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Old 14th Dec 2011, 11:44 am   #161
newlite4
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Very nice display John, I think I would have to re-inforce the TV22 cabinet in order to get my tree on top like you have done there , this tree also has a tendency to drink two pints of water a day!.
Neil
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Old 16th Dec 2011, 8:37 pm   #162
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Tip! Please forgive me if anyone has previously mentioned this. If you want your old Christmas tree light set lamps to last for ever, wire any silicon diode such as a BY127 in series with the 'live' wire similar to the later television heater chains. They are not so bright but still great.
[I have been waiting for years for the Geraniums to produce enough crystal to make a detector but so far, nothing. Any green fingers guys know what I'm doing wrong?] John.
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Old 17th Dec 2011, 1:09 am   #163
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Does anyone know the specs for the 8-lamp MES-base sets? A mate of mine has a lovely string of lava-lamp lights and 1 lamp has broken. They look like an old golfball side-lamp as fitted to some 1950's cars.
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Old 17th Dec 2011, 1:18 am   #164
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Real Christmas tree lights on a real tree with the correct connectors , a real fire and a proper television ! spot the item that is not 1950s
Happy Christmas

Peter
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Old 17th Dec 2011, 3:27 am   #165
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

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Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
Does anyone know the specs for the 8-lamp MES-base sets? A mate of mine has a lovely string of lava-lamp lights and 1 lamp has broken. They look like an old golfball side-lamp as fitted to some 1950's cars.
Presuming that they are series wired and intended for UK mains, then they must be about 30/32 volts each.
Double check that they ARE for UK mains though, 8 lamps in series is more of a USA thing, 8 lamps each 15/16 volts for series use on 120 volts.

Replacement lamps must be the same current as well as the same voltage, unless replacing them all.
32 volt MES lamps are still made, but are unlikely to match the originals.
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Old 17th Dec 2011, 9:46 am   #166
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

It must be something to do with the fireplace Peter. There is a curious 'doll' thing on the left of the mantle and possibly a 60's cat on the hearth. It does look very much like a middle class living room from that period, very cosy with a nice 'safe' feeling from childhood days.Well done. Maybe the Bush TV22 should be replaced by the console TUG24 to make it 100% correct. Yes Geof, I thought someone would have mentioned the series diode. It was a long way back!Regards, John.
PS. Is the 'doll thing' a modern fairy?

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Old 17th Dec 2011, 1:35 pm   #167
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Post Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

These are my lights that I repaired a few years ago, some of the holders needed resoldering and the foil stars are held together with clear tape, I keep them stored around a card and in a box. The open plug shows the rectifier in the neutral lead, the loose bulb has a broken filament. I have a few other sets of old miniture and lantern lights, one set of which usually goes on the plastic tree which is also quite old.
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Old 24th Dec 2011, 6:46 pm   #168
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Had a bit of a shift around with the 'Christmas Telly'. Swopped the Ultra 15" for the Ekco TSC112 12" console. It was manufactured in 1949 so is exactly the same age as the bungalow. The Christmas tree does not like the sloped top. It is only a small room and the Ekco looks more in place. Happy Christmas. John.
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Old 31st Dec 2011, 5:32 pm   #169
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I've always wanted a set of vintage screw in lights so after seeing the pictures i must make sure i get a set for next year!
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Old 31st Dec 2011, 5:42 pm   #170
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by evingar View Post
Funny how things change. When blue LEDs first appeared, I managed to get X20 that were built into prototype equipment at work when it "hit the skip". I constructed a set of lights and they were hung onto a tree decorated solely with silver tinsel. They were a real talking point and stood out from all the multicoloured stuff everyone is so "dewy eyed" about now.
Oddly enough, back in '79 when I was at University at Southampton, I had access to green, yellow and red LED's. Pretty low brightness by today's standards, but I couldn't resist it - I made up a set of Christmas tree lights, which my wife and I used right from then until three years ago, when we succumbed to modern LED lights.

But I think my set must have been pretty much the first LED Christmas tree lights around. They were a real talking point at the time.

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Old 1st Jan 2012, 5:22 am   #171
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I built a disco light chaser, as you do, and ran four sets of (modern, for the time - late 1980s) tree lights from that. Even had it rigged up to the printer port of an old XT clone (I had built in an expansion port with the 8 program steps, 4 opto-isolated lamp inputs and reset, plus power and earth) one year. The chaser actually has one of the first blue LEDs (which IMMSMW set me back most of 5 at the time) incorporated into its mimic display. Maybe I should dig it all out before twelfth night!
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Old 1st Jan 2012, 12:32 pm   #172
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I have enjoyed this thread, modern LED light just doesn’t do it for me, I like my sets of Pifco Merrylites and Noma lights the oldest being the daisy ones which I found at a carboot.

It’s not Christmas without spending a few hours testing and replacing bulbs, it’s always the last one isn’t it.

Lee
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 4:49 pm   #173
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I agree, Lee. The LED ones are far too bright and glaring.
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Old 5th Jan 2012, 12:58 am   #174
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hello all, I've really enjoyed this thread and managed to get a nice vintage set of Osram olive lights before christmas. We had a set of 12 Noma Olive cone lights in the 60's.
Inspired by others, I put a dimmer on a board with a BC socket.

