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A Festive Question From Old 'humbug' Himself!


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My sister has just been out and purchased an LED illuminated pretend tree. (our house backs on to a park with thousands of the real thing but hey ho!) This plastic apology for part of the forest is clearly labeled on the box as "For outdoor use only". Needless to say she bought it to put in the hall. I would also add that  firstly the plug has to be inside the house and that the unit comes with 1.85 meters of cable from the plug to the tree. (That's 6' to you and me!).

My question is... What makes it "outdoor use only"? as she still wants it inside and there's not enough cable to put it anywhere else!

May I be the first to wish everybody a tolerable new year. :)

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I recently bought some outdoor LED lights which were labeled as being suitable for outdoor use - despite the fact they operate at mains voltage and had a single insulated very thin flex. The fact is it could have been used outdoors just so long as nobody went near the things or anything conductive they may be attached to when powered up.

Why your tree is labelled as being for outdoor use only is likely down to the fact there are two types of the same tree made - and are identical save as one will save for indoor use only and one for out door use only just so people looking for one of each can see such easily on the shelf. They might charge that little bit more for the outdoor version too.

So far as the lighting goes I don't think there is a minimum legal standard of cable between plug and the first light on lighting - I have some proper outdoor DC lights now, they too only have about 8' of cable between first light and indoor adapter.  Odd thing is the indoor adapter has a water tight grommet and yet is just a standard UK plugged transformer - so while the transformer is water tight and the cable going into is, the connection between it and mains is of course standard.

It seems that the onus is on the user to have installed a suitable outdoor whether proof socket - something my father had done some years ago for the very job of having Christmas lights in the Tree - it cost a fortune as it was armored cable from house out to the sockets - of course as time passed the poor tree died and is no more so now we have the means to power but nothing to put lights up in to.  I think we need an outdoor only tree ;)

By the way, when talking of silly ideas take a look at this - double whether proof socket you 'spike' into the lawn.  Now how do you plug the thing in - or do you 'daisy chain' these things across the lawn...


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Outdoor lights can be used indoors on the better quality lights the flex will be of a thicker gauge and things like the connections and seals will also be of higher quality. Commercial outdoor lighting is extensive, cheap domestic lighting is cheap - there is a reason.

These days, most LED lights you buy operate on 24v or 31v DC so can be used outdoors - but also indoors. 

This is safe voltage so you won't go getting a big shock - but be warned, the Chinese provide LED lights 'suitable for outdoor use' operating at 240v which is where I came unstuck buying the same recently from Amazon. These to could be used outdoors it is not like the world will end, but you'd risk tripping your RCD in the home when the rain falls or also risk someone looking at the lights, going up t them and touching them when lit and hey presto get a shock. Or put them round a nice metal trellis in the garden and make that live too.

The main issue with the safe low voltage DC outdoor LED lighting is the fact the LED's are installed into the string by way of a machine and then some heat shrink covers the base of the LED and connections.  This heat shrink is not 100% watertight and what will happen (and this is often the case with LED Solar lights left out in gardens for long periods) is good old electrolysis.  In short the DC current and water get on very well with the air to corrode the connections and then the lights die. 

Because of the mass produced nature of LED lights now, they can be seen almost as disposable - you might get a season or two out of them if you left them outside in harsh weather but rest assured that using outdoor rated lights inside the home will not cause issue. 

How LED Christmas lights are made:




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Generally speaking electrical standards for outdoors use would be more rigorous due to the need to water proof things, so I would expect to see something like "Suitable for Outdoors use" which would indicate it could be used indoors or outdoors. It could be as a result of poor Chinese to English translation, or it could be due to a risk of over heating if used in a warm environment. Either way it doesn't sound very promising. Does it have any BS or EU markings? If in doubt I would only use outside as directed by the packaging. If the thing catches fire outside and incinerates itself, it is less likely to do any damage than if it is inside.

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Here's a top tip from from a total idiot... that's me by the way... :naughty:

Dont bother picking them up in the shop.. just walk by and go hmmm that is cheap tack crap and it won't work... 

I was all for this Christmas lights lark decorate the outside the house up make look well Christmas like ha ha ha... ever since it's brought me bloody misery and keep saying to myself why have bothered.. The reason why is 90% of the lights I have put out has packed up.. first my 6ft willow tree snaps in half under light breeze . Then my mini trees lights pack up then my lantern.. then my rope light.. and today under her indoors orders I've installed 54ft length of lights to replace the rope lights.. and to top it all off I went up the father in laws last night to install a laser projector Christmas light and tried it before we fixed it up and ran a 60ft lead and buried under the shingle on the drive plugged it in hmmmmm yep doesn't work..  cheap tack crap grrrrrr..  So next year,,, I'm taking  good advice from my mate Bah humbug Baitrunner Mark by not bothering .... Oh by the way merry Christmas ha ha ha...

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The house around the corner has quite a few of the blokes in our street in a quandary. We are unsure whether the householder concerned has put up Christmas decorations or opened a brothel. You see in his window...in his window, you see...in his window, now in his window he's got what looks like three foot long illuminated tallywhacker! 

In the interests of ensuring the naughty lists integrity..I've been nominated to discover the festive or otherwise nature of said illuminations!

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30 minutes ago, Baitrunner said:

Oh and scrumpy cheddar - I reckon you should get a couple of these "erected" in the in-laws Windows!!

ooh missus:facepalm::naughty:

Ha ha ha il put some lights around my 2 brother in laws and shove them in the in laws windows as they resemble that shape and act like a pair.. he he ... :naughty:

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