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Pre-lit Christmas Tree Lights Not Working

Category Lights
Artificial Christmas Tree
You plug the tree in but not all the lights are shining. This can be a frustrating situation, especially if the tree is only 2-3 years old. Often, a Christmas light tester is the easiest way to locate the problem area. This guide is about pre-lit Christmas tree lights not working.
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Solutions

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By 9 found this helpful
December 24, 2013

Here is your solution. Find the non-removable bulb with the white socket. It is the last one on the strand, I believe the "non-replacable" white bulb exists only so that you have to buy a new tree ever four years. :(

You will find that it's blackened or burned and causing your problem.

Wiggle out the bulb, then dig out the socket with a pair of pliers. Be careful not to destroy the socket. Take your time, wiggle it loose. Stick any replacement bulb into that socket and, BAM, your tree will be perfect again!

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January 31, 20152 found this helpful
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We have a GE prelit tree from Costco. We tried to figure out why so many branch lights went out. We found the 'unremovable' white rimmed bulbs and pulled them out. Some came out whole, others bulbs wire broke and the white interior was removed with a needle nose pilar, with tree unplugged.

When we plugged tree back in most of the strands were working. The problem plug that didn't bring the lights back on was not making the connection inside the plug like the other removed plugs did, so with a small screw driver and the lights power off, we carefully pushed the connectors inside so they touched and voila' our tree had all the lights back on.

On a 9 ft tree there are about 7 of these 'special' bulbs. Baa Humbug to GE. We don't have to buy another tree. Hope this helps you.

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November 23, 20140 found this helpful
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Thanks to who ever posted the post about finding the white tip nonreplaceable bulbs and changing out the bulb in the tip. My tree is 6 years old and the first time ever had a problem. Thanks to you every branch is lit up.

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November 30, 20140 found this helpful
Top Comment

I also want to give my thanks to DrFriedrichs! Our pre-lit tree is several years old. My husband replaced burnt out bulbs and used the LightKeeper Pro to get all the strands working ... except the top one. It came down to that bulb, the one in the white socket, the one you think you can't replace. Thanks to DrFriedrichs post my husband got the bulb out, replaced it, and the tree is like new again! Thank you, thank you! And Merry Christmas!

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 25, 20140 found this helpful

I need some electrical help! I am trying to replace burnt out bulbs on my tree. However with one row of branches, every time I replace a bulb, the whole branch turns off. I have even tried putting the old burnt bulb back in, the one that still kept the whole strand on the branch working originally, and it still won't turn the rest of the strand on that particular branch back on :(

I gave up on the one branch and found another burnt out bulb on the branch beside it. Guess what happened when I replaced it? Yup, you guess it, I broke the whole strand on that branch too. I thought it was just a fluke and said I'll just throw that end of the tree up against the wall, but I still didn't learn. I found one more burnt out bulb on the next branch over... and yup, I broke that strand too.

Now I'm stuck with 3 dark branches and it stands out, badly. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong? Please help! This tree is for a unit I work on at the hospital. My good deed is driving me crazy :p

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By SincerelyReallyFrustrated

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December 1, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'm not an expert, but I was having a similar issue and finally broke down and bought a Light Keeper Pro from Home Depot for $20. Problem solved! Very easy to use, and paid for itself within 5 minutes. Now I'm going back to all my old decorations that use mini lights and fixing them, too.

Hope it helps. Good luck!

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December 2, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I saw the answer above and purchase the Light Keeper Pro from Home Depot for $20+tax. Just as above Problem solved! Very easy to use, and paid for itself within 5 minutes. There were 9 bulbs out with 3 burnt shunts (keeping the string dead). It would have taken an hour to solve if I was able to get them all out of the string. Wow.

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January 2, 20120 found this helpful

My pre-lit tree is 2 years old; one section is out and it seems like almost every bulb has blown at once. What causes that?

By Carmine

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January 5, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

It may be a fuse in the light set. They have a fuse in the line. Check what kind and most drugstores and walmart sale them. Sometimes you can get one out of another old set of lights.

