Converting Christmas lights to Battery ???


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Old 05-17-10, 04:35 PM
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Converting Christmas lights to Battery ???

Hello,
I looked around and i can't seem to find the EXACT answer to my question so i thought i would ask the experts here.

I have a string of 10 white christmas lights. Each light is 12 volts. the Amps (according to the tag on the string) is .07. They plug in. I want to do one of two things...

Cut off the plug and make it into a battery powered string.

OR replace the bulbs with LED bulbs (if i can even do that), then cut the plug and make it into a battery powered string.

Either one i am not 100% sure how to do correctly. I know the source will go from AC to DC. My concerns are...

If i keep the bulbs in, how much battery power do i need? Do i need 12 Volts? 120 volts? and how long will the batteries last? If possible i would like to use something i can recharge like aaa,aa, c or d batteries..... IF i use LED's (if can even find 10 LED bulbs to replace the regular bulbs and they would fit in the same "housing"), would the LED's be the same brightness? And what battery power would i need then? Would the electrical wiring be good enough? Does LED light strings and regular light strings use the same wiring?

It seems the more i read the more confusing it becomes. I just don't want to fry anything. Can someone with patience and good explaination skills please respond? Thanks alot!
 
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Old 05-17-10, 05:29 PM
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Welcome to the forums! How did you determine each bulb was 12 volts? Can I also ask why do you want to do this? Battery power will only last a small while. Then they will need replacement or recharging, which uses energy. That energy could probably run the lights for a day or two.
We have to be really careful giving advice when posters are wanting to do things far from the norm, so fill us in on your reasons.
 
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Old 05-18-10, 07:37 AM
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Chandler, Thanks for the response. On the box the lights came in, it says "10 bulb string, 12V each" I want to make a set of christmas lights run on batteries. These will be indoors, NOT outdoors. I would not be running them 24/7, they would be on for 3-7 hours at a time per day. As far as "far from the norm" ... there are many websites and/or forums where people have done this so i can't see how this is not normal. Again, any help (with patience) would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-18-10, 07:57 AM
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Ahhh so the bulbs are wired in series. 10bulbs x 12volts = 120volts (std residential voltage).

If these use a standard plug (not a box with controls for flashing, chasing, blinking, etc) I'd probably just get a small AC inverter, connect to a car battery and plug the lights into the inverter.

I think we're still wondering though. Why go to all this trouble? Why not just plug them in to a wall outlet? You have more of a hazard with the battery being used inside. And with the use of a charger and losses in the inverter...you are actually using more juice overall. Not to mention the hassle of taking the battery outside to charge.

If you need to purchase the required items..you're probably looking at a minimum of about $100.
 
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Old 05-18-10, 08:49 AM
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This particular string of lights would need to be completely remade to work directly on 12V. The lights are currently wired in series and would need to be in parallel. Most Christmas lights are basically built as a one-time device so I doubt you could successfully disassemble and reassemble them.

If you need battery powered lights, I suggest just buying some that are designed for that purpose. Google returns dozens of vendors of "battery powered christmas lights" in both incandescent and LED lamps. LED lamps will last much longer on battery power than incandescent.
 
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Old 05-18-10, 05:39 PM
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As usual, I agree completely with Ben. The easiest way would be to buy battery powered lights. Example:

Amazon.com: Set of 10 Battery Operated Multi-Color Mini Christmas Lights - White…


Your 12v lights would need to be rewired to a parallel string instead of series, and they'd consume 0.7A at 12v, which is more than a 9v battery could provide. You might be able to use 8 D-cell batteries to run them for an hour or two, but needless to say that'll be pretty big.
 
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Old 05-20-10, 01:28 PM
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Thanks for the response. I would be willing to go the LED route if i could only find a string of 10 white LED lights that are similar in brightness of what i am starting with. I can not use house current, it's just not going to happen. I have looked around and i can't seem to find a string of 10 LED white lights. If i buy a string of 15 or 20, can i cut it down and rewire things or is that asking for trouble. I guess once i accomplish the topic of which bulbs i will use, then i will tackle the topic of battery size etc.. Thanks so far for the help. If you find a string of 10 LED white lights, or better yet, a battery powered string of 10 LED white lights, let me know.
 
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Old 05-21-10, 03:40 AM
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You can wire the LEDs yourself. After all, this is a DIY website.

Start by selecting your 12-volt LEDs, then go here and scroll to the bottom. Use the "safe pick" for the resistor wattage value.
 
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Old 05-24-10, 09:46 AM
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Um... Yea

Originally Posted by Rick Johnston View Post
You can wire the LEDs yourself. After all, this is a DIY website.

Start by selecting your 12-volt LEDs, then go here and scroll to the bottom. Use the "safe pick" for the resistor wattage value.
thanks for the response. The link you send was in a foreign language I couldn't understand. I am just not going to wire, solder, cut, use testers, etc... If someone knows of a 10 string led set, let me know. Battery powered would be even better. Again, can I buy a 15 or 20 led string and alter it to 10 LEDs? Thanks for the continued help.
 
