Outdoor wiring of Christmas lights

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Needing Advice, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. Needing Advice

    Needing Advice New Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Please tell us what we did wrong. We strung our Christmas lights - probably 8 or 9 sets on one long strand using one outdoor extension cord and one outdoor outlet. After two nights, only two strands were working - the others went out. We also used an indoor extension cord (outside) off of the same strand to plug in the lights for the bushes and the post. They stopped working also. We took the lights down today and these strands still don't work even if plugged in singly. My husband says it should be no problem stringing all these together and if there was ever any danger, then that is what the circuit breaker is for. Also, should we be covering the plugs with electrical tape? May we have some advice for next year?
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky In the Trades

    Oct 8, 2007
    Electrical Contractor
    1. Check the listing of the lights. Most sets will state you can only string 2 or 3 sets together.

    2. Circuit breakers only protect the wiring up to, and including, the receptacle. After that, all bets are off.

    3. They probably went out because one bulb is loose, or burned out.
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    A lot of these light sets have a fuse inside a little trap door right on the plug. Stringing too many together can blow the fuse.

    I bought some led lights sets a Big Lots. They were 1/2 the retail price, and I guess that was about right since only half the lights worked.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    The wiring on those strings is often fairly puny. Keep in mind that power for all of those daisy chained on the end get their power from the one(s) before them. It's like trying to use a really small extension cord that is very long...it can't handle the overall power or there is too much voltage drop. If you can find the fuse, you might be able to ressurect the ones that don't work. Next time, limit the total length of the strings.
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