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Ground faults are of the devil


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I’ve been fighting the new GFs that came with my new service, and I’m about to call it quits.  First the rain two weeks ago knocked everything off.  Then the six inch snow knocked it off again, so I dug everything out (500 ext cords means a lot of connections to dig out).  Now the snow is melting and all of the water is knocking everything out again.  Keep in mind while I’m battling the north half acre the south half acre, which has 10, 15 year old and older GFs is doing fine and hasn’t gone off one time!  New is not better!  I remember reading other posts on PC about using grease to keep moisture out of ext cords.  Is that correct, or am I imaging that?

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Thank you guys.  I’ll look for the grease, and I spent the morning putting 2X4s under each connection to get them off the ground.  I also shop vacated 200 gallons of water from the lighted trail that leads off into the field.  We’re supposed to get some sun and a little wind today, which should help dry out the connections.  If I ever get time, I’m going to post this years pictures.

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Make sure you purchase the dielectric grease that’s made for waterproofing electrical connections.  Because there’s more than one kind.  I think raising your connections off the ground and onto 2 x 4’s should help.  I tried using electrical tape on my outdoor Christmas light connections;  but if rain or snow gets past the tape, then that moisture is held in there.  Lowe’s sells those round locking electrical connectors for such an application, but I have not tried them. They’re green, plastic.  Merry Christmas!

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Keeping it off the ground is key!!! I like using yard stakes. It keeps plug about 6” off the ground and there plastic which works good in Georgia. I use a very very small amount of dielectric grease in small tube. Below are some pictures from another feed. Mine stayed on during the downpour we had sideways rain 60 mph gust and 4” rain. In 8 hrs. I looked it up for my area  for last 5yrs December we get 7-13” rain.

On 11/12/2020 at 9:43 AM, Scott Rob said:

Chuck you are totally rights!

I live in Georgia which I think it rains almost everyday.

what helps me is to keep all plugs off the ground and use a very small amount of dielectric grease that seems to keep out the water. I found some pictures of what I did last year. I use plastic yard light stakes to keep plugs off the ground. I also sometimes tie the cord up on back of blow mold to keep plug off the ground. Also if you have blow mold make sure there’s drain hole. A few years ago I KeepEd having gfci trip found out that some of blow mold had filled up with water and shorted out.

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On 11/12/2020 at 10:50 AM, Scott Rob said:

No, tape will hold in water and when it freezing up it breaks SPT plugs its not pretty. Also it will trip gfci breaker. Also keep you LOR controllers and plugs off the ground. One of mine is mounted on set stairs for choir and the other is on the back of manger. Also I have pigtails with C7 bulbs on A few channels to help with dimming LED light strings. So they don’t jump as much at lower dimmer settings. Chuck told me that trick:) I also use outdoor rated outlet box which also helps keep water out of main box’s that feed LOR controllers. Hope this help!

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Edited by Scott Rob
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I’ve got some of those green stakes, but I’m going to buy more.  I’m also going to use the grease everyone has mentioned. And for good measure I think I’m going to slip the large size ziplock bags over each connection.  That should work until the tornado hits!

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Here's my 2 cents,  I used the stake idea from ScottRob, then i used an empty 16.9 oz water bottle.  I cut the top and then some off the bottle, turned it upside down and over the connection/stake.  its the same concept as the sandwich bag.  I just used bottles, because i had them in ample supply.  They've stayed on the connections/stakes through storms.  We also had an issue with set of deer causing the breaker to trip.  I also use bricks to elevate some connections and ziploc containers, the long rectangular ones, for bulkier connections.  We've had a better year this year!  Thanks to all for the advice and info!  Merry Christmas to All!

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It did take a little time to do.  I didn't do everyone of my connections though, as i wanted to see how it would work on a handful.  I thought they would blow away, but none of them did.  I've had bags that came off, even with a ziptie holding them on...prolly my fault for not doing it right.  i'll prolly recycle the bottles, depending on how they look after the season, and use new ones next time.  A friend of mine used no grease or tape at all, and never has issues.  I have seemed to notice issues with some vampire plugs that are softer than others.  the prongs seem to be prone to coming out, as well as not making as good a connection as the other harder plugs.  I'm gonna order some more plugs this year and redo them, and hopefully get rid of those issues.

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I had no problems.with the old GFIs.  It was the new ones that gave me fits.  A friend said the new are safer...yes, to the point of being useless.  Kind of like lowering the speed limit on the Turner Turnpike from Tulsa to OKC TO 10 mph...sure it’s safe, but it’s defeated the purpose.

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Maybe my experience with arc fault breakers has clouded my opinion of newer things.  I had a house that had arc faults for the bedrooms.  one of them would constantly trip , the minute an iron was plugged in.  You could hardly have 2 lights on in the room, with the iron plugged in.  It became very annoying.  maybe it was the breaker itself that was faulty, i dunno.  Another room had one, and we had a treadmill plugged in there.  You couldn't run the treadmill. because it would trip.  They just seemed to detect the slightest increase in load and trip.  What did we do before these things?  You can't tell me that everyone was getting shocked or electrocuted because we didn't have arc faults.  Maybe they coulda been researched and tweaked more so as to not be so sensitive.  I know ground faults are there for a reason, but they too can cause nuisances, too.  It may be that some of the brands may be manufactured with cheaper parts, like everything else nowadays.  

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