in the tote.  OR they get hung on a piece of pipe by slipping on to the end and sliding down.

 

And then I did the same thing with my controllers... moved them to the yard to make the extension cord runs much much smaller.  This happened after the 2nd year.  It was so much easier to run one 30' extension and 16 of the 15' cords versus sixteen  40' cords.

Also, I watched these videos where you make knots in the cords... It wast of time and space when you deal with 200 cords.   Way easier and faster to do hand-to-hand wrapping.  Key is consistency, always wrapping the same way that works for YOU!

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have you tried a garden hose reel? I am going to try a empty cat 5 spool this year using a conduit and a ladder as a way to hold it while I wind er up.

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I wind my cords like Clyde does it is the easiest way. Never even thought of using reels or storage buckets, just to much to deal with.  I have dedicated a room for cord storage and the cords are stacked and stored according to the zone they came from in the yard. It really makes it easy when setup time comes as I can attack one zone at a time.

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I tried a snowblower once and man it picked the cord, right up fast

the problem I had was I just made 15 short cords out of a 100 foot cord...... :o /// :blink:

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I tried a snowblower once and man it picked the cord, right up fast

the problem I had was I just made 15 short cords out of a 100 foot cord...... :o /// :blink:

Been there and done that...... the next year I ran conduit under the driveway.

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Been there and done that...... the next year I ran conduit under the driveway.
Good idea I just moved mine off the side walk But now my wife makes me wear a helmet when ever I go out What's up with that.........

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I tried a snowblower once and man it picked the cord, right up fast

the problem I had was I just made 15 short cords out of a 100 foot cord...... :o /// :blink:

 

I laughed till I cried.

 

Good idea I just moved mine off the side walk But now my wife makes me wear a helmet when ever I go out What's up with that...
Edited by christmas_nut

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I laughed till I cried.

 

I kind of like wearing the helmet now

 

People talk real slow to you with cool hand jestures kind a like they are swatting at flies

 

and some even hand me money and pat me on the head......and say aren't you special....... :blink:

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Been wrapping my cat5 and extension cords like in that video for years now.    Occasionally, I'll do the over the elbow method, but as soon as I catch myself doing that, usually after a few loops, I redo it like in the video posted here.     Makes it so much easier to run withoutr tangles or kinks in your cat5 or cords!

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The only problem I have with the guy showing how to wrap cords in the video is try doing the same thing when it is -16 outside. It just doesn't go as easy. Inside a heated shed or garage, yup looks nice. Out in the cold, different story.

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The only problem I have with the guy showing how to wrap cords in the video is try doing the same thing when it is -16 outside. It just doesn't go as easy. Inside a heated shed or garage, yup looks nice. Out in the cold, different story.

 

I find it nearly impassible to roll cords outside in cold I bring them inside to warm then they go very quickly inside people who are in warm climates dont know all we deal with during tear down it isnt just picking stuff up you have to deal with stuff like this my cords are as stiff as a bord when it is cold out some of them actually crack the insulation if you bend them too much

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My point exactly. I live in the great white north where it seems like we have winter for 10 months at times. I don't have a big heated garage. I just grab the extensions or better yet, I wait until the spring so I can pick them up real easy. Slight discoloration but still useable. Pffft. Rolling extensions cords. Na.

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I have numerous wooden spools from a electrical company. Each one for the various snakes of extension cords to various effects. Then I have spools for bulk 100, 50, 25 foot extension cords. Had a welder friend make me a steel holder strong enough to hold 10 spools at a time. It really makes it easy each year. I will lay out the snaked cords first, connect to each element, mega tree, shooting stars, etc. and  at the end of the season, plug cords end to end and wind up. With 3 miles of cords, your arms get a work out putting them away, however, it sure is easy setting up. Plus they stack easy.

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