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Old 4th Jan 2022, 6:18 pm   #661
McMurdo
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Most in line dimmers are likely to be leading edge unless thy're specifically rated for LEDs. The trailing edge dimmer uses a microprocessor-controlled IGBT and suffers much less from the minimum-load requirements of simple analogue triac-based leading edge dimmers. As such it goes right down to zero with no flicker, does not buzz and you can set minimum and maximum levels and save them to memory.
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Old 5th Jan 2022, 11:26 pm   #662
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hello all.
No pretty pictures this year (or should that be last year) so I thought I'd just show you the latest addition to my vintage lights.

I won these with a best offer and I am very pleased.
As an added bonus, there is a long flex and a Forum Favourite Legrand plug. Had a 13 amp fuse but soon changed that to a 3 amp.

I like to have a bayonet plug on my sets as it seems more authentic. The extra flex could be used for a 13 amp plug to bayonet socket extension.
Anyway, thought you might like to see them, being 12th night.

David.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 12:13 pm   #663
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Have to agree about the bayonet plug.
Some sets came with a soldered-on bayonet plug; the only place I've ever seen one.
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 12:20 pm   #664
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigham View Post
Have to agree about the bayonet plug.
Some sets came with a soldered-on bayonet plug; the only place I've ever seen one.
Yes, we had a set of Woolworths lights like that. Bought in the early 1960s
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Old 6th Jan 2022, 4:09 pm   #665
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

+1 for the bayonet plug!

I remember in the 'sixties our christmas-tree-lights [a 12-bulb Pifco set, and another set with about 30 small LES bulbs] both had bayonet-plugs which plugged into one of the 2-way adaptors with one outlet controlled by a push-switch; this then plugged into a trailing bayonet-socket whose flex ran to a 15A 3-piin outlet next to the fireplace.

We used the switch on the adapter to turn one string of lights off when watching TV!
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 7:53 am   #666
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Bayonet adaptors are useful when I can't be bothered running an extension lead behind the sofa, there is one in the porch light holder powering a socket strip containing a big fibre optic transformer.
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 1:19 pm   #667
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

This year was the first year on LED lights. I couldn't bear to part (yet) with the old bayonet connector from the old lights which I think this must date to the 60's and the thin incoming cable is extremely soft and pliable but just a little thin and fragile looking for 240v. I remember the old 12 light set of various themed bulbs some of which I see in these threads.

The four wires coming out were for two sets of Wilko lights bought in 2010 for 5p (yes 5p) a set in the final reductions bucket in the store. They lasted well but I was out of bulbs this year.
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 1:26 pm   #668
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I am hoping that someone with more knowledge than me may be able to help. I have a set of lights (about 20 years old) and when I came to turn them on this year there were 5 bulbs that had blown. I am trying to find replacements but can't find any with the same voltage and wattage. Similar but not the same.

Helpfully on the transformer it says that the bulbs I need to replace should be 4v and 0.24w, however the nearest I can find are 5v and 0.1amp would this be close enough or should I keep trawling the internet? I have attached some pictures of the lable on the transformer, a picture of the type of bulb I am looking to replace and the lights themselves. Any advice would be gratefully received so that this set of lights can be used again next year.
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 2:35 pm   #669
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

The current is the important thing with series strings.

Putting a single high current bulb in series with lots of low current bulbs will result in a low voltage across the new bulb, making it dim.

Conversely, putting a low current bulb in a string of high current bulbs will result in a high voltage across the new bulb, making it glow brightly and expire.

If you find bulbs of the right current but lower voltage, you can reduce the msins using a dimmer. The right current but higher voltage should just reduce the brightness of the string slightly.
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Old 7th Jan 2022, 10:00 pm   #670
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Thanks for the info which now gives me a better idea of what might be suitable.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 5:12 pm   #671
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

..Just a slight caution on dragging out Lilliput screw-in strings out of their box and powering them up. I'm not sure if mine are Pifco or some other make, but:

1- The lamps unerringly unscrew themselves so if the whole set is dead it could just be one lamp winding itself out.
2- There's still a lot of single insulated sets floating around (often the translucent type)
3- Some designs of diffuser manage to grab hold of the flex while in storage, which puts strain on the wire joints when untangling. I managed to get round this by clipping the ball-type ends off the diffuser stars (8 per diffuser, multiplied by 20!)
4- On mine there is no strain relief where the wire goes into the lampholders- i have had one solder joint fail allowing the wire to fall out. This is particularly prevalent where the insulation is of a tough grade of plastic. Might be a case for hot melt glue pumped into the base...?

