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2015 Big W light strings

Discussion in 'Lights - Store Bought and Home Made' started by BundyRoy, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Senior Elf

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    Hello ladies and gents.

    Long time no speak. I've had a bit of a break from all things Christmas. Last years display went well. I had a couple of minor issues with waterproofing and water ingress into my LED strips, but nothing that couldn't be repaired before the next show. So thanks to everyone here for all your help. It certainly wouldn't of happened without you. Sorry for the lack of video evidence. Just never seemed to get to it.

    Starting a bit late this year (wasn't going to do a show but changed my mind as the Christmas spirit started to build) so my show will only be last years songs and 1 or 2 new ones. No new lights other than maybe some BIG W strings I was given as a Christmas present last year.

    Anyway back to the point. I purchased some BIG W strings on the weekend when we were away visiting the display at the Hunter Valley Gardens. I knew there was only 2 wires coming from the controller and that this means they can't be controlled as there are some of the LED's that will be wired up in reverse polarity. Couldn't help myself though as they were on sale, so I got a couple.

    The thing that gave me hope was that there is 3 wires from the first light onwards. This made me think that maybe I could sacrifice the first light and then control the rest from that point on. Is this correct or have I made a bad assumption. I was going to sacrifice one set to test this theory but thought I may as well ask if anyone has tried it first. I realise I am also sacrificing the 10m of lead wire as well but I can live with that.

    If it's not possible I will take them back. if no-one knows then I will try modifying one set and if worst comes to worst my Christmas tree has just got an extra 250 lights after I solder it back up.

    Thanks again.
     
  2. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    The important part is 2 wires from the MFC to the first LED. The 3 wires after the first LED doesn't help you.
     
  3. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    David_AVD is right. They still only work with the reverse polarity and the extra wires are just there because of the series sections within the light set. Half of these sections are still 'backwards' along the entire light set. You'll also notice that the 3-wire light sets have 4 wires after the first LED.

    I realise this isn't EXACTLY how they're wired but it is close enough to understand why they won't work.

    The best ones I've found in stores this year are the icicles at K-Mart and Target but not the string sets.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Senior Elf

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    Thanks for the replies. No real surprises there but I was living in hope. Now for the next question. Is there any strings out there this year that are still useable. On the weekend I looked at

    Target
    Aldi
    Big W
    Kmart

    and I think they all had the controller as part of the power transformer and only two wires going out. I'm sorry if this has already been covered but I was just wondering if there was any options left for buying the led strings.
     
  5. MarcD

    MarcD Full Time Elf

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    I did manage to find these which are three wire. Only problem is the clear wire, which isn't exactly 'summer friendly', especially on a Colorbond roof.

    http://www.gtmall.com.au/75m-700-led-christmas-fairy-light-clear-string-multi-color-rgby.html?utm_source=google_shopping&gclid=CIXO7firwMcCFYKXvQodLAEKHw

    Also remember that what they show on the website, may not be the product you receive. I ordered a few sets off DealsDirect based on the image on their website. When they arrived, they were two wire, not three. I was able to return them after a long argument (including threats of taking it up with PayPal) and get a full refund.

    The one other place I found the correct lights was a discount store called 'Stacks'. Not sure if you have one near you. Their lights were green wire and three wire, but the wiring combination is different. In the past, Big W and equivalent lights were wired as Red/Green and Blue/Yellow. The Stacks lights were wired Red/Blue and Green/Yellow. They still work fine.
     
  6. tinkerow

    tinkerow New Elf

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    Thats a nice one from GT Mall, I consider buying it online :)
     
  7. Daawl

    Daawl New Elf

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    Whats also making it harder with the 2 wires setups is they have also changed the connections.
    I have a damaged section from previous years BigW lights, I now cant simply swap it out, I have to replace the whole lot now :(
     
  8. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I think Masters had a few from memory. They were socketed though so you might want to use silicone or something similar to seal each socket and prevent rusting. My old socketed K-Mart lights are shocking for this reason but I think I could have saved them if I'd known they would rust. I haven't tried the Masters ones specifically.

    Daawl, don't replace the light set with the new type if you want to have computer control in future. The new type is incompatible with DC controllers. Post a picture of the damage as it is probably fixable.
     
  9. Daawl

    Daawl New Elf

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    Hi i13


    I am not sure exactly where it is damaged & honestly probably past my skill level. I am not sure I will get to the computer control any time soon, I have tried reading some of the stuff on here about it & it just makes my head spin :eek: :D


    http://s1042.photobucket.com/user/Daawl/media/Xmas%20Lights%20Fault_zpseowdav4k.jpg.html


    You can see the red & green running up and down the right apex then around the door, where it stops half way, it is then meant to go up and down the left apex.
     
  10. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    A dead section of lights (usually a couple of metres) can be either a broken wire or more likely a bad LED.

    If none of the lights are working past a certain point, the most likely issue will be a broken wire and more easily repaired. Check the wiring just past the last working light.
     
  11. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Sorry BundyRoy if this is getting off topic.

    Is the other channel within the light set working for the entire length? It looks as though you've lost more than a couple of metres.

    I think you've had corrosion or a dud solder join at one of the LEDs near the point at which the lights stop working. I would get some silicone or liquid electrical tape and some sewing pins. There should be four LEDs at the point where it stops working that have three wires each, all others have two wires. You'll see that two of the three wires are just soldered together inside the clear heatshrink around each LED. I think one of those solder joins has failed. Try poking the sewing pin through the wires and it will reconnect them as the solder join did. If none of the four LEDs have a failed solder join, try the groups of 4 LEDs with 3 wires before and after the point where they stop working. The failed solder join may not stop the LED itself from lighting up so try it regardless of whether that particular LED is working or not. Once you have them lighting up again, seal up the holes you poked in the wires with the silicone or liquid electrical tape and fix the bad solder join.

    If half of the LEDs are working past the damaged point then you only need to check the solder joins for the half that stops working part way along. In other words if that is a multicolour light set where the blue and yellow still work the entire length, you only need to check the solder joins in the red and green lights. Otherwise if nothing works then you need to check them all as described above.
     

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