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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Electrical Question: How do I get these electric lights to work again?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11203 points ) January 12th, 2011

Hello…

This is not a Christmas question. So please, if you have an answer…read below:

I use fairy lights (Christmas non-LED lights—-you know the tiny ones with the bulbs) in my house as decorative accents all year. Someone gave me some really cool ones as a gift and I only used them for about a month and they blew out. I always search the cord to see which bulb blew out (the one that turns black) and then I replace it with the extras. This time the one that blew out was the one coated with white on the tip. (Can you tell me what the function of that bulb is and why is it white?) So, I replaced the bulb and the lights will not work. None of the others are black (or burned). I checked the extension chord (it’s fine and plugged in) and it didn’t trip a switch on the mains or anything.

I really, really love these lights as they are like stars and I don’t want to toss them. Could the light cord itself have blown a fuse? Is there somewhere online where I could learn to replace a fuse in the electrical plug? ( I live in the UK.)

Thank you!

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6 Answers

Axemusica's avatar

A Multi-Meter could tell you a lot about where and why electrical current will stop.

reinvestor's avatar

The bulb with the white tip is the fuse bulb. Light strings can be wired a number of ways, but usually if one bulb burns out, the rest of the lights will continue to function – unless it’s the white tipped fuse bulb (then they will all fail). Think of the fuse bulb as the weakest link that breaks if there’s a problem elsewhere. It sounds like there may be a short elsewhere in the string (i.e. positive making contact with negative) that caused the fuse bulb to trip. If you replaced it with a regular bulb, it’s likely any one of the other bulbs would have failed since there was no longer a fuse bulb. Visually inspect the entire string, wires and sockets, and look for any damage. If this turns up clear, I’d say unless you have some electrical knowledge and a multimeter as mentioned above, you may be better off replacing the string.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Dear Reinvestor…If you read my description…I mentioned all that you suggested. I replaced the white fuse bulb with another white fuse bulb. I checked the string for other burned out bulbs…nothing was burned. I don’t know what a Multi-Meter is (but I will look for one). I don’t want to replace this and probably can’t as it’s a special decorative string that is no longer made which is why I want to try to fix it. There doesn’t seem to be damage on the socket or string. I am thinking the fuse on the plug is gone because that’s what has happened to some of the lamps in this house. The electricals in this house are a bit ridiculous at times and things go pffft. I am thinking it is the fuse. I am guess this Multi-Meter would tell me…?

Thanks for your assistance….it’s appreciated!

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

There could be a small fuse embedded in the wall plug that has blown. Look for a cover you can pry off. Strings of lights usually come with a couple of extra fuses taped to the cord.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Thanks so much for your answer @IchtheosaurusRex . I did use the little fuse lights…is that what you mean? Or? They didn’t help, by the way. I was thinking it was something in the actual plug..that might be replaced? (Haven’t a clue.)

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Yes, the plug itself may have embedded fuses. That’s how most Christmas lights come. Picture here.

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