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Christmas lights swtich?

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Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Lisa Miles on Dec 16, 2019 12:15 pm

Hi all

I need some help with my Christmas tree lights... 🎄

Is it possible to put an in line switch in the cable between the bulbs and the transformer so you can switch the lights on an off without having to do it at the socket or pull the plug out each time?

If yes, where can I get such a switch?
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Benyamin Davodian on Dec 16, 2019 12:47 pm

Hello Lisa Miles,
First, I will explain the main difference between a normal (conventional) system and a smart electrical system: In normal electricity, the electrical current goes from the mains power source to the lighting through a switch (simple lighting circuit breaker), which is usually in the area illuminated by the same lighting, however. In a smart electrical system there are no switches and switches - there are controllers located on the main board, the connection is between the power source and the controller and from there to the bulb (the controller controls the lighting of the bulb) .You can also connect additional electrical installations in the apartment such as: air conditioner, electric trims etc.

The smart home controllers are connected to a central control computer (there are controllers with a computer unit built in), the homeowner has an accessible touch panel (you can also use tablet computers like an iPad for example) which is basically the control of the smart home control computer which transmits the commands to the power panel controllers that perform them .

The smart home system contains the possibility of creating scenarios for various situations that happen in everyday life. For example, as soon as you return from a busy work day, the house is "ready" for your arrival: calm lighting will come on, blinds will light up, air conditioning or heating will light and even the kettle will boil water for you. Of course, you can control the various home modes remotely with your mobile phone.

I offer you Ms Lisa Miles with you already want to do when you go all over the box and make a smart home for a small investment. Any qualified electrician can provide you with the system including work.
Once you are done, I assure you that you will bless me every day.
Regards, DAVODIAN BENYAMIN

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by rogerg on Dec 16, 2019 12:56 pm

Hi Lisa,
I'm sure hundreds of electricians will be shouting "No!" because it's probably not safe unless you know what you are doing, depending how the lights are wired. I wouldn't bother though - just plug the lights into a timer and automate it - about a fiver or a tenner max e.g. search "24 HOUR Mains Plug In Timer" for loads of examples.

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Alasdair Anderson on Dec 16, 2019 1:01 pm

Hi Lisa,
I would say 'Yes, it is possible', but that is not the same as desirable or even safe. I don't know the set up of your lights but we have several sets in different states of mayhem, most of the recently purchased ones being with a transformer/controller which sets different flashing regimes, which normally have the lights on different strings so that there are about four or five wires coming out of the controller allowing different lamps to be on at different stages in the cycle. Such a set up would need a switch in each string (unless you want to do it by switching a common return which might have safety issues) so it is not as simple as at first sight.
Most switches you can purchase assume mounting in a casing so you would need to get the switch plus the enclosure, adding to the cost.
I assume that the issue you have is that the socket/plug is not readily accessible when the tree is up -  if this is the reason then why not buy an extension block that has switched sockets (either individual or as a common switch) that allows you to have the socket and switch in an accessible location, and that you can use for twelve months of the year rather than a few weeks?
Alasdair

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Andy Millar on Dec 16, 2019 1:03 pm

Since you've said it's between the bulbs and the transformer then that would be fine since it would be (presumably) 12V or 24V. You'd just need to find and electrically qualified person to check that was true. Now, where could you find one of those??? 😊*

Personally I would use a "bullet" light switch of the following type, but you do need to be careful of the current rating if it's after the transformer. (In fact I did use one of these last week on some of our lights, but then I'm a qualified electric person with certificates and everything.)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Profile-Line-Torpedo-Switch-ElekTek/dp/B01GU8WYRW/ref=asc_df_B01GU8WYRW/?tag=googshopuk-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=232042431268&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4408064102115632698&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9045306&hvtargid=pla-421217921920&psc=1

Nice little Christmas project for the Stevenage office!!

Thanks,

Andy

* Since some readers here may not know, Lisa works for the IET!!
Andy Millar CEng CMgr IET Mentor / IET PRA uk.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Andy Millar on Dec 16, 2019 1:06 pm

P.S. And of course Alasdair's comments apply re multiple lights! And switched sockets, definitely safest and easiest way. But if you want the switch to be more accessible (and it isn't multiple strings) I'd suggest after the transformer is safer than before it...
Andy Millar CEng CMgr IET Mentor / IET PRA uk.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Maurice Dixon on Dec 16, 2019 1:31 pm

Instead of breaking into perfectly safe cables, perhaps consider using remotely controlled mains switches, which you can use around the house all year.

