How To Fix Light String - HeliFreak
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Old 11-29-2007, 03:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How To Fix Light String

Well I knackered one of my light strings as I was installing it onto my canopy. So I had to fix it. It's not too difficult, you just need to be a little bit careful.

The string has a central wire core, coated in a electroluminescent something or other, and a pair of filament thin wires run down the side of the coating. This central bundle is covered with a protective jacket, and the light is coloured by a gel coat which lies on top of that.



First Job is to carefully strip back the jackets, so you can solder the core and filament to the positive and negative wires of the wire's plug. The string is powered by an AC current, so it doesn't matter which wire is soldered to which.

Try to leave the central core and electorwossit bit long, and the filament fairly short, so you can heatshrink the lot with only one length of shrink. Heatshrinking the filament bit will be a massive pain in the butt.



It's a good idea to keep the wire powered while you're working. The first time I tried to fix the wire I left it un-powered and ended up having to start again when I discovered the fix hadn't worked.

The wires really are stupidly thin, so holding the string and lug wires in a helping hand makes life easier. If you do use a helping hand make sure the string is protected, as the crocodile clips will go straight through the protective jackets.



When you solder the wires make sure you only heat them for a couple of seconds maximum. If you leave it too long the filament will melt through the electroluminescent layer and short out to the inner core. I did this, it sucked.

I know my soldering sucks, thanks. But it works well enough, and the solder is bright and shiny, so what do you want?



Slide your shrink wrap over and shrink it. Job done. Wire fixed. Happy days.



If your wire works intermittently it's probably the connection at the other end that's knackered. Remove the shrink wrap that's on there and put a new bit on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyinfool
In the last pic, there should be NO connection between the center conductor and the stupidly thin transmitter wires.
The shrink tube is to both protect you from the 120VAC that the wire runs on and to keep the wires from touching each other.
If you are having intermittent troubles, I usually cut off about the last 1/2 inch with a sharp cutter and put new shrink tube. Moisture absorbed into the end of the wire will also cause troubles.
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Last edited by Rogan; 11-30-2007 at 11:59 AM..
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good tutorial, just one minor correction.
In the last pic, there should be NO connection between the center conductor and the stupidly thin transmitter wires.
The shrink tube is to both protect you from the 120VAC that the wire runs on and to keep the wires from touching each other.
If you are having intermittent troubles, I usually cut off about the last 1/2 inch with a sharp cutter and put new shrink tube. Moisture absorbed into the end of the wire will also cause troubles.

From the Glowire website FAQ
Quote:
Can it be cut?
GLOWIRE can easily be cut with wire cutters. The cut end needs to be properly terminated to prevent moisture damage and to prevent the wire from shorting out. GLOWIRE runs on a parallel circuit, therefore there does not have to be a return path. The end will need to be sealed with super glue, epoxy, silicone, heat shrink, etc to make certain that no moisture will get in the wire.
The same procedure can be used to splice wires that were cut in a boom strike or to add different colors.
Just remember that the longer the wire, the dimmer the light.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Cheers FF, didn't know that. That's some book smarts right there. I'll stick your paragraph in if that's ok.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tip, I just fixed one of my strings that was kinked by cutting it, but now it doesen't seem as bright as my other one. If it makes a difference it is the align orange one and Im comparing it to the blue. I just want to make sure that Im not going to blow another driver from a shorted string.
Thanks
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice! I am going to STICKY this!

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Old 12-28-2007, 07:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The light blue or Aqua color is the brightest color simply because it is the natural or actual color of light given off by the glowing wire.
To get all of the other colors the plastic covering is colored, the coloring will block out some of the light and make other colors less bright.

If the wire was shorted you would get nothing.
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help flyinfool and thanks for the sticky Bob.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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One thing to add:

Be careful not to touch the live wires - I know this sounds kinda obvious but being AC, those things really do give you a whopper of a shock which can be dangerous if you're holding a soldering iron :-).

Useful thread though - nice one!
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Question about 2 colors

Is this how you join two colors together?
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That is how you join 2 colors. You have to be very careful that the inner and outer wires do not touch each other and you need to put heat shrink over the joint when finished.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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To join wires.
I always cut it so that the thin wire are longer than the center wire by about 1/8 inch.
I then slide a piece of shrink tube over one end and solder the center conductor together.
Then slide the shrink tube over the joint and shrink it down.
Now it is easy to join the thin wires together with no danger of shorting to the center wire.
Insulate the whole joint with another piece of shrink tube.

I use clear shrink tube so that I do not lose any available light.
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:57 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Very good to know guys thanks, I now have to go get some clear shrink and light'er up.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default i connect mine this way

i had 3 strings and only two driver plugs. so i cut two strings plugs off in the middle and soldered on to one plug ( i cut them -off center from each other to avoid shorting out). I did notice a major change in brightness though. but it worked and i can see it fine.. this way i dont have to screw with the tiny wire or buy another driver. I now have 5 strings of lights and light up blades -- cool as hellll !!!!

nate
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Dude... THANKS again for posting this!

I just went to check out my night gear for the Buzzing the Border fun fly and I plan on doing some night flying. Well my tail plug was knackered! Somehow it was YANKED completely off the glow wire

Anyway rather than figure it out on my own I remembered you had posted this and you saved me the trouble! They are now back working again

Again thanks for posting this very useful tid bit!

Cheers!
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:00 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Do the 2 filament wires need to be separated? or can they be soldered together ?
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnmac1 View Post
Do the 2 filament wires need to be separated? or can they be soldered together ?
They can be soldered together.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:10 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default good fix

put in trash and go to LEDs so much better and with the controllers it is cool stuff can do a lot more with it. www.xerogear.com/ i love it
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This thread is specifically about glow wire, not for misinformation to sway people to other technology.

You can use the same controllers with the glow wire to do the same neat things as LEDs, switching on/off, dimming, etc.

LEDs and glow wire are both good and each have a different look.
There are pros and cons with either system.
Use whichever you like.
I would not tell anyone to toss either system in the trash.
I use both LEDs AND Glowires on my night ship cuz that is what I like.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
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ok lets see if i got this right.

strip back insulation.
solder core wires together then shrink wrap.

this is the part i need clarification on
solder all 4 tiny wires together then shrink wrap.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:01 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Yes, all 4 tiny wire ends can be soldered together at the splice.
You might notice slightly less light at the joint.
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