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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 1:44 pm   #1
CiderCid
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Default Christmas Tree lights repair.

Split from this thread:-

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...ad.php?t=54943


In searching for Replacement bulbs for a 70's/80's set of lights, I happened across this forum and wondered whether there was anyone who could help me that has a better understanding of electricals than I do.
I bought this set back when my 43 year old son was, well, quite a lot younger than he is now and I have used the light set every year up until last year when two bulbs failed and I couldn't get the set to work. I'd dearly love to maintain them obviously, but on searching online has failed to find matching replacement bulbs.
The set is Pifco 20 Cone Lights. (coloured). No. 1320 on a 240 Volt system for indoor use only. On the back of the box it says they are 12 Volt, but the base of the bulbs show 12.5 volt. A total of 22 watts (each bulb 1.1 watts M.E.S. (?) E10 Pifco No. 265.

On another issue, I note that in general, bulbs shown on places like Ebay don't have the same depth of colour as what I have, but assume this is just down to manufacturers ?
Any help would be appreciated, even if I can't find replacements this year, I won't let the wife throw them out.
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 9:52 pm   #2
broadgage
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

The difference between 12 volts and 12.5 volts is not that significant and unlikely to matter much.
Of much greater importance is that EITHER replacement bulbs are of the same wattage as the originals, OR that ALL 20 bulbs are replaced with 20 new bulbs that match each other but don't need to match the originals.

20 lamp sets of 12 volt or 12.5 volt lamps are fairly common. The two most common types are 12 volt 3 watt MES lamps, or 12 volt 1.1 watt LES lamps.

1.1 watt MES lamps were less common, might be worth double checking, and posting a photograph if possible.
Ignore details on the box, in case a box for other lamps has been re-used.
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 9:53 pm   #3
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

Losing two lamps in a series string of twenty could easily have triggered the fuse lamp- if there is one in this string. (they're often marked with a white tip)

Your lamps which remain can be removed and tested individually with a PP3 9volt battery.

It may be worth looking out on ebay or elsewhere for a duplicate string of lights, as this ends up more economic than buying individual lamps.

Dave
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Old 3rd Dec 2020, 10:21 pm   #4
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

Hello. These lights would seem to be the sort in this completed sale https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-P...p2047675.l2557
Some interesting information on the listing.
The seller is very knowledgeable on christmas lights and I have bought from him before.
Might be worth asking if he knows of any supplies but they seem to be rare.

David.
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Old 5th Dec 2020, 11:53 am   #5
CiderCid
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

Thanks to broadgage, The Philpott and teetoon for your replies.

First let me try to answer some of the points raised.
The information I entered from the box as they have been with me from new and therefore know the information relates to the set. None of the current bulb have a white tip, so assume I have no fuse bulb.
I have tested with a volt metre the 18 remaining/whole bulbs and these have continuity. Apparently, the box says even with a bulb blown, the set should still work, so I assume as the bulbs have come away from their screws, (the reason I have removed them) explains why none a lighting up.

teetoon, thank you, these are exactly like mine, except he describes them as Olive Lights and for outdoor use, where-as mine are called Cone Lights and for indoor use. The ebay seller made a good suggestion about buying a dimmer to run them through.

broadgage, thanks, I never understood I can swap out the bulbs for a different wattage, so that will be my last scenario failing everything else.

Thanks
Kenn
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 1:25 am   #6
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CiderCid View Post


Apparently, the box says even with a bulb blown, the set should still work, so I assume as the bulbs have come away from their screws, (the reason I have removed them) explains why none a lighting up.

Thanks
Kenn

That means the bulbs short themselves out if the filament fails- a new filament holds the support legs in tension slightly closer together than the inside diameter of a small metal ring attached to one leg. If the filament breaks or stretches with age, the supports spread apart and both now contact the ring, shorting out the bulb. This of course hastens the failure of the remaining bulbs in the set unless prompt action is taken!
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 8:59 am   #7
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

Yes, once more than a couple have shorted, you can expect a chain reaction of the rest failing as they each take an ever greater share of the mains voltage. Eventually the mains fuse will blow. Incidentally, I assume you've checked the fuse.
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Old 10th Jan 2021, 7:58 pm   #8
nicam49
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

Hi, I've just had to replace some bulbs in my Pifco 20-light set. Its best to measure the bulb length, from end to end, including the screw cap, as some are 30mm, and some are 40mm, (some may be different again) If you've got a train set, or Scalectrix
then the controllers are a good source of 12v to test each individual bulb, it's no good just measuring the resistance/continuity as has already been explained. Do a search for Pifco 242 on ebay, as that's where I got some replacements from. (242 is the Pifco replacement bulb part number) Also, consider fitting a diode in the plug to reduce the volts to the set and make the bulbs last longer. (ask if you need more details)
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Old 10th Jan 2021, 8:49 pm   #9
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Default Re: Christmas Tree lights repair.

Well, Christmas trees are down, flashy things pulled off the outsides of houses, and all the hardware shoved into attics.

It's time to declare a moratorium until the Christmas light season begins again when there is next a 'D' in the month and bad bulb hunting can resume. Stocks of duds in the wild will have recovered from our efforts by this time.

David
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