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Old 01-27-2010, 05:02 PM   #1
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


Finally warmed up enough today to take down my holiday lights. I am shocked () to find that 90% of the strings are dead.

I decided to check each string before I put them away because I knew I had some strings with faulty sections and I did not want to keep those. I expected to find five like this and I did.

BUT, mow I have 15+ strings of 150 mutli-colored lights that appear to be dead. I pulled four of five randomly and checked their fuses - they appeared intact, but I replaced them anyway. No dice.

Is there a way for me to use a multimeter or some other magical tool to test the continuity of the lights.

SD - help help help. I don't want to just throw all of these away.

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Old 01-27-2010, 05:14 PM   #2
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


As single bulbs die the voltage to each bulb keeps increasing
At some point you reach a point where they star failing rapidly
In some cases there will be a flash & they are all dead

I use a good string & take the bulbs out & one by one put them in a good string
They also have a tester you can use but generally only available around Christmas, but available over the net
It takes little watch batteries & the batteries do not last long
I have switched over to LED & gave away the mini-strings I was using


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Old 01-27-2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


bulb by bulb ...wow
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:32 PM   #4
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


Yeah, actually I still have icicle lights that are mini's
I have a few sections out, so I'll have to test them
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:34 PM   #5
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


so many lights so little time..hohoho
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:40 PM   #6
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


Thanks, for us, the benefits of the LEDs so far doesn't outweigh the costs and look. FYI they are strands of 450 bulbs not 150.

So, to test this I need to swap 7200 bulbs. Wonder what the cost/benefit analysis for that project is....
- Time to replace 450 bulbs to test one strand (say you can change 1 bulb in 4 seconds) that's 30 minutes per strand * 15 strands @ 8 hours to test the lot.
- Cost of one strand amortized ($25) over two years * 15 strands @ $190

Crap - anyone want a bunch of non-working christmas lights? Might make for a fun barter on Craigslist.
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Last edited by Leah Frances; 01-27-2010 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Blurg
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:56 PM   #7
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


I bought the LED's in bulk - commercial version, not the junk you find in stores
They show an 18 wheeler driving over the strands while they are on

I started switching over to LED in 2006
I have a strand that's on the front porch as nite light
They have been running for over 3 years now 6-10 hours every day, close to 9,000 hours

Look at the bulbs, if you see a black discoloration on the bulb near the base then they went Nova

Also...assuming you checked the fuses
If you had too many connected together a fuse will blow
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:14 PM   #8
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


I only checked the fuses on a few samples from the group. All were fine. I sort of got excited when I found the first dead strand because I thought it was a blown fuse and I thought, "Damn, I'm finally going to get to use some of those fuses they always include."
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:21 PM   #9
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How to test many 'dead' string of xmas lights?


Heads up!

Sometimes the string is wired with the odd lights on the outgoing part of the light circuit and the even lights on the returning part of the circuit, for example a 10 light string wired 1-3-5-7-9-10-8-6-4-2 as opposed to 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-nonstop return.

This may cause confusion if you are testing continuity by taking out a bulb and measuring from its socket to a plug prong.

Do not use a bulb tester that has a rectangular 9 volt battery. That will shorten the life of a bulb put into it.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-27-2010 at 08:29 PM.
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