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Troubleshooting Holiday Tree Lights with an Ace Hardware Light Keeper Pro

Author: Ace HardwareTime: 2024-01-08 04:25:02

Table of Contents

Introduction to Fixing Holiday Lights with the Light Keeper Pro

Putting up holiday lights can be a cherished tradition, but dealing with strands where some bulbs are burnt out or sections no longer light up can quickly dampen one's festive spirit. Using the right tools and techniques, dead bulbs or unlit sections don't have to ruin the holidays or require investing in expensive new light strands.

The Light Keeper Pro is an invaluable tool for quickly diagnosing and fixing common issues with incandescent holiday light strands. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to use the Light Keeper Pro to breathe new life into old light strands and keep your holiday glow going strong.

Overview of the Light Keeper Pro Tool

The Light Keeper Pro is a compact, handheld tool designed specifically for testing and repairing incandescent holiday light strands. It works by sending a safe, low voltage charge through the bulb socket to repair breaks in connectivity caused by corrosion, loose wires, and other issues. To use it, you simply insert an unlit bulb from the strand into the tool's socket, then pull the trigger several times. This allows the tool to transmit its signal through the bulb and mend any connectivity problems in that section of lights. It's an easy, no hassle way to pinpoint and fix individual unlit sections as you work around the tree.

Incandescent vs. LED Holiday Lights

While the Light Keeper Pro is extremely effective with old-fashioned incandescent holiday lights, it does not work on more modern LED light strands. This is because the two technologies function differently. Incandescent lights shine by running electrical current through a thin wire filament inside the glass bulb. Over time, through continual heating and cooling cycles, the filament and other internal components can degrade, causing bulbs to burn out. Corrosion can also build up on the bulb's base and wires, interrupting the flow of electricity. LED lights, on the other hand, utilize light emitting diodes that directly convert electrical energy into light. This makes them far more durable and longer-lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, because of the differences in technology, the connectivity issues that the Light Keeper Pro repairs do not typically affect LED strands.

Using the Light Keeper Pro to Fix Non-Working Sections of Lights

With an overview of how the Light Keeper Pro works, let's walk through the step-by-step process for using it to bring unlit sections of incandescent holiday lights back to life.

Begin by plugging in the light strand and visually identifying any sections that are out. Pay special attention to areas where wires connect between light strand sections, as well as places prone to strain near branch ends and tight bends. Loose plugs are one of the most common reasons for unlit sections.

Once you've identified a problem area, remove a bulb from an unlit socket. Be careful not to tug or bend any wires. Insert the bulb into the socket on the Light Keeper Pro tool, again taking care not to disturb the wires or base. Ensure full contact.

With the strand still plugged in, pull the trigger on the Light Keeper Pro several times. You may see a brief spark or hear a popping sound. This is the tool transmitting a safe signal through the bulb base and wires to repair any connectivity issues caused by corrosion or loose wiring.

Replace the bulb in its socket on the strand, maintaining the original orientation. In most cases, pulling the trigger a few times is all that's needed to get the section glowing again. However, for very corroded wires or connections, repeating the process a second time on the same bulb can help ensure a strong connection.

Identifying and Replacing Burnt-Out Bulbs for Maximum Sparkle

As you use the Light Keeper Pro on an older light strand, you'll likely encounter individual bulbs that remain dark even after transmitting signal through them. This indicates burnt out bulbs that need replacing.

Burnt out bulbs are easily identified by the tell-tale blackened or whitish discoloration inside the glass. The filament and other internal components have degraded to the point that electrical flow can no longer produce light.

To replace burnt out bulbs, pull a working bulb from another section of the strand and insert it into the burnt out socket. If it lights up, you have confirmed that the bulb itself was the issue, rather than a connectivity problem that requires using the Light Keeper Pro tool. Replace all burnt out bulbs in this manner to restore your lights to their maximum brilliance.

When to Replace Entire Light Strands

While fixing connectivity issues and changing individual dead bulbs can revive most aging incandescent light strands, at a certain point it becomes more effective to replace entire strands. Signs that it's time for new lights include:

  • Having to replace more than half of the bulbs on a strand
  • Brittle, cracking, or exposed wires
  • Sections that are repeatedly going out even after using the Light Keeper Pro
Replacing old strands with new ones, or upgrading to modern LED lights can save hours of annual holiday frustration. Most LED light strands are rated to last up to 10 times longer than incandescent before needing replacement.

The Importance of Properly Plugging In All Light Strand Sections

When setting up an artificial tree, it's critical that all light strand sections are properly plugged in for everything to illuminate. Most modern trees feature a series of connected wires with male and female sockets designed to securely attach each string of lights.

Issues can occur when plugs get partially connected, pulled loose during setup or take-down, or overlooked entirely. Loose plugs are one of the most preventable causes of seemingly dead sections of lights on artificial trees.

Before doing extensive troubleshooting with tools like the Light Keeper Pro, double check that all strand connectors are fully secured. Feel along wire sections to confirm no plugs have been inadvertently disconnected. Reconnecting everything firmly can sometimes resolve areas that appear unlit all on its own.


Dealing with burnt out bulbs, dead sections and other problems on aging holiday light strands can quickly put a damper on the Christmas spirit. But with the right knowledge and tools like the incredibly effective Light Keeper Pro, most common issues can be rapidly diagnosed and remedied.

Taking the time to properly store light strands after the holidays and perform basic maintenance like replacing dead bulbs can extend their usable lifespan by years. And knowing when aging strands reach the end of their duty can save endless hours of aggravation compared to continually nursing along failing lights.

With a bright, glowing tree as a centerpiece, the holidays are bound to be merry and bright. Don't let a few burnt out bulbs stand in the way of Christmas cheer.


Q: What is a light keeper pro?
A: A light keeper pro is a tool sold at Ace Hardware stores that can help revive sections of holiday lights that have stopped working due to corroded filaments.

Q: How does the light keeper pro fix holiday lights?
A: It temporarily replaces the filament inside the bulb to complete the electrical circuit and allow electricity to flow again. This can revive lights with corroded filaments.

Q: What causes holiday lights to stop working?
A: Lights can stop working due to burnt out bulbs, loose plugs/wires, or corroded filaments that break the flow of electricity.

Q: Should I replace all my incandescent lights with LEDs?
A: LED holiday lights last much longer than incandescents. Replacing old lights with LEDs saves time troubleshooting outages in future seasons.

Q: Why do LED holiday lights last longer?
A: LED bulbs emit light differently than traditional incandescents, allowing them to last up to 10 times longer without burning out.

Q: Can the light keeper pro fix LED holiday lights?
A: No, the light keeper pro works on incandescent lights only. Troubleshooting LED lights requires checking for loose plugs or replacing the whole string.

Q: How do I know which bulbs need replacing?
A: Bulbs that appear burnt out or don't light up after using the light keeper pro likely need to be replaced with new bulbs.

Q: Should I buy replacement bulbs or new light strands?
A: If only a few bulbs are burnt out, just replace those. If many bulbs are out, it's more cost effective to replace the entire light strand.

Q: Where can I buy the light keeper pro tool?
A: The light keeper pro is sold exclusively at Ace Hardware stores during the holiday season.

Q: Is troubleshooting holiday lights difficult?
A: With some patience and the right tools, most light issues can be fixed. Just take it one strand at a time.