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Return to main page Information about lights Repair or modify your lights! Custom flasher controls Links to other lights pages

Repair Section Home
Fix Damaged Mini Lights
Fix Mini Sets That Don't Light
Fix C7 Or C9 Lights
Modify Mini Lights
LEDs As Holiday Lights
Regular Lights As Decorations


So Your Lights Don't Light?
Most miniture sets with over 50 bulbs are wired in sections:
  • 100 : usually 2 sections of 50. Most of the time just one
    part will be out. The set may be wired as 2 separate
    sections in a line, or where every other bulb belongs to
    a section
  • 100 : sometimes has 5 20's.
  • Chaser lights: Usually 4 sections, every 4th bulb belongs
    to a section
  • Chaser lights: sometimes 3 sections, every 3rd bulb to a
  • these are just a few of the more common types you will
    find, you can usually tell how it's wired by following
    the wires

always replace bulbs dead asap, and do not
allow a set or section to get any more than
the following number of dead bulbs
number of bulbs
in set (section)
max deads to allow
75 7
50 17 (if it uses 3.5v bulbs)
50 4 (if it uses 2.5v bulbs)
35 2
20 1
less than 20 0
By 'max bulbs to allow' i mean for a short
period of time (if you want the lights on
but can't get to it right away)...
DO NOT just leave it that way!

If you know the set had mutiple dead bulbs, there
is a good chance the rest blew too...get another set
of the same type and use it to test ALL the bulbs
from the bad set. If you find multiple dead's while
testing with any of the methods noted here, unplug
the bad set and use this method or you run the risk
of instantly blowing all the remaining bulbs and
the fuse
Making It Light!
First check to make sure all the bulbs are in their sockets. If
the entire set does not light, plug another working set into the
end plug (not the plug at the start). If that set does not
light, replace the fuse, and unplug the 2nd set
If the fuse blows right away there probably is a short in the set.
Unplug it and remove 1 bulb fron the set (or 1 from each section
if there's mere than 1). Test the set with a standard analog (not
digital) ohmmeter... if it reads zero ohms (or something close)
there is a short somewhere. You can try to find it or just save
the set for parts

If the fuse is fine, there is a loose bulb, or a bad bulb
somewhere in the set. Try gently shaking the set - if it
flickers a bulb is loose. Go through the entire set, pushing
each bulb into it's socket, when you get to the one that makes
the set light, remove it and make sure its wires are correctly
placed to line up with the sockets tabs. This is one of the
most common problems.

If the set still wont light, check to see if there are any
'flasher bulbs', if so replace them with standard bulbs - this
is another of the most common problems.

If neither of the above works, I recommend that you get a
'light tester' - a simple and inexpensive device you can get
at most stores that sell Xmas lights. Follow the instructions
that came with it, but if it is like the ones I have seen,
don't expect to find the bad bulb right away - it will usually
get within a few, which makes it alot easier than the last

If you can't get the tester to work (or cant find one), take
the non-working set, and a good one, and test each bulb.
or read the following:

A few sets are alot more trouble to fix, if none of the above
work, you can use a standard analog (not digital) ohmmeter,
unplug the non-working set, and attach one of the leads to
the set's plug, then remove the first bulb, if the meter
doesn't move, change the lead on the plug to the on the prong.
if it still doesn't move, the fuse is bad. If there is movement
go down the set checking. If the set does not have a end plug
you may have so skip every other bulb. (make sure to put the
bulbs back in their sockets).

With normal sets you can use the following method speed up
Check the first socket, then work in half's--jump to around the
center of the set and check if it's good go to the 3/4 point, if
not go back to the 1/4...then do 1/8's.

If it is a set of chaser type lights, start with the last bulb.
and work backwards..for some reason this tends to work better

Remember to only try to fix one section at a time, and it is
usually worth just swapping out the entire set (and fixing it
inside) if it already up and cant be fixed using one of the

all info here is provided as is without warranty of any sort
I can not be held responsible for any problems/damages/injuries/
etc caused by the use or misuse of this info

Warning: read all the following before you continue.

The info on these pages can be DANGEROUS.

Electricity can KILL or INJURE you, be careful and treat it with
full respect.

Electricity can also cause FIRES, again be careful with it.

Never work on any electric product plugged in.

If you don't know anything about electricity / electric products,
don't even try any of these.

There is no guarantee that this actually will work - fix at
your own risk.

Always have someone double check your work before connecting
power to anything you've worked on.

Electricity and Water do not mix.

Avoid working in any area where flammable products (such as gas/
paint/etc) are stored or used

Do not work with electric items when you are tired, being tired
will only increase the chance of mistakes

Avoid working on electric products if you have consumed any
alcoholic beverages or drugs (medical or otherwise) as these
will impair your ability to concentrate on your work

if you become frustrated while working on something, set it
down and walk away (turn off / unplug any equipment you have

Keep your work area clean and organized. If you work in a room/
area without windows (or work at night) install a automatic backup
light... that way when you blow a circuitbreaker/fuse you will not
be in the dark.

Do not overload Circuits/Extension cords/Lightsets/ Etc

Modifying any electric product WILL VOID any warranty on it

Using any electric product for other than its intended use WILL
VOID any warranty on it

In addition there is a chance you will void your insurance by
using modified electric items, if that item causes a problem
such as a fire

This is only a partial list of the cautions/dangers there are
many more not listed here (but still apply)

Always remember...
Be safe!
It is not worth risking your life or home over an electric item!

This page and the images on it (c) 1999 - 2016 James K