Every year as the Christmas season approaches, garlands with bright light bulbs come out of the boxes to decorate the Christmas tree. But, rolled up and abused, they have sometimes pulled the ear to light at the first connection.
● A wooden board stand makes it easy to use the needles. They must cross the conductor well in the axis of the electrical wire to ensure reliable contact.
● Do not discard a garland without removing the proper bulbs (8 volts) and their holders. It’s a mine of trouble for you and your friends!
Locate the burned-out light bulb
The light garlands consist of a series of small light bulbs connected in series on a wire connected to the sector by a plug. In principle, the garlands work without a problem as soon as they are plugged into a socket. However, they may not light up.
A bad contact or a bulb “grilled” is inevitably at the origin of this failure, which is not serious. The only difficulty is to locate it, without removing the thirty lamps one by one to test the sockets with a new bulb.
● The bulb pins are thin, and handling them may add an extra fault, which can make repairs very difficult. Without neglecting the fact that the process requires to leave the garland under tension …
● The method consists of testing the electrical continuity, using a multimeter set to the “ohmmeter” position. Plant pins in the wire between each lamp, and test step by step with the two tips. When the dial shows no value, it means that the current does not go through, you have located the fault. The solution then passes by the change of the bulb, the scraping of the oxidized threads … or the pure and simple replacement of the garland!
Parties without incident
Most light garlands are imported from countries whose electrical safety requirements are not as stringent as those of the European Community. At the time of purchase, make sure that the product conforms to CE or NF markings on the packaging box or a plastic tag attached to the wire.
● It is also time to check the sensitivity of the protection device (circuit breaker) of your electrical panel. The current standard recommends a 30 mA differential circuit breaker. Always use suitable extension cords in good condition.
● Avoid the proliferation of multiple catches, and beware of hamsters or other domestic rodents who crave insulators. They can strip the wires, causing the risk of a short circuit or electrocution.
● Do not hang garlands outdoors or in wet rooms (kitchen, bathroom) if the product label does not have the required insulation symbols: two squares, one inside the other, and one in the other—a drop of water in a triangle.
● Unplug the garlands when leaving the room where the tree is located, especially in the evening before going to bed. A block-plug with the integrated switch is a comfortable solution!
Probe the power plug
Proceed methodically to locate the location of the failure. The technique consists of checking the continuity of the current in successive sections, starting by probing the power plug.
Locate the fault
On the verified conductor section, take the last needle as a starting point for the new test section, pricking another tip three or four light bulbs further.
Test between each lamp
If a bulb is defective or improperly connected, the current will no longer flow between the two control points. Then plant closer needles and test between each lamp.
White glass lamp
The first lamp is white glass and does not light. It encloses a bimetallic strip that ensures the blinking of the ramp. If this device does not work anymore, the garland stays on.
Small color bulbs operate at 8 volts. Testing them one at a time with a 9-volt battery is possible, but tedious. Their replacement is not a problem.
Fold the filaments and push.
The bulb pins pass through the two holes of the lamp holder. Just fold the filaments on the sides and push the assembly on the sleeve crimped on the electric cable.
Control the drivers
On a wreath that has already been used, check the conductors carefully to make sure that the insulation is not cracked or broken. When in doubt, do not hesitate to replace everything.
Prefer a block-catch
Preferably connect the garland to a block-socket, with a built-in switch. Thus, it can be extinguished quickly. Better not to leave it on unnecessarily.