Pre-lit Tree Lights Not Working

The clear lights on the top part of my pre-lit tree are dim. What can I do?

By Anthony from RI

November 16, 20100 found this helpful

I don't have a solution for you except to say I will never buy one of those prelit trees again. One section of mine burned out the second year I had it and never could get it going. They are not worth the headache.

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November 28, 20100 found this helpful

The little gun zapper worked great and we could only find it at Walgreens. We got most pre-lit lights back on but not all. thanks so much for the info.

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November 30, 20100 found this helpful

I can tell you how I fixed the problem. I took a pair of scissors and began cutting off the burned out strings. After about one hour, I was only 1/3 of the way through the tree and my arms hurt. So then I decided to start pulling them off. Along with the strings came a lot of the synthetic tree needles, bark, etc. Seeing that it was the end of the day and I was exhausting myself, I took the tree outside and doused it with charcoal lighter and then lit it up. I opened a can of beer and my wife and I sat by it and enjoyed the fire, heat and night air. It was wonderful. God help me, I will never buy one of these "made in china" trees again.

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December 3, 20100 found this helpful

I tried the removal of the white non-replaceable thing on one row of my trees yesterday and it didn't work, although this trick did work on another row. Now I'm stuck with one half of one row that doesn't light. I tried using the Light Keeper Pro, but no luck. Anybody know of a place who will restring a prelit tree with LED lights rather than these crappy incandescent lights that just don't last?

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December 3, 20100 found this helpful

I need help because half of my lights come on and the rest of them don't come on at all.

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December 3, 20100 found this helpful

Is there a store to buy this pre-lit, or is there is something to show me how to replace these bulbs.

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December 6, 20100 found this helpful

I have also had a pre-lit tree that worked perfect for two year, this year half the lights were out. I did not have enough money to go out and buy a new tree so I sat and clipped off all the bulbs and wires, took about two hours but went by fast I watched a movie while doing it. Now my tree is even better, looks fuller without those wires wrapped around the branches. I put on two strings of lights and it is beautiful. Does this count as going green?

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December 9, 20100 found this helpful

The best solution? Take the wire cutters to the tree and cut them all off. For those who are wondering why wire cutters: There is no way that you can untwist these suckers and remove them. Hubby and I spent 10 hours with both of us using wire cutters to cut these lights off our 9' tree. Had it been an old tree, we would have done what another poster did, dragged it into the yard and set it on fire! If you decide to undertake this 'cutting' project, be prepared, and warn all your family and friends about purchasing prelit Christmas trees. Never again, never.

UPDATE: It was so worth taking off the prelit lights! We didn't realize how much the extremely twisted lights had flttened the branches/needles on the tree. Now that all of that has been removed, our tree is so full and beautiful--doesn't even look like the same tree. It was not a cheap tree to begin with, but trust me--now it looks like one of those $800 Christmas trees. Absolutely gorgeous. Therefore, that's why the update to my post. As frustrating as it was to remove the lights, hubby and I are both now grateful that we did. The tree looks absolutely gorgeous. And, here is a tip to make an easier job of adding string lights: Start from the bottom of your tree with only the lowermost section of tree on the base. Put lights on from the bottom up, adding upper tree sections as you work your way up the tree. So much easier to place lights and the results are stunning. Another trick I learned from a professional decorator. Encircle the entire length of the trunk of the tree with lights. It will give depth to the tree! Happy decorating! :)

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December 11, 20100 found this helpful

Today my new pre-lit tree arrived from Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Co. Exciting! Started to assemble it and, guess what, the first layer of branches on the bottom only partially lit. Called Balsam Hill customer service. Waited 39 minutes before a CSR answered. Told her what my problem was and what problem solving steps I had taken. She said: have you tried everything? Your tree is covered by the warranty but our service department closes in August, so you can't send it back for repair. We can overnight a separate strand of lights for you to put on and when the service department opens in March we can try fixing it.

Have you ever heard of such an asinine way to do business? I blew a gasket right then. I said, the tree was just delivered today and I have to go through all this craziness under your warranty? I paid you $900 for the tree and I have to fix the tree myself or add another strand of lights or wait until March for warranty service? Not happening, I'm sending it back. She said you need an authorization number and then it's treated as a return not a warranty claim; that means you have to pay for return shipping (Fresno, California). I told her to get me a manager. Spoke with a manager and she's going to "escalate" this matter to her operations mgr. and see what she can do. Meanwhile this tree is sold out, don't have a spare bottom layer to send me and don't know if they can do anything before Christmas. How's that for customer service?

Do not buy trees from balsam hill. They have a poor attitude. They don't tell you the tree is made in china. They suck just like everything else that's imported from them.

Merry Christmas!

