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Hello Everyone - First Question


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I am not new to decorating my house. I have been doing it for the past 13 years, however only the last year or so have I really started to nail down a consistent theme that doesn't look haphazard.

 

I have been advised by my 10 and 7 year olds that I "need to step up my game", so here I am.

 

I am looking forward to getting some tips and tricks from the pros.

 

I have major GFCI issues. One of the reasons (I think) is the haphazard way I have my extension cords all over the place as I have a very large yard. Would making my own vampire cords to connect light strands from shrub to shrub help instead of having a separate extension cord going from each bush?

 

I have found this online, but it isn't cheap. Trying to figure out what the most cost effective option is. 

 

http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/electrical.shtml

 

Thanks

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Normally the extension cord connections are not the problem as much as it is the items themselves.  Making your own cords is definitely the way to go.

 

Our question to you would be is the display static or animated?  If static then master cords to the items and branches to the items are just fine.  GFCIs are a nuisance, but it most of our opinions a necessity for safety reasons.

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Normally the extension cord connections are not the problem as much as it is the items themselves.  Making your own cords is definitely the way to go.

 

Our question to you would be is the display static or animated?  If static then master cords to the items and branches to the items are just fine.  GFCIs are a nuisance, but it most of our opinions a necessity for safety reasons.

Thanks for the reply. I have a static display. I understand the safety precautions with the GFCI, but as many here probably can relate to, there is nothing more frustrating than getting a drop of rain and watching the entire display go KAPUT especially when your neighbors are staying on.

 

I realize that the more I put up, the more variability I am entering into the equation and creating more opportunities for problems.

 

Has anyone tried the Twist and Seal? I came across them while searching for a solution. They look pretty expensive and at first glance I don't think they will fit my male/female connections for my LEDs. They look like they are made for the older male/female connections on incandescents.

 

http://twistandseal.com/mini-twist-and-seal.php

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I haven't used it, but still have doubts about the need for it.  The price alone would make it cost prohibitive for many people here due to the number of extension cords we use.

 

I have 224 LOR channels and that equates to a lot of extension cords.  I have most of the connections lying on the ground.   I didn't have any GFCI issues this year, even when things were buried under the snow.  Then had rain the next night that melted most of the snow so things were plenty wet.

 

As the poster above states, take a good look at the items in your display, they may be the bigger culprit.

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If you track it down to extension cord connections as being your issue. What I would do is but a little dielectric grease on the prongs and then tape them up. But I highly doubt this is your major issue for tripping GFI's.

 

You could have strands of lights with cracks in the wire, or sockets that are not sealed that are causing your issue. If you have older ext cords, you could have cracks in the wire on them, and that causes the issue. 

 

 

I just don't really seeing it as the connections. I've installed thousands of lights in Michigan weather, and never had issues with GFI's because of an extension cord connection. 

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GFCI issues increase with load on the circuit. A lot of times the trip is the result of many tiny cumulative leaks to ground not a single source. Sometimes adding circuits and distributing the loads will lessen the trips. Also just elevating  your connections off the ground can help tremendously.

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In all my years of decorating, I've only encountered two GFCI trips, both of which were pretty obvious when I looked into it.

 

  • The first one was caused when I forgot the clean out the weep hole on a floodlight holder. The dead bugs in the holder caused the rain water accumulate in the holder and trip. When I cleaned out the holder and dried the socket, the problem went away.
  • This year, I was careless during my setup and inadvertently placed a 3-tap in front of a gutter downspout. Once I moved the tap a couple of feet away from the downspout and let it dry it out, the trip stopped.

 

As far as sealing your electrical connections, I don't bother, and neither do most of the PC members. I've found that if you have sealed connections, if water does get in, it is very hard for it to get back out.

 

My bet is that you have a bad item in your display that is causing the trips (maybe an older string of lights with an exposed conductor that shorting to a wet branch or metal frame).

Edited by CameronInGA
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Thanks everyone. This will probably save me a few dollars I can plunge into more lights. One thing I will do for sure is make my own extensions using vampire plugs. The other thing I am going to do (and I know this will sound crazy) is break out the hose as I am putting things up next year and test as I go along. I have a general idea where the problem is, but just haven't had time to get after it.

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