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cateyanne

Christmas lights- half on, half off!! why?

15 years ago

Why are my Christmas light only lighting half way? These are not old lights, yet I have half of my lights this year only lighting half way up the string? it does happen every year but not this much so I guess I'm especially frustrated. I can't be the only one this happens to. If it is a blown fuse wouldn't the whole string be burnt out? if it is a missing bulb that would be easy to see, and these days a burnt out bulb is not supposed to make a whole section go out, right? Is there some trick I am unaware of to get these things to light completely for more than one season at a time? There is not a lot of extra money this year so I can't just run out and replace all these, what do you do to fix them?

Comments (46)

  • 15 years ago

    Hi Cateyanne, welcome to the Holiday forum. I've had that happen to me when I buy the extra long strands of lights. I think they are like two regular strands they've hooked together. The first thing I usually do is sort of shake the whole strand. If they flicker when I do that, then it's probably a loose bulb. Next I make sure each bulb in the strand is tightly in it's socket, and I try to hold them up to a light to try to see if any look burned out.Sometimes there may be a bulb missing. Sometimes it is just the fuse too. I know it is very frustrating when this happens. If you don't get them working, maybe you could just hide the non working sections in the middle of the tree and still use the part that will light up. Luvs

  • 15 years ago

    I have had that happen to me many times. Sometimes it is the leader light. Go to the part that isn't lite and change the first bulb. Sometimes that works. I also do the other steps that luvs mentioned. I get really frustrated when they are working and then you put them on the tree and get all the lights on and some strands go out.

    I always buy 100 light strands and have heard that 50 are better because of that problem.

  • 15 years ago

    So sorry this has happened to you. It is so frustrating, I know. Luvs and dd gave you good ideas and I can't help any further. I hope you get your lights fixed.

  • 15 years ago

    I am so sorry! I don't have any good suggestions, since my methods of dealing with those sweet little non-working light strands usually result in statements truly inappropriate for the season.... :)

    I would like to know if anyone has tried the Light Keeper Pro Repair Tool? The first time I had even heard about or seen this was at Hobby Lobby a couple weeks ago for $20. There were a couple women talking about it and it caught my interest I didn't buy it then, thinking about all the time I've spent trying those little $5 light testers and ended up just throwing out the strand anyway. But then, I was on frontgate.com and they are selling it as well......my goodness, they sell $800 tree-skirts....so my interest is peaked since I don't think that they would sell something that inexpensive that did not work.

    Has anyone tried this tool?

    Alex

  • 15 years ago

    As Alex said, ".....my methods of dealing with those sweet little non-working light strands usually result in statements truly inappropriate for the season.... :)"

    My thoughts exactly...lol!! No, I haven't used the light repair tool. I only have a small tree, not pre-lit either - so when I have problems with a strand of lights, it gets tossed. But it looks like a neat tool that would help fix lights on pre-lit trees, or if you have tons of lights and can't keep replacing the sets just for a few bad bulbs.

  • 15 years ago

    We had that problem with Walmart brand lights,some times it is the fuse though. I started to buy the commercial ones and they don't seem to do this.

  • 15 years ago

    My DIL just told me that the new commercial lights my DS bought last year are only half working! Those were NOT cheap! Gosh, the old outdoor lights we used to buy lasted for years and years! They want us to put out good money for these new LED things and then what--have to replace them every year????? What kind of energy efficiency is that? Sorry, just ranting a bit here. Almost afraid to pull out our lights now. Luvs

  • 15 years ago

    Someone on HTE mentioned that they bought the Light Keeper Pro and it worked on garland that 1/2 went out. She said you just have to follow the directions and it will tell you what to do. She purchased in HD or Lowe's. Next time I see it I will pick it up. So far so good this year but haven't started the outside and some inside.

  • 15 years ago

    I've had the same problem, but now I know the solution~too many lights for the power source, which is the extension cord. If you read on the box, you're only supposed to use so many strings per extension cord, but I don't remember how many. You might want to give this a try if you're only using one extension cord. ;o)

  • 15 years ago

    Thanks everybody, I have made it through my light ordeal.

    Sorry to say I had to toss some :(
    Fuses on all were good, that would have been too easy!

    On closer inspection, I did find a few with broken bulbs and once replaced, the strings lit up.

    Some, I suspect have internal wire damage. And that's not fixable by me.

    The bad thing is the light strings are being made cheaper and cheaper, they are not made to last longer than a season or two. They are like so many other products we purchase these days DISPOSABLE. If you buy what is marketed as commercial grade you'll get a thicker wire, but even that is nothing like the quality of wire that were in even the lights our parents had. I have older light sets that I bought early in our marriage which have outlasted those bought just two years ago! Heck I have lights that my grandmother used, though these are not considered "safe" to use nowadays!
    It's the times we live in folks!
    HO HO HO :)

  • 15 years ago

    You are right. Most only last a few seasons. I always buy some after Christmas because of that.

