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  #1  
Old 12-01-2007, 02:15 PM
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Using a Multimeter to Test Christmas Lights

Go ahead and label me an electrical IDIOT... That's fine. I am one and am actually the president of the Electrical Idiots club...

Anyway -- I've got this multimeter and I've got a pre-lit Christmas tree. How can I make these two things come together to yield an end result of this one string of lights working?

Be very elementary with me... no jargon. PLEASE!

Thanks, guys.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockPick
Anyway -- I've got this multimeter and I've got a pre-lit Christmas tree. How can I make these two things come together to yield an end result of this one string of lights working?

Be very elementary with me... no jargon. PLEASE!

Thanks, guys.
I did not look at the name on this post until after I read it... As I began to read this post I started to think "hey, another matte post, what alias did he use this time?"

Your pre-lighted christmas tree should not have the one bulb go out and it affects another bulb problem. (is that non-jargon enough fer ya!) If it does, that is one cheap tree you purchased ... live with it

My other answer is very technical jargon laden, but I don't want to cause any brain cramps on a weekend. btw j/k ...
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:19 PM
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Next tidbit of help...
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:19 PM
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I don't think there's any easy way to find your blown bulb with a multimeter. I guess you could try removing one bulb (do this with the lights unplugged, BTW...I don't want to hear about your visit to the hospital in another thread later...), setting your multimeter to ohms and sticking one probe in the socket where you just removed a bulb. Then go over a few sockets, maybe 5-7, unplug another bulb and stick the other end of the multimeter in the socket. You oughta have continuity between those two points...if so, keep moving along 5-7 bulb sockets at a time until you reach a point where you don't have continuity. Then you know your open bulb is somewhere between the two multimeter leads.

Or just buy a new set of Christmas lights. That's what I'd do, I'd get too frustrated trying to fix a stupid set of lights.
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:24 PM
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I wish it was as easy as buying a new set -- this prelit tree has lights tangled in there to the point that it'd be VERY difficult to replace them. The wife and I have already discussed getting another tree.

I've gone up and down this 'string' that is on this row four times or six times now. Each time, I've attempted to 1) determine if the bulb was blown by simply looking at the bulb, 2) 'jiggled' the bulb in the mini-holder in an effort to make sure that the little wire is making contact and 3) have used a generic 'light tester' thing-a-ma-jig from Wally Hell to test to see if the wire is seemingly working. I can't get a reading on a few but can't figure out if it's this cheap-o tester thing or something else.

Can I use the meter to test individual sockets for power? The string has a 3v fuse pair in the plug (one on each prong before the wall) (which test out, using this cheapo meter, as fine and look fine) so, I assume I'd use the lowest volt rating on the meter (10) and see what I can get from within the socket?
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  #6  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:27 PM
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set the multi meter to OHM to test for continuity.
Set it aside

Remove the first bulb that is out.
Insert new bulb

If it doesn't light up.
Place leads on each side of the old bulb
If meter moves then the bulb is good
Replace bulb back in socket
If meter doesn't move then bulb is bad
replace bulb and move to the next

After you have checked all bulbs.....
If still not lit

Unplug from wall and touch leads to each prong on the socket.
If meter moves string should light and its probably a bad outlet.
If meter doesn't move, then you get to pull each bulb again and test each socket by touching...

First one: Touch one lead to the side closest to the plug and the other to the wide prong on the plug.

Second one: to the other side of the first socket and the side closet to the first socket.

When meter stops moving that is where your break is between those two connections and is probably broke wire.
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  #7  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:30 PM
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One other thing.
A few years back I bought this cheapo tester things from wally hell too. It test both lights and power.

You plug the string in. Then point the thingy at it and push a button, If it lights up you have electricity in that wire. You follow the strand until you no longer have electricity.
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  #8  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:30 PM
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If you're able to get to each individual socket to test it why not just pull each bulb out and test the bulb for continuity? Or do it the old way, buy a new bulb and try it in every socket one place at a time. Just hope you don't have two bulbs out.

