Talk about vintage Christmas lights

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:18 pm 
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A reader writes:

I have a couple of antique christmas trees with bubble lights that do not work. They did work in years past. I am wondering if there is any way to find out which ones (sockets) don't work I have lots of bubble lights and a single string that works with the bubble light bulbs. Do you have any advice.? Thanks, Linda

--------Our Response-----------

Regarding your bubble lights, I understand your frustration with not knowing if the sockets have gone bad. Are you saying that the bubble lights all work in the strand, but when you screw them into the sockets in the trees they don't work? Or something else.

I understand that if you're trying to test a single light, you can use a nine-volt battery.

Let me know,

Paul Race


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:53 pm 
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The reader replied:

Thanks for getting back to me. I have tested the lights with a nine-volt battery which indicated that the lights work, however I am not able to determine what is going on with the tree. I don't know if one or more of the sockets don't work. I don't know if there is any possible way to determine that or if I can find out if I can repair the socket. I love those old trees, they bring back so many memories of my childhood.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:54 pm 
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Fred Fox added this note:

There are a few possibilities for what might be causing your problem. Check all the sockets to insure nothing has fallen into the sockets over the bottom socket contact. If it is one of the Visca covered bubble light trees there is a possibility loose material has gotten into one or more of the sockets. Check to make sure the bottom contact in the sockets are intact. After years of bulbs being threaded in and out, the bottom contacts can become sloppy and easily be pushed out of the socket shell. This can be a difficult repair. Check the solder contact on the bottom of the threads of the bubble lights themselves. After years of being threaded firm into sockets the solder has a tendency to mushroom out and in some cases it will leave a ridge in the solder that will prevent it coming in contact with the socket contact. Check these first and let me know how you make out.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:05 pm 
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It seems like this is always a problem with bubble light trees. Even from one year to the next. It worked last season, why doesn't it work this year? Other than the things that Fred has mentioned, sometimes switching bubble lights from one socket to another will make a difference. Why? Because the bubble light bottom sometimes has a little thicker ring or lip at the base where the bulb comes out of the plastic. If the brass has been pushed down in the shell the plastic of the bubble light hits the socket shell instead of the bulb touching the bottom contact in the socket. Switching bulbs is trial and error but usually works. I used to store my trees each separately, packed and padded in its own box with all the lights except the top one screwed in. That way the same lights were in the same sockets in each tree. That helped. Here is something you may try. Instead of bubble lights, use C-6 lamps in the tree and replace them one at a time with bubble lights until you have all working bubble lights in your tree. Hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:06 am 
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Gary-G,

Thanks for the tips - Paul


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