Test and fix bad strings of holiday lights
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Photo 1: Fix a bad light string
Remove a bulb from an unlit section, plug the
empty socket into the connector, plug the string
into an electric outlet, then squeeze the trigger until
the lights turn on.
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Photo 2: Find a bad bulb
Press down the black button, hold the tip about
1/2 in. from the string, and move it along the cord
until it stops beeping (at the defective bulb).
There’s a way to test (and fix) the entire string of miniature
lights without testing each bulb individually. Try the LightKeeper Pro (www.lightkeeperpro.com). It’ll identify
and oftentimes fix most problems in miniature and icicle light sets (but not the
sets of larger lights or LED lights) with a few squeezes of the trigger (Photo 1).
The trigger sends an electric charge through the circuit to repair internal bulb failures.
(The “shunt” in the bulb is supposed to act as a bypass if a filament fails to complete
the circuit. If the shunt fails, it knocks out the lights in the section. The electricity
sent by pulling the trigger locates and fixes the defective shunt.)
If that doesn’t work, hold down the black button on top of the tester and move
the tip along the string so it beeps (Photo 2). Note where the beeping stops, then
replace the previous bulb.
The tester is available at home centers
and some hardware stores for about $20
(find retailers on the company’s Web site).