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Discussion Starter #1
Hubby is worried that as I add stuff to the yard, I'm going to overload the power. I know I can get an electrician out here to add additional power but in the mean time I'm exploring what I can do without going that far. Anyone using anything solar powered or battery operated etc? How do you find they work? So far all I've dabbled with is a solar spot light on my haunted realty sign which works well.
 

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Reaper Guardian
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I'm no expert, but you might want to look into portable power packs. I won't say that they're cheap, but they might be an alternative to a new circuit. The Duracell Powerpack 600 is an example of what I'm talking about - please note, I'm not recommending or endorsing this product, it's just an example to point you in the direction. There are plenty others on the market.

Again, I'm not an expert, but from what I've seen, solar would be best to recharge whatever batteries you use to power your props, rather than directly powering them.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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Whether you upgrade the electrical to the house or convert to LEDs, it's going to cost you. I upgraded my service to the house a few years ago and added more exterior outlets. I now have flexibility out the wazoo. I have yet to see an LED fog machine, or a solar powered air compressor, so a push to use alternative energy isn't there. I'm not a fan of LED lighting either because they're so hard to repair and the cost savings just aren't there. I did the math a couple of years ago to convert my Christmas lights to LEDs and figured it would take about 6 years to break even....and that's if all the light strands kept working.
 

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Whether you upgrade the electrical to the house or convert to LEDs, it's going to cost you. I upgraded my service to the house a few years ago and added more exterior outlets. I now have flexibility out the wazoo. I have yet to see an LED fog machine, or a solar powered air compressor, so a push to use alternative energy isn't there. I'm not a fan of LED lighting either because they're so hard to repair and the cost savings just aren't there. I did the math a couple of years ago to convert my Christmas lights to LEDs and figured it would take about 6 years to break even....and that's if all the light strands kept working.
Ha, I did the same thing a few years ago with my Christmas lights. I figured it would take about 8 years.
 

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Going bump in the night..
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I need to be careful for my front yard power draw, due to the genius's that originally wired this house - they put the kitchen, dining room, living room, and an outlet to the front porch area all on the same circuit. Every time we run the microwave we have to be careful with whatever else is on, or we blow a fuse.
I'm very limited to anything I connect to the front yard outlet, and try to limit it to strictly LED lighting

My solution for the more power hungry items has been a couple of heavy gauge extension cords running from outlets that typically get little draw.
I have a 100' 10 gauge extension cord running from an outlet in the back yard to run my 2000 watt fog machine, and it works flawlessly.
I have a couple more lighter gauge cords running from the garage and side yard that work for other items, and non-LED lights (par 38 spots and such).

Eventually, I'd like to re-do the electrical in my house, for safety, convenience and sanity, but until then, extension cords are a cheap solution.
 

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I had an extra circuit put in just for Halloween a couple years ago, after having issues. I guess it's reassuring to know I'm not the only one!

We use long extension cords from the sides of the house where we can and where they'll be out of the way, use glow sticks in several places, quite a few battery operated props, and use only one large colored spot light to light a large area for effect. We also only run our haunt one night, so not too bad - if you're running multiple nights, even just lights, I'd suggest buying an outdoor timer (about $20 at Walmart, 6 outlets, on a stake) and unplugging anything you can at night/during the day so it doesn't continue to draw electricity all the time.
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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I use car batteries for 12v DC power and add an inverter to convert that to 120v AC power. A single car battery has enough juice to run several mass produced animated props for the night. The stuff you make yourself tends to be rather thirstier, though. And LED lighting, I can easily run a few hundred LED spots off a single car battery (each spot having a trio of 5mm 3.3 volt bright white LEDS, with color provided by professional theatrical color filters).
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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1,107 Posts
I need to be careful for my front yard power draw, due to the genius's that originally wired this house - they put the kitchen, dining room, living room, and an outlet to the front porch area all on the same circuit. Every time we run the microwave we have to be careful with whatever else is on, or we blow a fuse.
I'm very limited to anything I connect to the front yard outlet, and try to limit it to strictly LED lighting

My solution for the more power hungry items has been a couple of heavy gauge extension cords running from outlets that typically get little draw.
I have a 100' 10 gauge extension cord running from an outlet in the back yard to run my 2000 watt fog machine, and it works flawlessly.
I have a couple more lighter gauge cords running from the garage and side yard that work for other items, and non-LED lights (par 38 spots and such).

Eventually, I'd like to re-do the electrical in my house, for safety, convenience and sanity, but until then, extension cords are a cheap solution.
Most houses built in the Us in the last 50 years have what is known as a 100-amp system. That means the entire household load is 100 amps simultaneously. Then you have multiple circuits in the home, each of which is usually rated for a 15 amp load. A few (like the fridge or washer/dryer circuits) and rated for a 20 amp load. So even when you go to the trouble of using the low load circuits in your home, you can still run the risk of exceeding the house's overall 100 amp limit.
 
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