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Massive holiday light failure

Massive holiday light failure


I have a 35-lamp holiday garland draped around my fireplace mantle that my mom gave me when I moved into my home over a decade ago as I had hardly any decor at that time. After the first few Christmases, I decided I liked it so much I left it there all year, and I use it quite regularly. I've kept up pretty well on individual lamp replacement, but something strange happened this month. Perhaps a power surge blew out a good number of lamps, as when I turned it on, about 1/4 of the lamps were out, and the rest were very bright. I figured I'd change the bad lamps the following weekend, but left them on throughout the evening; coming back into the room a while later, I noticed the entire string was out. All I can guess is that with the remaining good lamps burning over-voltage, a cascading failure occurred. Fuses were still intact, but EVERY SINGLE lamp was blown. Replaced all 35 lamps, and it works fine.

Screwed+.JPG Shattered_ShattRGuard+~0.jpg SadFaceLamps+.JPG Fright_Light.jpg

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Filename:SadFaceLamps+.JPG
Album name:arcblue / Light humor
Keywords:Lamps
File Size:119 KB
Date added:Mar 30, 2011
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Xytrell
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Mar 30, 2011 at 09:29 PM Author: Xytrell
You could have bought a new one for like $3. That set must have quite a bit of sentimental value.
xmaslightguy
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^homebuilt fixture


GoL ATL
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Mar 30, 2011 at 09:38 PM Author: xmaslightguy
LOL on the " " arrangement of bulbs

I've had this happen to sets before .. on any set less than 50 bulbs, if any more than a few are dead, the rest won't last long...If you can't fix right then just unplug!

I fixed a 50ct twinkle set this past January where all the steady-on bulbs blew & some of the twinklers went too.

Colored Fluorescent's such as F40T12 Red or  Green or Blue are awesome...

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Mar 30, 2011 at 10:10 PM Author: Peach_Lover
Well at least now I know I'm not the only one who does this. We have a garland above our cupboards in the kitchen that we leave up year-round and turn on at night, a few months ago this exact thing happened and I replaced every bulb...and mine was a string of 100 .

and xmaslightguy is right, if more then a couple bulbs are dead the rest are bound to fail. I've personally found that even if you replace the dead ones the remaining lit ones that were being over driven may still die quickly as a result of, I would assume, running too hot because of the extra voltage.

I've thought about putting our garland on a dimmer, it would give more of a subtle moody effect and help prolong the bulbs since we run it year round...something these lights weren't really designed to do.
toomanybulbs
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Mar 31, 2011 at 06:14 AM Author: toomanybulbs
seems these have some sort of shunt in them.looks like wire wrapped around the leads inside.as bulbs die off the voltage rises on the rest.you now have the end result!
DieselNut
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Mar 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM Author: DieselNut
@PeachLover, that is a great idea with the dimmer! Would certainly prolong the life of the bulbs.

Preheat Fluorescents forever!
I love diesel engines, rural/farm life and vintage lighting!

xmaslightguy
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Mar 31, 2011 at 06:42 PM Author: xmaslightguy
@toomanybulbs Yep, there's a shunt in them which is good (so the set stays on & you don't have to search the entire thing every time a bulb burns out )...and bad (if neglected you get the result in this pic) LOL

@Peach_Lover I agree with DieselNut on the dimmer.

-----
If you planned to leave a set up all year & have it on allot another good choice would be Stay-Lit or Remains-Lit lights which have an electronic device in each socket...each dead (or missing) bulb just makes the set a bit dimmer (rather than with normal lights where each dead makes the rest a bit brighter) LOL

Colored Fluorescent's such as F40T12 Red or  Green or Blue are awesome...

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Nelson Ogden


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Mar 31, 2011 at 07:00 PM Author: nogden
I used to be that way, I would scour all of my lights and replace every lamp as it burned out. However I realized that once a few burned out, the rest would be going soon, so I might as well just put up a new set of lights. For a while I would buy new sets just for the replacement lamps, but now I just replace the whole sets when they burn out. The only exceptions are rare or unique lights that are more valuable than the average cheapie dollar store sets I buy.
xmaslightguy
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Mar 31, 2011 at 07:37 PM Author: xmaslightguy
I still replace the dead bulbs in mine (even tho i've bought many sets dirt cheap on clearance)...and I keep any & all bad sets for "parts" - sockets/wire/bulbs LOL

Colored Fluorescent's such as F40T12 Red or  Green or Blue are awesome...

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Mar 31, 2011 at 10:23 PM Author: don93s
@arcblue...I love the sense of humor of this pic! Looks like many of those lamps met a bad ending!
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Jul 15, 2011 at 01:19 AM Author: Ash
I would stick colored LEDs in it (with addition of inline resistor and rectifier bridge)

It can be dimmed by connecting in series with capacitor - use capacitor of few uF value rated to line voltage, like capacitor from a fluorescent light or from a motor
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Feb 24, 2012 at 11:04 PM Author: arcblue
Would you believe it, that set of lights experienced a second cascading failure, even after replacing all the lamps! In the course of four hours one night, several lamps went out, followed by a few more, and before I knew it the remaining ones were all blown. I couldn't figure it out. I gave up, took out all 35 dead lamps, cut off the plug, and fitted a LED string around the garland. Lame I know, but you can't tell unless you look very closely, and it's worked perfectly ever since.

I'm lampin...

Medved
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Feb 25, 2012 at 01:19 AM Author: Medved
And how long were the replaced lamps working?
And were the replacement lamps of the correct voltage? I don't mean what was written on their box, but what was really inside? I've seen "spare" bulbs put into a 50-bulb set (so requiring 5V bulbs on 230V) of the wrong rating (spares were 2.5V types), so I would guess the mix up happen quite frequently...

And don't forget, then failure of an incandescent is not totally random, but a result of quite well defined wear. So when all lamps are exactly the same age and hours in the same position, at the moment the first break, others are not that far from this point, so the cascade effect is then very fast.

No more selfballasted c***

ace100w120v
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Nov 11, 2012 at 05:03 PM Author: ace100w120v
Wow, I'll have to watch out for this...thankfully most if not all of my christmas "mini" lights are 100 bulb sets with circuits of 50 bulbs...
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Jan 01, 2015 at 03:55 AM Author: Lampman
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