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Author Topic: American / British power conversion (was: Favourite xmas lights?)  (Read 15641 times)

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Also very fond of bubble lights, which I never knew about when I was younger, only discovered them more recently.


How Do you run your Bubblers? I'm trying to get my friend in the US to buy and send me {I Am Paying her for it of Course} a set this season... I Have a Single plug Voltage Converter and I'm just wondering how you do yours
Thanks
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 08:04:39 pm by tim »
I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2005, 02:17:50 pm »
How Do you run your Bubblers?

I have several huge 110 volt building site transformers to run my outdoor displays (lots of American lights out there) that I can use to power them, but those things do need additional wiring to allow the sets to plug in. Also use a simple 300 watt "Sunpower" brand 110 volt transformer from Maplins which has a USA style socket on the front to directly plug in a few sets, that one comes in handy most of the time. I can also run the bulbs from series-wired sets individuallly in seperate screw-in holders run from laboratory type variable power supplies. As well as just being a complete nerd, I work with electronics during the week (fire alarms) and have a few old ones on hand here that can be used for testing individual bulbs. They tend to be rather expensive to buy new though, as well as quite big.

For complete boxed sets, the 110 volt transformers from Maplins are the best choice. Just be careful not to overload them, the maximum power rating is usually printed somewhere, and the power consumption of the lights is usually on the box. A typical modern 7-lamp bubble set will comsume about 30 watts and a vintage series-wired 8 lamp set takes around 25 watts.

:)

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2005, 04:29:21 pm »
Thanks Chris
Just Looked mine is a Dual Watt one...
This is what it has on the back...
Lo: 0-25 Watts for things like Shavers, Radios, Curling irons, etc
hi: 26-1875 Watts for things Hair dryers, Ions, steamers, etc
Make any Sense to you? My Freind in the US sent the Converter.... I'm Hopping that it will be OK to just Run One Set, what do you think?

I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2005, 06:31:31 pm »
Does it actively change the voltage? Or is it just an adapter that allows one type of plug to fit another socket? To run American-origin lights in this country you need a transformer unit which will drop the 240 volt supply down to 110 - 120 volts, as well as providing an appropriate outlet to plug them in to.

Any way to provide a photo? The fact that one setting allows up to 1875 watts implies it is just a plug adapter which does not change the voltage. To deliver 1875 watts at 110 volts continuously from the UK mains supply needs something around the size of one of these huge yellow things (though not all three)....

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2005, 05:41:55 am »
It's a International Converter Set For Overseas use with singel 110 Voltage Products....
On the Back it says that it Converts 220v Foreigen Electricity to 110v for use on most US Appliances rated 0-1875 watts...
I'll Try and Get a Pic later today...
Makes Sense to you Chris?
I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2005, 04:38:56 pm »
It sounds like you should be OK with that one if it says it reduces the voltage.

I`m still intrigued by the 1875 watt rating, perhaps that is an intermittant peak load that it can sustain for only a short time. Those large building site transformers up there will actually deliver 3000 watts peak load for a half hour or so, they are rated for use with power drills etc which are never used constantly. They would overheat if left for much longer with a heavy load like that (ask me how I know ;) ). A smaller unit could certainly give quite a big peak occasional load, but it would be much less if used constantly. That could be what the two range settings are for.

:)

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2005, 05:55:59 pm »
OK Chris, what Did you Do?  :wink:
It Also says Not to use for computers, TV's, Fax Machines, Power Tools or Electronic Comtroller Appliances exceeding 25 watts. This Converter should only be used for short periods of time...

I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!

