DIY 120V String Lights?

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  #1  
Old 08-03-14, 05:54 PM
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DIY 120V String Lights?

Hi, I'm looking for string lights for a pergola we're putting in. These lights would look something like what follows:
[ATTACH=CONFIG]35828[/ATTACH]
I would like to attach these to perhaps every other beam in the pergola, and each span is roughly 14' long, 1' between each span, and there are 18 spans. Since I'd like these to run only along the spans and not between them/along the beam, I'm looking for 14' lighted length (maybe 1' apart so 15 sockets per span), followed by two feet of no sockets, and then another 15 sockets, etc. These lights will be powered by its own switch leg, and possibly its own circuit (electrician doing that).

What I'm wondering is how I can build something like the setup above without too much headache. Is there a way to get some sockets like these that I can clip in without having to more laboriously wire each one? Has anyone seen something similar available in the market or know of someone/company who would build something like this for me reasonably?

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 05:59 PM
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We use a similar system in temporary job lighting. I'm not sure how well they'll hold up in the weather. The back of the fixture loosens up and there are wire piercing points that penetrate the wire.

Leviton 167 Medium Base, Two-Piece, Keyless, Incandescent, Phenolic Lampholder, Pin-Type, Single Circuit, Feed-Through, Includes Hook, Black - Weatherproof Outdoor Temporary Light Socket - Amazon

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Old 08-03-14, 06:05 PM
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I have to find out how many spans there are for sure, as it will be a bit weird if there's not a number so I can go every other one, but here's the idea from above. To note, I'd like 120V since I might want to use a standard Lutron RadioRA 2 dimmer to dim them.
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Old 08-03-14, 06:09 PM
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Oh, that looks really nice. I will see if Leviton has a similar fixture that secures in another manner. Do you just run 16AWG wire and put a plug on the end or direct wire? Thanks!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:15 PM
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Why not just use String-O-Lights, these are what contractors usually use. You can remove the protective cages if you wish.

http://www.emersonindustrial.com/en-...g_O_Lights.pdf
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:35 PM
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Are you serious.... almost 100 bulbs under your pergola..... wow !
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:41 PM
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Hehe, well, yeah. I guess I'm doing 50, which is probably a much better way to go.

The String-O-Lights idea is a good one. I just now found the American Lighting LS-M-24-100-BK, which I'll put up there, and I'll use it with a dimmer, so they'll mainly be just a nice effect. I think I can just take a bulb out if needed, and at $150 for the set without the bulbs, it's probably just better to do that than build my own.

I'll also have some LED cans for if I want big light for eating at night.

I'm excited about the project. I just dug the 2' deep, 40" long, 2' wide hole for the 500W burial subwoofer :-D

Thanks for the thoughts everyone.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:50 PM
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It is a code violation to connect a dimmer to a standard receptacle. You would need to use a special dimmer receptacle and change the plug on the lights. http://files.lutron.com/hwi/TRG/366-...eceptacles.pdf
 
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Old 08-03-14, 07:58 PM
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Leviton 167 Medium Base, Two-Piece, Keyless, Incandescent, Phenolic Lampholder, Pin-Type, Single Circuit, Feed-Through, Includes Hook, Black - Weatherproof Outdoor Temporary Light Socket - Amazon
i have used these to light Christmas tree lots. i use number 10 THHN stranded wire. 150 to 200 feet long. the # 10 fits better in the socket.

7 watt clear Christmas lights would cost a lot less. i have lit a deck of 40 by 50 teet with 3 strings and the lighting is great i doubled the strings so the lamps are spaced 12 in apart
 
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Old 08-03-14, 08:02 PM
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It is a code violation to connect a dimmer to a standard receptacle.
Ray,off hand,what section of the NEC is that in?
 
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Old 08-03-14, 08:08 PM
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  #12  
Old 08-03-14, 08:09 PM
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Ray, Thanks! I'm aware of this and used the Lutron receptacle for dimming in an old 2008 or so project before I went to RR2. I thought it was pretty cool they made those. That said, I'd probably just direct wire it.

John, I can see how the Christmas lights would be a cheaper. I guess my concern is reliability. I often buy "nice' Christmas lights and just find that they work for a year or two before causing trouble. Since these will be on constantly, I just figured something more substantial might have a higher level of reliability. Maybe not!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 08:12 PM
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johnsc, 2002 National Electric Code 404.14(E) is when it came about. I discuss it a bit in that project I linked if helpful.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 08:15 PM
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From a draft copy of 2014 NEC
406.15 Dimmer Controlled Receptacles. A receptacle
supplying lighting loads shall not be connected to a dimmer
unless the plug/receptacle combination is a nonstandard
configuration type that is specifically listed and identified
for each such unique combination. [ROP 18–53]
 
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Old 08-03-14, 09:26 PM
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They do make commercial grade Christmas lights with heavy duty 18-2 SPT-2 wire. Personally, I do prefer pin-type sockets like PJ posted and S14 bulbs.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 09:35 PM
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Thanks, Justin. The kit I bought should work with the S14s, and I got 50 of those in incandescent. I'd like to go LED, but it's a hefty price right now, and I guess I can always change them.

You guys are so helpful!
 
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Old 08-03-14, 10:22 PM
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Great! Let us know how it turns out!
 
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Old 08-04-14, 06:47 AM
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i have used these to light Christmas tree lots. i use number 10 THHN stranded wire. 150 to 200 feet long. the # 10 fits better in the socket.
Can't do that here, the AHJ won't allow separate conductors on the lights for either Christmas tree lots or for temporary job site lighting. All Christmas tree lots here must have permits for power and lighting and be inspected by the AHJ. As I recall, seems to me like the separate conductor String-O-Lights aren't U.L. Listed.
 
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