How to Repair a Broken Set of Rope Lights

rope light display shaped into guitar and music notes
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20
What You'll Need
Wire strippers
Insulating tape
Soldering iron
Crimping tool
Wire strippers

Even though it's now possible to buy a string of rope lights for cheap, if you have a set of broken rope lights, it is possible for you to repair them as opposed to simply throwing them out and replacing them.

Given that rope lights are the sort of lights that wrap around a Christmas tree, decorate windows, and grace ornamental display cabinets, they're built to be pretty durable. That is, of course, unless you treat them roughly or had the bad luck to buy a cabinet in which the rope lights were already damaged.

Repairing them is doable, but it's also difficult, especially if you have no previous experience with repairing electrical wiring. If you do feel comfortable testing your skills and have a few hours to spare, then you may be able to get the rope lights repaired on your own by following these steps.

Step 1 - Take Down the Rope Lights

You will first have to remove the rope lights from their position. If they have not been screwed into the wall, this is a simple task. However, if you have the electrical wire held into the wall by brackets, or even by a little piece of metal wire, then you should remove the bracket using your screwdriver or cut the wire using the wire strippers.

Take off the broken piece of the wire, and then get the longer piece. You should then spread out the broken sections on a table or workbench.

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Step 2 - Assess the Damage

Remove the insulating material from around the edge of the broken part of the rope. This will expose the actual wire and let you get a look at what's specifically gone wrong. Examine the wire below.

If the wires are broken, fractured, or snapped in any way, then you should discard the rope lights as irreparable, and buy a new set. If the wires are intact, then you can consider reconnecting the wires together. You should check the rest of the wire for signs of damage or breakage.

Step 3 - Solder the Wire

Take the parts of the wire that should go together and lay them flat on the table. Drop a little piece of solder onto the edges of the wire and bring them together. Seal the solder and wires together using the soldering iron and leave to cool. Repeat for all of the wire strands in the rope lights cable.

WARNING: Soldering irons are hot and dangerous and heated solder material can damage surfaces. Exercise caution and choose an appropriate workspace.

Step 4 - Add Insulation

Once all of the wires are connected, take some insulating material and fix it over the top of the exposed wires. If you're using insulation tubes, make sure you should slide the tubes onto the cable before soldering the wires together. However you add the material, seal it into position using a crimping iron to melt the material to the wires.

Step 5 - Test Your Repair

Assuming that no broken connections were overlooked and that the soldering was done properly, the wiring should now be fixed and your rope lights should work properly.

Remove all of the bulbs from the rope lights, and then attempt to plug in the cable to ensure that it works. If it still doesn't work, you can start over with the repair to see if you missed anything, or more likely at this stage, simply opt to replace that particular string of lights.

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