https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/SK350115.html?source=adwords&ad_position=&source=adwords&ad_id=315107931576&placement=&kw=&network=u&matchtype=&ad_type=&product_id=SK350115&product_partition_id=303574709739&campaign=shopping&version=finalurl_v3&gclid=Cj0KCQiA89zvBRDoARIsAOIePbDOxLMhQfjnnw1kGDQbUrG2bw3NLrx0hAfXkE-7fw5kHmBT026g5xkaAoqTEALw_wcB 

Or use a mains socket timer, which again can be used as required

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=mains+socket+timer&adgrpid=55922817969&gclid=Cj0KCQiA89zvBRDoARIsAOIePbBrvF721RHcNm4DWFAYeWnQzLjUgTkvu_d2hDT3V_UExis4lfHAdPEaAu2LEALw_wcB&hvadid=259035160068&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=1006526&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=11965497902595967763&hvtargid=kwd-301093855673&hydadcr=29380_1700888&tag=googhydr-21&ref=pd_sl_8p1h937rpt_e 


 

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Andy Millar on Dec 16, 2019 3:45 pm

To be fair, I don't think Lisa was suggesting breaking into the mains cables, just the low voltage side.

Cheers, Andy
Andy Millar CEng CMgr IET Mentor / IET PRA uk.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Lisa Miles on Dec 16, 2019 4:01 pm

Andy Millar:
To be fair, I don't think Lisa was suggesting breaking into the mains cables, just the low voltage side.

Cheers, Andy

 
Exactly Andy. I could do with a switch on the lighting cable closer to the tree.

The only available socket is behind the television but it means having to move the television and its cabinet every time to access the socket and switch the lights on and off. I already have multi socket extension leads that are taken up by the multitude of electronic av equipment around that area as well as my IT networking paraphernalia.  The only accessible socket is on the other side of the room but that means trailing the cables across the carpet and across the doorway to reach the other side, not ideal! 

I don't like leaving the tree lights on if I'm not at home or gone to bed so a timer set up isn't ideal either. 

I might just cover the tree in battery operated lights instead but I hate having to use batteries and prefer to go for more sustainable energy supplies. My outside lights are all solar operated 😊
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Maurice Dixon on Dec 16, 2019 5:21 pm

We have an internal and an external tree with battery Xmas lights that work with an integrated timer (our are set to come on at 5pm and auto-off 6 hours later) - good option if tree is far from mains socket - we use rechargeable batteries to be more sustainable to replace the normal 'use and discard' ones. Can be 'upgraded' to substitute batteries with a mains feed if the position of a tree allows at a different time.
https://www.ukchristmasworld.com/outdoor-christmas-lights/battery-lights/ 
 

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by AncientMariner on Dec 16, 2019 5:25 pm

I would do as Maurice Dixon suggested and use a remote controlled switch.

They had them in Lidyl a few years ago and very handy they are too.

Have a look on Amazon, search for Remote Control Switch 240v and there are a selection. Single and Multiples. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vlio-Programmable-Electrical-Household-Appliances/dp/B07HCBYYCP/ref=sr_1_27_sspa?crid=168NJGG3S4F4T&keywords=remote%2Bcontrol%2Bswitch%2B240v&qid=1576516670&sprefix=remote%2Bcontrol%2Bswitch%2Caps%2C157&sr=8-27-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzVjhQNTczMFRCN0dYJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDExMjE1MUhPRUwwSzM5SlVSOCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNzI0MDQwQTY1WDVORjJTR0NGJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ&th=1

At £10.99p Would be ideal. Note that the above comes without a battery. Needs a 12 volt 23A battery.  Amazon have them, but don't buy a big pack as if similar to ours will last years. (We have one for a bedside light)

Clive

 
Clive S Carver GCGI IEng MIET MITP

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Maurice Dixon on Dec 16, 2019 5:27 pm

Could use the remotely operated plug in one of the extension socket positions just for the tree, too then not have to get behind the TV to switch tree on/off (we do this for our TV so it is 'off' when not in use and isn't an 'energy vampire' on standby).

Need to be careful of not having too many devices in an extension lead off a power socket, or extensions off extensions generating a socket overload risk. 

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Legh Richardson on Dec 16, 2019 7:07 pm

I use remote controlled mains switching everywhere in the house. The IR plugs are positioned in various multiway extention leads. Very easy to program with dip switches. Anyway the idea of leaving a transformer on without the ability to isolate on a regular basis doesn't really appeal to me.

Legh
 
www.leghrichardson.co.uk

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by mapj1 on Dec 16, 2019 8:02 pm

Or use an in line switch on the mains side- after all it is how they are intended to be used. Just make sure the cable grip is working well, if need be pack it out a bit.

