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:
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:
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
Do they not make old style Christmas lights where there are sockets
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.
On 11/28/2004 1:51 PM US(ET), Michael Black took fingers to keys, and
typed the following:
Toss out the Christmas tree? I paid $60 for it a few years ago and it's
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. :-)
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.
| 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.
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.
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
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.
Divide string in half by removing center bulb - check for continuity to one
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
Subject: Re: Fixing Christmas lights ...
Reply-To: snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Michael Black)
Organization: The National Capital FreeNet
Joel M. Eichen ( email@example.com) writes:
No, he's described a minimal search technique, though at the moment I can't
recall what it's called.
He's dividing everyting in half, so each bulb does not have to be checked
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.
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