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Old 24th April 2018, 10:16 PM   #81
Pixel42
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
You're certainly right that there's a fair few "pranksters" out there who do nasty things and fall back on "it's just a prank, bro!" But there are also pranks that don't upset anybody. For example:

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I can't see how that's anything other than harmless fun.
Yes, I enjoyed that. But it was obvious what was going on. I wouldn't describe improv theatre as practical joking, personally, though I realize that might be little "no true Scotsman".
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Old 25th April 2018, 02:24 AM   #82
Squeegee Beckenheim
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Yes, I enjoyed that. But it was obvious what was going on. I wouldn't describe improv theatre as practical joking, personally, though I realize that might be little "no true Scotsman".
I'm struggling to think of the name, but there's a guy who does practical jokes where he makes sure that the joke is always on him. There's also been a trend in recent times of "positive pranks", one common example of which is having a cup of coffee or similar in a cafe, leaving a tip of several hundred dollars, and then going outside, hiding, and secretly filming the reaction.

I don't disagree with you in general, and in fact made a thread a year or two back about a couple whose YouTube channel basically consisted of them posting videos of child abuse with the excuse of "it's just a prank" (once attention was called to it they quickly had the victimised kids taken away from them), but I think it all depends on what the prank is, what the intent behind it is, and how the prankee feels about it.
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Old 25th April 2018, 08:47 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
Cheap slide switches can switch themselves (on or off) if the slide distance and spring contact shape is not designed correctly (the handle literally moves on its own after being left alone for a while). Proper mechanical design and construction is mostly what separates $0.02 switches from $0.20 ones.

I think this is the answer. One contact arm is springy and when turned on, the slide allows the spring to close against the other fixed contact. To turn off, the slide moves against the spring. The spring should have a "bump" to "lock" the slide in place. If not properly manufactured, it could be trigger happy. Vibration may trigger it, although it may slowly slip to the trigger point.

I think some work the other way by pressing the spring closed.

Try moving the switch slowly to the "on" position. If it "jumps" on after only a little way, that should confirm it.

BTW. A spirit might be able to generate enough force to get it started.
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Old 25th April 2018, 10:00 AM   #84
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I think the switches are unlikely to be the problem.
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Old 30th April 2018, 06:44 AM   #85
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So, I'm now leaning towards the unadvertised timer function. Had the lights turn off this weekend, and when I checked the switches they were all still in the "on" position. I then moved the switch to off, and then back on, and they turned on (so not a battery issue). May need to time one to see how long before it goes off.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 10:53 AM   #86
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The timer is typically 6 hours on and 18 hours off.
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Old 10th May 2018, 08:41 AM   #87
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I have lights very much like that.

From what I can see here, these have the same electronics, just batteries, a resistor and a switch. There is no timer function involved, and I would bet that is the case here as well. A photo with the case opened to see all the wiring could confirm this.

Up until the claim that all of them come on simultaneously when being watched there is nothing to explain here. You leave the house and come back to find them on? The obvious explanation is that you left them on, no other explanation needed until you can eliminate that possibility.

But 5 sets of them coming on at the same time with the switches clearly in the on position? I cannot explain that. Vibration or temperature changes and a switch in the halfway position might explain one set coming on randomly, but for all of them to come on at the same time due to an imperceptible vibration or temperature change? I would have a hard time designing something that would do that effectively.

My suspicion is that the report is inaccurate, but I have no way to prove that.

So, chalk it up to another report unable to be confirmed or explained.

IXP
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Old 10th May 2018, 11:44 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by IXP View Post
I have lights very much like that.

From what I can see here, these have the same electronics, just batteries, a resistor and a switch. There is no timer function involved, and I would bet that is the case here as well. A photo with the case opened to see all the wiring could confirm this.

Up until the claim that all of them come on simultaneously when being watched there is nothing to explain here. You leave the house and come back to find them on? The obvious explanation is that you left them on, no other explanation needed until you can eliminate that possibility.

But 5 sets of them coming on at the same time with the switches clearly in the on position? I cannot explain that. Vibration or temperature changes and a switch in the halfway position might explain one set coming on randomly, but for all of them to come on at the same time due to an imperceptible vibration or temperature change? I would have a hard time designing something that would do that effectively.

My suspicion is that the report is inaccurate, but I have no way to prove that.

So, chalk it up to another report unable to be confirmed or explained.

IXP

That all makes sense.

However, a timer circuit also fits the facts. Here's why. I've seen many battery LED devices that have exactly such a timer in them. You turn them on, they stay on for some fixed number of hours, then they turn off and come on again 24 hours after they were switched on. They're usually in the form of imitation candles, and the timer is designed so that the "candle" will automatically come on for some period of time in the evening each day. There are no controls or adjustments, just the on-off switch. You can't change the timing, except by switching the power off and back on, which re-starts the 24-hour cycle at the beginning of the "on" period.

These things are so cheap, you can buy them at dollar stores, sometimes in multi packs.

So, assuming the lights in question had such a circuit, what happened? Simple: the lights were switched on at the same time, because someone wanted them on. They were left on afterward, but no one noticed because at some point when no one was paying attention the timers turned them off. The switches were all still in the on position. Then the next day, all at the same time, their timers turned the LEDs back on.

That leaves the question: why would the lights described have such a timer circuit in them? I've noticed in the past few years that the same cheap OEM circuits appear everywhere. For example, have you seen how many different color-LED gadgets all come with the exact same remote control unit, that's white and about credit card sized with multi-color circular push buttons on it? I've seen that same controller included with color LED light bulbs, standalone lamps, light-up knickknacks, light strings, clocks, garden lights, even underwater aquarium lights, sold under hundreds of different brand names. Someone's manufacturing those things (and the corresponding receiver control circuits) by the hundreds of millions and selling them widely.

The "LED candle timer" circuit could be the same way. If they're being sold as a general purpose "LED battery power regulator" and they're dirt cheap enough (which they pretty clearly are), the manufacturer of the specific lights in question might not have cared, or documented in the instructions, that the timer feature was even there. The OEM item might even include the on-off slide switch as an integral part, and it might be cheaper than a switch and a resistor bought separately.


ETA: Here's a random example. http://www.batteryoperatedcandles.ne...ea-lights.html
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Old 10th May 2018, 12:20 PM   #89
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I see that all of what I said has been mentioned earlier in the thread, including the possibility that the timer feature is undocumented in the specific "fairy light" item in question. All I would add is that the observation "there is no timer" carries no weight if it actually means "there are no timer controls, no big rotating wheel that ticks, and no visible circuit board." I'd have to visit a dollar store (and part with a dollar there) to be sure, but I suspect the timer in question would be inside the on-off switch.
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Old 16th May 2018, 02:08 PM   #90
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I have a set of 5 electric candles that do that. They came with a remote that does nothing add far as I can tell but they do turn off after 2 hours and come back on the next day. There was nothing in the instructions about this so it's nice to finally find out why they did what they did. I had always assumed that it was a problem with the remote.

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