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January 9, 20120 found this helpful
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It is very important to make certain that none of the bulbs are loose. That is usually the problem. They can become loosened in shipment or just getting them out of the box and putting them up. If you have ONE bad bulb and it's still in tight, the others will remain lit, and of course check the fuses in the plug, if all else fails...

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December 22, 20140 found this helpful

We bought a pre-lit xmas tree about ten tears ago. We set it up this year and all was well until a week later. We plugged it in and all the lights were out. Any first aid suggestions other than to get another tree?

By Theresa from Chicopee, MA

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By 0 found this helpful
November 15, 2010

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

By Anthony from RI

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November 28, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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January 10, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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
Best Answer

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
November 24, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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By 1 found this helpful
December 7, 2009

No one seemed to understand the problem with my pre-lit Christmas tree. Anyway my tree has a main hot wire that runs up the center of the tree. The tree also has lots of plug-in ones that will connect to the main wire on each section, then the other plug-ins that will connect to each other so each section will burn.

My problem is getting the main one plugged in the right socket so I can work my way up the tree. All fuses and lights are OK. Will someone give me some idea how to get all these plugged in? Or tell me which one plugs to the main hot wire on each section? There are no color codes on the plug-in. Thanks

By Reba from Bristol

Answer Was this helpful? 1
December 7, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

When I assemble my tree, I always plug in the bottom section, that way as I put each additional tier on it, I can plug it in making sure that each section is plugged into the right place. I hope this is what I understood your problem to be.

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December 4, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I did what redhatterb suggested, but then I made a diagram showing which branch numbers get plugged into the tree plug and which get plugged into the previous branch's plug. I keep this diagram in my tree storage container in a plastic sleeve. It's made putting the tree up each year much easier.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 29, 2016

So I have a GE 7.5ft pre lit Christmas tree. It has a foot pedal to control three different settings. What is the foot pedal connector part called? The tree is not lighting up at all. I have replaced all the bulbs and even replaced the connector that the lights plug into. But when I hit the foot pedal to turn it on/off I'm not hearing a click. So needless to say I believe the foot pedal portion needs to be replaced, but can not find anything online. I really don't want to cut them off and replace them if I don't have to.

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November 16, 20121 found this helpful

The top section of my newly bought tree keeps going on and off. It seems when they are on and I try to adjust the branches the lights go off. Then when they go on again they stay on indefinitely as long as I don't touch the branches. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

By Celeste O.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 4, 2016

Why are all the bulbs in one section of my pre-lit Christmas tree burnt out? We tried the bulbs in a working section and none of them lit up. We tried around 10 bulbs and not one of them light up. We looked at and replaced the fuses (2 times) in the bad section and they do not seem to be blown.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 18, 2016

What if there is no white socket light?

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December 4, 20120 found this helpful

I have a 7ft. clear light, pre-lit tree. Every year it seems there is a problem. Last year it was the top, this year the top and bottom do not light. It has 800 lights on it. Anyone have any quick fix to find the culprit bulb(s)? If I have to check every bulb I will miss Christmas and a good part of 2013.

By Moe C

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
December 5, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Check each section for a white based bulb and see if that bulb is out. If so, remove the bulb first, then the white base, and the section should come back on. These white based bulbs are difficult to remove, so be patient with them.

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December 5, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can buy a 'bulb and string light checker' at any hardware type store. It has 'saved' several strings of lights we have. It's called a Light Keeper. Works pretty good - you'll at least get your money's worth.

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December 18, 20110 found this helpful

I have a pre-lit tree and noticed that some of the lights are out and have turned black. Does that mean that I need to replace that strand? Can you do that on these?

By pj

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December 18, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I don't know why the bulbs have turned black, or do you just mean they don't light up. If some of them have just burned out, you should be able to replace the bulb. Anyway any pre lit tree that I have had have been that way. I don't know if you can replace the whole string or not, to me they look like they are attached to the tree in places. I kind of decided that when this happens to mine, I will just pretend it is one that didn't come with lights and string strings of new lights on it. The pre lit trees are kind of expensive to replace.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 6, 2011

Is there a certain way to plug pre-lit Christmas trees in.

