Ropelight Repair

Back in early 2010 I purchased 100 meters of 5 wire, 4 color 24V LED Ropelight from Santas LED Lights (No longer in business as the owner tragically passed away late 2011) and as with any sort of lighting, sometimes things fail. This page contains a video and some images on how you can repair this, and similar ropelights.

5 wire 4 color 24V LED ropelight repair from Lithgow Lights on Vimeo.


The loss of sections in ropelight is an extremely annoying thing, but the 5 wire, 4 color ropelight, and the smaller 4 wire 3 color ropelight can easily be repaired with just a few tools. A stanley knife, soldering iron, some spare resistors and LED's the same as in your existing ropelight (5mm LED's can easily be filed down to fit the 3mm holes!). Here the light is illuminated to show the faulty section, and the boundary of the failure is marked with a pen.

 

A small flap is cut into the lower covering (The "Back" side of the ropelight) by gently cutting across the outer covering to a depth of about 2mm, and then by cutting down the sides the same depth and about 5mm from the edge. Grabbing the flap gently with longnose pliers can help lift it away from the inner structure, allowing you to access the back of the ropelight LED connections. Be careful not to damage any wiring as you lift it.

 

After measuring to find the fault, in this case it has been traced to a faulty LED, which was lifted out to allow easy removal with the soldering iron. The faults are normally poor connections, resistors & then LED's in that order.

 

Of course I dont normally have 3mm LED's, so in this case I ground down a 5mm LED on the grinder to fit in the spot. In reality it is almost impossible to see the difference unless you look close, but while you might know, the crowds wont spot it, nor will they care lol

 

A neutral Cure Silastic, such as Selleys Roof & Gutter Sealant shown here is ideal. The added UV resistance also keeps the silastic more flexible and less likely to darken over time. This is spread under the flap, making sure to get a nice even coat that covers right to the edges.

 

Once the silastic is in place and the flap layed down, a clamp is used to hold it all in place for about 24hrs so it all sets nice and neatly. This 15 minute repair saves a joiner and the loss of some of the ropelight, all for a bit of time and 1 LED.

 

This repair, not shown in the video above, was caused by a mistake with a power drill. Instead of screwing through a clip (Held behind a piece of board to stop it spinning), I managed to screw through the power wire for one color. While it did not cause a failure in the display, moving the light slightly shorted the power to return wire, so the damage was repaired with a bit of heatshrink and a lot of silastic to ensure the 2 wires could not short again.

 

repair

A different view of the heatshrink repair. This was twisted and bent after the repair was completed and the silastic cured, and there was no further issue with the wires shorting.

Other 2011 pages

2011 Main page
January to June
July to August
September to October
November and Setup
5 Wire, 4 Color Ropelight Repair
RGB LED Balls
Going Greener in 2011
LSP Files



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