  • 15 years ago

    THE ENTIRE MIDDLE SECTION OF MY BIG TREE JUST WENT OUT!!!!!!! If it is not just the fuse, there may be more than just a few choice words said......remember Chevy Chase beating the daylights out of that poor plastic reindeer........

    My husband was supposed to stop at Hobby Lobby today while he was in the city and pick me up one of the Light Keeper Pros....but....he forgot.

    Alex

  • 15 years ago

    Oh gosh, Alex, I'm so sorry to hear that. Sure hope you can get them working again. I put my tree up today and added extra lights. Pattycakes, your theory might be true in some cases, but I had one strand today that I tested before putting on the tree, and only half of it lit up. I spent a few minutes testing every bulb,and gave it a few shakes. Finally decided it just wasn't worth the effort so tossed it aside and used another strand. You'd think that since they are constantly hammering at us to recycle and keep things out of the landfills--they could at least give us products that will last more than a couple seasons. Good grief! Luvs

  • 13 years ago

    WHAT IS THE ANSWER? I checked all bulbs of the un-lit half and put new fuses in. What is the answer to the one half lit strand of Xmas lights and one 1/2 un-lit? Please help.

  • 13 years ago

    hmm I think the following website explains why with some suggestions. It is not light reading especially when you are preparing dinner, decorating the tree, and trying to watch Frosty The Snowman... but maybe you all will be able to decifer it all.
    http://www.ciphersbyritter.com/RADELECT/LITES/XMSLITES.HTM

  • 11 years ago

    ALL MY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ARE WORKING HALF WAY BUT THIS MORNING I CHECK EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM AND I TOOK A WORKING BULB AND CHECK EVERY SINGLE ONE THEM AND I CHECK THE FUSE AS WELL AND IT STILL WORKS HALF WAY THE FUSE ARE FINE AND I TOOK ONE OF THOSE EXTRA BULB AND CHECK EVERYONE OF THEM BUT IT STILL LIKE THAT I DID EVERYTHING I COULD THIS OF AND IM ABOUT TO RIP IT OFF AND GET A NEW LIGHTS I USE THE 50 LIGHTS SO THINK IM JUST GOIN TO TAKE THEM BACK AND GET A NEW ONE SINCE I STILL HAVE THE BOXS AND HOPEFULLY THE REICPT TOO

  • 11 years ago

    Bah Hum Bug when we have lights that don't work when we plug them in. I think it's worse when I plug them in and they work. Hang them, go out to find that some are no longer working!!! I agree they don't make them like they use to. We still use the old large bulbs on the eves of our home.

    One thing for sure tho. I love to drive home from work every night and enjoy the site of Christmas lights. So good to see so many posting on the Holiday forum. Hope you will share pictures with us here.

    Punk

  • 11 years ago

    I just bought a lightkeeper pro a few days ago from a Lowes, because half of my 100 ct light strand on my garland was out. Of course this happens after the garland is up and decorated.

    It really did fix the light strand!!
    When half a light strand is out it is usually a defect in the wire, apparently when a bulb burns out what happens is that the electricity bypasses that bulb to reach the rest of the lights, however if the channels in the wire are not working properly it will not allow the electricity to pass through to the rest of the string. Using the lightkeeper pro is kind of like fixing that one blockage and clearing the wire.

    Wish I would have gotten one alot sooner.
    Here is a hint if you purchase one:
    The directions in the package can seem quite overwelming and a little confusing. I went to youtube.com and watched a video on it and it was so much more understandable

    Keep in mind that if the bulbs on the string have that blackened look, then the strand is probably beyond fixing

    I give lightkeeper pro two thumbs up"I'd give it three thumbs if I could)

  • 9 years ago

    Whoever posted the information about Light Keeper Pro I want to thank you. I spent several hours working on an outdoor Christmas wreath that had 2 strings of lights. I tried everything I could think of to fix the one burned out string, but nothing worked. So I figured what do I have to lose if I buy the Light Keeper Pro. I went to Lowe's and bought one. It took me 2 minutes to repair the light string. I'm with decorcrzy on this one. For $20 you can't go wrong.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    I googled this issue and came across all your posts. I tried everything and nothing worked. I was about to toss them out and decided to try one more thing. I initially noted half the lights out when I plugged them into the tail end of the former string. I then plugged the problematic string directly into a wall socket. No luck. Looked at all the bulbs. Nothing there. I then plugged them directly into an extention cord that went to wall. BINGO. this worked. Crazy but this string too is an extra long set.

