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bigguy

"Buzz box" light tester???

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Broad questions - opinions wanted.

Is the purchase of a "buzz box" light tester justified? How has it been useful/a disappointment to you?

Do you use it to find faulty lights once they are "up"?

Is it worth it to you?

Thanks for your input,

Tom

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Tom,

I purchased my Buzz Box last summer in anticipation of "the season of joy and headaches". I have been EXTREMELY pleased with my purchase.

I have fixed numerous light strings with the simple push of the red button. This sends enough voltage through the string to fix a non-fired shunt that is supposed to make the contact through the bulb when it burns out. I then know exactly which bulb(s) to replace.

I have used it to locate problem bulb connections, loose wire connections, and missing bulbs on items that are already in place. When any of the above conditions are present, pressing the magic red button causes the problem location to buzz. Hence the name...buzz box.

I also purchased a Light Tester Pro and haven't even taken it out of the package. I haven't found a string that took more than 30 seconds to find, diagnose and fix the problem. I have had to replace numerous burned out bulbs on a string that wasn't lighting up, so that fix took more than 30 seconds, but single bulb problems have been EXTREMELY easy to find and fix.

I can't imagine trying to enjoy a large number of lights without this amazing time saving tool.

Hope this helps,

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Broad questions - opinions wanted.

Is the purchase of a "buzz box" light tester justified? How has it been useful/a disappointment to you?

I've owned mine since at least 2003. I couldn't do my display without it. I can find most issues in under 30 seconds.

Do you use it to find faulty lights once they are "up"?

Yes. I will first try a Lightkeeper Pro since it's a bit less work than trying to hook up the buzz-box "in the field", but if the trigger doesn't work, than I set up the buzz-box.

Is it worth it to you?

Again, I couldn't do my display without it. Some people will make the argument that mini's are cheap enough that you can just throw them away, and you can buy a lot of minis for $150. These people evidently don't have wireframes (which the Lightkeeper is notorioiusly bad at debugging), or special strings that are twisted together, or have to fix lights out in the field, etc.

For example, Last night I was setting up my Wind-O-Lite frames. these frames are nice, but they tend to cause the bulbs to pop out in storage. Without the buzz-box, it would be probably 5-10 minutes per frame pushing in each bulb. Instead, I pulled out the buzz box and found the loose bulbs in about 10 seconds.

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I bought mine last summer and I am so glad I did. I was using a Lightkeeper Pro for a long time, but the Buzz box really is a good way to go. I had a few problems with a wireframe this year, took the box outside and what would have taken hours to find, took under an hour (the frame has over 1,000 lights on it, the connections are complicated).

Get one, its worth it.

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Here's a scanned buzz box instruction document that I have posted on my website. Not the greatest instructions, but it will give you some insight (note that you can't use the buzz box with longer string segments - only 20, 35, or 50 light segments only; so you have to remove a bulb from the other segments).

http://www.belardolights.com/Light_Tester.pdf

As far as price goes, you can use code SANTA20 at Christmas Done Bright to get 20% off through 6/30/2010, so that would be $120 for the Buzz Box. I've seen them for as low as $99 in the past, but that was only once. So I'd jump on the $120 price.

Here's the link:

http://www.christmasdonebright.com/lighted-displays/mini-lights/light-tester

I hope that helps.....Randy

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One note to remember; the buzz box does not work with LEDs! I have one and LOVE it, but as my display goes more and more LED I am using it less as well. Awesome tool in combination with the Lightkeeper Pro, you can fix any string of incandescent lights.

Edited by rdebolt

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I just received a "buzz box" from Rileighs Outdoor Decor for $99 plus shipping. Have used it many times successfully already since taking down the display. I wished I had it a year ago. They work slick.

John

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One note to remember; the buzz box does not work with LEDs!

Actually any of the high voltage fixing devices that work on incandescent lights will destroy every LED light in the string all at once.

I suppose that this would also be a great way to take your frustration out on that cheap LED string thats been such a headache one last time before you pitch it. Buzzzzzit!:rolleyes:

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Actually any of the high voltage fixing devices that work on incandescent lights will destroy every LED light in the string all at once.

I suppose that this would also be a great way to take your frustration out on that cheap LED string thats been such a headache one last time before you pitch it. Buzzzzzit!:rolleyes:

Ernie I did exactly that this year. I had a string of Menards blue LED's that died on me. I was trying to debug it but it was really rusty. So I decided to see what would happen if you used the buzz box on them ;) Oddly enough, if you pulled out a bulb and "buzzed" it, the rest of the (working part of the) string still would light up. Then I gave it one final blast. It didn't kill every LED on the string but probably 90% of them...

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To be clear... I find that 90% of our issues are bulbs loose in the socket or the wires in the socket aren't making contact.

Buzz Boxes create an arc on those loose contacts... Is that right?

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To be clear... I find that 90% of our issues are bulbs loose in the socket or the wires in the socket aren't making contact.

Buzz Boxes create an arc on those loose contacts... Is that right?

Correct. That's the situation where the buzz-box excells over the LKP...

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John, how did you get the buzz box so cheap? I can't find it on their website at all.

I just received a "buzz box" from Rileighs Outdoor Decor for $99 plus shipping. Have used it many times successfully already since taking down the display. I wished I had it a year ago. They work slick.

John

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Thanks! I'll have to give them a call to order it! I'm hoping they can ship via US Postal Service to help save money on shipping charges!

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Wow.... That's it? I've love to see a parts list.

....and what's that mess that looks like a melted c9 in the middle?

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yeup, not much to it. We also that it was funny about the C9 glued to the inside. Kinda sad actually, 100 bucks for largely an empty box.

If it does the job, I don't care what's inside ;)

I couldn't live without my buzz-box! OK, I could live, but I couldn't do my display!

I'm guessing they're using the C9 as some sort of current limiter? The box I have is made by a different manufacturer and looks different -- I wonder if I have one inside? Now I'm tempted to take it apart!

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...Is the purchase of a "buzz box" light tester justified? How has it been useful/a disappointment to you? ...

Yes, Yes, & YES!!!!! Yesterday my Buzz Box arrive from Andrew Albertson. 30 minutes later I had a herd of wire-frame deer (the older large wire-frames) & a wire-frame angel working again. I have a lot of lights to replace, but now I know which ones to work on. These wire-frames haven't worked in years and on a couple of them I've replaced every single bulb at least twice with no luck. Tried the LKP with no luck. I like the LKP, but it doesn't work well on wire-frames. Thank you Andrew! Worth every dime! :D

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If it does the job, I don't care what's inside ;)

I couldn't live without my buzz-box! OK, I could live, but I couldn't do my display!

I'm guessing they're using the C9 as some sort of current limiter? The box I have is made by a different manufacturer and looks different -- I wonder if I have one inside? Now I'm tempted to take it apart!

Wouldn't it have been more prudent to put the C9 in a socket instead of gluing it down like that? Just seems that if it's being used as a resistance (resistor) load in the circuit, and the filament could fail just as in any bulb or fuse, would have been easier for the end user to just replace by screwing in another one.

Sometimes manufacturers really dumfound me with doing stuff like that. Making a simple easy to replace part, both unsimple and more difficult to replace by having to break the bulb/fuse/part to get it out and put in another one.

First thing I'd do with one (if I ever opt to buy one) is put in a socket for the bulb and make it replaceable if the filament ever fails! (that is AFTER the warranty period has expired!)

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Wow.... That's it? I've love to see a parts list.

....and what's that mess that looks like a melted c9 in the middle?

Here here! Can't someone post a schematic?

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