Dave
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 5:22 pm   #672
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

The LES sets have always been notorious for unscrewing themselves. The MES sets do it as well, but don't seem to be as bad, and there are usually fewer bulbs in the set of course.

I think it's always a good idea to run vintage sets via an RCD, either at the consumer unit or a plug in adapter, especially if there are going to be children about.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 6:27 pm   #673
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I realise the old strings of lights I hve are by todays standards "unsafe" particularly with the single insulated wire etc .....

... so is it possible to buy double insulated single strand wire and new insulated MES bulb holders and make up a new safer set with a few extra bulbs to facilitate underrunning of the prized bulbs ??
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 6:48 pm   #674
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

A lot of mine are also commonly considered obsolete from that perspective!

I see no insulated MES holders on a quick search, i suppose one modification for a classic MES set would be wiring all the holders in parallel and feeding the string from a 20v (or better still 18 to 19v) power supply.

Dave
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 6:57 pm   #675
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

It would mean completely recreating the string - the only thing preserved would be the bulbs.

Just because lights don't comply with newer standards doesn't mean they're dangerous, just 'less safe'. Using an RCD removes any real risk.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 7:14 pm   #676
The Philpott
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quite. (also we have no kids here and the cat is no more...it was always a bit 'grabby' whilst under the tree, however not as bad as my friend's cat- that too crept under a tree, but piddled on all the presents- which could potentially have zapped it)

Dave
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 7:38 pm   #677
Tinker1966
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
It would mean completely recreating the string - the only thing preserved would be the bulbs.

Just because lights don't comply with newer standards doesn't mean they're dangerous, just 'less safe'. Using an RCD removes any real risk.
Oh good !! I have always been one to keep things as original as possible so shall carry on as normal.

I just got worried that I was maybe being wilfully unsafe !!!
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 8:00 pm   #678
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

The biggest risk with operating vintage series string light sets is using them without a fuse bulb. Normal bulbs are designed to fail short circuit so that they're easy to identify as all the others will continue to work, albeit being slightly overrun. If this isn't fixed more bulbs will fail and the voltages and currents of the survivors will continue to rise. Eventually *all* the bulbs will fail resulting in a short circuit across the mains. If you're lucky the plug fuse will blow, but if some twit has fitted a 13A fuse then the wiring may melt before the fuse blows causing a fire.

A fuse bulb is designed to prevent this by failing open circuit when overcurrent. If your fuse bulb fails and you don't have any spares then it's very tempting to replace it with an ordinary bulb, especially if it happens on Christmas Eve. It's acceptable to use the string like that, but it should never, ever be left unattended, and shouldn't be run if significant amounts of alcohol are being consumed. If any bulbs fail it should be switched off immediately.

All that said, some vintage 20V 12 lamp sets didn't used fuse bulbs - the bulbs would fail open circuit, so they were effectively *all* fuse bulbs. You were then left with the task of identifying the bad one as they'd all be out.
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Old 18th Nov 2023, 8:42 pm   #679
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

... And that's been one of my annual chores, for ages! Usually the last one checked was the culprit. Same procedure as every year. I could never understand why "that bulb" got weird during storage over the summer!

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Old 19th Nov 2023, 12:06 am   #680
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Most of mine have the aforementioned bypass shunts which takes the guessing out of the equation. I've found it a good idea to stock up on fuse lamps as they're comparatively fragile and i run out of them before the ordinary ones.

One Woolworth's string of 40 started to get through fuse lamps too often despite no other lamps having failed, at which point i marked it 'do not use' so the lamps could be salvaged in case of shortage. I noted at the time that the Woolies strings from this particular period used the same voltage lamps for the 40 and 50 strings. Much of the colour has cooked off from the former, i think that i wired some of them via a diode to cool them off a bit. Some can't tolerate the flicker but i'm ok with it. It's much less obvious in a 40 set than in a 20 set.

Dave
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