Christmas light electrical question


Old 12-30-04, 08:36 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: north dakota
Posts: 159
Christmas light electrical question

I'm making a craft project that will be lighted with one of those Christmas style rope lights.
The rope light is 18ft long. I only need about 12ft. Can I chop it off?
It appears to have 2 wires running the length of it, probably to plug in the next rope light. The bulbs appear to be wire in series. Probably attached to the 2 wires at each end. But I can't tell for sure. Anyone have any experience with these?
If in series, I imagine I'll burn out the bulbs if I cut it off. BUT if I measure the resistance of the unused piece, attach a resistor of the same ohmage, should that work? The entire rope measures 45 ohms so 2/3 rope should need another 15 ohms. I thought I could cover the resistor and rope end with glue from my hot glue gun or PVC conduit adhesive.

Also, how do I fasten the rope to my plywood? I know someone makes clips but it will have a few sharp bends. Would that PVC conduit cement work? Will that stuff stick to the wood? I dries really fast so it would be ideal as an adhesive.
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Old 12-31-04, 12:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 539
I've never dealt with the rope lights,

but I wouldn't cut it off. Maybe you could cut a hole in the plywood and pull it to the backside where it wouldn't be seen??? Or maybe cover it up with something so the light wouldn't be seen...PVC pipe??? Legnth of garden hose??? Check the directions first and see if you're allowed to cover the rope or if it needs to be uncovered to ventilate.

I wouldn't use PVC cement...I don't think it will hold this type of plastic. An easy and low-tech way would be to staple a zip tie (plastic cable holder) flat (open) down on the plywood, then use the zip tie to hold the rope light. Zip tie picture:
You may also want to try a hot-glue gun.
You could experiment with the section you won't need, using PVC cement, but I'm thinking it won't hold and/or discolor the plastic.

I hope this helped and Good Luck!
Old 01-01-05, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
If you cut the lights, you will void the UL listing. While you may not care about this if the project is for you, you wouldn't want to do this if you intend to give the item away or sell it.

Look around. You can find shorter light strings of all types.

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