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Pre-lit Christmas Tree Lights Not Working

Category Lights
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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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.

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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

By SincerelyReallyFrustrated

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December 1, 20140 found this helpful
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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
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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.

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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
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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.

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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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Anonymous
January 4, 20160 found this helpful
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My prelit tree is 12 years old. I use the light keeper pro and patiently worked from the plug end to the other end of each line of lights on each section. It took me most of a day to replace all the burned out bulbs - I had to replace more than 100 bulbs, but the tree is working.

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Patience. Patience. I also used a clothes pin to mark the spot where I stopped to replace the bulb.

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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
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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
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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).

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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
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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
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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

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December 7, 20090 found this helpful
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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
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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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December 3, 20160 found this helpful
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Shake the little power supply that plugs into the wall. I heard a rattle in mine, so I took it apart and found the wires that go to the prongs that plug into the wall socket are not securely attached. They are just wedged in between the plastic and the prong. That alone is frightening. So I put I just wedged it back in place, and it is working again.

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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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December 13, 20140 found this helpful
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While it is common to hear the term 'short' in the wiring, it is often used incorrectly by laymen and when they mean exactly the opposite of a short; a short would be a connection in a place it is not intended, and would probably blow out fuses, circuit breakers before it causes a fire. While it may help pass over the problem quickly with afternoon tea and biscuits, in a technical or troubleshooting discussion, it should not be used incorrectly. In this instance, nothing said indicates a short. Rather, it sounds like an opening in the wiring or a poor connection at a junction. Wiggling the wires should help you find the area with the poor or open connection.

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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 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
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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
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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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December 12, 20150 found this helpful
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It occurred to me that maybe each section of lights begins with a fuse-bulb, a bulb that is also a fuse. I have had this with older light sets I used to use. If that bulb blew and wasn't replaced with a fuse-bulb (it has a thicker filament inside it), then maybe too much electricity goes through to the rest of the bulbs in the section. If you can find fuse-bulbs to buy, maybe that will solve your problem. Also check the wiring to see if there's a damaged or shorted-out section somewhere.

If you can't find the reason, you could add a short string of lights in that section to replace the ones that won't light, and at least the tree lights will look full again. From what I've heard, you were very lucky the lights lasted without problems for as long as they did.

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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 8, 20150 found this helpful
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Yes you can. My dog didn't eat the lights but the middle section of our prelit tree did not light this year. I bought a matching color bulbs string of lights at the drug store. I unplugged the broken lights at both ends and put the new string in its place. I left the old broken string on the tree. I was afraid I would ruin the tree if I tried to cut it off. When the tree is lit, you don't see the old string.

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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
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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
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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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December 13, 20140 found this helpful
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Our tree did same, replacement bulbs very dim. Solution is to use "super bright" replacements according to paperwork that came with tree. We bought, unknowingly, bulbs from Walmart that were "light keeper PRO. Hope this helps.

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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
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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
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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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By 0 found this helpful
December 29, 2016

This year I bought a Lightkeeper Pro, which did a wonderful job repairing several strands of lights on my pre-lit Christmas tree. We were watching TV last night and suddenly one strand (and I think it was one that had been repaired) suddenly blazed significantly brighter. The bulbs were very hot. I turned it off for a bit, and when I turned it back on, that strand of lights was out. I'm hoping someone has a bit more knowledge of electrical circuits and explain this. I'm hesitant to try the repair again - and the heat put out by those bulbs makes me a little nervous about fire.

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