christmas lights

GFCI Outlets - MORE!

2004 Update: Click here to HEAR the Christmas lights go on and off - more christmas music and christmas lights videos.
The X10 Super Sockets have mechanical relays - yea, I know my microphone is lame! ;-)
2012 Update: I wrote up about to fix and repair the SR227 X10 Super Sockets

There were Christmas 2000 and Christmas 2001. As you can imagine, this draws a bit of power (almost 60 amps last year), which required a bit of balancing since I don't like to draw more than 12 amps/circuit or a GFCI outlet. Even so, the wires/outlets would get a bit warm, my wife would complain about not being able to use the hair dryer, and there were a few other mildly annoying things.

So I decided to run some dedicated GFCI circuits directly from the breaker box to a panel of outlets outside the house. Here's what it looks like:

gfci panel

The two boxes on the far right are provisioned for future expansion; I ran an additional two sets of wire in case I ever need it - all I have to do is add/connect outlets and breakers, and another 30 amps ready to go. The other two boxes on the top aren't actually "used", since they contain double GFI outlets, since I didn't put GFI outlets in the breaker box. And then those feed the double X10 outlets below where we actually plug in the Xmas lights and control them automatically. A total of 4 circuits and 60 amps of juice.

I only had one slot left on the breaker box, so I had to double up two existing single pulls to tandems, added two more tandems (first time I've ever done work inside the breaker box ;-), and pulled a buncha 12 gauge wire. This stays completely outside the house as shown in this picture of the conduit run:


BTW, Steve from Home Depot was darn helpful throughout this process; so if you are ever in the Louisville, Colorado store, look for this guy in the electrical department:

home depot

Always use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter to protect your outlets