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Extension Cord Set Up For Mini Trees

14 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

This is my first year for mini trees and I have one large (48 inches) and 6 small (36 inches) that I'm planning on placing in a V shaped pattern with the largest in the center. No problem, I thought. Just connect each one to the next one in line with an extension cord (using LED lights by the way).

Large tree....cord...small tree...cord...small tree...cord.

However, I tested them out last night and realized the male end of an extension cord will not fit into the female end of a light string on the trees. What? Why did I not know this? Am I missing something? I don't want to just plug them into each other because they would be way too close together. And I've already wrapped them all in lights and there's no slack in the cords. I'm not re-wrapping. Does this mean I'll have to use extension cords for each one individually and tie them all back into a main extension cord/power source? How the heck did I set up my lights all these years and never notice this? I guess I've always run the cords and the lights in one direction towards the power source and never run into this scenario.

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Posted · Report post

female ends of mini lights are not polarized like extension cords. Polarity identifies which prong and wire is the 'hot' and which is the neutral. You can get shocked by touching a hot, but not if you touch a neutral (usually). For extension cords and regular screw-bulb type strings, the neutral prong and slot is always larger to prevent accidental shock when screwing in bulbs as reversed polarity would energize the screw on light bulb before you actually screwed it all the way in. This doesn't matter for minis since the bulbs pop right in and out and there is no large metal screw to get shocked on. That is why they have 2 small prongs.

To fix your problem, you could use a bunch of small cords running to one long cord with a multi-tap, or modify your current cord to fit in the mini light plug. Grab a pair of wire cutters and snip off the wings of that wide prong to make it a small one. Just DO NOT use this cord for anything else other than that mini strand. You could get shocked if you do.

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Posted · Report post

To fix your problem, you could use a bunch of small cords running to one long cord with a multi-tap

That was what I planned on doing, but the whole reason I switched to LEDs was so I'd use less cords. I like the idea of snipping the prongs, but if I screw up wouldn't that cause the basically ruin the whole extension cord? I mean, I can see where it wouldn't fit snug if snipped wrong/too much, etc. And when you say don't use the cord for anything except THAT mini strand, do you mean any mini strand and just don't use it for normal extension cord type use?

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Posted · Report post

I've done this to many of my extension cords and never had a problem with them fitting too loose. I started doing way back before I ever knew if it was ok or not...lol. Trial and error is the mother of invention.

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Posted · Report post

And when you say don't use the cord for anything except THAT mini strand, do you mean any mini strand and just don't use it for normal extension cord type use?

you could use it for any mini strand. Basically, once you snip that prong you could accidentally plug it in with the wrong polarity, so only use if for times when polarity doesn't matter...like minis. Or you could use it for other things if you mark the the small (hot) prong with a sharpie and always make sure that the marked prong goes in the small hole...but then you have a chance of forgetting that as well.

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Posted · Report post

I've done this to many of my extension cords and never had a problem with them fitting too loose. I started doing way back before I ever knew if it was ok or not...lol. Trial and error is the mother of invention.

I use do this as well. I run C9 LED's across the front wall (6 channels this year). In order to connect the left and right sides of the display (sidewalk separates the left and right) I run extension cords with the male end clipped and attached to the female end of the light string. Actually, some of them do fit in with a little persuasion :ph34r:

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Posted · Report post

another way is if you have any unused light strings. If they are burned out..great, if not pullout a bulb (if minis) and use the light string itself as the extension cord.

No modifying plugs since they automatically fit

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Posted · Report post

Another great idea. Thanks.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I am not as versed with LEDs, but are the fuses in the strings rated to handle seven trees in series? How many LED strings can one run back-to-back? With LEDs there may not even be an issue here, but might be worth checking.

Another solution may be making your own extension cord with SPT2 wire and female receptacles. One cord, seven outlets wherever you need them - each tree simply plugs into the same cord and they all run independent of the others.

Edited by mneville

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Posted · Report post

You can string 30 or so LED strings in a row, maybe more. I've got 20 strings total. I don't think that will be a problem. Anybody disagree?

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Posted · Report post

Been doing this for years with correcting these plugs with a little cutting. Why would you have to mark which side is the hot side? It's pretty obvious which side has been cut and which one hasn't. Plus after years of doing this who hasn't gotten a shock or 20 over the years lol. Doesn't feel like Christmas till I do hahahaha

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Posted · Report post

I had side cutters in my back pocket throughout the 3 wks. I spent setting up. A lot of cord prongs, and a lot of zip ties got cut.

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Posted · Report post

I cut some extension cords myself this year.

But take a look at this;

974809_orig.jpg

I had white, green and red lines. I had zipped tied these together at the end.

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Posted · Report post

I cut some extension cords myself this year.

But take a look at this;

974809_orig.jpg

I had white, green and red lines. I had zipped tied these together at the end.

I loved your display. You gave me ideas for my roof. I have a very skinny yard (<9' deep) and don't have the room to do what you did. Kind of looks like a bicycle spoke wheel on turning on the ground when you "chase" them!

Anyway, another idea I've come up with is to strip off the mini light sockets from broken cords. After stripping the sockets, you are left with 2 full strings. After some wire splicing, you have an extension cord that is 25' long and can carry the current for 1 or 2 strings of minis to a display element like a window. Also, makes storage much easier, no bulky cords! So far I've made 14 out of "donated" broken strings :D Lots more on the way thank's to Craig's list.

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