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Electrical question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by November Ghost, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. November Ghost

    November Ghost New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2015
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    For those that run electricity to your coop, do you use an extension cord and power strip/timer etc? or is your coop wired itself?

    mine is run with an extension cord to the main house and have a timer and power strip in the coop out of the way that feeds my lamp and water heater .... I plan to acquire some sort of waterproof/weatherproof box to house the strip and timer to further protect it.

    my water heater is DIY from an old lamp socket on a cord in a metal tin ... ( I read on BYC a tutorial on this type of homemade heater) and one trouble lamp with a 100 watt incandescent bulb ..

    I have had this set up going now for a month without problems ... until yesterday

    it had rained all day and everything outside was very wet and damp .... the breaker kept getting thrown and nothing new was added to the current load so I am not sure why it kept throwing ... since yesterday afternoon, it is running as normal (I did unplug some items from another outlet that are on the same current load but were plugged in all month long without incident)

    i guess i am puzzled as to what was making it throw a breaker all of a sudden and then stop and work as normal...

    any suggestions? i have a few ideas but want to hear opinions
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    My coop is direct wired. Any outlets/switches are made for outdoor and use weatherproof devices. Breakers are designed to kick off if their is a problem, so you most likely are getting moisture with a drop cord/power strip. (This is why you have GFCI in the bathroom/kitchen and other wet locations in your house).
    I use a ceramic fixture - like a keyless fixture. Not sure what a "trouble lamp" is. But if your sockets/fixtures and cord and strip are not rated for 100W you will also kick off your breaker (overload). I don't see your location, so I don't know how cold you get. I have 25W bulb inside my cinder block warmer that is in the coop and a 40W inside the one outside. They both keep the water unfrozen for me at 22degrees(F) so far. I found I needed more heat for the one outside because of wind/exposure, but inside 25w works so far.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Mine is also direct wired. My coop is the end of a 12’ x 60’ shed about 200 feet from the house. I had a licensed electrician and licensed plumber install electricity and water down there according to code although I’m in the county and code wasn’t required. It’s convenient to have power and water on that part of the property for things other than just the chickens and I know they are done right.

    Mine runs into a breaker box in the shed with separate circuits going to lights and wall outlets. I discovered long ago that putting both lights and wall outlets on the same circuit is not a good idea if you plug in a heavy user like a skill saw. Lights go dim and it can mess up your fluorescent lights if you use those. Although all my fixtures other than one light switch are inside, I used fixtures rated for outside.

    It’s often hard to get real specific in diagnosing problems over the internet, but I agree. From what you describe it is moisture related. How is it moisture related? That’s the rub. I don’t know. One quick thought is that chickens create a lot of dust. I know this is a stretch but if dust gets in a fixture then gets damp from the humidity it could cause a short. When it dries out the short goes away. It could be something else entirely.
     
  4. November Ghost

    November Ghost New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2015
    Columbia, Missouri
    i call a brooder lamp or similar lamp like that a trouble light ... a term my dad used ... sorry if it mixed you up ...

    it is into a GFCI outlet ... it is that i need to reset .... i guess I did not clarify that ...

    I am located in Mid Missouri ....

    my assumptions are that of moisture ... as i have not had this problem at all before the 30 hours of rain we just had ..
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    GFCI kicks off if there is a moisture problem.
     
  6. November Ghost

    November Ghost New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2015
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    Yeah. That's the issue then. It never did that in the last heavy rains we got but this most recent it did. I'll have to find a way to correct it.
     
  7. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm just guessing at what the OP meant but to me a trouble lamp is what auto mechanics in the good old days used to work around dark engine compartments. Remember those lamps where half the bulb was enclosed in a metal reflector and the rest of the bulb was covered with a metal cage. It also had a hook at the top so it could be hung from things such as the open hood and a handle with a switch at the bottom.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It could be anything plugged in causing the 'short' that is tripping the GFCI.
    Check all the connections on every one of them one at time, hopefully you find something obvious and easy to remedy.
     
  9. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You need a way to keep the cord plugs dry or at least as dry as possible. Keep the plugs off the ground and preferably with the female opening pointed down so no water goes in there. If the cord itself is good with no nicks in the insulation then it should be ok but you want to keep the plugs off the ground. Also make sure that your plugs are fully inserted and seated good so there is no exposed metal of the prongs.

    If you use a GFI outlet or breaker(which you should in this case), any leakage of current will cause it to trip. the GFI doesn't know if the leakage is because you have grabbed a bare wire and the "leakage" is going through you or if it's just a slight leakage to ground because of a wet plug on the ground.

    Since you will have this setup through out the winter you could also wrap the plugs in electrical tape but you would still want them to be up off the ground so they are not in standing water.
     
  10. November Ghost

    November Ghost New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2015
    Columbia, Missouri

    That is what I meant but my father used the term for any type of auxillary clamp style light too. I guess I picked up that habit. The type of light I'm using is not the type you described. Although I use one like that when I work on my jeeps the one on my coop is a brooder style.
     

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