Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Red nose for a white wire deer

I am particularly pleased that I figured out how to modify a string of Christmas lights to have only one working bulb.

I had just rewired my last Christmas deer, converting it to LED bulbs. (Restringing an outdoor lighted deer)  But I wanted him to have a red nose like Rudolph.  I could have swapped out the tiny clear LED bulb at the tip of his nose for a tiny red one.  But what I wanted was a bigger, more impressive bulb.  Not a giant C6 bulb, but a reasonable 7mm bulb.

I can be kind of obsessive when I want something.  So I had no qualms about cannibalizing a perfectly good string of multi-color lights to make my nose.

Side note - I could have sworn Christmas lights used to be available in stores right up until Christmas.  I looked at 3 stores before I found the colored strand of lights I needed 11 days before Christmas.

Anyway.  I tested the lights and they worked just fine.  Then I cut the wires a foot from the plug.  I had coincidentally ended up with a socket 10 inches from the deer's nose. So a foot would give me plenty of wire to work with.

This was a three wire strand.  After stripping the wires, I tested different combinations of twisting the wires together, trying to get the bulb to light up again.  When I twisted all three wires together and plugged it in, there was a spark.

Thanks to the Internet, I learned that only two of the wires needed to be twisted together.  But it didn't matter which ones I twisted together.  The bulb wouldn't light.

Eventually I realized there were fuses in the plug and I'd blown them.  Helpfully, the manufacturer included one fuse in the package with the lights.  But there were two fuses in the plug.

I dug through my Christmas containers until I found the fuse tester and a baggie of spare fuses.  Of course, the batteries in the fuse tester were bad and had to be replaced before I could use it.

Yep, both fuses were bad.  I replaced them both with fuses tested and proven to be good.  Replacing these is not a piece of cake. The fuses are about the size of a grain of rice.

But when the fuses were replaced, the bulb lit up!

The working configuration has the bulb line and middle line twisted together.  The outside line is only needed for stringing light strands together.  I cut that one short and taped the end to isolate it.  I taped everything together and installed it at the deer's nose.

Was it worth the trouble?  

I think so. 

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