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Old 09-01-2009, 09:46 PM  
vectorg
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Default Address sign needs new bulbs

hi,

I have a lighted address-sign that is on my house. It has a string of 4 very small incandescent lights inside, and one of them has burnt out. I want to fix it myself and make it light-up again.

Here are some details:

1. One of the very-small bulbs is burnt-out (has a break in its filament)

2. I used some copper wire to bypass the burnt-out bulb, but still no lights work.

3. My multi-meter shows that power is getting to the unit.


My questions:

1. How do I fix this thing?

2. Can I buy some very small (1-watt) light bulbs and make a string of them?

I emailed the company that makes the address sign, and they didn't reply, so I want to fix this thing myself or let it remain dark.

Please help me figure this thing out.

Thanks.

Gordon



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Old 09-03-2009, 05:55 AM  
locknut
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Gordon: If power is at sign box, measure for voltage at each connection along its way. If it was present, the other three lamps would still light. I doubt that the lamps are series wired -- shorting across a lamp socket would have been catastrophic if power was present at the socket. I must assume these lamps are a 120v type. I use both 3watt and 6watt bulbs (easily available) with a miniature base for various applications. Not aware that there is a 1watt sort in existance.



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Old 09-03-2009, 06:11 AM  
CraigFL
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I would guess the bulbs are low voltage -- 12V or something like that. Does the unit hook directly to the AC power or thru a transformer? Bulbs like that are available here :

donsbulbs MAIN PAGE - rare specialty bulbs projector lamps or other places if you Google incandescant bulbs.

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Old 09-03-2009, 10:23 AM  
vectorg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by locknut View Post
Gordon: If power is at sign box, measure for voltage at each connection along its way. If it was present, the other three lamps would still light. I doubt that the lamps are series wired -- shorting across a lamp socket would have been catastrophic if power was present at the socket. I must assume these lamps are a 120v type. I use both 3watt and 6watt bulbs (easily available) with a miniature base for various applications. Not aware that there is a 1watt sort in existance.
Here is a picture of my unit. What kind of bulbs are these? See how I clipped one of the 4 lights out, and replaced the spot with a piece of copper wire.

I believe the power wire comes off my doorbell transformer and is maybe 12-volts.

When I set my multi-meter to ACV-50, then touch the two screws, the needle moves across about 1/3 of the way. I do not know how to read this.

Any tips for a DIY fix?

I will check out donsbulbs.com.

Thanks.


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Old 09-04-2009, 05:38 AM  
locknut
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Since it clearly states "Do not exceed 16volts" assumedly it's nominally a 12volt setup. On the 50V scale, 1/3 scale is about 16volts and that's OK (under load that value will drop somewhat). Since power is there, you just have to verify the wiring connections. I would suggest that if you can't locate replacement lamps, go to an auto supply and buy some small 12v lamps* with matching sockets with pigtails, rewire the box, and forget any future grief.

*Lamps that are known as Parking or Marking would be about the right wattage. These same lamps are used in garden lights and other low voltage applications.

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Old 09-04-2009, 08:03 PM  
vectorg
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Thanks locknut. Today, I wired 2 LEDs and a resistor in place of the 4 small incandecent bulbs. They light up, but I won't know how they look until tonight when it's dark.

The Shack sells some photo cells pretty cheap, so should I hook one of those in line with the LEDs, then it will only light-up during darkness? Is it as simple as that?

I don't know electricity and that's why I'm here asking questions.

I'm also ready with a solar-cell, rechargable-battery, circuit-board, and LED hacked out of a cheap garden light... if the LED fails.

I'm a beginner, but determined.

Thanks.

---------------------------------------------

The LEDs are super bright at night and will impress my neighbors!!! If they only knew how much electricity I was saving, and how much effort went into the conversion.

The specs on my LEDs are: 3.6 Volt * 20mA * 1100mcd

How can I find out how many watts each is using?

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:59 AM  
locknut
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vectorg: Volts X Amps =Watts



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