Get This Look: Lighting wreaths without an outlet

Get This Look: Lighting wreaths without an outlet

A customer recently left a review about how 12-volt lights plus an alligator to accessory socket adapter was used to light an outdoor subdivision sign. We hear from quite a few folks looking for a solution to this type of installation problem, so we thought we’d share it.

Great for Solar Powered Wreaths

We have an entrance sign to our subdivision with lighting supplied by a small 12V DC solar system. For the holidays we added two wreaths each wrapped with a 12 Volt LED Warm White Light Sets. The additional current draw is about 300 mA, which is very manageable, with our system. We weren’t sure if one or two strings would be needed per wreath, but a quick email from Christmas Light Source indicated that one would be sufficient. Sure enough, the lights look great. To connect the lights we bought two Cigarette Lighter Female Sockets from Amazon and wired them in parallel to the solar system.

Tom L.

Get This Look: Lighting wreaths without an outlet

Have you used our 12 volt lights like these? Please consider leaving a review about your experience with a photo. We’d love to see it.

Get This Look: Golf Cart Lights

Get This Look: Golf Cart Lights

We loved seeing this fun image in a review.

Here’s that 5-star review:

These lights were great. We installed them on our UTV along with some garland and went for a ride around the neighborhood with our grandchildren. We all had a great time, despite the near zero temperatures. 4 sets of lights was good, but I may order more for next year.

Bruce from Wisconsin

This project uses 4 sets of 12-volt multi lights on green wire.

Options for securing the light strings include traditional zip ties or easier to remove velcro ties. Consider painter’s tape for short term projects like parades and tournaments.

These light sets come with a plug that fits into an accessory outlet so an inverter isn’t required.

Get This Look: Golf Cart Lights
Pin & SAVE for Later!
Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

We really smiled when these photos arrived in our email inbox.

Eli has always wanted to light the back window of her minivan with lights and sent us these photos of her process.

Installing the lights INSIDE on the windows keeps them out of the wind and rain and it incredibly bright – even through window tinting.

Window tinting.  Be careful if you decide to install lights on the inside of your window. Don’t use any kind of adhesive that might damage your window tint and be sure to test a small out of the way corner of your window before you get started.

Materials

  • warm white 12-volt LED lights on white wire
  • custom car vinyl from etsy or from your friend who has a vinyl cutter (everyone has one)
  • glue dots or painters or electrical tape
  • duct tape

The Process

Use a little tape to secure the wiring of the 12-volt light to your mini van if you have to keep it out of the way of little feet.

Installation is easy when there is an accessory plug by the back window.

 

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

It was a fun family project. We love the vinyl, perfect for the Christmas season. We see that someone has thrown caution to the wind and is using hot glue. Do this at your own risk. We’ve mentioned this twice.

This would be a perfect project to highlight vinyl highlighting your business.

 

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

Here is a closeup of the bulbs attached using glue dots.  These won’t work as well as hot glue but hot glue is almost sure to lift your window tint.  Use hot glue on side tint-free window.

 

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

We really love this. Do you plan to try this Season?  Be sure to post your comments and share on Instagram @christmaslightsource

 

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

 

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights! Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights! Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

Get This Look: Light your mini van back window with 12 volt lights!

 

 

Customer Project: Using 12 volt lights with a battery

Customer Project: Using 12 volt lights with a battery

Tad reviewed our 12 volt lights like this and I instantly replied with a, “Hey! Please send me a photo!”

Product Name: 12 Volt LED Light Set Pure White Green Wire
Headline: Works great
Name: Tad
Location: Vancouver
Review: I used these lights to border the words on a sign. There is a 12V deep cycle lead acid battery and a motorcycle turn signal flasher to make them blink.
Rating: 5

Tad kindly sent us photos of his project.

