Extension Cord Question

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by Lugnut, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    I have 3 shrubs in front of a house requiring a strand of 100 lights each...now i can safely link 8 strands together, but I am wondering if it would be ok to run a short exension cord from one shrub to the next giving me 3 extension cords and 3 sets of lights to minimize the number of cords running back to outlets....Thanks
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    You could also use black out caps. w usually run 600 mini-lights together and black out between shrubs.
  3. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Make sure your sets are rated for 6 sets end to end.
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    I go by the guage of the wire and the amp rating of the fuse in the set, and what my amp meter says. most standard mini's are 22 guage wire and 2-3 amp fuses, 140-160 milliamp 2.5 volt bulbs. 22 guage wire will safely go 2-3 amp load at 120 volts. most 100 mini's read on my meter .2-.3 amps. so 6 sets or 600 mini's light bulbs should be fine. the heavier duty mini-light sets are mostly 20 guage wire, and 5 amp fuses with polarized plugs. they usually have the brighter 180-200 milliamp 2.5 volt bulbs and run .4-.6 amps per 100 light set. 20 guage wire will go 6 amps safely according to my charts. the fuse will pop between 5 and 6 amps. again, 600 mini's are fine, and many 150-and 200 light sets can be safely strung up to 5-6 amps, or 900-1200 lights. the GE commercial and sylvania commercial 200's actually OK this on the box, but I tend to stick to 100's.

    also, when you stretch out 20 guage heavy duty sets too far from the source, you start losing voltage around 80 feet. This causes yellowing rather that white color on the bulb. This is not too much an issue these days, as manufacturers have dropped the spacing on lights from 6 inches to around 3, even 2.5 on the cheaper sets. so I tend to just stick to the 600 mini-light rule even on the higher end sets just to keep the white bright color up.

    max Mini's really get fun on tightwrapping trees. we put around 3000 on a couple of trees in front of a yard and the effect is breathtaking, but you've got to have a tree of cords in the tree before you start. each of those trees were 9-10 amps, and you really have to watch your power when you deal with 2 amp fuses.

    This is where warm white led mini's will be extremely beneficial. I normally am not an LED fan, but less voltage and amp drain on the same guage of wire means less cords, less issues with fuses, less burnout. I found some 70 count warm white sets for 6 bucks on the web the other day from a very reputable company name and I will be testing 20 sets on a tightwrap tree this year to see how they work out. my estimation is 2 amps for the entire tree. I'm basically going to keep plugging them until 3 amps or the fuse pops. we'll see.
  5. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    Thanks for the responses guys
  6. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751


    We run 50 light LED mini's on 6" spacing and so far we have tight wrapped several trees up to 3000 lights end to end without so much as a hiccup. MY only concern with putting so many together is if something goes wrong trying to find the problem, say a squirrel chewing a wire smack in the middle might take a while to find. Especially since a buzz box wont work.........

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