Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: Powering up decorative lamps with an AC adapter

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 11/09/2015
Q:
I purchased a 4 unit "string " of Dept. 56 street lamps which can be operated by 2 "C" batteries or an AC adapter. I have multiple AC adapters lying around from discarded electronic. (1) Can I use an adapter that puts out "8V DC200mA" or will that overpower and burn out the lights. (2) it I can use the adapter to pawer one set of 4 lamps, and I string both sets together on the same adapter? P.S. - This Q&A service is very cool. Thank you.
- Sean (age 71)
Miami, FL USA
A:

Hi Sean,

Watch out!    Two C cells in series give out only 3 Volts.   Powering them up with an 8 Volt AC adapter will probably blow all your lights out but it might be spectacular for a short while.   My advice is to buy a 3 Volt adaptor.   They aren't that expensive.  

LeeH

 

It's unclear from that desription if you can put two strings together in series to make a new string that requires about 6 V, or 4 strings in series to get one that uses 12V. Then you could look for an adapter to match that. I also have the neurotic habit of saving old adapters, and just a couple weeks ago was able to replace a dead adapter for a phone using one from the collection. Mike W.


(published on 11/09/2015)

Follow-up on this answer.