Twelve volt light strings are great for applications that don’t have easy access to a 120 volt outlet.  A great solution for the following types of applications:

  • Wedding cake table
  • Parades
  • County and State Fairs
  • Craft shows
  • Exhibitor booths of all kinds

Here are the comments Tad included with his photos:

Here are photos you requested. I used a trailer wiring harness kit and the cables were much longer than I needed so I still have some work to do cleaning up the wiring.

The plastic outlet box is bolted to the counter. The cigarette lighter type outlet is bolted to the plastic outlet box. The outlet box contains three switches, one fuse and one motorcycle turn signal flasher to make the Christmas lights blink. One switch turns on the Christmas lights, one turns on an interior light, and one turns on a light that illuminates the outside sign.
A motorcycle turn signal flasher makes them blink.
The 12-volt deep cycle battery weighs 44 pounds and is in a plastic battery box. One photo shows a charger.
Here are the photos.
If you are inspired to use 12-volt lights in a non-traditional way, we look forward to seeing your photos!
Customer Project: Using 12 volt lights with a battery
Customer Project: Using 12 volt lights with a battery
Customer Project: Using 12 volt lights with a battery

 

 

 

 

Lights on a tree on a lake!

Lights on a tree on a lake!

Lights on a tree on a lake!

 

 

We love seeing creative projects. Floating a lit tree in the middle of a lake is so cool! We just received this email and stunning photo from Bob in North Carolina.

Please provide to Dave. I promised that once I placed the lights on the tree which was in a sturdy stand bolted to the raft floor, I would send a picture of the arrangement. We placed 14 sets of your multi color lights on a 9′ tree.

One set of white lights were placed in the star at the top. A trolling deep sink marine battery in a battery box with cigarette lighter receptacle was used to power a 12 volt timer. Wire was placed on 4 corners of the raft to secure the tree during high winds. Placed plastic over battery and timer to protect them from rain/snow. Works great.

Would suggest you supply the extension with cigarette lighter per each application, not with each set of lights. I have 12 extra left over.

Bob, North Carolina

See Bob’s full instructions below.  Thanks so much for sharing!!  –  Shellie

 

Lights on a tree on a lake!

 

Christmas Tree on a Raft in Sunset Lake

Holly Springs, N.C.

Components

3/4″ Plywood -Home Depot – $24

Tree Stand- $50

Real Xmas Tree 9′- $70

12 v Lights- 16 sets (one white for star and 15 multi color for tree)   $150.53

Timer- DC 12v 16Amps Digital Electronics LCD Time relay item 152489748183 from EBAY. Bought 2 for $19.98. Next year will light up raft edges and use 2nd timer on 2nd cigarette plug of Minn Kota box.

Instructions were not good. Use U Tube description on Amazon. There is a jump wire from 1-3 terminal on timer. Used No. 22 wire connectors to attach wire from cigarette lighter (power in) and other end of extension to timer (power out).

Need to identify positive leads on Number 22 wire on lights of power in as they are similar wire and not coded. Secure timer to a piece of 2×4 and secure to plywood base.

Deep Sink Marine Battery -no core for turn in at WalMart.- $108.03

Minn Kota Waterproof box from Amazon- $58.97

Wire- $10

Assembly instructions.

  1. Drilled holes in all 4 legs of stand. Secured the tree stand to plywood base with 2 1/2″ screws through each of the 4 legs.
  2. Place  tree in stand in vertical position and attached 4 lengths of wire to trunk of tree 1/3 from top of tree.
  3. Timer was preset on at 5:45 and off at 11:00 PM. and secured to a piece of 2×4 which was secured to the plywood. A ziplock bag kept it waterproof.
  4. Star with white 12 volt lights were secured to top of tree and remaining lights attached one by one and secured with electrical tape for water proofing and secure connection.
  5. Cigarette lighter was placed into receptacle on Minn kota box and lights tested. When all were working, battery was disconnected and placed on the raft so it would not slide in winds.
  6. Hooks were placed on the plywood and ropes attached to help drag the tree and stand onto the raft. Two ramps were used to ease the transfer from launch area to raft. When in place on the raft,the plywood was secured to the raft with 6 star 3″ exterior screws.
  7. Cigarette lighter was attached to battery box and a plastic cover placed over Minn Kota box and secured to the raft with bricks. Four Wires attached to tree were secured to the 4 corners of the raft to prevent tipping in high winds.
  8. Battery is at full charge after 1 week.  Will continue to test until lights do not light.