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

I have a 7ft GE pre-lit tree that I bought in November '10. One row of lights went out just after Christmas. Discovered one of the non-replaceable bulbs blew. Lost the warranty card so I paid GE $15 for a new section of lights. Figured since I'm basically out of warranty, I would try pulling the white bulb before trying to rewrap the wires (Read some of the horror stories below). Pulled the bulb and white base, swapped the bulb with one from a green, replacable base and plugged it back in. The tree is as good as new. Does anyone know if there is a difference between the replaceable and non-replaceable bulbs, besides the base? Besides being more difficult to get out of the socket, I see no difference in the bulb.

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January 31, 20120 found this helpful

I was just told that the 'non-replaceable' bulb has a built in fuse. When the fuse blows, they purposely don't want you to be able to remove the bulb and white base for safety reasons. That's apparently why they say replace the whole string.

That said, it seems to me that the bulb could blow without the fuse blowing. I'm assuming that the bulb in the white socket is the same as all the others. (True?). But you can't replace that bulb if you can't get the white base out of socket! Some folks have talked about forcing the base out and replacing the bulb that way, but I think you're asking for safety issues.... 'you're playing with fire'... maybe literally! :) Any time you try to bypass or play with a designed safety mechanism you're asking for trouble. You're in an unknown area where you are using something in a way which it was not designed to be used.

Bottom line, to me at least, is that all these light sets on prelit trees (and loose strings too) are not meant to last forever. Some, maybe all, of these light strings have labels that say they are only to be used for 90 days! So putting an unremoveable fused base in a light string serves the purpose of making sure that these lights are not used 'forever' and are taken out of service after a while: Either when the fuse blows or when the bulb in that base burns out.

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Anonymous Flag
November 24, 20120 found this helpful

I had the same problem with my tree as I was putting it up for this year; a section was out. Bright side is, it looks like the bulbs in mine were designed to be replaced. The husband looked at each bulb with a flash light to locate the couple that had damaged filaments (they look obviously burnt out). We replaced those and it came right back on. I thought I might need to replace the fuse, which is located in the plug, but didn't have to go that far.

Baring that, I would have cut off the lights like others have suggested. My next artificial tree will definitely not have lights. You avoid the headache and it they're actually cheaper if you buy them without. I'd much rather use my own LED lights, then the cheap lights it comes with that just burn out every year.

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Anonymous Flag
November 24, 20120 found this helpful

I came across this issue and read all the online info. Found myself in a similar situation, out of warranty and with dead bulbs. Bought a light keeper pro with no improvement. Decided to try to pull the white ringed bulbs in desperation. First after unpluging the tree, I took a heat gun (a hair dryer would probably work just as well or better as I needed to be careful not to melt the actual tree) the soften the socket area slightly.

Once the white ring socket was warm I twisted the clearly burnt up bulb off. I was able to wedge a plexiglass etching tool in between the bulb socket and the base. Then a narrow/ thin needle nose was manipulated into the same space. A little tug and it was out damage free. I then inserted a new replacement bulb into the base and reinserted the white ring. Did this x 2 and my tree is fully operational! I think the heat made a big difference in making things more malleable.

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Anonymous Flag
November 25, 20120 found this helpful

When replacing the current limiting bulb, can I just use a regular bulb in the limiting bulb socket or does it have to be another current limiting bulb?

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Anonymous Flag
December 1, 20120 found this helpful

I kept losing sections of my pre-lit tree. I found the each section contained one bulb with a white base. Each one of these bulbs appeared to be burnt out (black on the inside). Once I removed the bulb the entire section would come back to life.

The easiest way I found to remove the bulb was to first muscle the bulb out of the base. Do this by twisting the bulb back and forth while pulling the bulb out. It may take a bit but the entire bulb will come out. Now your stuck with the base still in the socket.

For whatever reason it appears they don't want you to be able to replace these. Now take a cork screw (ya I know it sounds funny) and screw it into the white socket. Pull it out just like opening a bottle of wine. The lights will instantly light up. I used to replace the bulb with a regular replacement bulb but found it is very difficult to reinstall the white base fully. So now I just leave the socket empty. Good Luck

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Anonymous Flag
December 9, 20120 found this helpful

I have the Trim-A-Tree9 with GE bulbs. Same problem described, except that I had three of the white-base bulbs appeared to be burned. I pulled one apart and confirmed the bulb was dead with a multimeter. I went to Ace Hardware to find a replacement. Problem is there was no data on the bulb, so I used a regular replacement bulb without a base and something interesting happened. The lights came on, but that new bulb blew out immediately.

I found two more white-base bulbs that appeared burned and did the same procedure. Same results. But, the rest of the tree lights up. I am worried that those white-base bulbs may be surge protection, but what a crappy design. The fuses in the plug are supposed to provide that protection. If this tree fails again, I'll replace it with a regular tree and then buy LED lights. Note to GE: Is this really the best you can do?

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