Outdoor Christmas lights

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For next Christmas, what kind of Christmas Light Strings should I buy for the outside of my home?
On some of the strings I currently own:
1) all the bulbs light 2) none of the bulbs light 3) the bulbs on only a section of the string light
On the strings I want, if a bulb dies or is missing, the rest of the bulbs should light.
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Here's how I'm going to spend the "off-season"...
I'm going to buy a boat load of these:
http://www.1000bulbs.com/images/HLS-MALE600-600x.jpg
and a bunch of these:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/l.thumbs.canstockphoto.com/canstock0234912.jpg
Then I'm going to take all of the strings of Christmas lights that I own and turn them into hundreds of single bulb strings, each with their own plug.
I'll never have to worry about half-lit strings or short sections of strings going out again.
If I do 8 or 9 a day, I should be ready by next Thanksgiving.
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On Tue, 29 Dec 2009 11:43:13 -0800, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Use 4' fluorescent tubes instead - less than 50c/foot and far less components to worry about. Wrap electrical tape around the tubes to mask off the bits you don't want visible to give that "lots of small bulbs" effect.
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wrote:

re: "Wrap electrical tape around the tubes to mask off the bits you don't want visible"
When I was a Loran C technician in the Coast Guard back in the 70's, we used to take 4' fluorescent tubes and slowly approach the transmitting tower until the tube lit up.
Then we'd hold one end and slide our other hand up the tube. The tube would only light above our hand, so we could essentially "slide" the light up and down the tube by moving our hand.
We always made sure we didn't get any closer to the tower than necessary to get the tube to glow. A megawatt would hurt if the signal decided you were a good path the ground.
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You were a little too close if you got the fluorescent light to glow!!!!!
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wrote:

Actually, if we were a little too close, I wouldn't be able to tell the story!
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Holy crud, they were way too close! One of my old radar instructors used to tell us about how a few sailors decided to use a fire control radar (1 megawatt peak, maybe ~50KW average power) to "sterilize" themselves before going on leave for the weekend. Easy to do, just stand in front of the dish when it is operating. They figured that way their "dates" would not get pregnant. When you are exposed to microwave radiation, do you know what body parts warm up first? Anything small that sticks out, such as ears, nose, lips, fingers, and...other body parts. They sterilized themselves, all right. Permanently. They should have received some sort of Darwin award for that stunt.
If I was close enough to any of my dishes for a flourescent tube to light, I'd probably wet myself.
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==============================================================
I can believe that. Many years ago; driving down a street in traffic sloping towards the harbour here my vehicle radio was tuned to a local AM band station at 640 kilohertz kilocycles!).That's 640,000 oscillations per second.
A NATO warship was moored at the harbour side about a quarter mile ahead Its large radar antenna was rotating. Each time it pointed in my direction there as a momentary 'swish' or click on my radio.
"Wow"; I thought, "What kind power at what frequency is that thing putting about?", to be able to block my radio (just an on ordinary cheap auto-radio) like that.
Radars (Am open to correction here by those more expert) operate at many millions of oscillation per second. Some as high as 12,000 million per second!
Calendar related ........... best wishes for the next year.
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A Loran C signal is *not* the same thing as microwave radiation.
A Loran C signal is a 100Mhz signal sent out in a precisely timed pulsed sequence.
The danger was strictly based on you becoming a path to ground for the 100 megawatts of power.
Because Loran C is supposed to be operating 100% of the time, any off- air time (or problems with the timing) that lasted over 1 minute was considered "bad time" and went on the station's record. 1 minute of bad-time ruined a "perfect month". (We once set a record for 7 perfect months in a row, in the days of 15KV vacuum tubes and mechanical-relay based transmitters)
I mention that stuff so as to explain "tower maintenance" and how it relates to getting near the tower.
When the tower needed maintenance, the "book" said to kill the signal to the tower, allow the tower tech to climb onto the tower, and then energize the tower again. It was perfectly OK to be *on* the tower while it was transmitting, you just didn't want to be "too close" to the tower. Typically, this shut-down, tower-mounting and power-on sequence took less than a minute, so a station didn't ruin a perfect month over a burnt out lightbulb or some other mundane tower problem.
In reality, because the tower techs knew that shutting down the transmitter might present problems, and were sensitive to the records that stations were trying to set, most were willing to "jump the tower". This was accomplished by running towards the tower and jumping onto the concrete base with the tower energized. Of course, we never "allowed" this practice, always "protesting" vehemently - usually to no avail - but the log books would always state that the tech took it upon himself to jump the tower.
I've never seen (or heard of) anyone getting hurt via this practice, but I have seen people serious injured while working on the transmitters themselves. High voltage capacitors, such as the largest ones in this picture, pack quite a punch when the grounding system fails to do its job.
http://www.highenergycorp.com/images/oil/All_HV_caps_5_c.JPG
I've seen caps charge up to over 5KV just by sitting on the workbench of the transmitter building without a shorting strap attached. We used to charge them up with a Hi-Pot and then short them out with a dead- man stick (with the lights off of course) to show the "newbies" why they should never be in the transmiter building without a journeyman transmitter technician. After seeing the demo, some guys wouldn't even go *near* the building!
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A Loran C signal is *not* the same thing as microwave radiation.
A Loran C signal is a 100Mhz signal sent out in a precisely timed pulsed sequence.
The danger was strictly based on you becoming a path to ground for the 100 megawatts of power.
Because Loran C is supposed to be operating 100% of the time, any off- air time (or problems with the timing) that lasted over 1 minute was considered "bad time" and went on the station's record. 1 minute of bad-time ruined a "perfect month". (We once set a record for 7 perfect months in a row, in the days of 15KV vacuum tubes and mechanical-relay based transmitters)
I mention that stuff so as to explain "tower maintenance" and how it relates to getting near the tower.
When the tower needed maintenance, the "book" said to kill the signal to the tower, allow the tower tech to climb onto the tower, and then energize the tower again. It was perfectly OK to be *on* the tower while it was transmitting, you just didn't want to be "too close" to the tower. Typically, this shut-down, tower-mounting and power-on sequence took less than a minute, so a station didn't ruin a perfect month over a burnt out lightbulb or some other mundane tower problem.
In reality, because the tower techs knew that shutting down the transmitter might present problems, and were sensitive to the records that stations were trying to set, most were willing to "jump the tower". This was accomplished by running towards the tower and jumping onto the concrete base with the tower energized. Of course, we never "allowed" this practice, always "protesting" vehemently - usually to no avail - but the log books would always state that the tech took it upon himself to jump the tower.
I've never seen (or heard of) anyone getting hurt via this practice, but I have seen people serious injured while working on the transmitters themselves. High voltage capacitors, such as the largest ones in this picture, pack quite a punch when the grounding system fails to do its job.
http://www.highenergycorp.com/images/oil/All_HV_caps_5_c.JPG
I've seen caps charge up to over 5KV just by sitting on the workbench of the transmitter building without a shorting strap attached. We used to charge them up with a Hi-Pot and then short them out with a dead- man stick (with the lights off of course) to show the "newbies" why they should never be in the transmiter building without a journeyman transmitter technician. After seeing the demo, some guys wouldn't even go *near* the building!
WOW...Some of the things you learn here....LOVE the stories as well...LOL..Thanks....
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Zootal wrote:

