Fixing Christmas lights ...

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As I recall when I saw one in a nearby Ace Hardware store, there is a female outlet on the unit to use for the high voltage pulse. There is also a continuity tester in the unit .... this is probably where you need to remove bulbs to test. The high voltage pulse must have the whole string present in order for it to work. This probably works better than my 1/2 wave rectified 220 volts (from an autotransformer) because the pulse voltage is higher than the peak of 220, which is only about 310 volts or so. The piezo unit can literally put out 1000s of volts, although I don't know what this unit does.
Paul Giroux wrote:

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wrote:

Cool. A $79.95 gadget to repair a two buck string of lights!
Americna ingenuity!
Joel

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On 11/29/2004 9:49 AM US(ET), Joel M. Eichen took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

http://www.hotproductnews.com/detail.htm?sku 561&News_Categories=Products One other site was selling it at $24.97. http://www.polsteins.com/ultr0liprore.html

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Actually, they are no where near $79.95. I think I remember they are about $15. Still, it IS cheaper to buy new lights, however, fixing does keep the landfills less busy.
Joel M. Eichen wrote:

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wrote:

Trip to the dollar store?

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1. Do you have any audio equipment with a phono jack or line level jack? Plug a cable in, clip onto the tip of the cable one of those alligator clip jumper wires, and run it along the plugged-in string and see if the hum changes as you pass one bulb.
2. There are now many strings that have means to bypass blown bulbs. However, I fear that when a bulb blows the voltage across the others will increase. Each burnout would make the remaining bulbs age faster.
3. Get LED strings. Fair sources are Target and Boscovs, last year I saw good choices in the Brookstone online catalog. I saw a "basic" model at Walgreens, but this year none at CVS, Rite Aid nor Eckerd.
For reviews on some of these, check out:
http://ledmuseum.home.att.net/menutop.htm#21
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com) writes:

to screw in bulbs? You can still get bulbs for them.
I wouldn't know, since we're still using Christmas lights from at least forty years ago, though they did replace an older set that had the bulbs in series.
It sounds like the issue isn't that the bulbs are in series, that's merely a slow process to find the dead bulb, but that they are no longer socketed.
That would make them far more throwaway than the old style Christmas lights. On the other hand, from the flyers I see one can get them pretty cheap, so maybe nowadays people toss out the Christmas tree with the lights still on it.
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On 11/28/2004 1:51 PM US(ET), Michael Black took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

still going strong. It's a pain to decorate and undecorate it every year, so I'm going to build a cantilevered closet addition in the corner of the LR where it is usually displayed, and when Christmas is done, just slide the decorated tree into the closet, close the door, and it's all ready for next year. I may put wheels on it, or some kind of extension track like on a slide away keyboard tray to make it even easier. :-)
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willshak wrote:

Why not just leave it up year round? A woman at work kept a tree up all year, but changed the decorations to match the holidays/seasons. But that would defeat the purpose of your idea, no matter how cute it was.
LOL
-Jane
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I bought a "waterless" tree about eight years ago. For the money, it's probably one of the best Christmas decorations on the market now.
Bill
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Our christmas tree is a pain to decorate and un-decorate, too, but that's because it's gotten taller than our extension ladder.
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 16:02:27 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@uri.edu"

Put it on a dolly, roll it into the garage, and then roll it back into the house next winter.
Joel
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writes:
| Do they not make old style Christmas lights where there are sockets | to screw in bulbs?
Sure. Both classic sizes (C7 & C9) are readily available. They also have miniature bulbs with covers to make them look like C7, so you have to be a little careful.
| It sounds like the issue isn't that the bulbs are in series, that's merely | a slow process to find the dead bulb, but that they are no longer socketed.
All the miniature lamps I've seen are still socketed; however, the sockets and the connection wires to the bulbs are not exactly robust. Even if you use a binary search as proposed by another poster to minimize the number of bulbs that you have to remove and re-install, it isn't entirely unlikely that you will break or at least deform the contacts on a good bulb in the process of searching for a bad one. That gives you a moving (and growing) target...
| That would make them far more throwaway than the old style Christmas | lights. On the other hand, from the flyers I see one can get them pretty | cheap, so maybe nowadays people toss out the Christmas tree with the lights | still on it.
They are pretty cheap to begin with, and it is fairly easy to hit the 75% off sale point after Christmas so you can stock up for the next year. A couple of years ago I found a 90% off sale, though there wasn't a huge variety left. At those prices there just isn't a huge incentive to repair dead strings, though I don't discard good ones.
                Dan Lanciani                 ddl@danlan.*com
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Don Klipstein wrote:

I love the LED Christmas lights. They are a lot cheaper to operate too! We replace a few strands last year and will replace more this year. We will be using LED lights outside too. If we can get the look we want using less electricity, why not! Two of our strands are programmable for different flashes. We don't put lights on our tree as it is fiber optic and uses one halogen bulb.

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If you can remove the bulbs, check them one at a time for continuity using the multimeter. A bad bulb will be open - infinite resistance. Replace the bad bulbs with good ones from the other strings and you should be in business.
If the bulbs are not removable, locate the bad ones by pushing a pin through the wire insulation before and after the suspect bulb. Now you can measure the bulb's continuity using your meter. When you remove the pins the insulation will close back up around the pinhole.
To replace a bad bulb, you'll have to cut out the old one, then splice the new (good) one to the resulting wire leads.
Note that the light string is UNPLUGGED for all of these tests. Apply power only after the repair is finished to see if you have more burned out bulbs.
One more thing - since you have extra bulbs, if you splice in a few extra bulbs into your series string, all of the bulbs will last longer. They'll dim slightly, but every 5% that you decrease their brightness will double their life.
wrote:

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On Sun, 28 Nov 2004 10:21:50 -0800, Lou Schneider <> wrote:

Ye-O-W-W-W-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w!
100 volts!

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end of the cord. Repeat as necessary by dividing and checking each bad half of the remaining strings. 5 tests + confirmation of the bad bulb checks a string of 100. Dave
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wrote:

Eight, nine hours you should have it all checked.

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Subject: Re: Fixing Christmas lights ... Reply-To: snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Michael Black)
Organization: The National Capital FreeNet
Joel M. Eichen ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) writes:

recall what it's called.
He's dividing everyting in half, so each bulb does not have to be checked individually..
The first check defines which half of the string the problem bulb is in. The second defines which quarter of the string the problem bulb is in. And so on.
If the string has 100 bulbs, the first check immediately rules out fifty bulbs. The second check rules out 75 bulbs, the third check rules out about 87, the fourth check rules out 94.
Michael
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