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Return to main page Information about lights Repair or modify your lights! Custom flasher controls Links to other lights pages

Info Section Home
Common Types Of Lights
Uncommon Lights
Power Ratings For lights
Wiring Diagrams Of LightSets
Decorating Tips

    ColumbineLights


Types of lights:
Part 1. Miniture:
Most miniature lights are wired in series, this why when one bulb is removed, damaged or
defective, the whole set (or a section) goes out. This is mainly done because the little
bulbs can not handle the 120 volt power coming in from the outlet. If each bulb was
independent the set would either have to have a bulky transformer between the plug and
lights, or each bulb would have to have a resistor built in to lower the voltage.
in addition to standard strings of miniature lights you may also see the following:

Some Of Those Light Types Defined:
Chaser lights:
lights blink in sequence to give the appearance that they
are moving. Some will go in one direction for a while, then
change directions.
chaser lights
Multi function lights:
lights not only give a moving appearance, but also fade
on/off, and a number of diffrent flashing modes
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Mesh or Net lights:
set is in a grid format instead of a strip
net-lights
icicle lights:
short strands of lights (diffrent length) hanging from a
main strand
icicle lights
dripping icicle lights:
combination of standard icile lights and chaser lights
icicle lights - no animated image
Curtan Lights:
short strands of lights (same length) hanging from a main
strand...icicle lights are often mis-identified as curtan
lights
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Double Lights:
2 colors per bulb (and sometimes 2 filiments)
double lights
Musical Lights:
plays christmas music and flashes to it
musical - this would flash to music
Rainbow Lights:
lights with more than just a few diffrent colors (usually
10 or so)
rainbow lights
Twinkle Lights:
Every other bulb blinks independantly & randomly
(the modern version has been cheapend, only a limited
number of twinkle bulbs in the set)
twinkle lights
Sound activated lights:
Also called color organ lights
flashes to in responce to sound
color organ - this would flash to sound
Stay Lit Lights:
Looks like a normal set of miniature lights but
bulbs can be removed from their socket and the set
will stay lighted.
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Cluster Lights:
Lights are in small groups along the strand
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Cluster/Swag Lights:
Entire set is in one big group
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Garland Lights:
Multiple bulbs spaced close together each on a short
wire from the main strand
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Grapevine Lights:
(see garland lights)
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Outline Lights:
Lights are spaced close together (usually around 1")
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Bulb/Voltage Info
# of bulbs
in set
# of
circuits
bulb
voltage
When replacing bulbs in miniature sets
you need to get the correct voltage
bulbs for your set. use the following
table for determining bulb voltages.
to find out how many circuits a set has,
turn it on and pull out a bulb, if the
whole set goes out, it has one circuit,
if only part goes out, it has more than
one. to find out how many, just remove
a bulb from each lighted part until the
whole set is out and then count the
bulbs you removed
WARNING: these values are for the USA
and other Countries that use 120 volt
power only
10-121 12
15 1 8
20-251 6
35 1 3.5
35 2 8
40 1 3.5 or 2.5
50 1 3.5 or 2.5
50 3 8
100 5 6
100 4 6
100 2 3.5 or 2.5
105 3 3.5
150 3 3.5 or 2.5
200 4 3.5 or 2.5
300 4 1.6
450 9 2.5

More Info On Bulb Voltages
Note that older (and some new ones) 35, 50, and 100/2 light sets used a different type
of 3.5v (lower wattage) bulb than newer sets, and that these bulbs are somewhat hard
to find.

I recommend that you keep the different voltages sorted, because there is no good way
to tell most of them apart! If your bulbs do get mixed, and you want to sort them, the
first thing is to remove all 8v and 12v bulbs (look at the inside, the most 12v and 8v
bulbs will have a much longer filament). Next is the hard part - sorting 6v, 3.5v, and
3.5v (low wattage). To do this get a 20 lightset, and remove one of the bulbs, then
simply put each bulb in the socket it is not necessary to put it in a base, just make
the bulb's wires touch the socket's contacts (be careful not to shock yourself)
if the bulb is real dim its a standard 3.5v
if the bulb is slightly dim its a low-watt 3.5v
if the bulb is normal brightness its a 6v
if the bulb is too bright its a 8v 12v, or 2.5v energy-saver

Starting in the late 90's a new type of miniature lights has been made - you can REMOVE
multiple bulbs or have multiple defective bulbs in the set and it will stay lighted. To do
this each socket contains a 'voltage regulating device' (not sure what it is exactly, but
it is more than just a simple resistor). These are much more expensive than standard mini
lights
I got the chance to do some 'tests' with one of these sets, here are my results:
* the more bulbs removed from the set, the DIMMER it gets
* 12v bulbs glow real dim (in a normal 100 lightset they would blow instantly)
* standard and low-watt 3.5v bulbs both light at normal brightness
* filling the entire set of flasher bulbs allows each bulb to blink on its own

Stay lit sets are ideal for sorting bulbs with, because there is basically no
chance of blowing bulbs:
- standard 3.5v = normal brightness
- low-watt 3.5v = normal brightness
- 6v = somewhat dim
- 8v = dim
- 12v = real dim
- standard and low-watt 2.5/3.5v bulbs can then be sorted using a normal 50 lightset


Types of lights:
Part 2. Larger sizes:
Socket/Bulb Sizes
C6 or flashlight size: 6/16 inch socket (the same size as many flashlights)
usually 18 volts per bulb and wired like minitures (no longer made)
C7 or medium size: 7/16 inch socket. 120 volts, and usually 5 watts (sometimes
7w) per bulb. Set is wired in parallel so a dead or missing bulb has no effect
on the rest.
C9 or large size: 9/16 inch socket. 120 volts, and usually 7 watts (sometimes
9w or even 10w) per bulb. Set is wired in parallel so a dead or missing bulb
has no effect on the rest.


1998 UL standards:
for miniture lights this raises the wire thickness from 24 gauge to 22 gauge, also thicker
insulation, and better weather resistance.



This page and the images on it (c) 1999 - 2016 James K