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Scary NYC Wiring

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Mark_R

Member
It's getting near Thanksgiving so I figured I'd drag these out.
This was a few years ago at Chelsea Market in NYC (home of food network), the day before thanksgiving. Being an electrician it scared the h&ll out of me.

Walking through the tunnel you could feel the heat and smell the hot plastic. Considering the place was packed with holiday crowds made it even worse.

Those are 5'(!) tall stacks of piggyback plugs (50 or so each), 5 per leg of the tunnel. That's about 1,200 strings! :eek: The extension cords were hot and soft.

You do have to admire the ambition of whoever created it though.
 

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gabeNC

Member
What do you think the current draw of that is? Wonder what kind of breakers they had... if any.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Appliance extension cords. None of the light strings look unusual, they probably have their inline fuses intact. I honestly don't see anything sketchy, in fact it's a damn neat wiring job.
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
The last set of mini lights I had similar to those were about 1 watt each.
So assuming those are the fairly standard 35 bulb strings and there are 1200 of them thats about 42 Kw of lights. :eek:
Or about 350 amps at 120 volts which works out to about one 20 amp circuit per stack of 50 strings and likely using 20 circuits total.
Just guessing based on rough numbers though. ;)

But still thats a load of heat being dissipated with all those bulbs! :D
But still it would likely pass code!
 

Mark_R

Member
The 14 gauge (if I remember correctly) e cords were hot and soft. The problem I see is that I seriously doubt that the piggyback plug at the bottom of the stack is designed to pass 20 amperes. The fuse does not help with that.

It was kind of like walking through a pizza oven,
 
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Mark_R

Member
Another one...

The photos don't do justice to the amount of effort that went into this, safe or not. The lights were laid in with mind-numbing precision. Serious man hours here and a bazillion zip ties.
 

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Sceadwian

Banned
I'd worry about the piggy back plugs only if they were dirty before assembly. Exposure to the elements might be a problem, but all in all I'd say it was a well thought out job. Mind you warm and soft plastic is nothing. Many electronics circuits are designed and probably a few only work properly when heating to the point where touching a component could remove finger prints, not just make a piece of plastic soft or warm to the touch =)
 
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audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Why didn't they use LED Christmas tree Lights that operate with a very low current?
My electricity utility gave away low current LED light strings when you hand-in the high current incandescent strings.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
With that much power? Wouldn't the non linearity of a 'diode' that big cause the power company to go into a fit?
 

tcmtech

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42000 .1 watt LEDs would still be only 4200 watts and thats not much really.

A 4200 watt non linear load is not very big in reference to what the power company would see.
The big power transformer (likely several hundred KVA) feeding the building would easily clean up any line noise or distortion. Plus large buildings often have PFC systems integrated into their power source which would further help clean it up.
And if they didn't have a central PFC system all the other misc devices on the system would likely indirectly filter it out just as well.
 

Mark_R

Member
I'd worry about the piggy back plugs only if they were dirty before assembly. Exposure to the elements might be a problem, but all in all I'd say it was a well thought out job. Mind you warm and soft plastic is nothing. Many electronics circuits are designed and probably a few only work properly when heating to the point where touching a component could remove finger prints, not just make a piece of plastic soft or warm to the touch =)

I hope your kidding. :eek:
Warm and soft most definitely IS a problem when talking about building wiring. That's how fires start. Just because the UL listing says that piggyback plug should be able to pass 15 amperes doesn't make it a good idea, We are talking about a crappy mass produced light string here, not a quality plug and socket. A quality commercial grade cord cap costs as much as that whole light string.

I wish I had read the tag on one of the strings. If they are 50 light strings then they are about 25 watts per string so about 10 amperes total. If they are 100 light strings then 20 amperes total. Those extension cords and piggyback plugs are only rated for 15 (maximum continuous load of 12A!). I tend to think that its closer to 20 based upon how hot the cords were.

Were talking about a public place of assembly here. Not where you want to start taking chances with fire hazards.
 
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tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
Some of the worst wiring I have seen that gets done by 'professionals' is in public locations.
At least the home wiring done by people who have little or no electrical knowledge or experience gives a justifiable explanation to bad wiring. Cheap sloppy contractor work done just for extra profits is a whole other reason entirely.
 
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