THIS the season of lights and ornaments!
With the holidays approaching, the demand for different decorative lights is touching the sky too.
Have you too bought a few packs of decorative rope lights to light up your backyard? And are you now confused on how to connect rope lights to each other?
Well, then you are in the right place!
Here we have compiled our complete and elaborate guide with all the tips and tricks to keep you covered on all rope lights basics.
So keep on reading!
Connecting Rope Lights to Each Other – Your Christmas Decor Guide
Apart from being so pretty and catchy to the eyes, rope lights also serve some useful purposes. They are one of the most popular decorative items during holiday seasons and people also use them in place of neon signs all around the year. You can hang them on your room’s wall or ceiling for a cozier look or find them in dark cinemas to guide your way to your seats.
They are everywhere!
But, whether used for decoration or lighting, you will need to connect several of them to create a length suitable for your needs.
And this is where we come to help!
So What Is in a Rope Light Anyways?
First things first!
You need to know a rope light’s basic structure and anatomy before you attempt to unleash the electrician in you, on them.
A rope light consists of a series of tiny little light bulbs, connected and encased in a clear PVC cover to give the effect of a string of lights.
The rope light has the following parts:
- Power cord or cable: which goes into the power outlet. Also, it has receptacle holes on the other end.
- Power connector: connects the power cable to the rope light via two prongs that go into the power cord receptacles.
- Rope light: is the main body with bulbs and their connections.
- Endcap: covers and protects the loose end of the rope light.
So now that you know what is inside a rope light, let’s get on to how to use them?
Connecting Rope Lights – Some Necessary Prerequisites
Don’t take out your pliers right away!
First, read these necessary precautions and prerequisites for connecting rope lights together:
- Make sure you disconnect the light from the power source before you start working on it. Because failure to do so can lead to an electrical hazard.
- Rope lights come rolled into a coil. Make sure to unroll it before connecting it to a socket. Because the heat generated from them may melt the PVC jacket.
- Think before you cut! Cutting at improper places can result in faulty lights. Always look for marks on the outer covering for cutting at the right places.
- Put on the end cap before switching on.
- The outer PVC tubing is a source of insulation and protection from any electrocution or other electric hazard. Therefore, make sure the tubing is always intact to avoid any unfortunate mishaps.
- Do not exert any unnecessary tension along the length of the rope light. Because doing so can result in damage to the inner connections between the lights.
First, You Slice
The first step to connecting two or more rope lights is cutting them into the right length for your project.
Keep in mind that you cannot just slice your rope lights anywhere. Rather, there are specific points designated for cutting which are usually marked on the outer plastic jacket with dotted lines or a symbol for scissors, or any other obvious indication.
You will need to tally the length you need with the length that is “cuttable” according to the markings available. If there is a difference between the two, go for the next best thing and adjust your required length.
Beware! This will need some prior calculations!
Take your time because if you cut the light from an undesignated place, the whole section of the light may go dark, ruining your project and your mood too.
And we do not want that!
Once, you do all calculations and estimations and are all set to make the cut, make sure that the right cutting tools accompany you. Any sharp pair of scissors that could cut through the plastic and wires, will do. You may also use gardening clippers or sharp enough knives or blades.
Next, make a neat vertical cut. You also need to cut the ends a bit to access the internal cords that will be making a connection with connectors in the next light or the power cord. After trimming, bend your light to one side. On bending, you will notice that the inner wires are protruding out. Trim these wires further, this way when you straighten the light back, these wires won’t be sticking out.
And this where the cutting is complete!
Then, You Splice
The next step is the attachment or connection of the trimmed edges to the connector end of the power cord or second rope light.
You’ll notice that the power connector has a detachable top that screws out. Screw this cover out from the connector and place your rope light on the cover. Connect the pins or prongs coming out from the power connector with the trimmed inner wires of the rope light. Push the light in the connector firmly to ensure that there is a tight contact between the pins and the wires. Next, slide the top back on the connector and again screw it in place.
Now, take the power cord and connect it to the power connector, and hence, to your customized rope light.
Here is an interesting fact!
The end of the power cable with receptacles is known as the “female end”, while the end of the power connector that has connecting pins, is called the “male end” of the whole amalgamation.
To romanticize all things related to holidays!
Now all you need to do is, plugging in the female and male ends of the power cord and connector, respectively, and voila!
Here’s your work spot, all ready to lighten up!
Connect the power cable to the power outlet and check if the lights lit up or not. If they don’t, try taking out the cord from the light and reversing it before you reconnect. Because due to the polarization in electrical wires, the wires may need to be connected in a particular direction for an appropriate current flow.
One Last Thing Before You Go
However excited your lit up rope light gets you, never forget to secure the end cap in place before you mount it.
End caps are the protective covers that enclose the loose end of the rope light to contain any protruding wires before they tug on to different things and pose serious electric and fire dangers.
Simply, place the cap on the loose end and push it into place over the PVC jacket.
And you are good to go!
Ready to Mount?
Now that you have your desired length of rope light ready, you can mount it wherever you want. So prepare your mounting surface, gather your mounting accessories, and get to work!
These versatile lights are flexible, and hence you can twist and turn them to place them anywhere. Just be sure not to tug them or you may end up damaging a section. Keep a rope light mounting guide handy for more help.
Rope lights are pretty little things that brighten up any space you use them in. While they come in predetermined lengths, customizing the size according to what your project needs can be a tricky job. Gather all the information on the right way to connect rope lights to each other, before experimenting to do the job correctly and take all safety precautions as well.
And your rope lights will brighten up your day!