Hello to you all

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Hi, I'm Annie from the UK and I've just picked up my first doll's house from our local auction house. It's not very special at the moment - in fact it's been neglected and unloved for a long time and needs loads of work, but I've wanted a doll's house since I was a small child, so I'm excited and very keen to get started on this new challenge.

What I'm really in need of to begin with is some practical advice about lighting. When I started stripping back the old wallpaper I found that the inside of the house is wired up with copper tape, with various little ports for lights to be plugged in. On the outside there is a small box with just 2 small, straight holes (not sure of the technical name!) which I presume is the point where you connect a transformer. Before I start any redecoration work, I obviously need to test this circuit and get it up and running. I'm not sure what I would need - there was no transformer or power supply included with the house.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! Look forward to hearing back from some of you!

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Welcome to the forum! I have never electrified a house, so I am no help there, but there are lots of experts here who have done very nice electrical work. Try doing a search for lighting or wiring--there are lots of discussions about wiring, and some have links to tutorials. 

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Welcome to the little family from this side of the pond, Annie.  When you have made five pots you can share pictures of your house and your progress with it in an album in the Gallery.

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Welcome to the little family from this side of the pond, Annie.  When you have made five pots you can share pictures of your house and your progress with it in an album in the Gallery.

If you don't want to make pots, you can make posts, instead.  <teeheegigglegiggle>

[Coming off the happy juice after this morning's colonoscopy and probably shouldn't have access to a computer at the moment. *sigh* Going to take a nap now.]

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Ouch, Kathie, I usually read over my poSts before hitting the submit button!  Yes I think you'll feel much better after a nap.

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Welcome to the forum, Annie!

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Thanks for all your welcoming replies. I'm brand new to doll's houses and though I'm competent at DIY and thought the decoration and renovation wouldn't prove a problem, the copper tape lighting system really threw me!! The junction splice doesn't look like your photo Freddie and that's why I was stuck in the dark. However, due in no small part to encouragement and advice from this site and copious reading on the net, I think I have figured it out. I've sent for some parts and await their arrival with great excitement! Then I'll know if it all still works, or if I need to start again from scratch.

I'll keep you posted!

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Hi Annie!  And welcome!  :)

You will need an electrical "starter kit"...I bought my first one from miniatures.com.  The kit included a transformer, tape wire, punch tool, tester light, brads, lead-in wire and junction splice.  There is one for up to 16 bulbs and a larger one for up to 33 bulbs. 

The lead-in wire connects the transformer to the junction splice (the little white box with the 2 holes on the side of the house).  Once that is hooked up you can use your tester to see if the wiring is still carrying current.  If the house is fairly old, I could almost guarantee that some of the junctions have corroded and will need to be replaced.  I learned on this forum that it is better to use the eyelets for tape wire junctions, rather than those teenie tiny brads- the connection is much better.  Then cover them with masking tape to keep out the moisture from paint or wallpaper paste. 

If you have been browsing thru the forum looking into all of the 'how to tape wire' threads, and have watched a few dozen YouTube videos on the subject you may have seen the two types of tape installation: the traditional method and the continuous/folded corners method.  I use the folded corners method so I avoid having a multitude of junctions - and a multitude of problem spots!  The fewer splices, the better! 

At any rate, my advice boils down to this:  if in doubt- take it out!  New tape is fairly quick and easy to install.  ;)

Good luck!  Looking forward to seeing your project.

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Great reply Jackie, full of useful information. I've sent for a circuit tester along with a transformer etc, so as soon as it comes I'll be able to test it out. It is a fairly old house. It's not a kit, someone has made it from scratch. Looks like it's had a lot of use and then been stored in the roof for years. It's going to be a long term project, but it's something I've always wanted to do. I have two small granddaughters, so hopefully when it's finished there will be someone to carry on looking after it. 

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Good point about the transformers.  Annie, count the bulbs in your fixtures, since the transformers are rated for the number of individual bulbs.

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