Troubleshooting common issues with prelit artificial Christmas trees can often be completed within a matter of minutes. Most troubleshooting in trees centers around light strings that have gone dark, or the initial assembly of the new tree. Methods in troubleshooting include testing the light strings in an effort to find the faulty bulb, or simply replacing the existing light strings with working sets. Below you will find the most common problems and solutions associated with light strings on prelit Christmas trees.
Troubleshooting Light Strings on Prelit Trees
Troubleshooting can be easier with the use of a mini light tester. If using a mini light tester, our resource page regarding Testing for Faulty Bulbs, will prove useful.
Understanding the technology behind an incandescent bulb and a light string is helpful when trying to determine the cause of a bulb that won't light. Each bulb is lit through a filament, which is contained within the bulb's glass case. "One light goes out, the rest stay lit" technology is achieved through an internal shunt within each bulb. The internal shunt does not have any affect unless a bulb's filament burns out, at which point the shunt wire activates to keep the current going. As long as current is flowing through each bulb the strand will remain lit. A broken bulb will not affect the rest of the strand, unless the shunt is broken in the process. If the shunt is broken when a bulb breaks, or if it is dislodged due to a loose bulb, the flow of electricity will stop.
Another reason for light failure is connectivity lost at the base of the socket. Two thin wires stick out at the bottom of each mini light bulb, which make contact with the metal connectors for current to the bulbs and shunts. If one of the wires is misaligned, or if a bulb is pulled out from its socket, the current is broken and the light strand will go out. To verify the wires are in place, remove the socket and make sure a wire is folded up to the left and right of the socket base. These wires are actually part of the glass light bulb itself, which are guided through two small openings at the bottom of each socket and then folded upwards. If needed, simply realign the wires on each side of the bulb, or if one of the wires is missing, replace the bulb.
If lights go on and off as the tree and branches are moved around, this is not always an indication that there is a short in the wire. Most likely a bulb is loose, and the connection is getting lost as the bulb moves in its socket. This often occurs through rough handling or improper storage of a tree. Look to find the loose bulb, check the wires to ensure they are properly aligned, and secure the bulb tightly within the socket. This should fix the issue.
If a short has occurred, the light string is usually not repairable. A short is caused when the wire's insulation breaks down, allowing charge to flow in an unintended path. Common causes include cutting or damaging the wire itself, or overloading the circuit by plugging too many devices into an outlet or adding additional strings of lights without calculating wattage and amps. Our light strings are fused for protection, so overloading the circuit will cause the fuse to break and the light string will go out, but will not be damaged. Look for broken fuses in the male end of the light string, and replace using one of the extra light fuses that are included with the tree. A good fuse will have clear glass, while a broken fuse will cause the glass become tinted. When checking for broken fuses and replacing fuses, make sure the light string is not plugged into the outlet.
Our artificial Christmas trees are backed by a 10 year warranty. If you have attempted the troubleshooting steps above and are still experiencing an issue you can contact our customer support staff at 1-866-962-7382. We're here to help make sure your tree looks perfect for the holiday season!
Troubleshooting LED Trees
LED light strings feature one piece construction, which can make troubleshooting limited. Mini light testers do not work on LED trees. If an LED tree is not lighting, check to make sure all wires are plugged in and fuses are securely seated. An LED light tester can also be used to identify which bulb or socket is not properly functioning.
Many times the main plug that goes to the outlet is not in the lowest section of the tree, which can seem confusing. Larger trees often have 2 or 3 plugs that go into the wall, so look for these if the tree does not light completely. Each of these plugs will also have a fuse, so check to make sure they do not need to be replaced if a section of the tree is not lighting.
Christmas Tree Assembly
Keep in mind that trees do not arrive as pictured. Each tree has its own unique tip shape, which is achieved through a process we call "fluffing". It is best to start by shaping the lowest section of the tree before adding the next section of the tree. This allows each inner tip to be lifted up and out, and many lower branches are expandable, meaning the branch itself can be lifted up or moved to the side, and then the branch tips can also be lifted. Tree tips can be arched downwards, or left to shoot straight out. Plug in lights prior to fluffing each section. For step by step instructions on assembling your tree, visit our Christmas tree setup guide.