We have several 230v strings of 20 off 12V lamps in series or whatever they are, and I have made exactly that mod to them for that reason.

Or you could run them off the lights

 remember when these were all the rage ?
regards Mike

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by kfh on Dec 18, 2019 10:13 pm

Over the years I have spent many a "happy" hour putting switches into cables and wiring up extension leads for particular purposes I would now not normally bother. The alternatives suggested above of an extension cable with a switched socket or a remote wireless  switching socket are now so cheap and readily available I would go with either of them. I use a few of the wireless sockets around the house to switch things in exactly the way you want, where the sockets are inaccessible due to the stuff in front of them. They are also good for switching things off properly that otherwise would be on standby.

Unless of course you want to gain practical experience of putting switches into cables in which case there are plenty of people on here who will talk you through what you need in order to make sure you do it safely. 

Your call 😊

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by weirdbeard on Dec 19, 2019 9:11 pm

Lisa Miles:

Andy Millar:
To be fair, I don't think Lisa was suggesting breaking into the mains cables, just the low voltage side.

Cheers, Andy

 
Exactly Andy. I could do with a switch on the lighting cable closer to the tree.

The only available socket is behind the television but it means having to move the television and its cabinet every time to access the socket and switch the lights on and off. I already have multi socket extension leads that are taken up by the multitude of electronic av equipment around that area as well as my IT networking paraphernalia.  The only accessible socket is on the other side of the room but that means trailing the cables across the carpet and across the doorway to reach the other side, not ideal! 

I don't like leaving the tree lights on if I'm not at home or gone to bed so a timer set up isn't ideal either. 

I might just cover the tree in battery operated lights instead but I hate having to use batteries and prefer to go for more sustainable energy supplies. My outside lights are all solar operated 😊

 

Hi Lisa, it seems you do not have a building regs/bs7671 compliant installation, have you given any consideration to upgrading by having an extra socket where you can easily get to the on/off switch fitted by a competent person? 

 
:D

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Denis McMahon on Dec 20, 2019 8:56 am

mapj1:
Or use an in line switch on the mains side- after all it is how they are intended to be used. Just make sure the cable grip is working well, if need be pack it out a bit.
. . .
 

I too am not keen on leaving the transformer energised with its load cut off by a switch, though I don't think it would come to any harm. Just one slight possible problem: the mains plug and transformer of a decoration light set are often incorporated as a single unit, so putting the switch before the transformer is not possible. I would not advise trying to put the switch after the control box, which selects the various flashing sequences, even if you could identify a common "return". So it's back to the other suggestions: remote controlled sockets, switched extension lead, additional socket installed. Pick which is most convenient.

 remember when these were all the rage ?


I certainly do. In the 1950s, and into the '60s, it was usual for decoration light sets to be sold fitted with a BC adaptor plug. Power sockets were sparse in those days, and it was assumed that the set would be plugged into a lighting socket fitted with a BC 2-way adaptor. I have still in use two twelve-20V-lamp sets and they still have the BC adaptor. I see no reason to change this; I have a dedicated lead with BC socket to power them. These big, bright bulbs harmonise well on the Christmas tree in conjunction with a modern LED set.
Denis McMahon "There is always a better way."

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Lisa Miles on Dec 20, 2019 9:44 am

Doh! I'm a muppet!

Thinking about and looking into Maurice Dixon‍ 's reply re buying a remote controlled plug but not wanting to have yet another remote control handset to lose somewhere down the back of the sofa, what do I have at home??? ALEXA! 

I'm going to buy some Alexa enabled smart plugs then I can ask her to switch off the lights when I need to without clambering behind the TV or spending hours searching for a remote control handset that I later find in the fridge... 🤣

And as you say Maurice, I can use them all year round for other devices 👍
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Maurice Dixon on Dec 20, 2019 10:22 am

Great idea, I hadn't thought of that as I don't, and won't, have such devices in the home. I believe these type of voice-controlled remote sockets can also be programmed with on/off times, etc.
Hope you can get some in time for Xmas 🎅🤶

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Maurice Dixon on Dec 20, 2019 10:24 am

A remote controlled socket/plug is not just for Christmas !

Re: Christmas lights swtich?

Posted by Lisa Miles on Dec 20, 2019 10:36 am

Maurice Dixon:
I hadn't thought of that as I don't, and won't, have such devices in the home. 

I used to feel the same Maurice but I now have Alexa through my Sonos speakers and I can switch her off when I don't want her 'listening' and back on again when I need her to be alert. 😊
 
Lisa Miles - Online Community Manager, Engineering Communities

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