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jejennings

Source of bulk 2.5 volt miniature Christmas bulbs without bases?

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I have been searching in vain for a source of 2.5 volt miniature Christmas bulbs without bases in large bulk packages. I am sure that with the popularity of icicle lights and other 2.5 volt strings, other folks have run into this same problem. They buy lots of strings to decorate their house, quickly run through the few replacement lamps provided with the sets, and then start to cannibalize some strings to obtain replacement lamps for others. The packets of 5 typically available are horrendously expensive, and those selling larger quantities (100) usually have bases that must be removed and the lamps inserted in existing bases to work in their strings.

It's extremely wasteful (and totally non-green) to purchase strings just to cannibalize them for bulbs! Has anyone found a source for bare bulbs, without bases, just the two wires? Boxes of 1000 wouldbe handy.

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I just cannibalize a string. Usually everybody has a few strands that just "don't work" whatever the reason is and instead of throwing them away, they become the spare bulbs.

Actually I have had to hardly ever use the bulbs from the cannibalized sets because when you unpack all your sets, you have so many of the spare ones. For the display this year, my wife and I must of unboxed, and de-tagged about 300 sets of lights and we have ziplock bags full of the spare bulbs. It got to the point where I started throwing away the extra bulbs that came with sets of lights because I didn't to take the time to separate them from the blinker bulbs.

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i usually wait till a couple of days after christmas local walmart sells the packs of ten for 10c ea buy all they have. most time end up with 2 to 3 hundred each year

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Yeah, not very "earth-friendly" but the cheapest source of spare bulbs is just to cannabalize a string. Even at full price, you get 102 bulbs (100, plus the 2 spares) for about $2. But typically you can get them on clearance for a lot cheaper. I've found this way is even cheaper than getting the 10-packs on clearance...

Annalisa had (has?) a cool how-to on her website about how to also cannabalize wire from the strings, which can be used for other projects, thus furthering the recycling process...

-Tim

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tfischer wrote:

Yeah, not very "earth-friendly" but the cheapest source of spare bulbs is just to cannabalize a string. Even at full price, you get 102 bulbs (100, plus the 2 spares) for about $2. But typically you can get them on clearance for a lot cheaper. I've found this way is even cheaper than getting the 10-packs on clearance...

Annalisa had (has?) a cool how-to on her website about how to also cannabalize wire from the strings, which can be used for other projects, thus furthering the recycling process...

-Tim

Yes and usually 2.5 volt bulbs will substitute for 3.5 bulbs acceptably but if you are running on 3.5 circuits, once you get a darkened bulb or two in the string, they start over volting hard and you can loose the rest of the bulbs FAST.

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tfischer wrote:

Yeah, not very "earth-friendly" but the cheapest source of spare bulbs is just to cannabalize a string. Even at full price, you get 102 bulbs (100, plus the 2 spares) for about $2. But typically you can get them on clearance for a lot cheaper. I've found this way is even cheaper than getting the 10-packs on clearance...

Annalisa had (has?) a cool how-to on her website about how to also cannabalize wire from the strings, which can be used for other projects, thus furthering the recycling process...

-Tim

Yes and usually 2.5 volt bulbs will substitute for 3.5 bulbs acceptably but if you are running on 3.5 circuits, once you get a darkened bulb or two in the string, they start over volting hard and you can loose the rest of the bulbs FAST.

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Although those big bags of spare bulbs collected from new sets last awhile, they disappear fast once the lamps start going. Yes, it's cheap to buy additional set on sale just for replacements, but often the bases are different and the lamp must be removed from one base and put in another. It is much easier to put a new bare lamp in an old base, just push through the wires, partially bend them, clip the excess with cutters, then bend them the rest of the way.

As far as reusing wire and sockets from old set, I've done that, but there's only so many uses for this stuff and most of it goes into a landfill. I couldn't find the how-to you referred to on Annalisa's website.[http://www.christmaswonders.com/]

My point is that a box of 1000 spare lamps would not only be more eco-friendly, but also take up less storage space than extra boxed sets. They could also probably be sold for less than a penny apiece while still providing a comfortable profit margin for the seller. My guess is that the importers, distributers and retailers do not see a perceived market. I'm going to start writing to any I can find and suggest they offer lamps in bulk.

PS - the recent winds here in the Northeast have devastated several displays.

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jejennings wrote:

Although those big bags of spare bulbs collected from new sets last awhile, they disappear fast once the lamps start going. Yes, it's cheap to buy additional set on sale just for replacements, but often the bases are different and the lamp must be removed from one base and put in another. It is much easier to put a new bare lamp in an old base, just push through the wires, partially bend them, clip the excess with cutters, then bend them the rest of the way.

As far as reusing wire and sockets from old set, I've done that, but there's only so many uses for this stuff and most of it goes into a landfill. I couldn't find the how-to you referred to on Annalisa's website.[http://www.christmaswonders.com/]

My point is that a box of 1000 spare lamps would not only be more eco-friendly, but also take up less storage space than extra boxed sets. They could also probably be sold for less than a penny apiece while still providing a comfortable profit margin for the seller. My guess is that the importers, distributers and retailers do not see a perceived market. I'm going to start writing to any I can find and suggest they offer lamps in bulk.

PS - the recent winds here in the Northeast have devastated several displays.

I've been doing this so long that I can pull a good spare bulb from a base and straighten it with my fingers in about 2 seconds, so there's really no time disadvantage for me.

I also don't store the spares with the sockets and wire -- I remove them and put them in ziplocks. I do keep the bases on... sometimes they fit, and if not, see my first comment ;)

I wouldn't hold your breath on trying to find lamps in bulk, at least at a reasonable price. It's all about supply and demand -- there's a huge supply/demand for 100-count light strings, but would be a minimal demand for bulk 'bare' bulbs. Therefore you could expect the latter to be priced much less economically...

-Tim

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