LED Christmas lighting strings.....

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by Janitor Tzap » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:19 pm

Hi everyone,

It's that time of the year, when we climb the ladders and hang the lights from the windows, gutters, and around doors.
Getting ready for the Christmas season.

For the past two years we have been replacing the old worn out light strings with the LED strings.
But as I started checking out the strings, before hanging them up.
I found one string of LED lights, that one quarter of the string would not light.
I found a broken wire at one socket, and I repaired the wire.
But this has not rectified the problem.

Thus, I call upon you genius's, and ask for your help.
Have any of you tried repairing these LED light strings?
{A wiring diagram would be helpful} :)

The set I'm working on are Sunbeam 140 Count Large LED's.
Paid some $40.00 for them.
So repairing them is well worth the effort.

Thanks for listening.


Signed: Janitor Tzap

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4558
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by dacflyer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:29 am

i have had led lights for a few years now also. they seem to have their problems also.
even tho they are low power leds, i have came apon shorted leds 1 or 2 out in a string.,
i have also discovered that some leds loose contact in their sockets,
( too short of leads in the led holder itself.) and or a pulled wire as you mentioned.
do not forget about the fuze in the plug itself. as far ac a schematic, all leds are in series, some have a small modual between the plug and the 1st led.. i am guessing its another dioad inline and possibly a ballast resistor. i have not hakked one yet.
best bet is to test each led 1st.
good luck..

gerty
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 1:01 am
Location: Tennessee
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by gerty » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:34 am

I worked on one set about 2 years ago that was totally out. Inside a small plastic "box" I found a diode (1n4004) a resistor (?Ω) and a capacitor ('lytic ?value) that had leaked. I replaced the cap, siliconed the box and all was well.

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by Janitor Tzap » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:35 pm

Thanks for the replies. :)

First off,
I'd like too shoot the engineers who designed the sockets for these LED strings.
{Probably some bunch in China.} :x
Damn things don't keep the moisture out! :x

The contacts on several of the sockets were rusted,
not to mention the wire going to the contacts were poorly crimped.
Or in many cases the wire was just twisted together. :x

Thus,
I went through the bunch of sockets, cleaning the contacts.
Re-doing the crimped connectors, and soldered the wires together.

Finally, after about 2 1/2 hours of cleaning and repairing the LED string.
I got the whole string to light up. :)

A pain in the butt for sure.
But I couldn't see throwing them out so quickly, since we had paid some $40 for them.

Thanks again.


Signed: Janitor Tzap

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4558
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by dacflyer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:46 pm

i think the lights are all assembled by machines. and i have never seen any weather resistant lights, they all get moisture in them,,

Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by Dean Huster » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:38 am

Why in the world would the Chinese use machines for such low-tech assembly when they have a nearly-enslaved,nearly-infinite workforce available?
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

User avatar
reloadron
Posts: 519
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:57 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by reloadron » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:52 am

Every year we go through this circus and every year I do the same thing.

The wife drags out what are by now literally hundreds of strings of Christmas lights and string by string we plug them in. Inevitably some will work and some will partially work and thus the agonizing process begins of finding problems in each string. Eventually I get mad and annoyed with the whole mess and suggest we go to Wal-Mart and just buy more new lights. This has become a Christmas (Holiday) season ritual. I figure at about $2.95 a string why torture myself? The bright side of this is that right out of the box a string generally works. Thus the lights are all hung as I freeze my butt off hanging onto a ladder and freezing. The message is clear "Peace on earth and goodwill towards man".

Enter the LED!

My neighbor up the street bought a small fortune in LED strings a few years back boasting of the power savings and their advertised longevity. Following a few snows and ice half his strings were crippled and looked terrible. While I believe sincerely these lights were suitable for San Diego they were not faring well at all in NE Ohio in December. This despite a high cost! I figure it this way, I can buy a hell of a lot of cheap Chinese incandescent bulbs for the cost of a single string of LED bulbs. When I can buy LED bulbs actually made with quality then I'll buy them, till then the $3.95 Wal-Mart strings do the trick.

This brings us to:

Somewhere in my attic are strings of lights from days of yore. Each bulb is a 120 VAC bulb at 7 watts. There are also the larger bulbs. These light strings lit countless Christmas trees and shrubs in front of the cape cod house I grew up in during the 1950s. Imagine that, 50+ year old light strings that work. Light strings with real screw in sockets and an actual weather seal on each socket. Strings that withstood countless LI NY winters with snow and ice. Light strings wired in parallel so when a bulb burns out you simply replace it. What a concept huh? Now if I can just find bulbs I may go back to those strings.

