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Christmas Lights what do you use?

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by The Ripper, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. The Ripper

    The Ripper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    For those of you that do this with commercial grade lights on a proffesional level I need to know how you secure the lights to the house? DO you use staple guns? do you screw in hooks? What is the best method with the least amount of damage?
  2. capitallandscapes

    capitallandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,850

    I agree about the "all in one" clips. Very neat looking install, all the bulbs facing the same way and no damage to anything! Staples are just not cool, plus more and more homes have vinal or metal siding and can't be stapled into. Stapling into wood can chip the paint and leaves little holes everywhere...

    As for areas like around windows and doors... sometimes you have to use your imigination... Vinal siding makes it easier as there is a channel around windows and doors, and if your lights have the right style of clip on the base you can just clip them onto the siding!
  4. hgaerations

    hgaerations LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Figured it wasn't worth the new thread-I have about 10 boxes of C9 bulbs (24 bulbs/box), and the box says "string up to 60 lights together." That doesn't make sense-I'm wondering how many strands of these kind of lights anyone would recommend putting together on one outlet without blowing the circuit-any help is appreciated!
  5. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,850

    It depends on the fuse in the plug on the strings, most all will say no more than 2-25 light strings together, which is ridiculous. The wire (22 gauge sometimes 20) is heavy enough to handle 100 C-9 bulbs easy. It's the fuse in the plug that can determine that tho... Some of the older strings use a 7amp fuse, allowing a load of 100 bulbs (7 watt C-9) without blowing. Most of the newer strings now have a 4 or 5 amp fuse and if you try to plug more than 2 together (3) the fuse will blow in a few days time.

    I found it's easier just to cut off and replace the plug end... There are many online suppliers for christmas lights, the kind you can buy in bulk and cut and make your own strings the length you need. They sell the male and female connectors made specifically for lights that are fast and easy to put on. As long as a person uses common sence and dosn't try to string too many watts in line, thus causing a melt down or fire, this method works fine...

    As for blowing the fuse for a particular outlet, you need to know the wire size going to that outlet (14 or 12 gauge) and the breaker or fuse size feeding it, as well as what else is wired onto that same circut. Like I said, most all C-9 lights are 7 watts per bulb, most all C-7 size are 4 watts per bulb (there are exceptions for the C-7's, some are 5 watt and some even 7 watt, but those are speciality and commercial types).

    To Determine how many amps you are needing, take the total number of watts and divide that by 110.

    Ex. 100 C-9 bulbs = 700 watts = 6.37 amps

    Also have to give a little fudge factor for line loss that can use more power than you are actually putting out.
  6. hgaerations

    hgaerations LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Jason-Thanks for the help-just want to make sure I have this right:

    I'm looking at stringing together 3 strings of 25 c-9 bulbs, meaning 75 bulbs x 7 watts/bulb=525 watts. If I divide that by 110 (as you mentioned above), I get 4.77 amps. Each string has a 5 amp fuse on the plug end-so I would be OK to string 3 strings together? (Just want to make sure!)
  7. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,850

    well.... it will work, but there's no gurantee for how long. you are pushing so close to 5 amps there and there's power loss in the wiring itself. It may work all season like that, or it may only last a week. I hate those stinking fuses!
  8. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 3,555

    I put 5 Strands on one outlet before. Last year I found out the lights I use dont blow until you hit 6 strands. And these are run 14hours per day for 2 months. I havent had trouble with fuses or anything blowing or fires. Lastyear I expiermented at my house seeing how many I could hook up before I had some trouble. I learned what was possible and not possible. And then this year, I took that knowledge and did a few commercial places. And on those places, this year, max I put on one outlet was 4. The box says 3.
  9. dmoney

    dmoney LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    I use something that is better than an all in one clip. Its called a shingle tab. you can get it at aachristmas.com. basically when you're putting strands of 25 together no more than 3 is recommended. if you string 100 in a row that is allowable. 2 100 foot strands can be put on a 15 amp breaker with a little rooom to spare
  10. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    Well actually most C9 strings will say you can put three strings together.
    The easiest way to make sure you do not go over in your breaker is to 1). look at tag, and 2) calculate your amps. in that:
    (watts per bulb X number of bulbs divided by volts (120) = amps)

    If you want the larger bubls best to use 5watt C7 bulbs

    (5 x 25) divided by 120 = 1.04amps
    given the 80% rule on the breakers you can install 15 strings of C7 5watt bulbs on a 20amp breaker

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