Everyone has had problems from time to time with their mini lights – and since more folks are using them for decorating all year for parties, weddings, and Holidays – like Valentines and Halloween – it’s handy to have a few tips for getting every last hour that you can out of your light sets. (And who could stand to stretch a dollar.)
Mini lights have a really varied lifespan depending on how thick their wiring is, where you bought them and a general level of quality. Don’t expect 1000’s or maybe not even 100’s of hours out of the 2 for a dollar sets that are available at loss leaders during the Christmas season. Commercial grade incandescent mini lights can last up to 3000 hours of continuous use.
Let’s say that it hasn’t been that long since you’ve purchased your sets. You rescued them from moth-ball holiday storage. I hope you wrapped them around a wrapping paper tube or on one of the cool light storage reels that you can pick up at Target so that you don’t have a tangled knotted mess. If you did use the “chuck them” method of storage then you may have to work a bit to untangle them. As you are doing so, make sure that there are not frayed or worn wiring or insulation. If you do see any exposed wiring, discard the set and start fresh.
Otherwise, plug the set in and see what happens. If all the lights come on – consider yourself lucky and continue on your mission to decorate for the next Superbowl party and then start thinking about what version of queso you’ll be serving.
What? They didn’t come on? Here are a few tips to get your lights working again:
1. Check the fuse. And remember never to plug mini lights in more than 3 in series. Unless they are truly commercial sets which can be connected up to 6 sets in series (based on their manufacture’s rating), connecting more than 3 sets in a row will pop the fuse. Use a flat head screw drive to ease open the little slide-door on the plug and check out your fuses. You should have received some replacements with your mini lights and now is the time to put them to good use and get them out of your catch all drawer. If a blown fuse was your problem, you’ll be good to go with a replacement fuse. Do NOT use anything but the fuse that is rated for your mini lights set.
2. Mini lights are wired in series which means that although they’ll stay lit if one light burns out, if a light bulb is removed or the base is damaged then all of the lights will go out. Check the strand carefully and gently press on each bulb to make sure it is properly seated. And for goodness sakes, don’t completely remove and re-insert each bulb or you’ll just multiply the opportunity for adding a twisted wire or bulb damage to your list of issues. You should have received a couple of extra bulbs and fuses with your light set. Use one of these bulbs to fill any empty sockets.
Mini light replacement bulbs are really had to purchase for a light set – the bases can vary and every set of mini lights has differently rated bulbs based on the number of bulbs in the set. If you have a whole bunch of one kind of mini light set, you might consider purchasing one extra to use as a bulb source to use as you lose a bulb here and there on the other sets – to age, squirrels or kids. Once a bulb goes out, then the remaining current on the set is distributed at a higher amount in the working bulbs which ages them faster. So, when you see a bulb go out, try to replace it to get maximum life out of the entire strand.
Mini lights are great for decorating for all sorts of occasions and with a little care you can extend their lives and stretch a dollar. And then when you need some new mini lights you can pop onto the internet and find all kinds of color all year.
Best regards and Happy Troubleshooting,
Mini Lights from Christmas Light Source