  • 8 years ago

    I have had the lightkeeper pro for about five years. I use to take each bulb out and try it where another worked but with the lightkeeper pro you just pull the trigger run it across the cord and it beeps or stops beeping for get how it goes.There is another place on the tool that you put the light socket in and push the trigger a few times makes them work .This thing is a life saver for me .For those who are not sure I believe you can check out video on youtube.Goodluck everyone

  • 8 years ago

    Here's kinda a quickier way to where your issue may lie. If your lights a plug at the opposite end, try to plug in a good set of lights, if the good set comes on then you know it's not a fuse or wire issue. it's a bulb issue, however if the good does not come on it's prob. a fuse or wire issue.

  • 7 years ago

    I have a few that are brand new out of the box and not the cheap ones. But only half the strip works. Have replaced not fuses and checked to make sure no bulbs are missing or broken or blown out and still don't work. Also have a string of running lights I just bought, after I plugged them in and found them all working, I enrolled them and now every third light doesn't light up. I am getting tired of buying things only to have to replace them after a year,if they last that long. What happened to taking pride in making or building a reliable piece of equipment, be it a string of lights to a full size truck. Everything today is m are to be replaced shortly. It takes twice or three times as much to fix something than to buy a new one. That is right ridiculous and unethical. I don't have the money or means to buy a new tv every other year. My parents had one in their home that lasted 20 years or more. Same with all their kitchen appliances. I never saw them buy another refrigerator, and I have had to buy three in the last five years. Come on people, we need to demand that companies build great, long lasting products that we don't need to replace every year.

  • 7 years ago

    I fixed my lights using a voltage detector. So if you don't have a voltage detector which costs around $10/$20, buy the LightKeeper Pro for $20 which has both a voltage detector and shunt fixer. Using the voltage detector I found where on the wire the problem was and jiggled the wire and pushed it in tighter into the bulb socket. So the bulb was not the problem on my lights. Regarding Todd's comment on appliances, I'm on 17 years with my dishwasher, fridge, and oven. I did have minor problems with all three, but they were electronic board problems fixed with parts under $30. But without the Internet to help me diagnose the problem I'd probably have had to buy all new appliances.

  • 7 years ago

    Toss 'em. Go back to candles.

  • 7 years ago

    Only real way to fix this problem is to stop buying the cheap China merchandise that is shoved down our American throats! of course what do you do when its Christmas and the ONLY lights for sale are made in China? We can only buy American if American companies are manufacturing products. AND there has to be trade deals that benefit American companies so prices can stay reasonable. Because consumerism is in the state it is in, we live in a cheap, disposable society. Only we, and the politicians we vote in can change it.

    I'll get off my soap box now, darn Christmas lights!

  • 7 years ago

    >> Only real way to fix this problem

    >> is to stop buying the cheap China....


    Thank you for providing absolutely no information of any value Mrs Trump.

    /eyeroll.jpg

  • 7 years ago

    The "shunt fixer" feature of LightKeeper Pro (a product made in the USA by Ulta-Lit Technologies) just helped me fix a string of lights (made in China) yesterday in 1 minute.

  • 7 years ago

    No one seems to know the answer. I have decided to spend $10,000, go to China, learn to speak Chinese and go to one of the Christmas light factories and see if I can find the answer. I will not be defeated! BW

  • 7 years ago

    Happens to me, too. I use a voltage tester that beeps to indicated live wire. I work my way down the portion of the set that is not working, touching the wire leading in, and the wire leading out. Also both sides of the bulb. I usually find a socket that has juice going in but not coming out indicating a short in that socket. I just cut out that socket and tape the ends together. Usually works but not always.

  • 7 years ago

    The shunt wire in the bulb is bad (assuming this is not an LED light set). A good diagram can be found here:

    http://www.energy.gov/articles/how-do-holiday-lights-work

    The LightKeeper Pro sends an electrical pulse through the defective bulb, mending the shunt. This allows the lights to operate properly and the current can then flow through the light set completing the circuit and illuminating the other bulbs past the bad bulb in the string. Note that LEDs do not use shunts because they don't need them.

  • 7 years ago

    great link....thanks!

  • 7 years ago

    Half off, half on? The 100 light string is actually two 50 light circuits on one string. To test this idea, unplug one bulb on one end and half the lights go out. Unplug one bulb on the other end and the other half will go out. Either a bulb isn't making good contact in its socket (most likely on a string that hasn't been used much) or a shunt is not working. These socket/bulb contacts are cheap and iffy. Wiggle each bulb carefully and see if the lights blink on. If so, remove the culprit and tighten the bulb connection. Shunts have been covered here, not an easy fix.

  • 7 years ago

    Thank u so much Bud Ramsay! I did what u said, found the burnt out bulb, changed it and voila! It worked! Lights on again, how sweet it is! U saved me a whole bunch of time. Thanks again! I will repost the great info u shared:


    Bud Ramsay

    December 11, 2015 at 2:24PM

    Here's kinda a quickier way to where your issue may lie. If your lights a plug at the opposite end, try to plug in a good set of lights, if the good set comes on then you know it's not a fuse or wire issue. it's a bulb issue, however if the good does not come on it's prob. a fuse or wire issue.