Offline Mónico González

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2005, 08:03:46 pm »
Not to mention differencies between two mains frequencies (50 or 60Hz) that transformers does not solves.
Most appliances, unless resistive loads as incandescent bulbs, heathers, etc, are still frequency-sensitive, so, a simple change in voltage (step-up or down) are not enough in any cases to guarantee a right performance of the sets connected to their outputs, especially for synchronous motors, AC-controlled clocks, some video-tv equipment... and so on.
Be sure also that such devices used for voltage matching purposes doesn't distort the input waveform, because most electronic appliances doesn't support very well waveforms very different from sinusoidal.
About my favourite Xmas sets, I like too much the older Spanish series of 8 to 10 baseless tipped lamps. On next days I will take a pic for you of one of these simple 125-130 volt sets that probably you ever haven't seen before.
Last models of them, came fitted with 24 volt lamps to match the new voltage of 220-230 volts, but older sets must be wired in series of two of them to can be connected directly to 220-230 volt lines.
Regards.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2005, 09:39:00 am by tim »

Offline Ralph

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2005, 09:16:55 pm »
Christmas Lamp;

     Is that Lo/Hi range converter you have very lightweight and fits easily in the palm of your hand?

I remember cracking open one similar to what I think you have and found circuitry similar to that of
an electronic light dimmer - which would explain the use only for lamps and heaters but NOT
motor based devices, computers and other electronic loads.

Ralph
Ralph

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Re: What is your Favourite kind...
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2005, 03:14:51 am »
Ralph Yes and it's Called Travelwise
I Was Meant to add Last night, but it Doesn't say anything about Light Sets...
I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Re: American / British power conversion (was: Favourite xmas lights?)
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2005, 11:55:34 am »
OK Chris, what Did you Do?

Weeellllll.....in 2000, the first time I used USA-origin lights in my outside display, I bought the first 3KVA 110 volt transformer to run them, 3KVA driving a resistive load like lights *should* equate to 3000 watts if I remember correctly. Calculated the load of the lights at under 2500 watts so one of those should be big enough, right? Only I didn`t realise (and it wasn`t stated on the unit) that the 3KVA rating was not for a continuous load but rather an intermittant load with plenty of rest time.

The night the lights were switched on for the first time, I went out for a meal with family and friends for the evening and left the lights on for the neighbors to see. Later that evening when we returned.....darkness. I hadn`t set the automatic timer yet so windered why. The poor transformer was called upon to power about 2200 watts worth of lights which was too much for it. Overheated and something failed internally blowing a fuse, I don`t know how long it took before it cut out but couldn`t have been more than a couple of hours. I managed to get it working again and limping along for the weekend by unplugging some of the lights and placing a large fan in front to cool it until I could get hold of a second one to share the load.

Lesson learned, now I never take those things over around half their rating.

This year is all-LED which should be very kind on the transformers. Early indications say it will be just over 5500 lights and hopefully those will all run safely from one transformer.

:)

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Re: American / British power conversion (was: Favourite xmas lights?)
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2005, 10:57:19 am »
Oh Dear....
So if I have them on for a Short amont of Time, Like 1/2 an hour. I should be OK, do you Think?
I'm Really Looking Forward to seeing your lights this Year
I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Re: American / British power conversion (was: Favourite xmas lights?)
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2005, 03:08:08 pm »
I would have thought so. I`m not familiar with that kind of electronic style unit but it would probably be OK. Just check now and then that it isn`t getting too warm, but I reckon one set of 7 bubble-lights will be OK.


Lights turn on this December 6th if it all goes to plan. Latest preliminary count has gone up to just over 6000 too!

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Re: American / British power conversion (was: Favourite xmas lights?)
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2005, 03:27:07 pm »
Thanks Chris

 :-o? 6000? :-o
Lights, I Just hope you get some Decant<sp?> Snow to go with them? :wink:
I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!

Offline Christmas Lamp

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Re: American / British power conversion (was: Favourite xmas lights?)
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2005, 03:25:03 am »
What watts does a 7 set of Bubblers run to? Need to work out if I set the Swich to Hi or Lo on my Converter
Thanks
I love Any Bulbs be They the Light up kind or the kind that Grows!!!