We put up our Christmas tree over the weekend, which isn’t really news. I think most people did, right? It’s not really even “blog worthy.” We used silver and gold bulbs we had sprinkled with sentimental ornaments we’ve collected over the years. But, this post is about how every year our pre-lit tree sends us into a fury of frustration because we have dark spots where lights aren’t working when we plug it. You know! Like this:
Like, the whole top of our dang tree this year. My parents came over for dinner and noticed (even with our attempt to hang an extra string of larger lights in the dark places–haha!) and my dad let us borrow this tool that fixes mini lights instantly.
“Witchery,” I said. And it kind of is. I mean, it blew my mind. All you do is use the built in scanner to determine which light is not getting power, remove the light, insert the plastic housing into the tool, click the trigger (we had to click it a few times) and all the lights turned on.
It’s crazy and weird and it works and I tried to pretend I didn’t care how, but I just had to know. This review of it on Amazon explained it pretty well:
Okay, admit it: you read the package, mix in even a basic understanding of electricity, and wonder why anyone would fall for such an outlandish claim. Surely, you can’t fix a lightbulb by passing more electricity through it, no matter the “shape” of the pulse!
This DOES work, though, and it’s because Christmas light bulbs have long been designed to work this way. Every bulb in the light set you own has a “shunt” which is supposed to “melt through” when the filament burns out. And, fairly often, it works just fine. However, every once in a while the shunt doesn’t melt through given the “normal” voltage difference across the bulb, and so the circuit (for the 50 lights in that set or portion of the set) is lost. That’s when not just one lgith goes out (which you might often not even notice), but the entire section of lights turns off.
That’s where the “pulse” fixes things. It provides a low-current, high-voltage difference across the bulbs, which is sufficient to melt the shunts in any burnt-out bulb while not affecting functioning bulbs. Then, you scan for the bulb (or two) which is/are still burnt out, and replace just those. Those are the ones which have been burnt out from the start, but at least one of whose shunts had not melted through.
So now our tree is all lit, and Greta is happy. We’re all happy. Are we the last ones to know about this thing? Save yourself the yearly headache. We just bought our own here. Bonus–It’s on sale!