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Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 12:09 PM   #1
 
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Christmas Tree Lights

The history of Christmas tree lights...

Back when I was a kid, we had lights that were wired in series.* One wire from each bulb to the next, and if one went out, they all went out.* This meant that at random times you had to spend 30 minutes trying to find out which bulb was bad by rooting around inside the tree and sequentially replacing each bulb with one that you were 90% sure was good.

Eventually the world rebelled against this stupid design, and all lights were wired in parallel.* Things were good for a while.

Then the bean counters came up with incredibly cheap bulbs which were wired in series, but were designed such that when a bulb burned out, it was supposed to fuse, so that the other bulbs remained lit.* By designing these such that there was more than one wire between bulbs, old timers who remembered the old series bulbs were tricked into buying them.*

The problem was that the fusing didn't always work, so it's back to 1959, with the sequential testing of each bulb.* It's worse because the microscopic wires on the bulbs didn't always go into the socket right.

Those are the types of bulbs we have now, and right after Christmas they are going right in to the garbage can.*

I'm going to get some new ones at the after-Christmas sales.* Anybody have some recommendations?
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 12:28 PM   #2
 
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

I just found that there's actually a web page that talks about the history of Christmas tree lights. And it says "Parallel wired indoor lighting sets did not become popular until after the end of World War II. "
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 01:38 PM   #3
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Anybody have some recommendations?
We found a Seasonal Specialties fiber-optic tree at a garage sale. It took a couple tries (and $15) to obtain a working transformer (the seller had lost theirs) but now the tree looks great, only has one halogen light, and probably uses less power. It even uses less storage space.

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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

Al, if you can find them cheap, I would stringly consider some of the new LED Xmas lights.
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 02:14 PM   #5
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

Remember the christmas tree lights that had bubbling or boiling liquid in them? How did that work?


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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 02:53 PM   #6
 
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

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I would stringly consider some of the new LED Xmas lights.
Yes, those will probably never burn out. Might meet my stringent requirements.
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 07:43 PM   #7
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Yes, those will probably never burn out.* Might meet my stringent requirements.
Almost forever lifespan plus very, very low electricity use. What's not to like?
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-24-2005, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUM
Remember the christmas tree lights that had bubbling or boiling liquid in them? How did that work?


Don't know how they worked but they are still around.
Last week while flying to Fla. I was reading the Sky Mall magazine and saw them in there.
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-25-2005, 12:50 AM   #9
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUM
Remember the christmas tree lights that had bubbling or boiling liquid in them? How did that work?


Bubble lights. They have colored alcohol/water mix that boils from the heat of the light under the fluid which is in a partial vacuum in a sealed tube. This allows it to boil without expanding and breaking the glass tube. I have a set and love to look at them.
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-25-2005, 04:28 AM   #10
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

We don't have a tree this year, thus no lights. Only the wreaths
on the garage and they are lit by the garage lights, so I guess we
are pretty efficient, Christmas light-wise. I did blow a bulb in the
fixture over our sink yesterday. Figured it shouldn't be over a buck.
Ace Hardware wanted $7.70! Seems they are always high.
Bought it at Menards for $3.99. That's quite a swing.............

JG
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-25-2005, 08:52 AM   #11
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

John, is your wife working today? I so, hang some lights and make her a fine Christmas dinner. Don't forget how lucky you are to have her, you old grump.
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-25-2005, 10:35 AM   #12
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
They have colored alcohol/water mix that boils from the heat of the light under the fluid which is in a partial vacuum in a sealed tube.* This allows it to boil without expanding and breaking the glass tube.
Oh, boy-- alcohol, liquids, hot lights, electricity, breaking glass-- am I missing any pyromaniac's fantasy ingredients?

Am I the only one wondering how this got by the Underwriter's Laboratories for houses full of kids, pets, & overturning trees?

Forget UL-- I can just imagine the company's testing laboratory!
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-25-2005, 10:36 AM   #13
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
They have colored alcohol/water mix that boils from the heat of the light under the fluid which is in a partial vacuum in a sealed tube. This allows it to boil without expanding and breaking the glass tube.
Oh, boy-- alcohol, liquids, hot lights, electricity, breaking glass-- am I missing any pyromaniac's fantasy ingredients?

Am I the only one wondering how this got by the Underwriter's Laboratories for houses full of kids, pets, & overturning trees?

Forget UL-- I can just imagine the company's testing laboratory!
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-25-2005, 10:54 AM   #14
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

You know, I've met the guy who invented those LED lights, my friend set up his first web site, the guy couldn't pay him much cash at the time, so he gave him something like a 2% stake in the business. My friend drives a Lexus now.
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights
Old 12-25-2005, 10:58 AM   #15
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Re: Christmas Tree Lights

I picked up one of the fiber optic trees mentioned above for $19 from brylane home, who is unfortunately making a soon to be failed attempt to charge me an extra six bucks for shipping after the fact. Still, nice little 6' tree that turns and plays crappy greeting card quality christmas music. With one of these, the lights arent really needed. I measured it with the kill-a-watt at 25W no matter whether it was just lit, lit and turning, or lit, turning and playing the substandard music. 100W for our other tree with two small strands of lights. 400W for the four strands of ourdoor lights I put up.

I was looking for LED lights, but couldnt find any that looked "normal". The ones I found were all shaped like strawberries for some reason. I didnt look that hard though.

"The strawberries...THATS where I had them..."
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