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Old 30th Dec 2020, 6:03 pm   #641
The Philpott
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

'Previously enjoyed, returned to the shop for a refund, then found their way back onto the shelf the following day by someone who wasn't there when the refund was issued'
It happens!

-I have several of the 'little green spanners' dating from late 1980's onwards, never used them but i can imagine those with long or stick-on nails might need them to change a lamp.

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Old 30th Dec 2020, 6:39 pm   #642
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

A few years ago I unsucessfully tried to get some double insulated single conductor wire for converting some new 'loop' sets to single-ended. In the end I used a reel of cable I already had, with white core and red outer layer, rated at 600V, with only a slightly greater diameter than the original green stuff.

Shame about the CPC set's wiring (#633). The wires in my 1950's and subsequent era's sets have shown no sign of deterioration.

Last edited by emeritus; 30th Dec 2020 at 6:44 pm. Reason: Typos
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Old 5th Jan 2021, 10:43 pm   #643
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Possibly the worst apres Xmas job of all... neatly putting away the fairy lights back in the box.
Had 3 blown bulbs this year- 1st in 40 years! --wonder if that increase in mains that's been mentioned is to blame. New bulbs ordered and might just try that diode mod too... ��
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Old 5th Jan 2021, 10:59 pm   #644
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Rather a nice set. That insulation looks like the material used on my Pifco set of 20. (Quite rigid.)
With a series set of 20 you're already stressing them if one lamp failure goes unnoticed for too long.
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 11:48 pm   #645
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicam49 View Post
Possibly the worst apres Xmas job of all... neatly putting away the fairy lights back in the box.
Had 3 blown bulbs this year- 1st in 40 years! --wonder if that increase in mains that's been mentioned is to blame. New bulbs ordered and might just try that diode mod too... ��
Nice to see them boxed up neatly. Pifco "Noel" lights if I remember rightly? I`ve got a set of these in my collection but sadly mine aren`t boxed. One of the rarer designs look after them
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Old 7th Jan 2021, 10:29 am   #646
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

As yet another Christmas has passed and 12th night has come and gone, its time to put all our Christmas stuff away for another 11 months or so.

I will be putting this Thread away now, but of course it can be re-awakened in December if there is anything new to report

Cheers

Mike T
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 4:08 pm   #647
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

End of 2021 already

And a request to re-open this thread

Cheers

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Old 20th Dec 2021, 5:16 pm   #648
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I have used mainly modern LED Christmas lights, but have some of the more traditional incandescent ones as well.
The LED ones use so little power that most are lit 24/7 without concerns, but the traditional ones are connected in the proper old fashioned way via B22 lamp holder plugs.

Does anyone know if the 20 volt, 3 watt, E10 bulbs are still being manufactured ? Many sellers on ebay offer these, but are these NOS or current manufacture ?

In the USA a new type of LED Christmas lamp has recently become available, although of modern production these certainly LOOK vintage.
120 volt, about 1 watt, LED filament bulbs with clear coloured plastic bulbs.
Available in blue, green, yellow, red, amber, violet, warm white and cool white.

Intended to replace the 5 watt and 7 watt 120 volt lamps used in American parallel wired lighting festoons popular in the USA. Very attractive IMHO, clear coloured bulbs are in my view preferable to the opaque painted ones.

I may have to try some next year, despite the need for a transformer.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 5:27 pm   #649
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Quote:
most are lit 24/7
Do turn them off for two reasons, one it saves energy (every little helps) and two the birds get a chance to sleep even with street lighting, they find dark bits of our gardens for a kip. My 7:30 walk to work (a whole mile) is enhanced in the morning with the dawn chorus this time of year, I would hate them being too knackered to sing for me.
 
Old 20th Dec 2021, 6:25 pm   #650
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

-Not sure if this 'vintage' set are Pifco or cheaper clones. Thanks to Dave i now have some spare LES lamps for it, so gave it a look over and fixed a dry joint.

A few things which urge caution compared to (most of) the long-lived generation of 'push-ins' that came in later:

-Single insulation, of course. Quite rigid and tough...PTFE?
-No strain relief in the holders, so 40 little solder joints are potential points of failure. Considering filling the holders with some sort of goo.
-The diffusers were 12 pointed stars- which without fail grab the twisted pair whenever the set is put away. Finally got fed up with this and they are now
-Holders unsuitable for the taller higher wattage LES lamps (around 1 watt) and a rogue one of these in the string had melted a diffuser! There is a diode in the plug now which runs them all cooler and hopefully extends life.
-Many of you will know that LES have a talent for loosening themselves from the holders without any encouragement.

(Interesting that I can perceive a flicker when i add a diode to a set of 20 filaments, but NOT when i add a diode to a set of 40.)

So overall it's a case of keep out of reach of children and don't handle when plugged in, whether lit or not...i think i will fill the bases of the holders with two-pack resin even if this precludes future repair.

Dave
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 6:27 pm   #651
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

The outdoor festoon lights are turned off to save energy and avoid keeping the neighbors awake.
These are 40 LED lamps, about 160 watts in total which is significant. Controlled by a time switch and lit from 16-00 until 22-00 nightly.

