Everything posted by dlaird
I have significantly increased my extension cord count this year. In previous years I would simply coil an extension cord over my hand and under my elbow. Once I had it wound up I would store them in a 12 gallon rubber maid containers. Now that I have 50 or more that are each a 120 feet long I am looking for ideas on how to store them.
15 Amps is plenty to work with. I started my wire frames using two demission Christmas Trees. A six foot tree requires only 300 mini lights. If you use incandescent lights that is just under one ampere of power per tree for a total possibility of 15 trees. If you automate this you can reduce the brightness to each tree to 50% and add another 15 trees. If you step up to LED Trees then a 300 LEDs require about .3 amperes allowing a total of 45 trees. You have more than enough power to have a great display. David
I put multi color lights on bushes and small trees. I put Blue Lights on the large trees beside the house because this is the darkest location and the Blue really stands out. Each year I inspect the blue lights for fading and replace the strings that are unattractive. I put Green Lights on the large trees in front of the house. They are brighter than Blue and really standout. And last my 100 plus 3D wire deer have predominately White lights. In my opinion the White lights are not attractive. Like Jeff, my display is for the children and children like color. David
Yes, I did know the cords did not have ground. I do not have any lights that require a ground. I like these cords because they are lime green in color and look better in the yard, here in Florida, than the inexpensive orange cords. Orange cords are always the least expensive in any given store. The second reason I like them is because they are less than 10 cents per foot. The Wal-Mart’s here in Florida have 40 foot dark green three wire cords for $7.97 almost twice the price per foot in large piles on the end caps.
After looking at extension cords at Lowes, Home Depot, Kmart, Target, Wal-Mart, and evaluating assembling my own extension cords by purchasing bulk wire and connectors I have concluded (for my self) the smart buy is a 120ft, 16 gauge, 2 conductor cable from Wal-Mart for $11.54. What makes this cord economical is the fact that it does not have a ground wire. This is a high quality Yard Master cord that is lime green in color. I have purchased these cords for the past three months from various Wal-Mart stores in Florida and Texas. Most stores only stock 3-4 of these cords at a time. The same reason they are economical makes them less desirable, no ground wire. The stock number from Yard Master is 40010. The UPC number is 007869340010. David
I have used two different methods. The first is to simply force a shovel into the ground to create a slot by rocking the shovel forward creating a slot to force the candy cane into. This method is labor intensive and shortens the candy canes by 6-8 inches. The second requires more up front work the first year but will give years of service. Purchase thin wall conduit used for interior commercial wiring. It is a couple dollars for an 8 foot section. Cut this into 18-24 inch lengths. Now force the conduit into the ground using a 3-5 lb sledge and simply slide the candy cane over the pipe.
Go by the automotive section and purchase some clear RTV. Apply a small amount where the socket and the bulb meet. Apply the RTV to the outside of the assembly. Take great care not to get RTV on any of the electrical connections. I work in defense electronics and we use this method to holb many connectors that do not come with locks so they will pass vibration testing. If RTV does not work for you then I would apply some two part epoxy.
I have nearly 100 3D wire frame deer. In the past I spent hours trying to locate the defective or missing bulb using the very brute force method of removing each bulb one at a time and replacing it with a known good bulb. This method generally resulted in creating more problems than it solved because most of the time I did not get all the bulbs seated back into their sockets correctly. USE EXTREME CAUTION AND GOOD SAFETY PRACTICES WHEN WORKING WITH LIVE CIRCUITS Three years ago I developed a system that effectively and efficiently locates the problem(s) in very short order. I use a Digital Multi-Meter set to Alternating Current (AC) and a voltage range above 120 volts. I take one lead from the meter and insert it in the rear of the plug that is supplying power to the defective string. To verify the fuses are good in the socket, I next insert the other meter lead into the remaining socket in the rear of the plug. This step verifies that the fuses and supply voltage are good and my meter setup is correct. Next locate a bulb in the center of the string. Remove the bulb and carefully test the bulb socket with one lead from the meter. So at this step you would have one meter lead in the rear of the plug that is supply voltage to the string and the other testing both sides the bulb socket. This step effectively splits your string in half and your meter results tell you which half contains the defective bulb. Determine which half of the string is defective from the results of step three. Reinsert the removed bulb. Now take the suspect half of the string and splint it in half again and remove the bulb and repeat the test. With a very low number of bulb removals you will locate a bulb that is defective. I normally have donor strings of lights that I use for replacement bulbs and strings that I use to verify that the bulb I removed is defective. Normally I locate numerous defects in strings that will not light. I normally have a missing bulb that was pulled out while handling the deer, bulbs that prevent the string from lighting, and bulbs that do not prevent the string from lighting but are defective. My normal practice is to inspect and repair everything before I put it away at the end of the season. This limits the amount of troubleshooting I have to do at the beginning of the next season and thereby keeps my enthusiasm high.
I have been using the $2 lights from Wal-Mart for the past 15 years. Only 15 years ago they were the $7 lights. For the past 5 years Wal-Mart has steadily dropped the initial price of mini lights. They historically put lights on sale on December 20th. I normally get 5 years of service out of these lights. My most common failures are listed below: Missing/Broken bulb due to handling/storage. Poor color due to paint deterioration on the glass bulbs. Blue is especially susceptible deterioration due to rain/sun cycles. Strings I pull in half trying to get them out of trees I normally repair the broken strings during the off season and donate them to a local charity the following October. Bottom Line: There is no real difference.