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Ropelight Melt-Down

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by ricc0luke, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. ricc0luke

    ricc0luke Active Member

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    Ok- so I have had 2 sets of clear rope lights that I have used on and off stage, other various events and around my house. There have been times when they are on for a few hours to times when they have been on 24/7. These lights are at least 5 or 6 years old.

    They had been stored for several months. After placeing them I plugged them in only to find about half of each string worked, but there was no pattern as to which individual sections worked and did not. I contined to use the lights as decoration running 24/7.

    Recently, I noticed the 2 main leads had turned a green color. In some areas limited to approx. 2", the light bubs, the main and secondary power wires- the entire rope was completely saturated with this green color. Mainly the sections that did not work but not isolated in those areas. One of the 2 power connecters was saturated.

    This green color appeared after they were brought out of storage and again into use. After noticing the extent to which this occured, I discontinued use.

    I just got around to removing these rope lights and decided to cut a section that was saturated with this green color. To my surprise, the green was fluid. It was sticky- thick, but fluid and very green. Also, the power connector had began to leak this fluid, though I had previously missed it.

    What was this? What caused this? Has anyone else had this problem?

    Thanks.
     
  2. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Rope lights... just don't make them how they used to - solid material encasing each individual lamp. Could use them as a lasso and it would still work. Still have a set I salvaged from a show 15 years later hanging in my garage - still works and has for the 60+ foot length, every foot works. My rope light suppliers fondly remember the old stuff, even the 130v suppler of rope light remembers the old stuff, all rope light now is made in China and of sub-standard "economical" design these days.

    Sections go out (you can splice even the non-splice stuff but it's difficult.) For the most part, it's not worth it.

    Green liquid... seen a amber bleed before but only after much burn out of that section or heat. Never seen a green bleed, green liquid or any color green given hundreds of feet of clear rope light in stock from many suppliers - this is something that would be shown to me.

    Green... Interesting.... On HMI lamps, there is often a amber or purple bleed of the coating on the pinched monofoil or pins or electrodes that helps reflect the heat and light, but once a crack in the pinch opens up, it bleeds thru the crack in having become hot enough to be a more liquid than paint coating. Perhaps your green coating is some form of heat resistance. Fascinating - send me a section of it for further study and addition to my "wall of shame." Otherwise, beyond some form of coating by way of heat resistance, I cannot imagine what this green liquid is. Assuming that it's not a LED rope light that is on the market but for most cost prohivitive that you are talking about.

    Unfortunately, you get what you pay for these days and in rope light, what lasts one year often won't last a second year. I get the very expensive heavy duty 130v rope light for my own shop's use but it' beyond voltage spikes or lamp life solving is in no way more heavy duty than something found at Menards. All rope light has a limited lifespan in comparison to yesterday's professional grade rope light.

    Green bleed off a clear rope light... can't imagine.
     
  3. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I suspect condensation entered the rope during storage and caused mold to form.

    We' given up on rope light and now only use and sell Duralight. It is a solid flexible extrusion with bulbs spaced on one inch centers that you can walk on. It is also waterproof. It is supplied on 150' rolls and can be cut on 36" centers.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Could it have something to do with the copper wire tarnishing and turning stuff green? Although I like the mold theory too.

    You've certainly gotten more than average life out of them. Send Ship a section for "autopsy" and toss the rest. Be happy they lasted as long as they did.
     
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I don't thin it's mold, More than likely your culprit is as someone stated Copper. Cupric and Cuprious Oxide both have a greenish white color. If you've ever seen a copper roof or outside decoration made of copper you'll notice the patina is a green. I would say your ropes got wet and have been electrolisizing < sp?> inside the casing. this would lead to deterioration of the wire and failure of a circuit. So more than likely you green fluid is in chemical terms; Aqueous Cupric / Cuprious Oxide, Or disolved copper rust in water. Either way I betting you have a short going on in those rope lights and they should be de-commisioned.
    Bonus points = somebody give me the chemical formula for Aqueous Cupric Oxide.:mrgreen:
     
  6. ricc0luke

    ricc0luke Active Member

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    The power wires running within the rope do not appear to be copper- may be galvanized, but they have, and still are when cut into silver in color. I do not see how a siginaficant amount of moisture would have gotten into this strings. Also, mold has no food or source of energy inside to grow on.

    I might just have to send ship a peice.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Duralight supplier... Dura Lamp / Targetti Group (Arch. Incandescent, Halogen, Fluorescent & HMI Lamp Mfr.) http://www.duralamp.com/ I might be contacting you soon. Am looking for a supplier of their product, so are many of my distributers that also have a similar interest in them but have not set up an account yet. Very interesting product line. Lots of very interesting products on the market from them. Believe the last I was looking at from them was the cold cathode R-Lamp, but it might have been thru elsewhere.

    I buy as best I can industrial grade 130v rope light by way of Miller OEM www.lightingparts.com but it's only good to a point.. always looking for a new source and I will have a look again at Duralight rope light - didn't know they offered such a product, but other products from them has peeked my interst at times.

    36" on center cutting distance is a bit much and more than normal, but if it's a solid rope light, well worth it.

    Did a cutting test a few weeks ago with some store bought rope light. It's cuttable also - just have to find the sections or between lamps parts without a little bridge link between them or something like that. Not an easy find in rope light but you can cut store bought rope light and if you find that little missing bridge, have it work in shorter sections or longer splices.
     
  8. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    We've used Duralight to outline several buildings in town the oldest of which is now operating 4 years without a hint of a problem. If anyone would like a short sample, I've got lots of scrap pieces available.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Just spliced my first Meanards store bought "non cuttable" rope light today. Can be done, not an easy thing to do. Not something I plan on ever doing again.

    I'll be in touched about the rope light... too bad I just bought two spools of the other stuff last week - that's about double what I expect to need in the near future.

    Anyone ever try LED rope light? Curious even if cost prohivitive.

    On a similar subject, I was looking about this past Christmas for those pattern projectors people use to project gobos at say their garages. With some modification... I could have done wonders with such a thing. Didn't see any, instead it was the cool idea of lighted blow up carousel type snow men displays that was while interesting, not something I was looking for. Who makes/sell these projectors?
     
  10. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I've installed the LED rope light under my kitchen cabinets. Wonderful stuff and like neon it is a solid like of light... no bulbs showing. It runs about 10 bucks a foot.
     
  11. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Me! Me! I want the bonus points.:mrgreen:
    Cupric Oxide = Copper (II) Oxide = CuO(aq) which really equals Cu2+(aq) + O2-(aq) (Gee I hate the lack of subscript and superscript...)
     
  12. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Ding ! We have a winner, Gee I thought that one had gone unnoticed too. :mrgreen:
     
  13. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Which is why $$$ I have never bought such rope light for production use.


    Me, under the kitchen cabinets especially on the island, I did T-5 fluorescents than made a gaff tape shield so as to block off most of the stray light. Wasn't optimal but did work well.
     

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