# Pesky Christmas lights

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Nov 28, 2005.

1. ### Guest

I have a question about two Christmas star lights that go on top the
Christmas tree. Each star has 11 lights and take 12 volt bulbs. The
instructions for the gold star specifically state that you shouldn't
replace the flasher bulb with a steady burning bulb because it could
cause overheating.

The silver star doesn't have instructions (it belonged to a relative).
I'm trying to figure out if this star can use both the flasher and
burning bulb in it and it did overheat (just a bit) causing some of the
reflectors around the lights to melt a little. However, I'm not sure if
this is because this star only takes a flasher bulb or because the
wrong voltage of lights were used. It uses 12 volt lights but I
strongly suspect that the relative had been using 2.5 volt and 3.5 volt
bulbs in it.

Is there a way to figure out if the star can use a steady burning bulb?
The only info I have on it are the two little stickers on it that state
what amps are used and have a bunch of numbers on it that don't look
like anything important. I really have no intentions of using this
star, but I think the relative kind of wants to use it (since I'm not
using it).

BTW, could someone tell me what having a light set with too much
voltage would do and what one with too little voltage would do? As I
see it, in a 50 light set you could have as much as 600 volts in it
(the most you could get in the average light set). You could have as
little as 25 volts in a 10 light set (the least you could get in the
average light set). I'm interested in what would happen to the light
sets if you used either of them (I have no intentions of using them,
I'm just curious as to what would happen).

2. ### Charles SchulerGuest

11 x 12 V = 132 volts, so that sounds OK for series-connected bulbs. The
flasher reduces the duty cycle and the heat ... so that suggest that
something is margninal in this design. As to the melting reflectors, I'd
suppose they are the weak link.
With those bulbs, it would have failed in short order.
Use the flasher bulb or wire in additional series bulbs to drop the heat at
each one.

In a series circuit with identical loads, all you have to do is divide the
source voltage by the number of loads to get the individual load voltage.
As an example, 120 V with 10 identical loads in series means that each will
get 12 volts.

Happy lighting.