Fix “Holiday Time LED micro lights”
December 7, 2018 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Bought two identical strings of “Holiday Time Multi Color LED Micro Lights” last Christmas. 150 LEDs per string. I expected to get several years of use out of them as the LEDs are permanently installed in the sockets. They both failed in the same manner when I got them out this year. Any fixes out there?

The failure mode is that a block of twelve or so LEDs in the middle of the string fail to come on. The first string that did this I massaged the non-working lights one at a time, a technique that I’ve used for decades on incandescent Christmas lights that often could pinpoint a bad or loose lamp.

The LED segment that hadn’t worked, flickered, faded in and out, came on very dim for several minutes and then went out. Hasn’t been seen since.

Both strings used indoors and carefully stored on their original spools.

Is there a secret fix or is this just cheap Chinese stuff that I was lucky to get a years use out of?

Addendum; purchased from a national company that sells everything everywhere.
posted by leafwoman to Grab Bag (2 answers total)
 
Only 12 LEDs out of 150 have failed? Can you loop the dead section and secure it with a twist-tie or something so the other 90% of the bulbs look like a full string?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:31 PM on December 7 [1 favorite]


a block of twelve or so LEDs in the middle of the string fail to come on

Most likely cause for this is that the string is actually wired as multiple series-connected sub-strings in parallel, and that one of the LEDs in that sub-string of twelve has either come unsoldered or failed open-circuit.

You might be able to figure out which LED it is by shorting each of them out, one at a time, with a vampire link: a short piece of wire connecting two plastic-headed sewing pins, the tips of which you push through the insulating jacket into the copper cores of the wires that connect to the LED you're trying to bypass.

If you can make the rest of the string come alive this way then you can make the fix permanent by cutting the open LED out of the string, stripping half an inch of jacket off each cut wire end, twisting them together using a tiny Western Union splice (never never never make pigtail splices!), then taping over the joint.

The remaining LEDs in that block will run a little brighter and will therefore be more prone to failure as a result. The more of them you short out, the harder the remaining ones will work; if you need to short more than two in any given substring it's time to spend another $20 on a replacement set.

DO NOT DO ANY OF THIS if your lighting string runs directly from the mains and doesn't have a power adaptor brick. I believe that the Holiday Time LED strings do have such a brick, but an electrocuted loved one lying under the tree makes a really crappy Christmas present.
posted by flabdablet at 7:06 AM on December 8 [3 favorites]


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