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How Christmas Lights Work

Christmas lights have long been a big part of the holiday season. Strung from light posts and trees, porch rails and eaves troughs, these festive lights don’t just illuminate the night, they cause many faces to light up with smiles!

They’re curious little packets of surprise, these Christmas lights, providing Oakville families with hours of seasonal fun, but just how do these tiny lights offer up such a bright display? And why is it, that when one light on a strand breaks, the entire system shorts out? The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think!

How Traditional Christmas Lights Work
Back in the day, Oakville Christmas lighting designs used to be comprised of 120-volt incandescent bulbs. Power hogs, these lights were known for generating a lot of heat, a dangerous side effect of their beauty. Their main benefit? If a bulb failed, it had no impact on the rest of the strand. This was because the 120-volt system placed the bulbs in a parallel arrangement; if one bulb failed, the circuit was still functioning, thus the rest of the lights could continue to shine.

Fast-forward to the 1970s and the creation of mini-lights. A popular choice here at our Oakville Christmas lighting company, mini-lights feature small 2.5-volt incandescent bulbs that are similar to the ones used in flashlights. More efficient that their larger brethren, mini-lights work best when connected in a series. This is why mini-light strands always come with 48 lights on a strand. (Multiply 2.5 volts by 48 and you get 120; how much power does a standard outlet produce? You got it, 120-volts!) Today, most mini-light strands come with 50 light bulbs, but don’t worry – those two additional lights only dim the strand a teeny tiny bit, ensuring your still get the full lighting benefit. (You might even seen a few 100 or 150 light strands for sale at your local hardware store. These setups are simply two or three 50 strands woven together in parallel.)

The only problem with mini-lights is their sensitivity to bulb removal or failure. This is because the bulbs are arranged on one continuous circuit – if one fails the entire strand will lose power.

What About Those Blinking Lights?
An Oakville Christmas lighting design isn’t complete without a few blinking light displays. But just how do these lights work? Through science, of course! Blinking lights require a 16-function controller that enables the lights to run in all sorts of interesting patterns and designs. Typically managed by a controller box, these systems drive four separate strands of mini-lights that are woven together.

Of course, there are cruder ways of achieving blinking lights (cheap Oakville Christmas lighting designs will use a standard mini-light strand and install a random blinker light in order to offer up the blinking affect, but the overall appeal is very weak). If you want a true blinking display, ask our Oakville Christmas lighting design team to include controllers in your system.

Contact the experts at our Oakville Christmas lighting design to book your holiday lighting appointment now! Hurry, there are only a few weeks left before the jolly man himself arrives!

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