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fairy lights charger

 
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My christmas tree lights come on every time in a epilepsy triggering pattern.

Could I just buy a.n.other transformer of ebay that is fixed, or has a memory and not expect my house to burn down?
 
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It's not the transformer (although your "transformer" might be more than just a transformer).

Originally, blinking fairy light strings had a flasher bulb in them. It was a special bulb whose filament broke contact when it lit up and heated, turning off all the lights in the string (since they're wired in series) until the filament cooled down and re-contacted. There was no transformer, since series-wiring allowed bulbs with 2, 6, or 12v ratings to divide the mains voltage between them.

The bulb could be identified fairly easily because it was clear (at least all the ones I've seen) and had the tip of the bulb painted red.

If, in the course of time, a bulb in the string burned out and was replaced by a second blinker bulb - and a lot of replacement packs contained 4 coloured bulbs and 1 flasher - then the blink pattern could get a little wierd.

A decade or so back saw the introduction of "smart" blinking strings. These strings typically could do several different blink patterns, including sometimes "chaser" light effects. A simple mechanical blinker can't handle that, so there's a logic module in the string (which might be part of the "transformer"). There should be an "always-on" effect in the package although the manufacturer makes the decision as to what actual effects they support. So if you've got one of those systems, you should be able to select it to not blink.

Now of course, electric light strings do end up with loose connexions, which can cause the string to blink when it's bumped or just gets grumpy. I have a string like that on my tree and I have to go and touch the offending bulb occasionally to turn the string back on (too much trouble to disassemble and fix right now).
 
Wendy Gibbons
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it has a button on it to change the pattern, but it isn't very good, and can take 10-16 presses to get to static, yes I am THAT lazy
it looks like this style of transformer

https://www.lights4fun.co.uk/i/q/CE13LV/31v-transformer-plug-starter-pack-type-u
 
Tim Holloway
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Yeah. I see. Also apparently lights4fun must have the Christmas lighting locked up over there. They certainly seem to know how to rank Google!

The system looks simple enough. There's a 31v transformer in the brick along with the modulator circuit and selector switch. It's possible that you could swap it out for this one: https://www.lights4fun.co.uk/i/q/LES2-15/15m-starter-plug-in-black-for-connection-type-c but be very careful - they say it's a proprietary device and they don't say what the output voltage is. Plug a straight-through 220v power line into a 31v string (who picked such an odd voltage anyway?) and you're likely to get some VERY bright (if brief) Xmas lighting and likely have to reset the plug fuse.

Alternatively, if you were brave, you could crack open the blinking unit (no pun intended), bypass the blink controller and run it that way. Voids the warranty, of course, and not recommended for the casual user.

Just to confirm, you are working with the original-style (what we call "Italian") light bulbs aren't you? That is, the glass-filament bulbs about 20mm long or so and not LED bulbs? Because apparently 31v DC is considered suitable for both US and UK led strings and you can probably use something like this: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/IP44-31V-0-15A-4-8W_60719320189.html if that's the case.
 
Wendy Gibbons
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sorry no LEDs, this set is less than 2 years old.
 
Tim Holloway
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Less than 2 years and not LED? Or more than 2 years???

Anyway, I think that the device I mentioned should work with filament lights as well as LEDs. It's capable of pushing 150mw, and that's about the rating of a fairy light (C3 bulb). So assuming that you're using something like a 2.2v bulb set wired in series,  I'd think it would drive a string of about 15 bulbs at full brightness and maybe up to 30 before it reaches wattage capacity. Only question is whether the connector is compatible, but that can be changed without too much hazard.
 
Wendy Gibbons
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i meant no they are not the italian ones, but LEDs
 
Tim Holloway
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OK. It's a good bet that the device I mentioned will work for you. Although I think it's the wrong type of mains plug.

Hmmm. Doing some more checking and it's beginning to look like this whole setup is very proprietary to lights4fun. Nobody else seems to operate off 31v except for certain HP-brand printers. Mostly everyone else seems to like 12v and standard barrel connectors. Complicating the whole affair is that somehow lights4fun also classifies several low-voltage battery modules (about 4.5v) as type U (which is apparently what they - and only they - call the physical connector. There's a lot of difference between 31v and 4.5v, unless the battery modules have power step-up capabilities. And anyway, they, too have flashing patterns.

You could certainly wire up some sort of power supply yourself, but unless you really, really like this set of lights, you might want to find a new home for them and get something less troublesome.
 
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Wendy Gibbons wrote:My christmas tree lights come on every time in a epilepsy triggering pattern.



I am making no joke here. But my employer has implemented a sort of traffic light system. Every time any of us 50 programmers makes an error and one of the continues delivery Specflow tests are failing the traffic light starts to flash in a same epilepsy triggering pattern. Of course, if you complain, you are either not agile, or you are ridiculed. In every room there is such a traffic light. The managers cannot imagine this might be distracting when you are trying to analyze a problem. Welcome to my world! (And yes I am looking for a new job.)
 
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