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Old 05-25-10, 04:34 AM
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Can't read Chinese? It's in English, but it has a Translate to Chinese button at the top of the page.

Here's another site that calculates resistors. (It might help someone else who sees this thread.)

See if there's something on this site that you can use. All kinds of different LED lighting.
 
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Old 05-25-10, 12:05 PM
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Uh.... Yea

Originally Posted by Rick Johnston View Post
Can't read Chinese? It's in English, but it has a Translate to Chinese button at the top of the page.

Here's another site that calculates resistors. (It might help someone else who sees this thread.)

See if there's something on this site that you can use. All kinds of different LED lighting.
Thanks for the response. Rick, I noticed your from the buffalo ny area. So am I. The links you sent although appreciated, wasn't helpful. Anyone that can answer my questions and give me advice that will TRUELY resolve my issues I would appreciate it. One more try... Can I buy a 15 or 20 white led christmas light string and cut it down to 10 lights? Thanks for any help.
 
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Old 05-25-10, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by slapshot10 View Post
Can I buy a 15 or 20 white led christmas light string and cut it down to 10 lights? Thanks for any help.
You'd have to trace the wiring in the string. If the lights are wired in series you cannot cut it down. If they are wired in parallel you could.

Most strings of lights have sections of series-wired lights in parallel. You have to use a careful eye to trace out the wires in the strand to trace the exact path of each wire.
 
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Old 05-25-10, 12:20 PM
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slapshot....
You say you won't wire, cut solder, use testers...but then you want to modify something. How do you expect to modify something? Scissors and glue?

Why not buy a 20 light string and just fold it back on itself?

I did a simple "battery LED christmas lights" search and got plenty of hits. Have you tried?

I know you said.."of the same brightness"...but hth are we supposed to know what that is? Do you have a measurement of lumens or candles to compare? Kinda hard to see what you see through a computer screen.

I'll tell you this...its a real problem when people don't completely explain what they are trying to do. Ask basic questions...get basic replies.
 
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Old 05-26-10, 12:46 PM
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ibpooks - thank you for the response.
GunGuy45 - thank you for the response. I thought my original post had alot of info to make a helpful and educated response to my issue. I simply can not find thru google or bing, a string of 10 white christmas sized LED's, battery OR house current. The reason i need 10 is because i have 10 plastic decorations that are removable from the string of regular lights i have now. Like i said in the very first post, they are 10, 12V white mini christmas light bulbs. If there is something i left out that prevents you from helping me (instead of backhanded jabs) let me know. PLEASE don't waste your time or mine with comments that don't help my issue. I came on here trying to get a SIMPLE solution to a problem. I can cut off access bulbs, i can wire nut, i can electrical tape. I can not solder, use a tester or take apart and put back together with resistors etc ...

If someone can direct me to a store that has EXACTLY what i am looking for i would really appreciate it, thank you. Refer to my first post for details. Again, Can someone with patience and good explaination skills please respond? Thanks alot!
 
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Old 05-26-10, 03:23 PM
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Well...you didn't say anything about having decorations..so that explains a lot more why you need exactly 10. Now whether a 10 light LED string will have the same sort of socket..(I doubt it) is another story. But I guess hot glue or similar would work.

There were no jabs intended...but your post was similar to many we see here. We all are here to help...but there may be no EXACT answer that satisfies you.

We don't know your skill level nor your EXACT expected results. Theres no such thing as too much info.

Do the lights need to run for 1 hr at a time...or 24 hrs?
Are you willing to change batteries every few days or could you use rechargables?
Will they be used inside or out?

As a rule any LED device will be dimmer and have a different color rendering than an incandescent bulb...just a fact.

Did you see these? Battery Operated Sale Items - Battery Operated 10 Clear Mini Lights - 6" Spacing, Green Wire


Hope these help...
 
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Old 05-26-10, 04:38 PM
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My post was wrong. Was just before my nap. I should have written parallel instead of series.
 
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Old 06-02-10, 10:20 AM
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Gunguy45,

Thanks for the response. The link you sent was something i will think about, they are pretty much what i was thinking originally. But with the responses here and looking at other sites, LED's would be preferred, but not a MUST. Now i noticed the string of lights are 2 C size batteries with an average life span of 8 hours. IF i use NiMH batteries instead do you think the lights would last longer than 8 hours. Say a 2500 mah capacity? I would want them to last 3-7 hours, but to last 3-5 times before i need to recharge them. Does that make sense? I know if i can find an identical string of lights but in LED's, that would make the batteries last much longer. I just can't find what i need. Thanks again.
 
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Old 06-02-10, 11:14 AM
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I believe a rechargeable NiMH "C" battery supplies about 6,000 mAh. A non-rechargeable alkaline should be about 25% higher than that.

You can put cells in parallel to increase the mAh capacity of the overall battery. How big/portable can the battery pack be? There's also no need to stick with "C" cells -- you could use a variety of different batteries to achieve the desired result.
 
 

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