Going Green:

Power consumption is on the minds of everyone, including my green neighbors. However, I fail to see where tossing millions of defective light strings into landfills annually helps the situation. Today I can't find the light strings I want. I want light strings that will endure the elements and last me years without grief and problems. I want something like what was made in those days of yore. Maybe in a few years when I retire I'll start making and marketing decent light strings that can be passed down generation to generation. :)

Ron

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 3046
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by haklesup » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:14 pm

:smile: I'm considering cordless christmas lights. WHat do you think of these concepts. :razz:

1. Hang neon bulbs on tree without leads or cords. Illuminate them by rigging my microwave oven to run with the door open while pointed at the tree. Side benefit, you feel like the fireplace is going even when it is not.

2. obtain retroreflective beads and illuminate with a powerful array of red green and blue scanning lasers. DO not use outdoors for fear of FAA penalites

If one wanted to make a real quality string you would have ti improve the wire and the way it is connected to the housings. Perhaps a fiber reinforced wire with one shot molded in place lamp holders instead of the typical crimp and insert. but how many would be willing to pay upwards of $1 per bulb.

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by Janitor Tzap » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:50 pm

Hehe......

Nothing like a bit of radiation too toast your buns. :lol:

I had a string of incandescent Christmas lights that the sockets were molded onto the wire and contacts.
They lasted some ten years until the wire started getting breaks in it from to many twists, and stretches.
And like Ron said, "At about $2.95 a string why torture our selves".

But now the current mindset is...
Make Christmas lights that will last only for one, or two seasons.
Thus, forcing people to buy a new set almost every year. :evil:

ImageImage
These are the two types of LED lights that I have strung outside.
As you can tell, the two LED lights in the pic's are different.
So finding replacement LED's in that size and shape maybe quite hard.

If a string is so bad that it can't be repaired easily.
Save it for parts for the remaining strings you have.
If the remaining strings are older than two years.
The Sunbeam LED's that I fixed are already no longer being made.
So I'm pretty much out of luck, unless I come across another string like them. :(



Signed: Janitor Tzap

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4558
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by dacflyer » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:51 pm

reloadron >> hey, if interested, i have tons of C7 bulbs, the blinker types. and i also have several strings of C7 lights also.. i think a box of 8 strings, 25 to a string i think.
i swapped out for leds the past 2 yrs. to run on solar..
do the math.. 7watt lamps =1400 watts total v/s 42 watts.. ( incandescent v/s led's )
if interested in them, let me know..

k7elp60
Posts: 226
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Ivins, UT
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by k7elp60 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:16 am

I have been using some 2pin connectors for quite sometime to make my own light strings. They are MTA100 connectors by TYCO. The ones I use are Digikey P/N A30833-ND. They are idc connectors so it takes a special tool to press the wire into the contacts, but they hold T1 and T1 3/4 LED's real snug. They do come with IDC contacts for other size wire.
The attached picture is of strings I made a number of years ago that are powered by a pair of C size batteries in series and a 1N5820 as a voltage drop. Yea the LED's are in parallel but I have rarely had to replace one.
Image

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4558
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by dacflyer » Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:24 pm

speaking of home made lights, i went way overboard in making me a 20 led string that runs off of 2 "D" batterys,
why was it so overboard ? because i bought the color changing leds from alltronics.
cost me almost 40.00 to make, but in the end it was a cool set of random color changing leds.
they start off all in 1 color, then get out of sequence in a few min,
looks good in the back window of my car..lol

User avatar
reloadron
Posts: 519
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:57 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by reloadron » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:09 am

dacflyer wrote:reloadron >> hey, if interested, i have tons of C7 bulbs, the blinker types. and i also have several strings of C7 lights also.. i think a box of 8 strings, 25 to a string i think.
i swapped out for leds the past 2 yrs. to run on solar..
do the math.. 7watt lamps =1400 watts total v/s 42 watts.. ( incandescent v/s led's )
if interested in them, let me know..
DAC, let me know if you want to get rid of them and your price. I might be interested as I have others buried in the attic somewhere and it might be fun to get a little old fashion.

Feel free to PM.

Ron

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4558
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by dacflyer » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:06 am

ok, i'll let you know in a PM..

User avatar
reloadron
Posts: 519
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:57 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Contact:

Re: LED Christmas lighting strings.....

Post by reloadron » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:49 am

dacflyer wrote:ok, i'll let you know in a PM..
Got it and replied.

Ron

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CeaSaR and 27 guests