Kyle Dingfelder: Extension Cord Under Water?

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  #1  
Old 09-05-12, 09:52 AM
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Kyle Dingfelder: Extension Cord Under Water?

I have a question for the electricians out there…

I am certainly not an eletrician so I need some help!

My parents live on a small lake with an island in the middle of it. Long story short, I would like to wrap Christmas lights around one of the trees on this island this winter and I am not quite sure how to get electricity out to the island. I don’t want it to be permanent because the lake is used all summer long by neighborhood kids and I don’t want there to be any problems with it.

So here are a few ideas that I have come up with. Since I don’t know anything about this type of work, please let me know if any of them are possible and most importantly safe!
  1. Knowing that they make 100’ outdoor extension cords (and that the distance the cord would have to travel through the water is less than 100’, would it be possible to run an exterior extension cord under the water (and the ice) without having any problems? Then I would connect another extension cord to finish the line to the house since it’s another 100’. First of all, is that even possible to run the cord under water like that? Secondly, is it ok to travel 200’ with an extension cord?

  1. Another idea I had was to buy bulk exterior electrical wire and cut it to the length that I needed. Then I would put an end on each side and hook it right up. Would that wire be alright running through the water and ice?

  1. One last idea I had was to take (2) 100’ outdoor extension cords, cut one end off of each of them, and then splice them together to eliminate the joint in the middle. When I splice them I was going to solder them, wrap them in shrink wrap, and then cover them in spray on rubber to protect that joint from the weather. Would this work?

Do any of these solutions make sense at all? I am certainly not an electrician so I am looking for any answers you may have. All suggestions are welcome.

Thank you very much in advance!!!
 
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Old 09-05-12, 10:19 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I'd use a generator out on the island, I would not run a cable of any kind out there.
 
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Old 09-05-12, 10:24 AM
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Overhead would be safer and simpler. Is that possible?
 
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Old 09-05-12, 10:28 AM
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Yeah basically what I was typing as the thread was being moved.. There are no extension cords rated for underwater use, and given that the lake is a public waterway if someone got shocked as a result it would open you and your parents up to huge liability. The only way aside from a generator would be to have an electrician with the proper knowledge and equipment install a permanent outlet on the island. If you are concerned about power theft by partying kids, turn off its breaker when it's not in use.
 
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Old 09-05-12, 11:14 AM
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Thank you everyone for your help.

Overhead power would be a great idea but it just isn't possible. I think going with an electrician is the best way possible. A generater could work as well but that could be rather noisy. I don't think the neighbors would like that very much.
 
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Old 09-05-12, 12:51 PM
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Why not batteries? Most LED Christmas lights are very low draw. A couple of deep cycle (maybe not even needed) 12V batteries with an inverter and timer would run multiple strings of lights for several days I would guess.

Would you be able to access the island every few days?
 
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Old 09-05-12, 01:26 PM
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From experience: the internal draw of the inverter itself without any load will kill a fully charged car battery in about 12 hours. A better option for batteries would be to try to find ones that work directly off 12v, or rewire some off-the-shelf LED christmas lights to work on 12v. But it's still not going to last more than a day or two per charge, depending on how many lights we're talking. Maybe a solar charger would be in order...
 
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Old 09-05-12, 01:54 PM
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I'm thinking solar plus wind, with a storage bank and a photocell for on/off.
 
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Old 09-05-12, 02:38 PM
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Overhead power would be a great idea but it just isn't possible.
Your impossible may be our possible. More details please.
 
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Old 09-05-12, 02:40 PM
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Guys, what about low voltage cable under water? Maybe UF-b to charge a battery bank for LED lights. Use a 1::1 isolation transformer to the primary of the stepdown for extra protection?????
 
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Old 09-05-12, 02:43 PM
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They make light strings that operate off batteries completely don't they? I remember having some that used 3 AAA batteries and blinked, chased, etc. Don't remember if they were interior only. I do know they would run for at least 5 days when run the typical dusk to bedtime kinda schedule.
 
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Old 09-05-12, 03:17 PM
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Gunguy45 is right they do make lights that run directly off of batteries. I bought some that if memory serves me right run off of C cells only the string wasn't real long. I would think with enough looking on the internet that you could find those lights easily in about any color and length. Mine are clear lights and I can't remember now where I bought them too long ago now. Good luck!
 
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Old 09-05-12, 03:25 PM
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Yeah I've used those battery pack lights in wreaths on the door.. There's only like 10-15 to a string though and if you forget to turn them off they go dead in a day or two.

Temporary low voltage would be an option though.....
 
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Old 09-05-12, 05:07 PM
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I think they do make submersible cord, what cable is used for submersible pumps? You could always use Low Voltage like those pool scrubbers use, too.
 
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Old 09-05-12, 05:24 PM
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Whatever it is Justin I guarantee you that extension cords aren't made from it. It also doesn't change that with a cord laying on the bottom there is the possibility of it getting snagged and pulled into the water, or someone cutting through it with a boat oar and getting zapped. There's no doubt that it would probably get through Christmas without incident, but in today's litigious society with lawyers on TV telling you all the things you can sue for, it's not worth the risk.

I almost ran an extension cord in a safety cover across my sidewalk to put christmas lights in my garden and in the trees by the street last year.. But then I thought back to when a friend of my dad's got sued by someone who tripped on a crack in the sidewalk in front of his store..

So a few months ago I ran a pipe under the sidewalk and installed permanent power.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 03:41 PM
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We all can agree that extension cord is out.

I like the idea of using UF cable. It is tough, UV resistant, and would be code compliant (310.8(C)) 2008. The cable would need to be protected with PVC going in and out of the lake far enough that it would not get "snagged" by anybody. (Think "Jaws 2") The pipe would need to be buried in the ground the proper depth out of the water (12" with GFCI protection, 18" without GFCI but in pipe, 24" UF alone)
 
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Old 09-06-12, 04:06 PM
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But for safety I would recommend only use the UF for low voltage. Perhaps feed from a battery charger to charge a battery on the island.
 
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