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Clyde Lindsey

How To Video: Converting Broken Light String To Extension Cords

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I'd say that 15% of my display was powered this year by using old light strings that were donated by people.  I only purchased 6 or 7 SPT cords from Target this year so I'm crossing my finger that I come up with 150 sets for next year's expansion.  So far I have 40 done and probably 20 left to do.  I've placed adds on FreeCycle and Craigs List and received emails already.  My sister also keeps her eyes open for me on her 1 hour drive to and from work.  Last year she found a train (rebuilt and fixed it) and over 25 strings people threw out in the trash. 

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Great video.  I wonder if instead of cutting the wire at the beginning of each series and taping it, you could just pull it out of the socket, then fill the socket with silicone to protect the connection of the other 2 wires inside.  Sometimes if you pull the bulb out, then push up on the wire you can dislodge the little brass contact from the socket that way too.  I love the idea of recycling strands, not sure I have enough patience for it though. lol

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Great video.  I wonder if instead of cutting the wire at the beginning of each series and taping it, you could just pull it out of the socket, then fill the socket with silicone to protect the connection of the other 2 wires inside.  Sometimes if you pull the bulb out, then push up on the wire you can dislodge the little brass contact from the socket that way too.  I love the idea of recycling strands, not sure I have enough patience for it though. lol

I've not experienced any problems with the socket.  As it is now, mini lights sit with a bulb in the socket and get pounded by the elements.  I don't believe that this use is any different.  Also, there is no cross over between the positive and neutral lines, black electrical tape should suffice, or even shrink wrap.  To be honest, I typically sit in the living room and watch tv or NetFlix while doing these strings.  Not too much into doing the extra work either, but it saves me big bucks on extension cords.  I don't have the money to purchase 150 new ones for next years display.  I'm guessing that would run me about $600.  Besides, people are always throwing them away anyway...

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I saw this idea at a mini a couple of years ago and thought it was a great idea given the cost of extention cords and how many I needed.

I've been using this idea ever since and it works great.

 

Also, I'm glad to see someone agrees with me. The last time I mentioned this technique on this forum, I got beat up pretty bad.

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Great video ... Had some had some defective strings that the light dont work but the power does but did not want to throw them out and i am  always looking for a good way to save a little money.

Edited by GregC

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Honestly, people who do give me the broken strings think I'm crazy.  "What are you going to do with them?"  Truth is, I use the light keeper on them to "see" if they will work.  Then I remove and save the good bulbs.  Too Easy!

 

I saw this idea at a mini a couple of years ago and thought it was a great idea given the cost of extention cords and how many I needed.

I've been using this idea ever since and it works great.

 

Also, I'm glad to see someone agrees with me. The last time I mentioned this technique on this forum, I got beat up pretty bad.

I'm sure there are people here who are cringing at the fact that I power my light strings with recycled light strings.  But to me, it makes sense.  I'm not much worried about what people think of my extension cords.  It's not like they sit their watching the show and think to themselves, "hum, wonder if he's using UL approved extension cords on this display."  And when I tell them that 40 display items use recycled old light strings, they seem impressed. 

I just received a care package on the front porch today with 5 more strings.  Was from a friend-of-a-friend who heard on Facebook.  I'm up to about 80 this year.  Still  70 more to go. 

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Great video Clyde I have been doing this for the last 8 years and have saved myself hundreds of dollars and the extra fuse is a major plus I solder and shrink wrap the ones I know are going to be in a problem area (hanging up in a tree with high winds) Only one issue, your work bench is way to clean and tidy what's with that? ...........

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Great video Clyde I have been doing this for the last 8 years and have saved myself hundreds of dollars and the extra fuse is a major plus I solder and shrink wrap the ones I know are going to be in a problem area (hanging up in a tree with high winds) Only one issue, your work bench is way to clean and tidy what's with that? ...........

That is not my work bench ;)  it is the desk in my office.  Don't worry, I have a nice filthy work bench which is cluttered with new LED's waiting for the new shelves to be assembled.  Also, I have 2 more controllers to build.

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That is not my work bench ;)  it is the desk in my office.  Don't worry, I have a nice filthy work bench which is cluttered with new LED's waiting for the new shelves to be assembled.  Also, I have 2 more controllers to build.

 

Phew good to hear

you had me worried ----- :blink:

Nice work on the Video great information

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Hi Clyde, very informative video.  Just one comment (not intended to be negative)....  By leaving the the bulbs in-place, aren't you depending on the bulb's shunt resistor to carry the current?  If so, it is worth pointing out that a very small amount of power will be used on each 'dead' bulb.  It is probably not enough to be concerned about, but if you have 100's or 1,000's of these, it adds up to something measureable (but, still relatively small).

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Only 1 question...... is that UL approved???????????? :P    Nice tutorial I can see where I could use that in a few spots BUT only a few spots cuz I definatly don't have that much patience :o

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