It's that time of year. Time to put up the Christmas lights and decorations. This is my wife's favorite time of year. She is putting out the boxes and boxes of Christmas propaganda. I've got some strings of lights that were working last year when I put them away. She pulled them out and I got no lights working. Well, being an electrician I can fix this, or at least figure them out. Not so easy. I'm tracing the wires in the string. I've got neutrals jumpering, hots jumpering. How in the world are these things put together? Does Scott have a schematic for Christmas lights?
My wife does this exercise times 100. They have a storage bay full of Christmas decorations at the country club and around the community. Her policy is to just chuck those little lights because there are several, incompatible, types of bulbs, it can easily take an hour to find the bad socket and they cost about $2. If you do want to fix these, expect to find a socket that is not working because the little wire on the bulb is not touching the contact. They are usually shunted if they are just burned out. That tool they sell basically just cuts through the insulation and shorts out the bulb socket one at a time. It works if you only have one bad.
Those LED indoor/outdoor strings sure look enticing, even though they are about 3-times the cost of the cheapo $4.00 incandescent 100-bulb strings. I guess if they actually last as long as they say, after a few years of futzing around and tossing the incandescent strings, they may actually be less expensive. It would imagine the energy savings could really add up too, if you happen to decorate your house with lights like the Griswolds.