Saturday, November 8, 2014

Party Lights!

It's been pretty well documented in this blog that I really like my lights. I've installed a number of different types of lighting so far- cable lights in the kitchen, embedded LED's in the deck, halogen downlights in a drop ceiling.

Sooz really wants one more type of lighting: party lights for our new outdoor space. She likes the old fashioned European bistro lights with clear, round bulbs on a string.

I found a set by the venerable European company Konstsmide which seemed pretty good, but at nearly 500kr for a string of 10 bulbs, I thought it pricey.

I've had success in the past with purchasing a few multi-voltage goods in the USA (or the UK), and just using them with a different plug when in Sweden. I've found that more & more things are made to operate on 110/220 volts these days, a benefit of globalization, I suppose.

However, that doesn't seem to be the case for party lights. I found a number of vendors, being the biggest. They have a wide array of bulb sizes and types, lengths of strings, etc. It's even possible to custom-order strings to one's own specifications! I was salivating.

My hopes were dashed, however, when I found that everything worked only on American-style 110 volts. I called to see if I could order a 220V set. I was told that wasn't possible, in a tone of voice that made me think I wasn't the first person to have asked that question.

I did find a company that could get me a 220V transformer, and to make up my own set to order. However, at $2.25 per foot of wire, $5.75 per bulb, and about $150 for the 220V transformer, the cost was getting quite a bit more than the Konstsmide set I had rejected as too pricy!

A bit more googling found that the set I wanted also came in a 20 bulb length. I could find it in the UK for only £30, or 350 kronor. A simple plug change, and voila! I have a nice string of bulbs, twice as long, and for two-thirds the price. A good deal all around.

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