Troubleshooting Prelit Christmas Trees
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Troubleshooting common issues with prelit artificial Christmas trees can usually be successfully 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. While all Red Sleigh™ and Kringle Traditions™ artificial Christmas trees carry a 10 year warranty on frame and construction and 3 year warranty on lights, most issues can be resolved immediately, allowing you more time to enjoy your holiday.
Methods in troubleshooting include testing the light strings in an effort to find the faulty bulb, or simply replacing the existing light strings with a working light string.
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Troubleshooting Light Strings
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 Christmas light string is important. Our Christmas light strings contain 50 lights, and each string has its own male plug. If a section of lights ever does go out, it will be contained within a single 50 light string.
Each bulb is lit through the filament, which is contained within the glass bulbs and gives off light. The technology behind "If one light goes out, the rest stay lit" is given 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, then the strand will remain lit. A broken bulb will not affect the rest of the strand, unless the shunt is broken in the process. Without a shunt in the bulb, the electrical flow is broken and the bulbs can't receive current to light.
Another reason for light failure is connection 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 wire 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 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 irreparable. 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 be tinted. When checking for broken fuses and replacing fuses, make sure the light string is not plugged into the outlet.
If the light string itself is pulled loose from the socket at the base, please call our support staff immediately at 866-962-7382. While the solution to this can be resolved by removing the socket and splicing the wire together with electrical tape, this issue falls under our warranty and we will arrange for repair work within the dates established through our Artificial Christmas Tree Warranty. Deciding to splice the wire together without bringing in the tree for repair work may void the warranty covereage on that section of the tree.
LED light strings are one piece construction, making 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. Check to make sure fuses are securely seated. If the lights still do not work, contact customer service at 866-962-7382. A new string of LED lights may need to be used to replace the existing light string.
Trees are shipped in one or multiple boxes, depending on tree size. Sections should be labeled as A, B, C and so on, with A being the top. A useful resource in assembling a new tree is our Christmas Tree Setup page, which outlines tree assembly in detail. Sometimes issues still occur, such as tree sections being mislabeled, which can throw off the balance when trying to assemble your new tree. If two tree sections have the same label, measure the lower branches of the section of the tree. The branches are largest at the bottom, and get shorter as they go up. If both sections measure the same length, please contact Customer Support at 866-962-7382.
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.
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 straignt out. Some trees have more of a flower tip, meaning the outer tips on a branch get shaped in every direction. Some tips look best going upwards. This process can take up to two hours when the tree first arrives, although the process is greatly reduced after the first season.
A prelit artificial Christmas tree is intended for use season after season, being a staple to the holiday season. We understand the desire to light up and decorate a tree, and are available for help in troubleshooting year round.
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