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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 25th Nov 2019, 12:07 pm   #461
broadgage
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

LED lighting technology is ever changing.
Some of the newer LED Christmas lights have a light output more like filtered incandescent, especially the red lights.
Until recently, red LEDs were made of a semiconductor material that emitted red light.
Some recent production uses a blue or violet LED coated with a phosphor that emits red, or sometimes yellow or green light when excited by the shorter wavelength blue or violet light. A little of the blue or violet light tends to leak through the phosphor coating and thereby gives a less saturated light.

An attractive purple colour is obtained with a thinner coating of red phosphor that allows considerable blue light to leak through and mix with the red.

The newer types of red LED may be recognised when unlit, e.g. on the retailers shelf. A red phosphor led will have a red or pink colouration when not lit. The older type will be completely colourless when not lit.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 5:07 pm   #462
Nicholas Bilton
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by julie_m View Post
We had a set of Pifco "London Lights", which had the same small lanterns as the "Cinderella" lights shown above, but instead of coaches, there were larger (6 sided?) plastic lanterns with coloured panels set into a brass-effect frame.
I used to have set of those London lights too, but I sold them. They were lovely lights, very colourful when lit. Mine were from the 1980s.
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 7:05 pm   #463
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Checking the LED net lights are working for another Christmas season.

The Inspector is on the case!

I can't do ANYTHING in this house without feline intervention or observation !!

It's like being in a Big Brother house run by cats..... They're everywhere!
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 9:16 pm   #464
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Being able to make either end of a chain of christmas lights live or neutral is just one of the reasons why all of my vintage christmas lights are either fitted with BC adapters ( as they were originally supplied with) or 5 amp 2 pin Clix plugs !
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 11:31 pm   #465
emeritus
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I use Humbrol or Revell transparent lacquers for reviving faded colours of my incandescent bulbs, and for colouring clear bulbs where I have no coloured spares. The Revell colours have been more weather-resistant than Humbrol, but nothing between them for indoor use.
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 6:25 pm   #466
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancs Lad View Post
Checking the LED net lights are working for another Christmas season.

The Inspector is on the case!

I can't do ANYTHING in this house without feline intervention or observation !!

It's like being in a Big Brother house run by cats..... They're everywhere!
The cat doing the inspection looks just like my kitten Matthew. He is so cute and has a wonderful personality.
Dave, USradcoll1 and fellow cat lover.
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 10:19 pm   #467
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

It's probably already been mentioned in this long-running thread, but it's worth "bumping".

Fitting a diode in series with an incandescence string imparts several advantages, the diode can be housed inside the plug.

The bulbs will last almost forever.
The lights will look dimmer, and more classy for that.
A barely perceptible, whimsical flicker is produced.
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 10:32 pm   #468
Nicholas Bilton
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I just use a plug in dimmer socket. I've never had any problems. I have also added extra bulb holders on to light sets, which has also improved bulb life.
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Old 29th Nov 2019, 11:21 pm   #469
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Being able to make either end of a chain of christmas lights live or neutral
Simply start the VoltStick search at the other end
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 1:01 am   #470
broadgage
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

"Starting the voltstick search the other end" tends not to work well with sets of 20 or more series lamps.
Such sets often consist of a single long wire from the plug to the most distant lamp, with the lamps in series along the other wire.
If this long wire be connected to mains live, then a voltstick tends to light on any lamp due to the proximity of this "always live" conductor.
This wire therefore needs to be connected to mains neutral, either permanently via a polarised plug, or when required via a reversible plug.

