Connect Christmas Lights Sets End To End - Only 2?

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I bought some 300 bulb Icicle lights sets at Target.
On the box it says (word for word):
"Electrical rating: 120V, 0.6 Amps, 72 watts
Connect up to 210 Watts or 2 sets (600 lights) of the same TARGET 300 icicle light set."
Lousy grammar aside, if the sets are rated at 72 watts and you can "connect up to 210 watts", why the "2 sets (600 lights)" limitation?
What will happen if I connect 3 or 4 sets together - other than the Christmas Lights police coming after me?
Thanks!
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can blow fuses in light sets, may overheat wires, etc etc.
my wife did this once tied all the sets in one long string and blew fuses that cost about as much as a new set of lights....... i warned her not too
we are getting divorced
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On 11/20/2010 2:35 PM DerbyDad03 spake thus:

I'm confused too because of the unclear wording. If one set is rated at 72 watts, 210 watts should cover 3 sets, right? (OK, 216 watts.) So maybe they mean that you can connect up to 2 *more* sets to the one you have now?
As someone else said, the limiting factor here is probably the fuse in the light set. The wires are probably heavy enough to allow more sets than the fuses will handle.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Insurance companies look for ways to disallow your claim.

What's unclear about it? Three sets exceeds 210 watts. The math is simple. Don't try to understand the intersection of all the quirks of international safety rules. Follow the directions and you should be fine.
If your car holds 14 gallons of gas. You've got 3 5-gallon jerry cans. Trying to put in all 3 is a BAD idea. And it doesn't matter what "someone else" told you.
On a technical note... The power factor is likely horrible, so the peak current may be way bigger than you'd think for 72 watts.

I haven't put a product thru safety certification in over 20 years, but at that time, "Probably" was not a term that you'd want to use in the presence of the test engineer...especially if you had no idea what you were talking about.
I never understood why people insist on putting heat sources on dessicated pine trees inside their houses...and ignoring the safety specs.

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On 11/20/2010 3:34 PM mike spake thus:

Safety concerns noted. But if the package says it's safe to use 3 strings, then shouldn't the consumer be able to trust that? Ass-u-ming there are UL/CSA/whatnot labels on it. Otherwise, what are they going to trust?
The problem is it's totally unclear how many strings are safe to use. How do you parse the instructions the OP gave?
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

sets." You have better first-hand information than I do. If that's what YOUR package says, you should be able to do that.
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3 sets would be 6 watts over the limit.
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On 11/20/10 9:46 PM, Pat wrote:

Yeah, I get that.
As I re-read my OP, I can see that I wasn't clear in what I was asking.
In addition, I found some slightly different wording on another part of the box.
On the front of the box it says:
- Connect up to 2 sets end to end ** <-- Note the double asterisks
Then on the back it says what I posted earlier, with the double asterisks as shown:
"Electrical rating: 120V, 0.6 Amps, 72 watts
** Connect up to 210 Watts or 2 sets (600 lights) of the same TARGET 300 icicle light set."
So what are they saying/implying? 1 - I can connect up to 2 strings of TARGET 300 icicle light sets (144 watts) and then whatever I want after that as long as I don't exceed 210 watts total.
2 - I can only connect 2 strings of their lights even though the total wattage is less than 210.
3 - I can use one of their sets and then connect anything else I want to it as long as I don;t exceed 210 watts.
They used the word "or" which, grammatically speaking, means that the "2 sets (600 lights) of the same TARGET 300 icicle light set" stands alone. In other words, I can do one *or* the other - Up t 210 *or* 2 sets of their lights.
Now here's why I ask: For the past few years, I have had *three* sets of these lights strung together (outdoors). These 300 light sets are made up of 4 sections of ~20 icicles each. The first year, all the lights worked. The next year, one section of a couple of strings stopped working. (I was able to arrange the lights so that the sections that wouldn't light weren't seen).
By the end of last year, each of the 3 strings had at least one section that didn't work, one of them had 2.
So here's the real question: Could stringing more than 2 sets together cause sections of each set to go bad?
Another question: You can "piggyback" plugs by plugging one plug into the back of another plug. If I piggyback 2 plugs, can I power 4 sets as long as I only have 2 sets connected end to end? In other words, the piggyback plugs would be in the middle and there would be 600 lights to the left and 600 lights to the right.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:
[snip]

What the instructions say can be really wrong. I actually measure the current load. For example, a 100-light miniature string uses .4A.
The current limit for multiple sets connected together is determined by the wiring and the fuse, and as stated as 3A. I then subtract 1A for safety (and poor quality control in the lights). That means 5 sets are OK. I've used 5 many times with no problem.
Note that extension cords normally have higher limits. You can plus multiple sets of lights into one cord. Regular cords say 13A, but can overheat with more than 10A continuous.

All 4 sets are taking current through the fuse in the first set. Can it handle 4 sets? If these are miniature lights, as I mentioned above, that would be 2.4A through a 3A fuse. It may work, or you could be replacing that fuse a lot.
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Those tiny Italian lights have a fuse built into the plug, and the string of lights and anything that is plugged into the plug all go through the fuses, so be cautious. A triple cube-tap plugged into the end of an extension cord wil solve many problems.
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On 11/21/2010 12:46 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Yes.
The fuse will eventually blow if you exceed the current rating, You should have spare fuses in the little packet with spare bulbs. There should be some way to open the plug and replace them.
It won't matter what is plugged in the end, as long as the total wattage is less, per string, than what they rate.
You may wish to try some of the LED lights, they use a lot less current and will pay for themselves if you leave the lights on a lot. Hence more strings end to end. You probably will note a color difference if you mix sets.
Jeff
In other words, the

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Having worked in commercial buildings and done some holiday decor work -- the target specs on what loads you could safely support off the holiday light sets gave you wattages and the number of INDENTICAL strings you could connect because not every manufacturer builds light sets that use exactly the same wattage and it doesn't leave you trying to convert it says "210 watts total or less" very clearly for you...
Sounds like you need some properly rated outdoor extension cords...
~~ Evan
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Where it says "made in xxxx", what is xxxx? Do you trust the English to have been carefully and accurately written and/or transcribed?
Maybe older strings used 105W, and were revised to use 72W, but the package wasn't carefully proofed.
Maybe the numbers are in octal.
Edward
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On most of mine the piggy back plug does not go thru the fuses. A cheap way to replace the fuse is to wrap a small bit of aluminum foil around it. You can plug more strings onto the end that way as well. You are breaking the safety rules but the wire will handle a few more strings and a dead short will melt the foil.
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On 11/22/2010 6:18 AM jamesgangnc spake thus:

You know, in some other situations I might consider this an acceptable solution. But as someone else pointed out here, we're talking about an electrical device (actually lots of them, with lots of wire) strung on a highly combustible conifer. Potential recipe for disaster. Not worth taking chances on (unless you were already planning on insurance arson or some such).
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For years the things didn't have any fuses at all. Relied on common sense as to how many you daisy chained. Of course common sense is in short supply so now when we used to be able to string 4 or 5 of them we can't any more because of a few morons.
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On 11/22/2010 12:21 PM jamesgangnc spake thus:

And of course during those years we had *no* fires resulting from Xmas-tree lights ...
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On Mon, 22 Nov 2010 12:25:20 -0800, David Nebenzahl shat:

And of course during these years with fuses we have *no* fires resulting from Xmas-tree lights...
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On 11/22/2010 12:28 PM Mike Hockisbigg spake thus:

We can safely assume that because of the cases where the fuses did their job by blowing, there have been fewer fires post-fuses. (My earlier statement was, admittedly, a little hyperbolic; it's called "getting your attention".)
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