Another option is go buy a fibre optic tree. It only has one bulb at the bottom and they look great IMHO. We bought one four years ago and love it. Best part is we only put a few bows on it for decoration so I just carry the whole thing down and stick it in the corner of the basement. When it's time to put the tree up it takes aprox. 2 minutes. If it doesn't light I only have one bulb to replace.
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  #9  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:31 PM
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step 1 : take tree outside
step 2 : put tree 20 yds from house
step 3 : go to garage / shed and get gascan
step 4 : empty gascan on top of tree
step 5 : go find two sticks
step 6 : rub sticks together until you see fire
step 7 : stop
step 8 : drop
step 9 : roll
step 10: repeat as neccesary until flames are out
step 11: go inside and put new clothes on
step 12: get into truck and go back to wally
step 13: find cheap prelit tree and purchase
step 14: go home and set up tree
step 15: repeat as needed

(I fuuuuuckn hate christmas lights)
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:32 PM
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get a old set of lights cut one socket off hook that to a 1.5 volt battery ( AA , AAA C, D,) then remove lamps one at a time plug into new battery operated socket you probably have more then one lamp out good luck
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  #11  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:35 PM
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Burning the tree to the ground wouldn't be a bad idea either.

(I hate Christmas lights too.)
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  #12  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:42 PM
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Wow, now I'm thankful I was a cheap bastard and didn't opt for the prelit option. It's not that hard to put lights on the tree so I do it.

On a side note, I always hated pulling the box out and untangling the wires, then having to test and figure out which bulb(s) were out and replace them. When we got the current tree I bought all new lights. After Christmas I take a bunch of plastic grocery sacks out. Coil each string of lights and put each in it's own grocery bag, then tie the handles. Put the grocery sacks in the box and put it away until next year.

Thus far, I'm going on our fifth Christmas using this method. Zero tangles and zero burned out bulbs. I sooooo wish I'd have thought of this sooner.
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  #13  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:44 PM
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http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/(u4...px?SKU=9884750
Try this to
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  #14  
Old 12-01-2007, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gixxerjasen
Wow, now I'm thankful I was a cheap bastard and didn't opt for the prelit option. It's not that hard to put lights on the tree so I do it.

On a side note, I always hated pulling the box out and untangling the wires, then having to test and figure out which bulb(s) were out and replace them. When we got the current tree I bought all new lights. After Christmas I take a bunch of plastic grocery sacks out. Coil each string of lights and put each in it's own grocery bag, then tie the handles. Put the grocery sacks in the box and put it away until next year.

Thus far, I'm going on our fifth Christmas using this method. Zero tangles and zero burned out bulbs. I sooooo wish I'd have thought of this sooner.
Thats exactly what I do too and does work GREAT.
I cant remember how long I've been doing it, probably 8 years. I still have the occasional burnt or busted bulb, or come lose from socket and somehow is still a little tangled but only takes a few minutes to untangle one strand from it's self.

We have these lights that have a little control box that you can set for 8 different flashing sequences. We got them our first or second Christmas and love them. As long as they work wife wont let me get a pre-lit because she wants those. Of course if I have my way we get a real tree. This year we are going fake because the kids have 2 kittens in the freaking house.
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  #15  
Old 12-01-2007, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quintin
Burning the tree to the ground wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Gas power Christmas trees!!! Brings back memories.

Hey Pick, I seriously thought they would not make a pre-lighted tree that would have the one bulb out - loose the strand issue!!! Learn something new everyday.

I have been using a pre-lighted tree since 1998. It had a bunch of lights that were burnt out, but they never affected another bulb. It was purchased from Lowes the first year they came out. It is still in use at my in-laws, but I purchased a larger one this year.

As far as ease of use... It does not get any easier ... up in about 10 minutes down in 10... I usually don't have to miss more than one set of downs and no more arguing with the spouse regarding the lights.

Good luck with your search :santa:
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:29 PM


 
 
 
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