1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

Hacking icicles

Discussion in 'Lights - Store Bought and Home Made' started by ShellNZ, May 6, 2013.

  1. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
    For the last 2 years Ive had icicles on my top roof gutters and lower roof. In 2011 & 2012 we bought some icicles from China.

    Last year I chopped off the 8-controller box and rewired it directly to the AC plug to plug into my LOR 240v. They worked well but I noticed they were half the brightness. They are connectable lights with male/female ends (3-pin). Each string is 12m long with 480 led's.

    This year I going to throw those icicles onto an 8ft tree and use the ones we purchased last year. We were selling them on NZ's trade site but in Oct last year it became mandatory to have them labelled with NZ Safety Standards sticker etc on them so we have a fair few spare.

    I need to cut off the controllers again but dont want to stuff up the strength. Some briefly mentioned using diodes in chat so just wanting clarification on what I need to do.

    These new icicles that i will be using appear to have a diode in a single led down each line of icicle, so if there are e.g 6 led's down the icicle drop one of them has a diode/resistor?

    Heres some pics...the missing soldered bits are the power, +/-/earth

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    2,537
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Eaglehawk
    Find Me On:
    There was some joking in chat earlier about the lights being unsafe. That was before you posted a picture of what they looked like. Shell the insulation on that wire is horrendously poor and isn't at all suitable for 240V. Not only is the insulation too thin for 240V but the clear wire and silver inner conductor is well know for breaking down. File the icicles with the fibreoptic arch :(
     
  3. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,409
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    Victoria Point (Brisbane)
    Find Me On:
    I agree with Alan. They are not something I'd consider to be safe to use in any circumstances.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
  5. ecbailey

    ecbailey Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2011
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Armadale, Victoria
    Well considering they are LEDs they must be DC and hence wouldn't play nicely with an AC controller anyway.


    What is the actual voltage input to the controller box?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
    On the controller it states:

    Power source: AC230V 50/60Hz
    Volt: 1A
    Controller: with memory
    Operating temperature: -10C - +40C
     
  7. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Lithgow, NSW
    Find Me On:
    Many LED's in the USA are 110V AC, and are half or full wave rectified and thats it. Add an appropriate resistor, a few LED's in series and you have an "AC" LED string. The ones I have seen here are 240V full wave rectified and actually Dim reasonably well, but the half wave ones do tend to flicker at lower dimming levels
     
  8. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Albion Park NSW
    Find Me On:
    I would suspect that if you do use these then you could expect a few RCD (GFCI) trips especially with NZ weather as i doubt these would be watherproof to any high degree. The photos you took make me wonder what crap is allowed to be sold in NZ as they will follow the same SAA standards and approvals as what Australia does.

    The link you have seems to be a NZ ebay type of site and these crap lights get sold on Australian Ebay as well, doesnt mean they are approved or good to buy. You should see a C-Tick or a SAA approval stamp or sticker if the item has actually gone through the approval process to be sold in retail, otherwise if something was to happen then i wonder how much trouble your insurance company would give you.

    This is more important with mains running electrical items as the potential energy is far greater than that of low voltage lighting. 240v can kill and create fires very easily.

    So if using these then at very very minimum i would ensure you run these through an RCD protected circuit which im sure your modern house has.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
    Thanks Eddy

    If you recall I took a pic of my home fuse box last year, you remarked on how flash it was or something.

    Yes my home has 2 RCD's.

    I may also do as remoteutah is suggesting and put fuses on the end of each string.

    As mentioned last year the NZ Electrical Safety Standards nailed many sellers on Trademe (which is like ebay), goods must be sold with NZ safety certificate and labelling.
     
  10. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Albion Park NSW
    Find Me On:
    What people need to look for is the SAA approval for electrical equipment, esprcially mains voltage as i mentioned before due to the potential energy and dangers that 240V appliance can have

    This lighting comes under:

    Decorative Lighting Outfit
    An electrical appliance which —
    (a) is for decorative, display or illumination purposes;
    (b) is portable;
    (c) consists of –
    (i) lamps (including Light Emitting Diodes “LED” types) or lampholders interconnected by flexible cord of less
    than 2.5 mm cross-sectional area; or
    (ii) lamps (including Light Emitting Diodes “LED” types) within a flexible enclosure;
    (d) may be integral with a frame or similar support;
    and includes —
    (e) any integral power supply or control device.
    Class Specification: AS/NZS 60598.2.20


    So if it doesnt have this approval and is mains voltage then i wouldnt touch it.


    Now this does raise questions regarding using lighting bought directly from China and how an insurance company may react if your non approved lighting from China causes a fire or injures some body as nearly all Chinese lighting we buy in the hobby does not have this certification. The risks of something happening are much more minimised with lighting below 50vdc. If using Rays or cheap chinese power supplies then i would ensure that if they went bang that they cant cause a fire or electrocution to someone.

    Just something to think about.
     
  11. adski

    adski Dave Brown

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Two Wells, SA
    Just a clarification, Shell - do your icicles have a plugpack transformer similar to the one shown in the Trademe advert, and are you using it plugged into your AC controller? If so, then the lights themselves are probably low voltage DC.

    Bypassing the controller also bypasses the built-in full wave rectifier which means that they would run in half wave mode, and hence half the brightness.

    Dave
     
  12. cozbert

    cozbert Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Whyalla SA
    you would need to crack open the top of the box with the button on it to get to the transistors to disable them shell, but i agree with the boys that the insulation doesn't look any good for 240v i would file them in the bin and acquire some new 24v ones from big w or somewhere like that near Xmas time.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
    No they dont have a transformer adski
     
  14. OP
    OP
    ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
    Just to let ya'll know, they cost NZ$1000 and they are brand new in packaging.

    Would you seriously throw them away? I know if I told my hubby we were binning them my lighting hobby would be over.
     
  15. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Albion Park NSW
    Find Me On:
    If using these then at minimum i would use

    A: RCD (GFCI) protected circuit
    B: Add a fuse to each circuit, i would tend to think a 1 amp or 2 amp fuse will be ample. Maybe get a current reading of them to see what the best fuse rating would be.

    The RCD will protect agianst electrocution

    The fuse will protect against shorts and overload situations
     

Share This Page