ungrounded outdoor christmas lights

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Old 12-02-12, 07:27 PM
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ungrounded outdoor christmas lights

So, my outdoor christmas lights on wreaths have only hot and neutral wires. I've devised some wiring for them using some 16/2 cord with added plugs and sockets, one wire running from the outlet to an electronics project, outputting to three sets of 16/2, two to distant sockets, one to another project box, which splits to two more 16/2 for sockets. I have four wreaths on it, and that's all that I'm going to put on it.

Is there another way that I should have done this? We plan to only operate the lights when we're home and only when the weather is dry. I had considered something more permanent like an actual circuit, but that would be very, very difficult to set up. This wiring is all under the eave about 4', on the back side of the main 4x12 beam supporting the overhang. I put some plasticized hooks in the beam at roughly 48" increments, and the project boxes are more solidly held.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 07:59 PM
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I'm not getting it from your description. What, for example, is a "project box"?

Could you post some pictures? See How To Include Pictures.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 08:20 PM
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Okay, This is the project enclosure I used. It's a plastic 1" by 2" by 3" box for electronics projects. It should be safe for residential voltage. I did not use the optional metal cover.

https://www.radioshack.com/product/i...ductId=2062279

My wiring diagram is below. After I drilled holes and pulled the wires through I tied an overhand knot with each pair, then used standard wire nuts to tie the hots together and the neutrals together.

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Old 12-02-12, 08:27 PM
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This is outside, right? All components need to be listed as weather resistant for electrical use. A plastic 1" by 2" by 3" box for electronics projects would probably not meet that standard, with or without a metal cover. How are the wires or cables secured as they enter that box? Do they enter through clamps? Weathertight clamps?

Question: By "socket," do you mean a medium screw base lampholder?
 
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Old 12-02-12, 08:29 PM
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No, the opposite of a plug, female rather than male, but not installed in a NEMA box. Like the end of an extension cord, but with only room for one plug.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 12:42 AM
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Temp lighting ..... should be ok. Good idea to make sure you're plugging into a GFI controlled receptacle for safety.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 07:13 AM
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I'll probably have to add one of those plug-in GFCI units since I don't think that the receptacle is protected. It probably should be since it's outside, but it's about 15' in from the overhang in the entry way and it would take quite a lot of wind and water to reach it.

All of the wiring is on the back sides of the columns that support the eave, not on the sides or front. I figured that I won't run the lights while it's wet (which isn't common here anyway) but in case somehow the weather surprised me I wouldn't get caught with these getting wet as easily.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:35 AM
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I have some diecast aluminum bell boxes with a GFCI receptacle and an in-use cover for my lights.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 01:05 PM
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I figured that I won't run the lights while it's wet
Irrelevant. Electrical components are required to be installed in a safe manner regardless of who may be controlling them or what the intended pattern of use is. This is the equivalent of saying "I'm going to install 40 recessed fixtures on a 15 amp circuit but it won't be a problem because I'm going to put a 17W CFL in each can."

I'll probably have to add one of those plug-in GFCI units since I don't think that the receptacle is protected. It probably should be since it's outside, but it's about 15' in from the overhang in the entry way and it would take quite a lot of wind and water to reach it.
The distance from the overhang should make that location classifiable as a damp location rather than a wet location, which means that the receptacle would only need a flap cover rather than a bubble in-use cover. But outside is outside, and that receptacle should be GFCI protected. One thing you don't want to do is install a GFCI on a line that is already GFCI protected. Test it for GFCI protection before you add anything. If it doesn't have it, you should replace it with a GFCI receptacle.

All of the wiring is on the back sides of the columns that support the eave, not on the sides or front.
Irrelevant unless that means that it cannot get wet - only damp at the most.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 01:09 PM
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Temp lighting ..... should be ok.
Temporary installations have to conform to NEC requirements. That includes some requirements written specifically for temporary installs (which may not apply here, but might).

Good idea to make sure you're plugging into a GFI controlled receptacle for safety.
Ditto that!
 
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Old 12-03-12, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Nashkat1
By "socket," do you mean a medium screw base lampholder?
No, the opposite of a plug, female rather than male, but not installed in a NEMA box. Like the end of an extension cord, but with only room for one plug.
I'm thinking those should be twistlocks unless they are supported in a way that will prevent the plug from pulling out. I could be wrong about that, but it's a precaution I would take. Regardless, they need to be weather rated.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 01:46 PM
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I may some day add some permanent wiring, but for now we'll go with this. I'll see if that's a GFCI outlet (but I'm reasonably confident that it is not) and deal with it, possibly using the temporary plug-in GFCI solution for the season. I'm knocking around adding some eave upper edge lights under the flashing in the future anyway, so at that point it would make sense to correct the entire installation to reflect that desire.
 
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