Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Little Knowledge...

I put up the outside Christmas lights the first weekend of this month.  I tested them before putting them out.  They lit.  No problem.  I thought that was the end of it.

My Christmas lights are the white ones in that mesh-type thing that are designed to decorate a bush or some shrubbery.  I pull them across my balconies.  It's a quick and easy way to light the balcony without twisting a single strand of lights around the railing (which I did for a couple years, but I did not like).

The night after putting up the Christmas lights, a section of them went dark.

The next day I went through and made sure all the bulbs were in place.  After touching one, the lights all came back on.  I thought I had fixed it.  I had.  For about 20 minutes.

During daylight hours, I went back to the lights to find which bulb had come loose.  It turned out one of them had burned out.  It was easy to find as the bulb had turned black.  I replaced it, and again I thought I was done.

That night, that section stayed lit for about 20 minutes.

The next day, I went to replace the burned out bulb to find that it was the same one.  So, I watched it.  When the lights were on, I could easily tell which bulb burned out as it was the brightest one on the strand.  And, of course, it burned out again.

I realized that I was going to have to replace the whole thing, because that one spot was going to continue to burn through bulbs.  But I'm kinda lazy, especially about the Christmas lights.  Having to take the whole thing down and put a new thing up was not my idea of a good solution.

What I needed was a way to bypass that one spot on the strand.

That's when it occurred to me.  What I needed to do was to somehow connect a wire through that one spot so the rest of the strand would stay lit.

I found that I could pull the bulb out of the holder that put the bulb in the strand.  I needed a wire to go across that holder to keep the electricity flowing to the rest of the strand.  This wire would bypass where a bulb would have been.  It would have been silly to sacrifice a bulb every night for 20 minutes of a fully-lit strand.

I found some old twist ties, removed the paper, cut a wire to fit just over the holder, and glued it into place.  The next day (the glue needed 24 hours to dry), I put the holder into place.  It lit.  Hooray!

I did this on Wednesday.  So far, the lights have remained lit.

This is a fix for this year only.  Next year, I'm going to have to replace that whole strand.  (Maybe next year I can find some colored lights that blink.)

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