Yuletide technical trivia test

For the bored or electrically inclined among us:

No, this ain’t about computers or cell phones. But, technical all the same.

I have this thing that I do around Christmas time. For stress relief and assorted introspection. I like to sit in front of the Christmas tree with a glass of wine and gaze at the lights and decorations. I can achieve an almost trance-like state normally. Kinda like watching a campfire. One of my favorite things about Christmas.

Here, in our adopted “home away from home,” I have challenges to reaching contemplative nirvana. While I think I can overlook the fact that the 5-foot banyan tree in a pot isn’t part of the evergreen family, I’m struggling with Christmas lights.

Found some, that’s not it. But the ones that I found blink, only, and won’t stop. Puts me in mind of Las Vegas or some story about CIA brainwashing technique for creating mindless assassins.

So, before you wake up one morning and read about me causing some major social mayhem, while in a color-induced stupor, please help me solve this problem.

Goal: Through surgery on the Christmas lights or other devious means, remove the thing that makes them blink.

Just remove the one clear bulb, you say? Sorry, doesn’t have one. Just cut out the obvious bump in the cord? Again, didn’t see one. As far as I can tell these are pretty standard double-strand, multicolored Christmas lights. Except they blink.

So, how do I achieve my goal with this set of lights (vs. buying new ones)?

Simple: If you blink too, at the same beat as the lights, they will appear to be constantly on.

Remember to coincide your open eyes with the lights being on, and closed eyes with them being off - very important, otherwise they will appear to be constantly off.

Enjoy! :slight_smile:

This looks like a job for…

[quote]There are two different techniques that are used to create blinking lights. One is crude and the other is sophisticated.

The crude method involves the installation of a special blinker bulb at any position in the strand. A typical blinker bulb is shown here:

The extra piece of metal at the top is a bi-metallic strip (see How Thermometers Work for details on bi-metallic strips). The current runs from the strip to the post to light the filament. When the filament gets hot, it causes the strip to bend, breaking the current and extinguishing the bulb. As the strip cools, it bends back, reconnects the post and re-lights the filament so the cycle repeats. Whenever this blinker bulb is not lit, the rest of the strand is not getting power, so the entire strand blinks in unison. Obviously, these bulbs don’t have a shunt (if they did, the rest of the strand would not blink), so when the blinker bulb burns out, the rest of the strand will not light until the blinker bulb is replaced…
home.howstuffworks.com/christmas-lights3.htm[/quote]

So…Find those pesky blinker bulbs and replace them with better-behaved ones! Voila! :smiley:

[quote=“Stray Dog”]Simple: If you blink too, at the same beat as the lights, they will appear to be constantly on.

Remember to coincide your open eyes with the lights being on, and closed eyes with them being off - very important, otherwise they will appear to be constantly off.

Enjoy! :slight_smile:[/quote]
SD,

Have I told you lately that you’re a dern genus?

I think you solved it.

Seeker4

P.S. - Plotch, if the blinker bulb, which must be the culprit, isn’t that nice clear one pictured, then one-by-one replacement is the only method, right?

Seems to me that each strand of blinking lights has to have at least one of these “blinker” bulbs in it somewhere. The bulbs are pretty small, so maybe it will require some careful scrutiny to see the bi-metallic strip inside the offending bulb.
Replace that one bulb and you’re all set, unless you have the more complicated type of lights.