Testing dollhouse circuits and bulbs

Page 2 of 5  
Jennifer Murphy wrote:

First problem is that you ignored advice and bought an autoranging meter. TURN OFF THE AUTORANGING. Dig around in the manual and look for range hold or range lock or something similar. Set it to the 20V range (maybe 40V depending on the meter) and leave it there while measuring voltage. You'll have to lock it again if you change modes.
You've given few details, but some assumptions can be made. There are always exceptions, but usually...
Where does the power come from? If it's a battery, it's DC. If it's a transformer, it's AC.
How are they connected? If you can get one light to work in a socket, it's parallel.
2.5 vac 0.3a #14 flashlight bulbs x 12 = 3.6 amps.
11 ohms cold seems about 5x too high for that bulb. You sure you've got #14 bulbs?
Short the meter leads and measure resistance of the leads. It's never zero and sometimes a lot more if the probes are defective or just cheap or connections are corroded. Subtract that number from your bulb measurement.      #14 MINIATURE BULB E10 BASE - 2.47 Volt 0.30 Amp Miniature Screw (E10) Base 0.50 MSCP, C-2R Filament Design, 15 Average Rated Hours, 0.94" Maximum Overall Length #14 Miniature Bulb
NOTE that it's rated for 15 hours average life. Might wanna change to a different bulb. Then you'll need a different transformer, but 12V bulbs on a 12V surplus laptop power supply works well. Cheap non-regulated wall warts have small transformers and have serious regulation problems as noted below.
If it's a battery, it won't last long. If it's AC, the transformer should be as big as your fist. If it's much smaller, it's gonna have a lot of secondary impedance. What that means is that it's sized for max load. Designed properly, the lamps will work fine. Problem is that one burns out reducing the load and the voltage goes up increasing the stress on the others. Like dominoes, they start failing at an increasing rate. That's why you've got one left that works. There's another more subtle problem. About 70 years ago, the line voltage increased from 110 to 120V. The life of a bulb goes down MUCH faster than the voltage goes up. That can be a problem for a bulb with a design life (at proper voltage) of 15 hours.
Your problem is likely bad connections in the circuit. This can be corroded connections at the socket or corrosion inside the socket where the lamp contacts it or corrosion on the bulb itself. Sometimes, people just twist wires together to make connections. After 70 years, corrosion causes the connection to fail. You might measure unloaded voltage at the end of the lamp string, but a bulb won't light in that socket.
You should have two wires leaving whatever powers it running together in parallel throughout the house with each bulb tapped into the pair. If you can tell where the wire runs, you should be able to tell, from which sockets work and which don't, where the break is.
You can measure the resistance of the wiring, but it's sensitive to contact corrosion at the probe point and it's easy to infer a break where none exists. Remember to short the probes in ohms mode and lock the range so you won't see all the autoranging artifacts.
If you put the lamp in the far end of the wire, you can measure the voltage at each socket. But if access is limited you risk shorting the connection and smoking something.
From the symptoms, I'd guess that you have corroded connections AND the wrong bulb type.
What's the voltage at the supply end of the circuit with the one-good bulb burning?
Are we having fun yet?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't recall anyone saying not to buy an autoranging meter. One or two said not to buy any meter at all, but it seemed like they were just jerking me around.

If the autoranging can be turned off, then why is it such a big deal not to buy an autoranging meter?

I don't see any way to turn it off. It does have a battery test mode with settings for 1.5, 6, 9, and 12 volts. Can I use that?
This is the meter:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)

In another thread, I explained that there is a 110 AC cord going into the base of the doll house. There's a sealed compartment underneath that I assume houses a transformer of some kind.

Yes. I didn't know that when I posted before.

I have no idea what bulbs I have. The marking are illegible. I have a bunch of #14s on order. I'll see what they do.

With the meter set to ohms, the readong says "0.L" and the units says "M ohms". If I short the leads, the display jumps around a bit and then settles down at between 0.0 and 0.6 ohms. It's closer to zero if I short at the tips and slightly higher if I short nearer the base.
The meter is brand new, so corrosion should not be a problem.

15 hours? What possible use would there be for such a bulb?

I can't get at the actual transformer without taking the doll house apart, which I don't want to do right now. However, the housing where I think the transformer is placed is about 6" x 6" x 1".

Are you confusing load and voltage?
It's been almost 40 years since college physics, but my recollection is that the voltage drop across each branch of a parallel circuit is the same. So, from E=IR, the load (amperage) is the inverse of the resistance. No?

If they fail at an increasing rate, the odds of having just one left working would be small, no? Once all of the others are done, the last one would go very quickly.

I can't get to most of that to check. The bulbs look clean.