Did any of them end up with cataracts?
TDD
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Whatever you buy, just get enough to do what the guy on the right did:
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/uimages/la/120209_DittoXmas.jpg
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Why don't you buy a voltmeter (multimeter) and a book on how to use a voltmeter?
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
"gcotterl" wrote in message

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Have you ever used a voltmeter to troubleshoot a string of lights? Even on a short 35-light string you could be at it for HOURS. My time is worth more than a $2 string of lights. Don't know about yours.
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gcotterl wrote:

I use some light ropes and sparkling tiny LED strings. Sparkling type LED has crystal like hard lens and very tough to crack or break. And power usage is minimal. 2 Watts per 25 LED string.
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Most, if not all, of the "miniature" incandescent Christmas lights marketed these days are wired in SERIES. The bulbs are supposed to be designed to short themselves out if anything happens to the filament, so the rest of the bulbs remain lit and it's obvious which one went bad.
These lights are cheaply made, and the "failsafe" in the bulbs often doesn't work. One goes out, they all go out because the circuit is broken.
Another way they like to fail is a loose connection in one of the sockets. When that happens you just throw the lights away and buy new ones.
The ones that have sections go out are probably the longer 100- and 150-bulb strings. These are usually 4-5 separate 20-30 bulb strings wired together to one plug. Same problems: busted bulbs or loose wires.
The only type of lights that won't go out when you remove a bulb are ones wired in PARALLEL. Old incandescent C5, C7, and C9 style lights (larger bulbs) are wired in PARALLEL. It's tough to find these nowadays.
You will NEVER find the strings with tiny bulbs wired in parallel. The tiny bulbs are low-voltage (1 to 3 Volts, depending on how long the string is) and will blow when exposed to 110V, so they hook them together in series. There isn't enough room in the tiny bulb to contain a 110V filament.
It's easy to tell the difference. Just look at the sockets.
1. If there are 2 wires going into all of the sockets, the string is wired in series. 2. If there are 4 wires going into all of the sockets, the string is wired in parallel.
The simple solution is to buy quality strings of lights. However, there is no such thing. ALL the lights are now made in China to the lowest possible quality standard. You can't buy a quality set of lights at any price. You only pay more for the same cheap crap.
LED strings are wired in series, but LEDs tend to be more reliable than incandescent bulbs. They usually don't fail unless visibly damaged, so it's easy to tell where the problem is.
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gcotterl wrote:

Do what I do. No lights outside. Save lots of headaches and time. Put a candle in the window.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote the following:

I decorate the front door so it looks like a Christmas package and flood it with a red spotlight. I'm too old to climb ladders anymore, unless it's a necessity for repairs or gutter cleaning.. Besides, I would have to compete with the "Griswalds" across the street, and I have about 30 years on him.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
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gcotterl wrote the following:

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
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Buy C-7's or C-9's ...You can still get them...We are replacing our minilights with them as money allows....LED's are nice too...But I know nothing about them as to reliability or how the lights burn out...pricey too...HTH...
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