Testing Xmas Lights

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  #1  
Old 10-26-06, 09:08 PM
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Testing Xmas Lights

I won't be long before we'll have to get out those Xmas lights again, and deal with the dead bulbs. So, I'm starting this thread to share ways to simplify testing Xmas lights. Maybe we can learn some helpful methods from each other before we have to put up the lights.

I have a method to find the cause of a whole sequential section of lights not working that's quicker than pulling each bulb in the section and sticking in a known good one until I find the bad one. I use one of those AC neon light testers you can find at a hardware store, Lowes, etc. for about $4.

This is easier to do before putting up the lights.

I plug one of the two probes of the tester into either slot on the female plug of the light string. Then I find the first light that doesn't work, starting from the female plug. I pull out the bulb, stick the other end of the tester into the socket and see if the tester's neon bulb lights. If it does, I replace that light and move to the unlit bulb that's 5 lights away. I repeat this action until I find a socket that won't light the tester. Then I go backwards one at a time (which means I'll have a maximum of 4 more lights to test) until I find the bad one.

Hope this is helpful; and that others will contribute their methods for us to share.
 
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Old 10-26-06, 09:23 PM
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Now we're talkin'. I think I've got one of those little testers. Makes me want to pull out a strand and practice...;-)
 
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Old 10-27-06, 12:03 AM
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To be honest, when I see a dead bulb in a light string, I feel more like tossing it into the trash and buying a new string.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 04:38 AM
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I hate just tossing stuff out, but I have to admit to using that method myself.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 09:41 AM
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the new light strings stay lit even when a bulb burns out. the only time the whole string goes dark is when a bulb is actually missing, which is easy to spot. finding the extra bulb in the junk drawer is what's hard....
 
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Old 10-27-06, 09:49 AM
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Also finding the one with the proper base; there seems to be three or four different types that only fit in their own kind. I've had some strings that went all the way out with all bulbs inserted even though they are clearly wired to prevent that. Those went in the trash.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 11:14 AM
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the_tow_guy: I have several strands of old Xmas lights that I use for replacement bulbs. To replace a bulb I pull out the bad bulb along with it's holder, remove and discard the bad bulb, pull a replacement bulb and holder out of the replacement string, pull it's bulb out and discard the holder, straighten the bulbs two wires with my fingers, stick the wires down through the two holes in the original holder, pinch the two wires upwards, and reinsert the holder back into the original socket.

Sounds like a lot when you write it down, but it only takes about 30 seconds to do.
 
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Old 10-27-06, 02:16 PM
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Talking

Yeah, I've done that, too; works good as long as the itty-bitty contact wires don't break off.
 
  #9  
Old 10-29-06, 07:20 PM
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I'm a waste not, want not, kind of guy. My competitive spirit kicks in when it comes to wanting to make things work. My only exception is taking my F-250 truck to the Jiffy Lube vice dealing with doing it all in the drive and having to chase around for a place to dump the oil.

When 3/4 of the light work I'm going to go down fighting before i throw them away. Quick and easy troubleshooting techniques are good to tknwo from those who have taken the time to figure out a system.
 
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