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Author Topic: Christmas icicle lights and ham radio equipment  (Read 1774 times)
AG5T
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« on: October 26, 2012, 06:08:31 PM »

I am trying to troubleshoot a string of icicle Christmas lights (yes I start early) and am wondering if I could use ham radio equipment. My strand of lights has 1/3 of the lights not coming on, 1/3 of the lights blinking and 1/3 glowing solid (not blinking). I should probably just buy a new set, but I always like to see if things can be salvaged. I know there's a way you can meter these bulbs, but it's been awhile since I've learned about practical circuits in series and parallel. This type of lights has a LOT of wires. My goal is to make all three sets of lights come on and not blink. I have a bulb checker around here somewhere - it glows red when there is power. I am just curious if any ham radio equipment could troubleshoot this situation or if anyone knows the math and circuitry of these type lights.
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WN2C
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 10:27:23 PM »

Save your self the headache and buy some new lights.  They are not that expensive, especially when on sale and they will be soon. Take the old lights, pull out the bulbs, ohm them out and save the good ones. Use the wire for other projects, i.e., antennas, radials etc.  Then fire up the and go work some DX!!

73 de wn2c  Rick
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K1CJS
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 04:29:52 AM »

The only way to troubleshoot those light strings is by the old method--pull each bulb and meter it.  If the bulb is good, put it back into its socket.  If it isn't, replace it.  As to the flashing section, one of the bulbs is a flasher unit--look for a thicker 'wire' in the bulb itself.  That bulb is the flasher unit--change it out for a regular good bulb.

Time and effort are the only two things that will get the light string working again.  As the previous poster said, if you don't have the time and don't want to put in the effort, buy new. 
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AG5T
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 09:02:25 AM »

Thanks. I didn't even think about using old wires for radials - not a bad idea at all.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 09:14:52 AM »

5T:  I've been messing with Christmas tree/decoration lights for 54 years.  I'd give anything for all the time I've wasted trying to "salvage" light strings!  I'm one of those guys that finds it very stressful to throw anything away but the Christmas light strings finally broke me.  They defeated me.  I'm beat!  And you know something, I feel wonderful about it! 

As for trouble shooting these light strings.... forget it.  They have so many ways of wiring them up you can spend days figuring them out. 

Please take some advice from an old man..... throw that damn things away and go to Wal-mart and buy new ones.  As soon a a string has a problem, throw it away and go buy a new one.  Life is too short!  Believe me, you'll love yourself for doing it.
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