The pictures on here have been most festive. Thanks for sharing.
I thought I'd just get this on before 12th night.
David.
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Old 22nd Jan 2012, 7:49 pm   #175
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

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Originally Posted by Phil G4SPZ View Post
The annoying thing about modern tree lights is that there are about 200 different standards of push-fit bulb, none of which are interchangeable, and trying to find spares is fruitless. It is in fact cheaper to buy another complete set of lights and rob it for the bulbs.
I too have found the proliferation of plastic push-in bases a pain. Fortunately the diameter of the tubular glass bulb seems to be uniform, so I get lamps of the same voltage and current rating and fit them to the old bases. The older lamps have the glass bulb glued in but this was evidently found to be unnecessary as later ones are simply held in place by their folded-back wires. If the old glass bulb won't pull out, by firmly squeezing the plastic base using pliers (covered with a cloth to contain any flying glass) you can usually crush the glass without damaging the base, pick out the old glue, and fit a new bulb. If the old base is too small it can usually be eased out using pointed-nose pliers and gentle heat.

Regarding the short life with external lamps run from 24V transformers, in all my sets the transformers have delivered significantly more than 24V when measured at the lamps, and I have reduced this by connecting wire-wound 7W resistances in series on the low voltage side. In what was intended to be a temporary lash-up, I attached 2 pairs of "chocolate block" insulated terminal strip connectors to the transformer casing with adhesive “Velcro” and mounted pairs of resistors between them. As they don’t get appreciably warm in use, this has become semi-permanent, the "Velcro" mounting allowing the resistors to be removed for packing away in the original box. As the outdoor lights have thermal flashers I bought a selection of resistors from Maplin in the 1 to 10 ohm range and experimented to find the highest resistance combination that still allowed the flashers to operate.

When I couldn’t get replacement 20V 3W lamps for our old 12 light set I added 4 extra holders from the remains of another set and used some 12V 100mA screw bulbs until I was able to find some 20V replacements. Although the current ratings don’t match in theory, they worked OK in practice. I also converted the looped arrangement to single ended by running a wire from the last bulb back to the plug and twisting it with the original wires. I haven’t had any fail since.

We used to have a BC in-line mains flasher but as a schoolboy I inadvertently destroyed it by trying to use it with a 100W bulb, not appreciating the signifiance of its 40W max rating!

Clear bulbs (or faded coloured bulbs) can be painted/rejuvenated with transparent paints by “Humbrol” ( red, amber, green) and “Revell” (blue) that can be got in shops that sell plastic model kits, especially if the lights are used indoors or in sheltered positions outside. However, after a couple of weeks draped around our hedge in wet weather, the blue ones were fine, but the others were markedly faded.

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Old 29th Jan 2012, 5:20 pm   #176
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Maybe (?) I'm going crazy, but I seem to remember having a set with fruit shapes. Definately had one that looked like a bunch of grapes. Over time they got replaced with the cone shaped ones. I remeber the Santa ones too, I must get up in the loft and dig them out.
Rob.
Whilst up in the loft today I found our old Christmas lights. They must be getting on for forty years old now, the holders are marked "Empire made", so could be older still.
Glad to say seven of the original bulbs still work, including the "bunch of grapes", and of course Santa himself.
Rob.
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 9:06 am   #177
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

We had a set like those bought from Woolworths in the early 1960s so yours may be a little older than you suggest. Are you going to modify them to reduce the voltage a bit? Unfortunately they don't seem to last very long with the full 20v on each bulb.
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Old 19th Feb 2012, 10:41 pm   #178
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Am new to the this site and also like vintage lights. Do you think the old transparent green wire on the Pifco light sets is more robust than the modern fairy light wiring? I don't recall seeing many low voltage lights sets of vintage style but do you think low voltage transformers are reliable or is it always better to buy mains operated? Some people say mains lights pose a fire hazard whether this is true I don't know.
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Old 20th Feb 2012, 9:56 am   #179
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

The old type of wire often transparent, is arguably LESS robust than that used on modern mains voltage Christmas lights. Present day regulations are stricter and would not permit the use of mains voltage on the thin single insulated wire formerly used.

Christmas lights that use a reduced voltage from a transformer have only become popular in relatively recent years, in the old days transformers were relatively costly items and therefore not widely used if not essiential.

The transformers are vary a lot in reliability. Transformer operated lights are often rather dim when compared to mains ones as the lamps are usually of much lower power.
Transformer operated lights are arguably safer, almost no risk of dangerous shock, and reduced fire risk.

If you wish to use old or vintage lights, these should be carefully inspected for any faults or damage, consult an experienced electrician if in doubt.
If in good condition, they are resonably safe to use, but perhaps less so than modern ones.
I would put them out of reach of children and pets, away from flammables, and think twice about unattended operation.

Use of an RCD reduces the shock risk, and an isolating transformer almost eliminates it. Fitting a 1 amp fuse in the plug reduces the fire risk.

Use of a reduced voltage can greatly prolong the lamp life. This may be achieved by a variable transformer, or a fixed step down transformer, or by inserting series resistance, or by connecting a greater than intended number of lamps in series, or use of a lamp dimmer.
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Old 20th Feb 2012, 11:18 am   #180
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

A rotary lamp dimmer also provides soft-start. I have one in my living room controlling a handful of halogen downlighters, and the lamps are nearly 10 years old with no failures so far.

The "chopped" output might seem harsh, but in practice, the net effect seems to be to reduce lamp failure at switch-on considerably.

N.
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