The indoor LED lights are of very low power and left on 24/7, often in place of other lighting not as well as.

Lights around front door, 0.1 A at 12 volts
Christmas tree in window of spare room, 0.15 amps at 12 volts.
One large and two mini Christmas trees in window of living room, 0.3 amps at 12 volts.
Lights in hall, 0.1 amps at 12 volts.
Total loading under one amp at 12 volts DC. Connected to home built 12 volt UPS, that also supplies door bell, radio, and one other lamp. Run time on battery is a couple of days.

Lights in bathroom window, powered by 3 D cells, 2 sets of batteries used per season.

Vintage lights in living room, about 150 watts, plugged into wall lights with B22 plug, only used when in the room.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 10:44 pm   #652
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I managed to buy 3 Compleat sets fitted with the 20volt 3 watt bulbs in a charity shop for £2 each set . I thought it best not to mention the PAT test sticker on them was probably not strictly valid. Anyway I have loads of these old sets and love them. Back to the question about the replacement bulbs still being available on eBay. I bought some last Christmas just to see what they were like. I believe they are probably the last of the last manufactured possibly intended for use in another country that uses 220-240 volts. They do Infact work ok and just about the correct amount of light output. I was worried they might be to bright. Only time will tell how long they last Andy
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Old 21st Dec 2021, 12:35 am   #653
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Unfortunately, most lighting around here is modern, sorry folks.
The only vintage things in use this year are 3 sets of coronet lanterns fitted with LED bulbs, they consume 60W rather than 450W!
The other thing is a Woolworths light up star for the indoor tree, I do have spare bulbs for it.
As for American sets, there is a stockpile of bulbs for them, these should keep everything working for the next 200 years!
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Old 21st Dec 2021, 3:34 pm   #654
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I bought a vintage set from eBay so my tree now has 4 sets if traditional lights on her plus some cherry lights which flash and do all sorts of nice patterns all very nice. The 4 sets of normall lamps are all connected in series with a 150 watt bulb this reduced the the bulbs to about 8 volts instead of 12 so hopefully that will extend the bulb life. I started off with a diode in series with them but unfortunatley the socket I used fell apart after 2 days so I changed it to a series lamp instead.

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Old 21st Dec 2021, 4:01 pm   #655
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Other ways exist to reduce the voltage on Christmas lights, without the energy waste in a very dimly glowing series lamp.

A small transformer wired as an autotransformer to reduce the voltage by whatever figure you desire.

A series lamp of suitable wattage , and of much lower than mains voltage such that it glows reasonably brightly and can serve some useful purpose. A 24 volt 10 watt or 12 watt "bus bulb" might serve, or two such in series to drop more volts.

A specially made string of lights to drop the required voltage and connected in series.

I once used a 2 foot fluorescent tube, without any control gear, in series with Christmas lights to drop about 50 volts. This gave enough light to obviate the need for other lighting. Has to be a T12 lamp.
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Old 21st Dec 2021, 4:46 pm   #656
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

-An old transformer for a 12v MR16 downlighter can be wired up to drop mains by 5%.
(Thanks Clive.)

-Never heard of the T12 trick before- but i'm not surprised that it can't be done with lesser diameters. I've known T12s to strike up without a starter.

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Old 21st Dec 2021, 6:20 pm   #657
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Back in the good old days, I used a T12 20 watt fluorescent lamp in series with some rather attractive imported Christmas lights that were I suspect intended for 220 volt mains and had a short life on a generous 240 volt supply.

Four sets in parallel IIRC and connected in series with a fluorescent tube. Usually started from line voltage but I added a small transformer for the tube heaters in the interests of reliability.

The arrangement was duplicated, total 8 sets of lights and two fluorescent tubes. One pink and one yellow.

The Christmas lights were obtained from "PIER ONE IMPORTS" A small chain of shops that sold all manner of cheap imported goods, Does anyone remember the company ? They had a large branch in Kingston upon Thames, early 1970s.
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Old 23rd Dec 2021, 2:37 pm   #658
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

My Nan's 1950's 20-way tree lights are on my tree again, supplied by a 'varilight' trailing edge dimmer. This will go from full to fully off smoothly and without any hint of flicker or loading problems and has a soft-start ramp.
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Old 26th Dec 2021, 11:04 pm   #659
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hello,

my idea to let these 16V E10 incandescent bulbs of the candle type (in a chain of 14, meant to run on 220V) live longer has always been to drive them by a variac. Giving them about 13V each they still look beautiful, and prevents them from dying early.

Me thinks those bulbs are harder to find year by year, and all are made in China nowadays.

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Old 4th Jan 2022, 11:20 am   #660
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
My Nan's 1950's 20-way tree lights are on my tree again, supplied by a 'varilight' trailing edge dimmer. This will go from full to fully off smoothly and without any hint of flicker or loading problems and has a soft-start ramp.

Does it make any difference to the survival of the bulbs whether a leading or trailing edge dimmer is used? I used a plug socket type in line dimmer which is presumably leading edge for the first time this year.
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