 

Lighting up Seven Mile Bridge!

Lighting up Seven Mile Bridge!

Lighting up Seven Mile Bridge!

 

We just received a report that after 7 elves worked for 10 hours that the Random Tree on Seven Mile Bridge has been decorated for the Holiday!!  Surviving countless hurricanes including Irma, this is one hardy tree!

 

The elves.

Lighting up Seven Mile Bridge!

 

 

What a fantastic treat for motorists on US 1.

Lighting up Seven Mile Bridge!

 

You can read more about this yearly tradition in the Keys Weekly.

Want to duplicate this look?  Head over and look at our 12-volt LED light strings in multi, blue and red.

Get This Look: Lighting a solar powered house with 12 Volt lights

Get This Look: Lighting a solar powered house with 12 Volt lights

My conversation with Melissa started with this question:

Hey Shellie, we love our 12 volt lights and are interested in more.  It looked like the product we wanted is out of stock.  Do you know when it will be available again?  In the attachments are two photos of the lights used in our house with our 12 volt solar electric system.  I wish I was a photographer so that I could capture it better but I am not.  Melissa

We had such a run on our 12 volt LED lights this season that the exact version that Melissa wanted will be out of stock until about July of next year. Fortunately we have warm white lights on white wire that might be a good fit for her.

What really interested me was the idea that they are running their home off of solar power.

Here are a couple of photos of what Melissa’s lights look like use as exterior lighting powered by their solar batteries:

IMG_2071

IMG_2070

 

Here are Melissa’s responses to my questions. I thought that for many of our customers these responses would be interesting.

How did you connect the lights into the system?

The lights are mostly attached to the celling but also the trim at the top of the wall.  In places where there are objects up high near the ceiling (like a shelf), the lights outline the object so that more light is brighter in the room.  So the light are not just in a rectangle around the room. 

Is your entire house run on your 12 volt solar system or just the lights and a few extras?

What kind of battery configuration do you use to keep your lights on at night?  Is it a bank of batteries that came with your solar panels?

I can tell you a bit about how the solar electric system is set up and works but I have quite limited knowledge and there are a lot of electrical code that I do not know all the details about. We had a solar electrician install most of our solar system.  So this is a general over view.  
 
 The lights work great with our solar system because we have a 12 volt solar system. (The kind of batteries and way they are wired together determines if the system is 12, 24 or 48 or more volts.  The lights will only work if you batteries are wired so that they are 12 volt.   The lights barely use any watts which is important since  we have a fairly small system.
 
This is how our solar system works.   The electricity is created in the panels, and goes through a charge controller (which is like a little brain that adjusts the current and volts of the electricity based on what the batteries are needing).  The batteries come after the charge controller.  Our 2 batteries are 6 volt so they are wired in series which makes a 12 volt system but keeps the amp hours the same.   These batteries are charged during the day and then we use the energy at night to run our lights and other things.
 
As a side note: there is a breaker (if not two) inbetween each component (panels, charge controller, batteries, lights)  and the wire size needs to be determined based on how much electricity is running through it and how far it is traveling.
 
Since the lights are 12 volt DC, we do not have to use our inverter.  The inverter converts the DC electricity in our batteries into AC   (which is what most houses run on)  We use our inverter for other things but it is most energy efficient to run things directly from the batteries rather than through the batteries and then the inverter. 

Converting from DC to AC involves energy loss and some energy is also lost in running the inverter.   Since solar electric energy is expensive, the first thing to do in getting a solar electric system is to cut as much electricity needs as much as possible – thus the 12 volt lights. 
 
