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Old Nov 18th, 2007, 07:10 PM   #1
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Christmas Lights: problem

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Old Nov 18th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #2
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The 100-light strings are usually two 50-light strings in parallel when you follow the wiring.
And in each 50-light string all the bulbs are in series, so if one light in the series string is missing, none of the lights in that string light up.
It used to be that you got the same effect (no lights are lit) if one burns out and you had to go through everyone in the string and replace it to find the defective one - a long process which really became fristrating if two lights had burned out.
However, the newer lights for quite a few years now have a small resistor inside the bulb the provides continuity even if the bulb filament is burned out, so you van see right away which bulb needs replacing.
If however one of the bulbs does not make good contact in the socket, then you still get the "no bulbs light" effect.

So much for the theory.
You should have received at least two spare bulbs with the set when you bought it; I would expect CTC to have spare bulbst for sale as well.
But because the whole 50-light string is off, I suspect that there is a problem with one of the sockets.
If you can't find that readily, you can use the good string to test each of the lights in the "bad" string, one after another (just in case this manufacturer didn't provide that bridging resistor I mentioned earlier.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 01:42 AM   #3
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If this set is like any of the LED sets I've had the bulbs are not replaceable. If you're adept with things electrical you might be able to figure out where the bad connection is and rewire it. I bought 2 sets several years ago when the LED Xmas lights first came out and was dismayed to find that they gradually got more and more dim over the course of a couple of years. We don't use them as Xmas lights, they provide illumination outside on the deck. Living in a rural area there are no streetlights or ambient light bouncing around after dark, so having a string of lights outside is very useful.

I still have the 2 sets in the hope that I can get and former-electrician friend to look at them and see if he can figure out the problem. I'm fairly sure it's not the bulbs since they are supposed to last for something like a billion hours or so. (hyperbole )
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 02:14 AM   #4
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The older LED strings had two dissimilar metals that were connected- copper for the wire and tin or aluminum for the LED leads.
If you use them outside, depending on your weather conditions, you can get galvanic corrosion which might explain why your lights are getting dimmer with time.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 03:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krs View Post
The older LED strings had two dissimilar metals that were connected- copper for the wire and tin or aluminum for the LED leads.
If you use them outside, depending on your weather conditions, you can get galvanic corrosion which might explain why your lights are getting dimmer with time.
Yup, we had them outside.

Since the LED Xmas lights were new that year and apparently the white ones were pretty hard to get they were fairly expensive. If I remember correctly they were at least $30 for each 25 light set. I figured I'd save on the electricity costs and the long life of the bulbs. I think they were supposed to be "outdoor" lights.

After they died we had some older incandescent mini-lights up that I scrounged a few new bulbs for. Those died a couple of months ago and I never got around to going over them and finding out which bulb(s) died.

A few days ago I saw some white LED sets at Canadian Tire and picked up a set of 50 for $24. These are supposed to be outdoor/indoor so I hope they don't do the same thing as the old LED sets. I just put them up today and they're pretty bright. This time I think I'll hold onto the receipt.

Is there a solution to the galvanic corrosion outside of rewiring the things?
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 06:23 AM   #6
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The landfills are full of Christmas lights with one bad bulb. It's sad but the problem is, the damn things are so cheap, it's hardly worth troubleshooting a balky one.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 06:43 PM   #7
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 07:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhk View Post
The landfills are full of Christmas lights with one bad bulb. It's sad but the problem is, the damn things are so cheap, it's hardly worth troubleshooting a balky one.
I always buy an extra string or two after Christmas at half price only for the spare bulbs.
And you're right, no point trying to fix anything except replace a bulb if they're replaceable.
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