Shortening LED Christmas lights


Old 11-20-10, 06:40 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
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Shortening LED Christmas lights

I need to cut down a set of 50 LED christmas light string in half. I have looked all over for a set of 25, but none are available that match the same spacing between individual lights. These lights are on the roof line of my house and I need only 1/2 a string to complete. To black-out the other 1/2 of a full string, simply will not work, too much remaining (15').

Lights are GE LED 50 set, C9 size, model LED-C9-50(0.027).

Of the 3 wires coming from the male end, 2 go all the way to the female plug with no interuptions. At various times between light locations there are 4 wires, but again 2 go end to end with no interuptions.

I would like to cut this string in half, keep the male end (with fuses) and just terminate the other end or possibly put a female plug on the end.

Can I do this? I have read with a standard light set this is not possible due to not enough load on the strand. What about LED's.

Thanks for your help. Mike
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Old 11-20-10, 08:09 AM
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Those GE LED lights are crap, to be honest. You'll be lucky to finish one-two seasons with them before they corrode. I got all my LEDs from this place and very satisfied. They have C9 with 25' strand.

C9 Commercial Full Wave LED Christmas Lights
Old 11-20-10, 02:06 PM
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Location: Kansas City Area
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They may be a crappy set of lights, but I still have 2 strands up right now & a 1/2 strand yet to get there.

So can I do it or not? if the strand is cut in half, will they operate normally, even if it is only for 1 - 2 seasons? Let me know. Thanks
Old 11-20-10, 10:56 PM
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The short answer is sometimes. If you yank a bulb, what happens? Does half the string go out or the whole thing?

Basically it comes down to the same thing you have to do when you want to cut a standard series string.. You have to find a circuit break. If there is no circuit break, you have to install a resistor to act as and waste the power of that the part you cut off.

As far as load goes, it depends on what you're talking about.. With standard C7/C9's, the bulbs are strung in parallel. They use 120v each, and you can cut them as short as you need (even just a single bulb), and it will not affect the string at all.

With mini bulbs, the most common bulb voltage is 2.4v, and as such they are strung in circuits of 50. So a 50 string will be 1 circuit, a 100 string will be 2, etc. So you can cut them every 50 with no ill effect, but if you need say 25, you will need to connect a resistor at the end to waste the extra 60 volts. If you don't, the bulbs get double their rated voltage and will burn out very fast (and as each bulb burns out, the voltage on the remaining bulbs goes up by 2.4v as the bulb's internal shunt shorts the socket - so they pop rapid-fire).

LEDs voltage actually depends on their color, and range between 1.5 and 4 volts. There are many variables in the construction of 120v LED strings, and there is no hard and fast rule about how many bulbs per circuit, so you have to start by pulling a bulb.

Another thing to consider (aside from corrosion) is that the cheapie LED christmas lights are obnoxious to look at because they flicker so badly. The newer and more expensive lights use full wave rectifiers to change AC to DC, which double the flicker rate and make it all but unnoticeable.

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