Joining light strings

Discussion in 'Lights - Store Bought and Home Made' started by toodle_pipsky, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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    Hey guys,
    Just need some advice to make sure it's do-able, safe, etc. I bought a bunch of LED icicle lights from Kmart after Christmas last year for cheap. They're 4m long and to do the front of my house I'll need to put together 3 or so strings. Is it possible to join each set together with the last by making the join at the last series - if that makes sense or even using the right terms!? Can someone confirm what to do?
    Thanks heaps.
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    We're going to need more info like whether there is a controller, details off the plugpack, number of wires in the string and a photo or 2 showing the ends of the string will help. Joining it shouldn't be any huge hassle normally but doing it right could be the problem.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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    Okey dokey. There is a controller, but it's part of the wall wart and I won't be using it - however that gives you 3 wires. They run off 30vdc. I'll go stretch a set out and take a pic. Thanks!
     
  4. OP
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    toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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    Icicles are a pain in the backside to count lights on! On a side note, if I get terms wrong or mixed up, please correct me as I want to learn the right way.
    Ok, there are 10 lights in series (20 with it being a 2 channel set of lights). There are 4 wires in the middle of the series, and 3 when a series ends and the next one begins. The pic I've attached is showing the start of the last series of lights in the set.
    Just thinking about it, would it be easier to just cut off the last series and match up the three wires (common, 1 and 2) rather than trying to splice in another set?
     

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  5. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    Hi Ingrid,

    I'd say that the required extra wire (to join the next string onto) doesn't extend all the way to the end of the current string. It would likely stop at the beginning of the last section.

    Maybe use the wire from some scrapped lights to add it in so you can join onto the end. There is the issue of how much extra current you can pull through the "upstream" strings, but the LEDs probably don't draw too much so shouldn't be an issue.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike CLAP infected!

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    Davids right Ingrid.
    With the non connectable lights they normally drop a wire towards the end in series with the last LED on the string. So you should only have 2 wires at the last drop of lights or something like that. Connectables carry all the wires right to the end.

    If it was me I would be splicing in where you too that pic and cut the others to suit if that is possible (depending on length of your string needed).

    If not your going to have to do some research (cutting and testing) on how to join them on the end, which should also be possible. You will just have to find the wires for each channel and the common ( I take it they are a common + string) and just add in some extra wire to suit.

    HTH
     
  7. JPB

    JPB Full Time Elf

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    I bought four of these strings in 2009 and then cut them up to make them 4 channel 24 volt. A lot of work but worth while in my opinion. I can go into the details if people want me to.

    My real point is, rather than join them all together, why not keep them all separate but put longer leads on them and run them off a DC SSR. A super long string of icicles is a rats nest of wire waiting to happen. By varying the length of the lead you can set them up so that they look like one long length without the tangels in the off season. I use Cat5 to extend mine but alarm wire would work just as well.

    Jon
     
  8. OP
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    toodle_pipsky

    toodle_pipsky Minister of Silly Walks

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    Thanks for the suggestion Jon - that's what I wanted to avoid, I did that with an incan set of icicles last year, that is just run a big long cable instead of joining, and ended up with a rats nest of my own(you know sometimes we are damned no matter what we do) and the second set didn't work and it was hard to troubleshoot already up on the roof, etc. I'm sorry why do we put things on the roof again?

    That is interesting that you busted up the set, was it to make it easier to put up/pack up or to achieve a particular effect?
     
  9. uppitt

    uppitt Apprentice Elf

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    I've been learning alot the past few days reading how people run their lights. All my lights are vanilla version from the store shelves, but this year I will be making some modifications for the first time. Left my run a bit late, but I'll get there. Have to agree, keeping smaller runs of lights rather then 1 long one run is better.
     
  10. JPB

    JPB Full Time Elf

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    The reason I modified my kmart icicles was that I wanted 4 channel but they were only two.
    I had been using 4 channel incandescent so what I did was very carefully cut the drop parts of the icicles off both sets and then soldered the led sections onto the 4 channel backbone. This took quite a bit of concentration and time doing one section at a time but the effect was worthwhile for me.

    This is not a job for a rank beginner but once you underststand how the icicle lights are wired up and can get the polarity correct for the LEDS it can be done.

    Jon
     
  11. aussiexmas

    aussiexmas Sinnamon Lights

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    Hi Jon

    I foubd an easier (at least for me) way to convert 2 channel icicles to 4 channel. Take 2 strings of icicles and zip tie them together with an offset. Most 2 channel icicles have 2 drops/circuit segment. Just use an offset of 1 drop. It is then just a matter of identifying the chase order to get them operating as a normay 4 channel chasing set.

    Regards Geoff
     
  12. JPB

    JPB Full Time Elf

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    Geoff, I thought about this and even did a little test but found the icicles ended up too close together. I sure would have preferred this option but in the end I was not really happy with the effect.

    Jon
     

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