Actually, yes. :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

(Amazon.com product link shortened)
There is nothing wrong with an auto ranging meter for general testing. It is often the perferred type of meter. I use them almost every day. Everything from low voltage stuff to 480 volt 3 phase. I have used meters every where from the least expensive kind to $ 300 and up meters, even test equipment costing $ 5000 or more. For general around the house testing what you have is fine.
I would not use the battery ranges for anything but the batteries. It should slightly load down the batteries so you get a beter check of them.
For the bulbs, all you need to know is if the resistance is very low ( say less than 100 ohms) or very high (really an open). You seem to have some new bulbs on the way. YOu may want to check them before putting them in. Not likely, but there could be some bad ones in the package. I was trouble shooting some equipment at work and thought I had it repaired. Still blew a new fuse. To make the long story short, a new box had half the fuses bad as I started checking them before I installed them. This is not the only time this as hapened. I had repaired the equipment the first time, but the new , bad, fuses caused me to spend a lot of wasted time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<stuff snipped>

Bulbs, batteries and fuses all get tested before installation. Especially batteries. Must have been 10 times that I've been fooled by "dead in the package" batteries. I discovered two bad bulbs tonight, allegedly new in the package, when testing for resistance.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 10 times, I'm getting out my meter!
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 21 Dec 2011 20:21:02 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

-
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I say again: I think your idea needs more thought. Which is gentle for "I don't think it is practical, or workable."
--

Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 22 Dec 2011 08:28:38 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

With your annoying top posting, and your triply annoying >- in the ilne above, people replying to you by just clicking reply delete everything needed to know what "your idea" is. If you're not willing to stop top-posting, get rid of the >- line.
The rest of my reply is where it should be.

What one could do is remove the bulb, break the glass gently with pliers, and use the wires with alligator clips to connect to each filament end support. The radio shack alligator clips are mostly covered in vinyle and a piece of tape around one of them will help to prevent shorting. Then put the bulb back in.
If that doesn't work solder a wire to each end support, bend the wires away from each other , or put some tape or better yet glue of the right sort in between them. and then put the bubl back in. .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 22 Dec 2011 09:50:01 -0500, "Robert Green"

Do you save used pens? I have a hard time explaining to people why I save so many things that don't work.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Is the Pope a woodsman? Does a bear shi+ in the Vatican? (-:
I neatly label boxes as "Misc. Fab. Material, Plastic" If you're neat about it, it's not technically hoarding.
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Agreed. The best thing to do would be to take a short piece of dowel rod, use a brass screw at the center of one end attached to insulated wire to act as the bulb center contact, wrap some bare wire around the outside of the dowel to server as the socket wall contact and hook those leads to the meter's probes with alligator clips. That would take about 10 minutes in the shop and has a big advantage over any screw-in method of not having the wires twist as you screw it in. The dowel tested should be "push and read."
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 20 Dec 2011 21:30:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

This seems to be the case.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 20 Dec 2011 21:30:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Dim light is okay if they are dancing or watching tv, but if they are doing homework or reading, a brighter light is much better.
and the

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 21 Dec 2011 19:32:08 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Yes. After little girls go to bed, the dolls have lives of their own.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Anyone ever see one of the few one hour TwiZone eps with Robert Duvall (with hair!) called, IIRC, "The Dollhouse?"
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 22 Dec 2011 04:05:23 -0500, "Robert Green"

Maybe. I think I have a vague recollection.
I might have grown up there.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Memory lapse! It's called "Minature" - searching on Dollhouse got me all sorts of Russian girlie sites.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miniature_(The_Twilight_Zone)
<<Charley Parkes thinks he sees a figure in a museum dollhouse that comes alive. Charley returns to the museum numerous times and gazes into the dollhouse . . . sees the doll in the house come alive.
Charley falls in love with the figure, a woman, but is institutionalized because of his belief that the figure of the woman (as well as a housekeeper and a man) is alive. He eventually is "rehabilitated" and is returned to the care of his mother.>>
You'll have to go to the link to read how it ends. You're close.
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 22 Dec 2011 12:38:35 -0500, "Robert Green"

I'm pretty sure I saw it. All the episodes of that show were good. Apparently Rod Serling practically worked himself to death to write and (produce and direct?) so many episodes so quickly.
I thought there was something wrong with me that I didn't ike "The Outer Limits", which I somehow thought was the sequel to the Twilight Zone. But now they show Limits on tv every night, and it's not at all like the Twilight Zone and I see why I didnt' like it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<stuff snipped>

There's a great program, I think on the Biography channel, about all the problems that management-heavy CBS caused for Serling. He felt they would frequently butcher his creative vision with idiotic requests to change everything they could think of, mostly just to prove that they could. Television suffers from the same problem as the automaking industry. Too many generals and not enough soldiers.