By liz from Idaho

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December 8, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'm beginning to hate my pre-lit tree 8). But this year we bought one of those 'guns' that you can use to 'restart' the lights. They have helped with about half of the un-lit strands. It's called a "Light Keeper Pro". Can't remember the cost, but well worth it! Found it at the big box store.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 11, 2015

Our pre-lit "Barcana" artificial Xmas tree is 10 years old, and has functioned very well until this year. I just noticed that a section of the lower part of the tree doesn't light, although the rest of the tree does. I also saw that almost all the mini-bulbs in that section are burned out. I replaced maybe 30 of the bulbs, using the correct 2.5 volt bulbs. On the last one, the section lit up, but it was abnormally bright, lasted maybe 3 seconds, then went out. Most of the new replacement bulbs were burned out. What seems to be happening is, that section of lights is drawing too much current for the bulbs, but not enough to burn the fuse; i.e., the bulbs are acting like fuses. Anyone know what is happening here, and what I can do to fix it?

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By 0 found this helpful
December 6, 2015

My dog chewed the wire on the bottom strand of lights on our prelit tree. Can we unplug this strand from the one it's connected to and replace it with a new strand?

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December 10, 20140 found this helpful

Christmas tree light manufacturers claim that if one light goes out the rest stay lit, this is not true. I have at least 20 sets with this claim that don't work including 2 prelit trees, why?

By scw

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December 12, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

Buy the "Light Keeper Pro!" I thought it first it was a gimmick, but it works fantastically. It's like a little gun and you shoot it into the socket of light strand - it actually clears the current. It is a must especially with these pre-lit Christmas trees. We found ours at English gardens. But check online just Google and you'll be able to find other retailers that sell it ... sometimes drugstores have it too I would not have pre-lit trees or Christmas lights without it. My husband thought it was a joke, until it cleared out areas of lights not working on our pre-lit tree.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 5, 2010

We have a pre-lit Christmas tree that has worked for years beautifully, but this year the whole tree has been going out on us. The first time it happened we figured it was the main 5 amp fuse. We bought another and we were right, it lit again beautifully, but only for 1 day.

We again put in a new fuse and have found that the tree will light for a few hours and then everything goes off. As soon as I change the main fuse it goes on again. Obviously we must have some sort of short somewhere but how do I find it?

By Sara from NJ

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January 5, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

First and foremost, if I were you, I'd check with an electrician and make absolutely positive that your tree isn't going to short out and maybe cause a fire. If it were me, I'd trash the tree and find a new one. Sorry but the cost of a new tree is nothing compared to what the cost would be if it caused even a small fire. I once had a toaster short out and I was standing maybe 10 feet away. It scorched a spot on my wall about a foot wide and almost twice that up the wall before I could get to the electrical box and flip switches which took probably less than 90 seconds.

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December 2, 20140 found this helpful

I have a pre lit tree. Some of the lights are not working. When I replace them, the new bulbs are very dim. On the same strand, other lights are working fine. Any idea?

By D. Reed

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November 18, 20140 found this helpful

Can you replace clear bulbs with colored bulbs on a pre-lit tree?

By Hansen

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November 21, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

As far as I know, you can use any replacement bulbs that fit.

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January 11, 20140 found this helpful

I have a four section pre-lit LED Xmas tree. After five years, the top two sections remain fully lit. On the bottom two, some branches light up and some don't. If a bulb is removed from a branch that lights up, the rest of the lights stay on. Each plug for each section lights up some branches. I have changed out the fuses in each plug and still some branches don't light up. I have checked the wires and can't find any damage. Any suggestions?

By Randall

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January 12, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

When we've had that problem in the past, it has been a burned out bulb or a bulb that was not pushed in all the way somewhere in the unlit part.

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December 15, 20130 found this helpful

I have a female plug at the bottom with no male to plug into it. The tree is 3 sections; the middle has all the outlets.

