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Discussion Starter #1
I have a question for the more electrically inclined. I have an outlet outside the house for plugging in my Halloween decorations but the trouble is that I need to run multiple extension chords and then multi plugs to each individual item. I also have some items that are running on 12 V and 5 V power. Then there is the trouble of protecting all the connections and the power supplies. Given all of this I thought it might be simpler to build a tombstone that contains various outlets for all my needs and run a single chord to the tombstone then distribute power from there. I was planning to just mount a group of outlets for the stuff that runs on 120 and then some jacks for the low voltage stuff. Because so much of the haunt is LED I am fairly sure I am not exceeding the amps on the circuit but as it grows I wanted to monitor the power draw so I was also going to include a electricity usage monitor. My question is if anyone sees any obvious problems with my plans or has any helpful suggestions.
 

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So long as you're not exceeding the capacity of the circuit, you should be fine. I have power boxes that I use, one input and a lot of outputs, although this year I'm going to build it into a new crypt in the graveyard to keep it all hidden and centrally located. Just make sure you use the biggest gauge cord you can from the plug to your tombstone though. I put in two outside banks of outlets this year, one on each side of the house, and it worked just fine for all of my power needs.
 

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Most 120v house circuits are typically only designed and rated for 15 amps (14 gauge wire) some may be upgraded to 20 amps (12 gauge wire). If you can trace the circuit that your outdoor recepticle is on, note the size of the breaker. Then find out if there are any other recepticles and/or lights on the same circuit. This will determine how many amps you can safely draw for your outdoor stuff. If you've been connecting everything to the single outlet and it's been working for you, then your plan will be fine, that is until your display grows to the point of overload.
 

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Blaberus craniifer
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I went a different route. I converted everything to LED or low voltage and run my entire display from two Malibu transformers. I just run an extension cord to the transformer, then string the low voltage wires from the transformers throughout the yard. I can just clip on the Lights or prop motors. I did have to build bridge rectifiers to convert the 12VAC to DC and then used simple Buck converters to drop the voltages to 3, 5 or 9 volts. Been working really well for me.
 

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The best way to tell your amp draw is to test it with an amp clamp. The safest way is to use a splitter and amp around it. Of course it would be better if you knew someone that had this already to do it for you or let you borrow it. I run my cords to power strips that are kept in storage totes, the tote is just a little bigger than the strip and it keeps it dry. You just have to hide the tote or paint it black. I cut a hole in the side of the tote to run wires through.
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When I put in my two outside outlets, they are brand new independent circuits with 20a breakers. If you're plugging into an existing circuit, you do have to take into account pre-existing usage and test for amperage draw.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the suggestions.
 
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