The Outer Limits (the original version) was often handicapped by the ponderous moral lessons they tried to teach. They also had some of the cheesiest special effects this side of the movie "Sharktopus" or "Plan Nine . . ."
There are a small number of TOL's that have turned out to classics and showcased actors like Sally Kellerman and Martin Landau who ended up having impressive film careers. Landau's potrayal of morphine-addicted horror film star Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood" is nothing short of brilliant.
You've got to be a real night owl, Micky, to catch the "Outer Limits" on TV - around here it's only on at 5AM along with Broderick Crawford's "Highway Patrol" and "Sea Hunt." If you ever watch "Highway Patrol" look for how often Crawford appears leaning against something when standing up. It's reputed he was fall-down drunk for most of the filming. (-:
10-4
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 24 Dec 2011 22:48:46 -0500, "Robert Green"

I go through periods when I am a night owl, but when that stopped I just recorded those two and Patty Duike. Patty Duke's show is really great in a lot of ways. It's the most "sophisticated' sitcom I ever saw, in that they talk about all kinds of topics international travel, how to form corporations, how to get suppliers, vendors, advertising, about politics (One episode where her father's boss runs for office, he makes the same speeches politicians make today, word for word). They use words even I barely know or don't know. They had an episode where Patty wants a fancy French dinner for her friends, and her mother gives her some choices. Patty can pronounce the French well, but she doesn't know what they mean. One was chicken broth, which she said sounded a lot better in French.

I taped all three but didnt' have time to play back everything I tape (record) so when I went away for a week, I cut out Sea Hunt and Patty Duike, all the episodes I had seen already, and kept Highway Patrol.
So far, even when it starts boringly and I know I've seen it, it still gets very interesting within 10 minutes. A big advantage of half-hour shows is they are all plot, no sitting around thinking about what to do next.

I read that once, (here? from you?) and wikip says something similar, but I don't see it. His body language seems reasonable, especially for a man his weight, and he doiesn't run fast, but he does climb hills and move around a lot when the plot calls for it. The last couple days he's had a dark mark on his lower lip, towards the side. But the show stopped filming in 1959 and he didn't die until 1986, so maybe it was only a cold sore scab or something.
A lot of interesting things about the show. They rarely rush, and not because he's too fat, because often they haven't left the station yet. And they almost never use the radio when the police car is moving. Instead, even though it's usually an emergency, they call in before they get into the car. Even when they see a guy turn around at a road block and in 30 seconds he can be out of sight or turn down a side road, the cop stands there and calls in.
Or someone's shot, and his wife doesn't ask the operator for an ambulance, she asks for the highway patrol. I was alive then and at least in Pennsylvainia, one asked the operator for the police, an ambulance, or the fire department. A lot quicker.
OTOH, it was what people would, sillily, call modern, in a lot of ways. Sometimes the women criminals were the dominated female who did whatever their boyfriend or husband told them, but other times they were the more crimiinal one, who dragged the guy into crime, and even the brains. More than half of the criminals wore suits and ties,. They had people who were extorted into crimes. They had an episode with a mute girl, who had been kidnapped and released, where they showed how smart she was when matthews asked the right questions, and she wrote down enough info to catch the bad guys.
Of course no one on the show was black. Not in Sea Hunt either iirc.
A great movie he stars in was Born Yesterday, with Judy Holliday. She's great too.
Patty Duike had token blacks, someone dancing at the school dance or sitting in a class or at the malt shop, but I dont' think they spoke more than three words total.
BTW, the aparatment building they used to show was actually in Brooklyn Heights, right at the south end of the Brooklyn Promenade, a broad sidewwalk facing the river above the Brookly Queens Xway which was built into the side of the hill, northbound lanes on the bottom I think, southbound above them, Promenade on top. They have an episode or two where they walk on the Promenade and look at Manhattan. It's an apartment building, even though they acted like they lived in a house. My friend lived a couple doors away, 20 years later. In later episodes, they lived in a big house with a big yard. No one in Brooklyn Heights has even a small yard in front. Nor does Brooklyn Heights High School exist. There is no neighborhood school in Brooklyn Heights, even elementarry I think, and for high school they'd have to walk a couple miles to Brooklyn Tech, one of the 4** NYC HS's that require passing a test to get in, but maybe not such a high score if it's the only high school near your home.
**Brrooklyn Tech, Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School (in Manhattan) and the High School of Performing Arts, portrayed in the move and tv show Fame. That one requires an audition, not an academic test.

Over and out.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.