View Full Version : Problem with icicle lights

July 5th, 2005, 02:42 PM
We left the Christmas icicle lights up in one of our rooms because we really like the ambiance that they create. We have 3 strings attached together and each string has 30 drops with a total of 150 bulbs a string. They're made by GE and they're the kind that are "supposed" to stay lit even if a bulb burns out. I say "supposed" to stay lit because, well, that's what my problem is with them and what has brought me here.

There were several bulbs burnt out amongst the 3 strings and the other bulbs did continue to burn. But then the other day when I turned them on, the last 10 drops in the middle string were not lit up. I thought that instead of trying to mess with the bulbs that I would come here first and see if someone might be able to explain exactly what happened and what I need to do to fix it. Thanks much in advance for any help with this!


Mr T
July 5th, 2005, 05:53 PM
The bulbs themself are in series with each other (there is a jumper built into the bulbs to take over when the filament opens the circuit (aka bulb blowing). In addition there are several of these series circuits that are in parallel with each other. Removing 1 bulb kills just one of these circuits. You have a open in one or more of these circuits.

Check all your bulbs. It is often easier to just toss the set and get a new set this winter. (you're family may even start to visit again once they are gone....unless you have them up for 'that' reason :D ) THey are so cheap anymore.. WHich brings up the point that they are not intended for long term or permenant use (and are labled that way on one of the 30 or so safety tags on the set). A> they are so cheaply made anymore that the light sockets just wear out from flapping in the wind B> the wires (and insulation) are so thin that they offer no support speeding up the wear.

They make light strings that are for permenant use. If you really like the lights, I'd consider them. (One of the users on here (MD or OHM i think) will hopefully post a link to those lights.

July 5th, 2005, 06:44 PM
According the the UL information on your holiday lights, they are only to be used for 90 day periods. They truly are a hazard when used indoors for extended periods. Do a net search and read about all the serious fires from using holiday lighting on a permanent basis.

Copied from the UL White Book:

This category covers temporary use, seasonal decorative lighting products
and accessories with a maximum input rating of 120 V ac. Temporary
use is considered to be a period of installation and use not to exceed 90
days per year. A seasonal product is a product painted in colors to suggest
holiday theme or a snow covering, a figure in a holiday costume, or any
decoration associated with a holiday or a particular season of the year.
Products covered under this category are factory assembled, portable,
and intended for connection to a receptacle.
In Listing seasonal and holiday decorative products, it is assumed that
any medium base, intermediate base, candelabra base, miniature base or
midget-base lamps to be used in these products are made in accordance
with American National Standards Institute specifications, as well as the
applicable requirements in UL 588, ‘‘Seasonal and Holiday Decorative
Products.’’ The use of lamps that are not in conformance with such standards
may present shock hazards or high temperature conditions that are
in excess of safe limits of operation.

If you want lighting that is very similar in appearance to the holiday lighting you have, but designed and UL listed for permanent use, consider something like Leaf Lights (http://www.nslusa.com/leaf.html) from National Specialty Lighting. They are heavy duty, rated for use all the time, and indoor and outdoor rated.