Sets of 8, 10, or 12 lamps are more often in a ring or loop arrangement and polarity is unimportant, simply start from either end.
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Old 6th Dec 2019, 3:02 pm   #471
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Anyone else using vintage Christmas lights this year? Here’s some of mine.
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Old 6th Dec 2019, 3:08 pm   #472
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Half the forum, I should think!
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Old 7th Dec 2019, 1:12 am   #473
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

It's still possible to buy sets of lights with incandescent bulbs. I got some today from my local "Poundstretcher" store. I don't like the electronic effects controllers that come with the LED variety.
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Old 7th Dec 2019, 12:54 pm   #474
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Indeed, some of the LED controllers won't latch on the last chosen format, some will, and some will latch temporarily- then lose their memory a week later. One of the manifold reasons i have stuck with oldies.

Almost all of my oldies are push-in, the bewildering amount of variation in voltage, wattage, and type of base rivals the multiple nomenclature/s for button cell sizes.

I even have a string of 35 push-ins. A gift from a mate, the colour temp. must be around 2200k, and because they're clearly not being pushed hard they haven't yet needed any spare lamps. The quality of the light is beautiful, switched them on at 0550 today without any trace of eye strain for either of us. If i wanted to find another set i could end up searching forever.

Dave
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Old 9th Dec 2019, 8:29 pm   #475
railwayman3
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

A splendidly nostalgic thread. I can just remember going with my Father in the 1950's to buy a set of lights from the local Co-operative Society electrical shop, a 12-lamp set with six green and six red lamps, a sort of bulbous round shape with transparent lacquer so that the filaments were visible. Over the years, failed bulbs were replaced with a motly collection of spares, whatever were available in Woolies at the time. I have a few bulbs left in the attic, stored in the original box "Manufactured in England by The British Luma Co-operative Electric Lamp Society Limited"....presumably when the Co-operative Wholesale Society had their own factories for every kind of retail products. (An interesting article on
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luma_Tower )

The "bubble lights" mostly used Methylene Chloride as the fluid (also see Wikipedia, etc). I have a small glass toy which must date back to my grandfather's time, like a larger version of a bubble light with a small globe at the base (like a big thermometer). The heat of a hand on the globe is enough to start the liquid bubbling, and up pops a tiny blown-glass "devil" jumping up-and-down on the top of the liquid.
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Old 10th Dec 2019, 2:11 am   #476
trevwgb
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Question Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Graham - I also use plug in dimmers and am using a small variac for some very old lights - however exactly what component do I need for the " diode in series" manoeuvre ( sorry for such a basic question - please humor a nonexpert!)
Thanks
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Old 10th Dec 2019, 10:21 am   #477
broadgage
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Any common silicon power diode of suitable rating may be used in series with Christmas lights.
The voltage rating needs to be greater than the peak of the AC mains, and preferably by a good margin. 1000 volt PIV diodes provide a good safety margin and are cheap and widely sold.
The current rating of the diode needs to be greater than the load current, again preferably by a good margin. 1 amp diodes are cheap and sold everywhere. The actual load current is unlikely to exceed a small fraction of an amp.
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Old 10th Dec 2019, 1:18 pm   #478
Paul Stenning
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

A 1N4007 will do the job nicely.
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Old 10th Dec 2019, 8:27 pm   #479
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Although it's obviously a bit silly to underrate the diode, it won't do any harm if it fails - if it's open circuit then all the lights will go out, and if it's short circuit then they'll come on at full brightness.

The only drawback with the diode dodge is that there's sometimes a bit of visible flicker. Some people are much more sensitive to this than others.
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Old 11th Dec 2019, 1:00 am   #480
broadgage
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

My favoured approach is to either use a stepdown auto-transformer of suitable rating, usually about 180 volts, or a suitable series lamp of a carefully selected voltage and wattage so as to give a reasonable light and do double duty as a tree topper.
Or simply connect extra lamps of the same style in series.

Decades ago I purchased some attractive 20 lamp mini lights that seemed very bright and rather short lived, I suspect they were intended for 220 volt mains.
I bought a load more and cannibalised some to make sets of 25 lamps instead of the intended 20 lamps.
25 sets 20 lamps made into 20 sets of 25 lamps, Still in use AFAIK by a relative.
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