Every Christmas when I hang my lights I seal all male/female connections between cords with electrical tape so that water should not penetrate and short out the circuit. I was wondering if anyone objects to doing this. Also I was wondering if I should just not bother sealing the connections.
On a related note can someone recommend a brand of LED xmas lights that are as bright as typical miniature incandescents? I bought some last year but they are noticably dimmer. I always put white lights on the roofline of the house (using clips so each is positioned just so) and it looks nice. But I'm one of those people for whom incandescent light looks yellowish so white LED's look great--really really white--plus they look different than anyone else's lights. I want them brighter though.
I have some ForverBright sets. The 35-light sets are a single circuit. I put a bridge rectifier in a small outlet box with a combo switch/outlet. The rectifier came from my junk box, and is a giant 1.5" or so square with a bolt hole through middle, way overkill. You could obviously use something much smaller. Just don't forget a fuse rated at or below the rectifier's rating.
Running off of unfiltered 120V DC, it is noticeably brighter, and no obvious flicker. You could string several sets together. The newer sets also have a nicer green. One set is older, and the green is dim and sort of that puke lime-green color.
Be careful of longer sets. I have a 70-light set, and it is basically two 35-light sets connected with opposite polarity. Running on DC, it's one half or the other lit. I haven't looked close at it yet to see if it's possible to reverse one circuit so it would be DC friendly.
Some sets run off of a transformer. They probably work similar to the above. You'd just need a DC supply at the right voltage and current.
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I don't object but then I don't see the point in doing it either. I haven't done it ever (over 30 years), put out lots of lights in the past, have had them up for a month, never had a short. Looks like wasted time/effort and make a mess pulling them down.
Once you've seen a few pulsing LEDs, it's easy to tell. There are only two common possitiblities - full wave or halfwave and they are trivial to tell apart. There's no microcomputer in there to produce other rep rates! :)
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Using the full wave rectifier without any other current limiting could, depending on the wiring, put too much current through the string and shorten the LED life. But, that said, it's probably not that significant. And, as you pointed out, they are somewhat brighter. I have a set of 70 "L.E.D. Lights" that is actually
2 sets of 35, not alternated, but 35 in a row, followed by 35 more. One diode string is in one direction and the other is opposite. A full wave bridge on this set will cause 35 light not to light unless you modify the wiring. I tried wiring all 70 lights in one series circuit (with the diodes in the same direction) and it was much too dim even through the rectifier bridge. Wiring the 2 groups of 35 in parallel with the diodes in the same direction, works but the string has a much higher through current. A series resistor of about 700 ohms corrects this. The resistor should be 1/2 or 1 watt (preferrable). Of course, you are wasting this power, about 1/2 watt. Boy, do I have too much time on my hands or what?
The National Electrical Code now says (Article 590.3) that temporary holiday decorative lighting can only stay up for 90 days. Don't know how many NEC lighting police are around to check, but the stuff does deterioriate especially from moisture and UV in sunlight.
Yes it really is very noticeable, it was my main objection to LED lights, but I picked up a pack of Philips LED's this year since they were on sale and they're fairly bright so I'm gonna solder a bridge rectifier into them just after the plug and seal it in heatshrink tubing.
My neighbor had a small unrelated fire in the middle of the summer. The fire department had the fire out in a few minutes with minimal damage to their home. However they say the Christmas lights on it and put up an unfit for occupancy sign and told them the sign would come down after they had removed all the Christmas lights. It seems they have had problems with them from people who have left them up all year. They got the lights down the same day and they were back in their home the same day, with just a little smoke and some repair work to the third floor.