Christmas lights

I have a strand(severeal really) of those outside icicle Christmas lights, and the plug in has 2 3 amp fuses in them. I have replaced both fuses, and still doesn't work. Is there a real harm in just replacing the plug in with a standard non-fused plug-in? Will it really heat up and catch fire???? just wondering Thanks in advance
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on 12/6/2008 10:53 PM bob said the following:

They are fused for a reason. Bypassing the fuse might light up more than you want. Toss them and buy a new set. They are cheap.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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bob wrote:

Ya know, I just had the same problem. 3 strings of 105 lights each connected end to end. The fuses in the plug at the beginning were good, but was not making contact. I was not going to remove them, so I put on a new plug without fuses. The harm is that, 1) someone will sneak up on my roof at night and plug in more lights to the end connector or try to plug in a toaster or something like that or 2) if you have a massive burnout, where all the lamps die at once, the fuse won't blow and the shunts in the lamps will .... but the lamps are already dead anyway. BTW, many light strings don't even have fuses. I'm not sure if it's a UL thing now or not.
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you know something, I have a neighbor who just might try that...good idea
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wrote:

Like I said in my other message, just plug that fuseless string into another with a fuse.
Considering someone plugging in a toaster: Miniature light strings have non-polarized sockets that won't accept most things.
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18 days until the winter solstice celebration

Mark Lloyd
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bob wrote:

Find the short.
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How do you know its the plug and not a bulb that is bad or loose?
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Mikepier wrote:

Did I say I know? Bad or loose bulbs don't blow fuses.
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wrote:

The OP does not mention blowing a fuse, he said he only replaced them, implying maybe he thought that's why the lights were not working. Obviously if he replaced the fuses and it still does not work, there is an open someplace, not a short. So it could be a loose bulb or a bad bulb shunt that did not close fully.
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Well the fuse is there so you don't draw more current than the wires and plugs can safely carry. That is why they are there. It is unsafe with out them or with higher rated fuses. Just because it may work for a test does not mean it is safe.
BTW are you testing the fuses to make sure they are tripping? It could well be a bad lamp or wire or socket.
Those things are only designed to last a few years at best.
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if you overload the string it will in fact melt. If the then uninsulated wires touch, they will spark and burn in half. I doubt any real damage could result. Aluminum foil is your friend in those fuse sockets. Been there done that dozens of times.
s

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Steve Barker DLT wrote:

And I bet your daddy used to put pennies under blown screw base fuses dozens of times too.
"Doubt" doesn't imply certainty, Steve. You can set a house on fire with a 9 volt battery and a little bit of steel wool across its terminals.
And, since stuff posted to newsgroups lives nearly forever, why risk someone suing your ass off because an accident happened and they claim it happened because they followed your (bab) advice.
Happy Holidays,
Jeff
PS: Would you please satisfy my curious mind and let me know what the "DLT" after your name signifies?
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Use the intended fuse. These are very helpful with lights.
http://www.lightkeeperpro.com/default.asp
Steve
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bob wrote:

Did you replace blown fuses or just replace them as troubleshooting? Why do you want to replace the fused plug?
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Go ahead and replace it (unless you'd rather just buy a new string, which could be easier). Then never use it as the FIRST string. Plug it into other strings so you still get the protection of the fuse in that string. Note that you'll probably need to find (or make) a NON-POLARIZED plug.
In most cases, miniature lights use series of 50. Each series uses about 200mA, and an icicle strand usually has 3 series (uses 600mA). The little fuses are rated 3A, although I find it more reliable to limit current to 1A less than that. According to that rule, you can connect 3 of those strings end-to-end, using a total of 1.8A.
A regular (15 AWG) extension cord could handle 9 strings (3 from each or the outlets, 5.4A) or 15 strings (9A) using an additional 3-plug adapter. Don't forget the GFCI.
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18 days until the winter solstice celebration

Mark Lloyd
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Don't bother with the lights. Denounce your religion.
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bob wrote:

Hi, You mean fuse was blown? If you replace them did it blow again? Do you have a multimeter? Do you have a sniffer with which you can track down the bad spot on the string? If fuse did not blow, fuse holder can be bad. Really multimeter will come in handy.
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Yes. Yes.
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Red Green wrote:

Hi, Well then something i shorting out. If it is multiple short strings connected in series, you'll have to disconnect them and try one string at a time until you find a culprit. Or careful visual inspection on wires or lamps will rewveal something.
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Here is some general information on repair of miniature series string Christmas lights.
If it's an "end to end" string with an outlet on the end you can check if the fuses (plural because both sides are fused on these non polarized units) by plugging another known to work in the end or some other VERY LOW draw item or a voltmeter or neon test light. Likewise if it's a string made of several substrings (like 100 or 150 light strings are made of sets of 50; 70's are made of two 35 light strings) and some group(s) light and some don't then it's not the fuses. If you suspect fuses and replace them and still no lights anywhere then you have a connection problem somewhere along the line.
The most common problem when a string (or substring) doesn't light is going to be a bulb that is missing, is not fully inserted, or has burned out and the built-in shunt has failed to keep the connection going. These are the things that take the longest to find and often fail the is- it-worth-it test.
First look it over to find any obvious problem.
If not then here is where it gets difficult. You can replace bulbs, sometimes replacing one then using that one to subsitute for the next and so on but that won't help if there is more than one problem. (Usually it's cheaper to sacrifice a string as a source of spare bulbs rather than buying separately.)
Best bet is to get one of those pen-like devices with an LED that glows when brought near a "hot" wire. To use effectively you will have to figure out which way you have plugged in the string (to assure that "hotness" is being fed from the plug end while the series string of bulbs is connected to neutral at the far end. The diagnostic work can be done the other way but then you have to work from the far end back to the beginning. Easier just to reverse the plug.
And for purposes of this discussion we are talking about the end of a series string of bulbs which will not the end of the overall string on 100 and 150 light sets. You can tell where one substring ends and the next starts even without counting by looking for a place where there are only two wires between bulbs.
Remember these detector pens need only be brought close to an INSULATED wire that is "hot" for the LED to glow. You don't strip anything or have contact with dangerous voltage.
You will have to do some untwisting of the wires to ensure that the detector pen is brought close to a potentially hot single wire which doesn't have any other conductors near it.
Basically, after you play around a bit with the wires from the plug to the first bulb to gain knowledge of how the detector works you should try it on the first few bulbs, untwisting some wires and proving that "hot" goes in and comes out on the wire that holds the bulbs.
Once you get the hang of this then go out about half way through the bulbs and see if you still have "hotness" there. If you do then divide the distance to the end of the string (meaning that group of 50 if it's a multi string set). If you don't detect anything at that point then go back halfway to the beginning and see if you find it there. You should be able to narrow it down to a bulb where "hot" goes in but doesn't come out. Replace that bulb. If the string or sub string still doesn't light keep checking as you have more than one problem.
Remember that one of the other wires, of the two that go direct from plug to end outlet (or to the next substring), is carrying "hot" so you must separate the bulb-string wire from it to avoid a false positive. Likewise that other wire is carrying neutral and will cancel the reading if too close to the wire under test.
If you are dealing with a string that has no outlet on the end you can use this method but beware that this type of string has alternate bulbs on opposite wires. In other words, imagine a circle of wire with bulbs on them at, say, 8" intervals and then is twisted together into a linear string so the bulbs end up about 4" apart. The work outlined above can be done but as you work along you skip every other bulb as you go along detecting.
I have another method of repairing strings but it's too complex to explain here but it involves using a Variac and lighting a few bulbs on appropriate voltage, then moving farther along and increasing the voltage and eventually finding and repair the bad bulbs. I call it the brute force method as I've never failed to repair a string unless some wiring defect is found where it would be unsafe to put it back in service. Those become the bulb donors for good strings and wire salvaged for other use.
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