I noticed that in various strings of lights only one was illuminated. It seems implausible that all but one out of several hundred blew. What caused this and why did this particular light turn on?
closed as primarily opinion-based by laptop2d, brhans, Elliot Alderson, pipe, W5VO♦ Apr 23 at 10:11
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Figure 1. The intriguing light bulb has caught the attention of Smokey the Bear too.
There can only be a few possibilities:
- The lamps are spread across several phases or split phases, the other phases are off and all but this lamp has blown. This is very unlikely.
- Some joker has installed a battery powered lamp. This too seems unlikely.
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Sherlock Holmes.
- The impossible has happened and all have blown but one. This could happen with an overvoltage - by lightning, for example. Some combination of poor contact, tough filament, arcing in another lamp (which would limit the voltage), etc., may be enough to let it survive.
Another possibility is that the power is on and that each bulb has its own light sensor (like some streetlights) and this one is the first to switch on. Again, unlikely.
I'd go with the implausible explanation. All the bulbs are blown except the one.
Most festoon lights use a screw-in socket so all the lights are in parallel:
It's certainly unlikely in the extreme that the lights are in any way series connected.
I'd suggest that the string was perhaps hit by a truck (or a surge) and a bunch of the lights broke.