Fixing Christmas lights ...

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if it were a computer program, you would call it a binary search i believe.
randy
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I've found that by watching the sales, I can usually get 100 count strands of lights for around $2.50. I buy 2-4 boxes almost every year and don't bother messing more than a few minutes if a strand won't light. It's just not worth the hassle.
Melissa

multimeter
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Melissa wrote:

I buy mine after Christmas when they go on sale for 75% off. I've never paid more than $0.75 for a box of lights.
--Jane
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1) inspect the string for broken or cracked bulbs. Usually caused by careless handling when putting them away. Replace as needed 2) check the fuses (located in the plug end) with a multi meter. Replace as needed. 3) Locate the first unlit bulb in the bad section and replace it with a known good bulb 4) if still unlit. take the bulb you just pulled out (bulb1) and put it in the second unlit bulb slot. 5) if still unlit, take the bulb you just pulled out (bulb2) and put it in the third unlit bulb slot. 6) repeat. working your way down the line. When the string lights, throw the bulb in your hand away.
This will only work if there is only one failed bulb. All bets are off if there are two or more failures My experience is that most bad lights are caused from rough handling (dropping on to the floor) and are usually restricted to broken bulbs. A truely bad bulb will usually be restricted to one per chain. THere are actually two filaments in each bulb. The light producing filament and a shunt filament. If the light producing filament burns out, the shunt filament will allow enough current to flow to light the other lights to light but at reduced voltage. it is only when both filaments burnout that the string dies.
IF still a no go, go to local home center and buy a bad bulb detector for $3. get the type where you insert the bulb into a hole. It seems to work better than the type where you just touch the bulb. I suggest this as a last resort because they don't work too well but they have their place. http://www.howstuffworks.com/question270.htm
Just remember, the lights were working when you took them down (in April?). THey don't go bad sitting in storage. THey failed because of rough handling in the taking down phase. Treat them gently and you will have fewer problems next Christmas.

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The lights are in a series. Sometimes two series to a string.
Lamps today have a shunt in them so they may go out and the rest of the lamps stay on. That works only if the light burns out, as often as not they don't burn out but they come loose and that will kill the rest of the series.
Note, often they include one clear lamp, usually near the plug. It acts as a fuse and it will cause the rest of them to go out if it burns out.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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On Sun, 28 Nov 2004 23:44:02 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

WoW! Shunt. Do you know how they do that?
Must be a fuse of sorts or what?
Joel

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wrote:

What. Its just a resistor of about the same resistance as the filament, which doesnt light up with the normal current thru it.

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wrote:

OK resistor and bulb in parallel and each unit in series with every other unit.
I think the Christmas bulb sets in parallel are cheaper.
I think the Dollar Store has them.
Joel

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Watch National Lampoon's Christmas. Learn from Chevy Chase. Staple gun is your friend.
--

Christopher A. Young
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wrote:

I got so tired of messing with those series wired lights that I bought all the old style lights with the 5 watt bulbs (or are they 7w, I forget). They are the same bulbs used in night lights except colored. Sometimes OLD is better !!! All I do now is replace dead bulbs.
I learned all this from my now deceased father. I remember one Christmas when these series lights got him so mad that he opened the front door and threw all the lights and even the tree out the door into the snow. Later he went and bought all new lights and brought the tree back in, and started over. This eventually became a family joke and we still laugh about the Christmas when that dad threw the tree out the door..... Actually I miss those days now!
T-Pot
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I don't want no COLORED bulbs around here!
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 10:59:41 GMT, "Red Neckerson"

Then buy a white set. (or is white a color too)?
If it is, you already have a dark (dead) set, NO COLOR when it's burned out.....
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I can't see fixing Christmas lights. I am currently unemployed and not rich, but I bought a 100-light string of color GE lights yesterday for $1.37 plus tax.
wrote:

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On 11/29/2004 8:49 AM US(ET), Phisherman took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

But where is the challenge in that? Don't you get a warm glow when you fix something (but in this case you want to get a 'bright' glow)? :-)

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