By Mary D

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December 15, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you used the tree before and has it worked. Someplace on the bottom tier there has to be a male plug. When I put my tree together, I always plug in the bottom layer, then when I do the next layer, I know when I get the next layer plugged in just right, etc. Putting these trees together and getting them working, can be a real pain, and there are times I feel like I almost stick my head into the branches to find the right connections, but by plugging in the first tier and then each successive tier after that, it is easier than not plugging it in layer by layer.

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December 7, 20130 found this helpful

I have a pre-lit Christmas tree and the top of the tree keeps blowing the fuse. The tree has three parts. The bottom and the middle are both working. I have changed the fuse four times now and the minute I plug it in the fuse blows instantly. I have plugged it into the tree and straight into the wall and it blows. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

By Chris

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November 30, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

The most likely cause of this is what is called a "dead short". This basically means that somewhere on that specific wire the strands of wire are bare and touching. This allows the electricity to jump between the two wires "sucking" more electricity than the fuse can handle causing it to blow. STOP plugging in this wire before you burn down the house. Just buy a cheap string of lights and plug them in where the tree's light would have gone.

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December 2, 20130 found this helpful

Many of the lights on our 4 year old prelit "constant on" tree do not light. We called customer service and we learned about the white-based fuse bulbs. Where can we buy them?

By Kathy G

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December 4, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hopefully this isn't too late since I could not find when you post this. The white fuse light is "nonremovable" and "nonreplaceable" or else the warranty is void (rolling my eyes). If your tree is no longer under warranty as is mine, there's a easy fix that does not include buying a new one as ge customer service suggested. Remove the white fuse light by twisting out the bulb from the white socket first then with a tweezer try to pry (not pull) it out. It's not easy to remove. It took a while. Put a replaceable bulb into the white socket and mold back the copper wire then put it back into the green socket.

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December 1, 20130 found this helpful

I have two skinny pre-lit trees, five feet each. One is only lit at the top and the bottom is out. The other is lit at the bottom and top is out. GRRRRRR! I have tried to check each light to make sure none are loose. They are only 2 years old and I hate it. Merry Christmas!

By Tracy

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 29, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had a similar issue. Do yourself a favor and find a Lightkeeper Pro. I found mine at Ace Hardware here locally. It as $14.99. Helped me fix my issue in less than 30 min.

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December 1, 20130 found this helpful

I have a Cosco/Kirkland pre-lit 1500 Constant on Christmas tree and two of the branches will not light up. I went through the lights, all are plugged-in and no wires are broken. When I was going through the bulbs I came a cross a bulb that was in a white plastic holder all. The other bulbs are in green holders. I can't get the white one out to check it. Is this a fuse bulb? If so can this be why my lights don't come on the two branches? Help me please.

By Stephanie

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December 23, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have had the same issue and I'm getting ready to take mine back to Costco. The first year I had the tree it was perfect. The issue you are having started for me the second year where those white encased bulbs started burning out. Why did they make an irremovable bulb that burns out easier than the others? I have no idea.

If you twist and pull on the bulb it will come out and leave the white casing in. This will likely break the copper wiring from the bulb which will stay stuck in there. Get a pair of needle nose pliers and stick one side into the socket (unplug your lights first :)). Try gently pulling or scraping up to remove the white casing. If it doesn't come out easily, apply more pressure. If it comes up a little bit but is still stuck, just try getting a grip on the white casing and pull it out. It will likely tear slightly, but that's okay.

Get a replacement bulb from the little bag that came with your tree. Remove a bulb from the green casing. Make sure any broken wire has been removed from the white casing. Place the replacement bulb into the white casing so that the two wires go through the two holes in the bottom then fold the two wires up and then stick the whole thing back into the tree.

The good news is I think I have replaced nearly all of my white encased bulbs over the last 2 years and the ones I have replaced seem to not burn out.

I also recommend plugging your tree into a surge protector.

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November 18, 20130 found this helpful

If the lights on a pre-lit tree are black, are they bad?

By Deb

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 23, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yes, it means that they have burned out.

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