So our whole house is not run on 12 volt so for some of our electrical needs, like running the computer or blender. we turn on the inverter which converts the energy.  We have 12 volt lights, fan, fridge, and freezer.  We would have more 12 volt things since it is more energy efficient but 12 volt things is that they are hard to find and we have not had time to put energy into that. 
 
We have a car charger outlet option in our house, so we could use the car charger piece that comes with the lights.  We wanted it on a switch so we cut the wire and wired it to a switch next to our door.  The lights and wire travel all the way around the room and then meet up again to create a closed system.
 
Although people can buy a “plug and play” solar electric system, we picked out each individual component based on our specific needs.  So the panels and batteries and charge controller and there items all came from different companies. 
 
I hope that is somewhat helpful and not to confusing of an explanation.  I was just on the phone with a solarelectric dealer to buy some other components yesterday.  My head hurt after talking to them because there were using so much terminology that I could not follow them with my limited knowledge.  It is like learning a different language. 

It’s great to hear how some of our lights complement Melissa’s system.

I hope this interview is as interesting to you as it was to me.

Dave and I will be exploring solar power to help offset the cost of heating and cooling during Texas summers and winters. We hope to start exploring this in the Spring after the busy season and before it gets too warm.

We’ll keep you posted.  If you have experience with solar power, please post your experiences below.

12 Volt Lights for Parades

12 Volt Lights for Parades

AlongThe LakeWhether it’s 4th of July, Veterans Day or Christmas, parades make up a part of the fabric of American life.  I have to say some of my fondest memories of visiting my grandmother were of getting up early to buy potato donuts (“Spudnuts”) that tasted just like warm Krispy Kreme donuts and staking out a spot on the curb waiting for the free candy that was soon to be thrown my way.

I mean really, who doesn’t love men in fez hats driving small cars, the marching bands and the horses?  And the best part of the Christmas parade was Santa high on a firetruck signaling that everything was finished and it was time to head home and watch Superfriends.

A current trend in the parade landscape is nighttime parades. We have been helping folks for years light their sleighs, float, and cars with Christmas lights.

Our 12 volt lights play a part in parades all over the country all year long. In fact, we just received photos from Pat in Olympia, Washington who participates every year in The Toy Run. You can see our story about him and our event here in our design blog.  (He’s the Santa featured in our photo.)

This series of light sets plug right into an accessory plug in your car, truck or motorcycle. Each strand comes with a 15-foot extension wire with an accessory plug on one end and a simple female connector on the other that allow you to skip the cord and run your light strings in series. (Up to 30 strands can be installed in a single run. You’ll just have 30 extension cords left over – keep them for future use.)

The 12-volt lights are DC (not AC). They are engineered to be used with a DC battery or power source. They are rated at a current usage spec of .1 Amps per set. How long they’ll stay on if you are using a stand-alone battery setup is completely dependent on your battery.

If you are a visual person, here is a quick video about these lights that shows that connectors and the wiring.

The LED lenses are “wide angled” shaped – they look like the shape of a wooden pencil eraser. Because the lenses are so small and have an embedded cone shape in the plastic, they throw the most lights of all of our LED shapes.

Each strand contains 20 LEDs spaced 6 inches apart for an approximate lit length of 9.5 feet.

So, if you are planning a night-time parade this year be sure to choose from one of our great colors on either green or white wire. Installation is quick and easy when you don’t have to worry about looking for a 120-volt generator.

And please send us your photos!!  We’d love to raise awareness about your event and frankly, I just like parade photos!

Can you run your 12 volt LED light strings in series?

Can you run your 12 volt LED light strings in series?

Each set of our 12 volt LED light strings comes with a detachable 15 foot extension cord with equipped with a car accessory plug.  If you don’t need the extension, set it aside and
keep it for the future.

All our 12 volt LED light strings can be run up to 30 strings in series.

Each 12 v LED string has both a male and female connector that allows for easy connection.  The look like larger headphone jacks.

Keep in mind that each set is rated at .1 amp.  So be sure to check the rating of your battery as you make your lighting plan.