  • 7 years ago

    So the lights worked before a decorated it, a few days later, half don't work. I called the company listed on the box if there were problems, and OMG they are sending me new light strands! Suweet! Hobby lobby brand tree

  • 3 years ago

    I have the same problem as many of you. I simple cut the wire half why and make a short sting of lights. Cut it tape the end of the wire and use that short stand at the end of the run.

  • 3 years ago

    You can waste a lot of screwing around with these. Most of the time it not worth it. If only half the string is working and you tried everything just cut out the bad half. At least you save half the string

  • 3 years ago

    I know this is an old thread but Christmas lights can be so frustrating! :-(

  • 3 years ago

    The LightKeeper Pro I purchased 3 years ago at Target https://www.target.com/s?searchTerm=The+LightKeeper+Pro has saved over 5 strings of lights for me this year again. If the string is half lit, take the bulb out at the end of the string, plug the empty socket into the gun and click the trigger 10x. Put the buld back in and check. If the problem persists, take out the next bulb and do the same thing. I keep the lights plugged in while doing this. Sometimes I need to take out one or two of the bulbs in the middle of the string where the lights are not lit. Now if you try to use a multimeter to figure out the problem, I agree, you will be very frustrated because nothing will seem to make sense.


  • 3 years ago

    We bought 5 sets of Noma C6, 70 light strands last year. When we put them up again this year, three of the sets had only half of the strands working. I didn’t keep the receipt, so after checking some sights, I did this, and IT WORKED! I first attached another set of lights in sequence and they lit up, so I knew the wiring was good. I then pulled out and checked each bulb in the unlit section, testing them in sockets that worked to make sure the bulbs were good. I had bought a couple of extra bags of C6 lightbulbs (5 per bag) when this issue was first discovered. I came to realize there were two sizes to the green bases of the lights when pulled out. A few were slightly wider than the others. The smaller ones would fit in all the bulb sockets, but the wider ones only fit in certain ones. After much fussing and frustration, I came to realize that the wider ones had to be placed in the first and last light socket of the strand, and also socket # 35 and # 36. If a smaller width one was placed in any of those four, the strand would go out. And Voila, all sets work again. If you have a longer strand, I presume this would still apply. The first and last, and the two exactly in the middle will need the bulbs with the wider plug in base.

  • 3 years ago

    This happens to me all the time, im so frustrated! I got my lights out from last year and not one worked on 2 strands of 300. I went through and pulled out and checked 300 lights to no avail. So I went and bought 2 brand new sets, hung them up outside and one section does not work. I took the lights out and checked each one by putting them in a different set, found 2 that didn't work, so replaced them 2 and put all the good bulbs back into the sockets. Still don't work! Its brand new! And to buy a lights tester, a new set of lights would be cheaper, but I dont want to have to take them all down and put up new ones.

  • 3 years ago

    If the string is incandescent (not LED) and an entire section is out then the LightKeeper Pro gun ($20) would probably fix it in 1 minute. Now it would be cheaper to just buy a new $5 string, but if the string is already hung then I think $20 is worth my time of re-stringing. Plus the gun would pay for itself if it fixes 4 strings.

  • 2 years ago

    My bulbs were only burning on the half of the string away from the plug. Found a couple of bad bulb holders. Cut the bulb holder off and wire nutted the strands together. String now works. I found that even if I have a couple of burned out bulbs, the others still work as long as the burned out bulb still has contact inside the base. My lights are a three wire strand which may be the reason burned out bulbs don't take out the whole strand. To those guys on line who suggested this, and to all who read my commentary, I wish you the Merriest of Christmases.

  • 6 months ago

    Good Morning, I have multiple net lights strung together on the flower bed bushed, they are plugged into the same extension as my string lights along the sidewalk. The net lights ALL went out but not the sidewalk lights. Any Ideas??? weird, occasionally one net will go out but never has all of them gone out, when one net goes out normally the others do not. I am at a loss, any ideas? thank you Karen

  • 6 months ago

    The Light Keeper Pro I purchased 6 years will fix the problem. Take the bulb out at the end of the string, plug the empty socket into the Light Keeper Pro gun and click the trigger 10x. Put the bulb back in and check. If the problem persists, take out the next bulb and do the same thing. I keep the lights plugged in while doing this. The item is available at Walmart for $31 -> Walmart Light Keeper Pro It's also available on Amazon. This will not work with LED Christmas lights. Now you may think $31 is a lot for a string of lights that only costs $10 but over time it will pay for itself. I've probably fixed over 30 strings of lights over the past 6 years. If you want an explanation on why it works see ----> Light Keeper Pro Features




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