Electrical

Electrical Questions? Ask an Electrician Online.

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Electrical

Im troubleshooting my c7 bulb christmas lights. it's a parallel

Customer Question
I'm troubleshooting my c7 bulb...
I'm troubleshooting my c7 bulb christmas lights. it's a parallel circuit. none of the bulbs light but if I plug a test light in the female end of the strand, it lights up suggesting that there's normal current flowing through the strand. What should I check next?
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Electrical
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Answered in 2 minutes by:
12/4/2010
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Inactive
Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,772
Experience: Electrical Contractor
Verified

The Electrical Doctor :

Are you wanting to know the best way to trouble shoot and fix these.....

JACUSTOMER-120icf3x- :

yes please

The Electrical Doctor :

What you do is go to your local home improvement store and purchase a non contact tester, or some call them stick testers - and even at Christmas time they refer to them as Christmas lights tester. It will cost about $10. Then what you do is plug in the lights, then start at the beginning of the string and place the tip next to each bulb. If it beeps its a good bulb. If it does not beep, that is your bad bulb. Replace it and you should be good to go. If not keep repeating this process until the lights come on.

JACUSTOMER-120icf3x- :

these aren't mini lights

JACUSTOMER-120icf3x- :

do those testers work with "old school" C7 bulbs with E12 bases?

JACUSTOMER-120icf3x- :

and even though the system is a parallel circuit and there's current from the male end to the female end (I plugged in a trouble light) a bad bulb could still be causing the problem?

The Electrical Doctor :

If they operate on 120v this tester will work just fine.

JACUSTOMER-120icf3x- :

okay and I'll find a bad bulb and that will fix it?

The Electrical Doctor :

That will help you find the bad bulb - then you can fix it.....

JACUSTOMER-120icf3x- :

okay I'll give it a shot. so it's not likely that the string itself needs to be replaced (recognizing that there are no guarantees)

The Electrical Doctor :

Im sure its just going to be one or two bulbs... .happens all the time.

JACUSTOMER-120icf3x- :

cool thanks very much!

Inactive
Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,772
Experience: Electrical Contractor
Verified
Inactive and 87 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
To help you out, here is a quick one minute video to show you how to use the non contact tester to find the bad bulb.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
here's what I did. since I didn't have the non-contact tester (and it's snowing like crazy today so I didn't want to go out) i systematically replaced all of the light bulbs on the string with light bulbs known to work on another string. we found one bad bulb, but the string still doesn't light :-(
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Did you use the tester to check each and every bulb?
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
no, i don't have one and wasn't able to go out and get one, so I replaced all of the bulbs with one's known to be good (they were working on another string)
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
That tells me there may be another problem. If you look inside the plug - they sometimes will have a small fuse in them. If yours does - check it to see if its blown
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
checked the fuses first with an electrical meter. they're all good.
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Ok then at this point your only alternative is the non contact tester. Once you get it, let me know and I will guide you step by step on what to do and what to look for.
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
I don't mean to be contradictory, I'm just intellectually curious. What will the tester tell us that replacing the bulbs doesn't and why would the strand produce current at the female end, but not light any of the good bulbs?
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
The string of lights operates becasue the lights are wired in series with eachother. You need to have a complete circuit in order for the entire string to light up. If one of the light bulbs is bad, then the entire string will be out. Say for instance one of the wires going into the light bulbs is loose or bad, then you will have the same effect - nothing will work.

Using the tester will allow you to pinpoint whether the bulb is bad or if you have a loose wire. Additionally, it will pinpoint the location of the bad bulb or connection. Does this make more sense?
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
yes, but I'm certain that these bulbs are wired in a parallel circuit. On the other strings, I can remove one bad bulb and the rest remain lit.
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
If you pull that one light - do any other lights go out at all?
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
nope
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Ok then its possible that the one socket on the string is simply bad, or you could be using a bulb style that is not quite the same as what was originally in there.
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
all of the bulbs are original to this string. they're screw in c7 bulbs. if a socket is bad that could take out the whole string?
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Not in your case if the lights are in parallel with eachother. So if the socket was bad, it would only take out that one light. Do you have a digital volt meter handy?
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
i've got a volt meter with a sweep needle.
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Ok that may work. What you will want to do is take your meter and put one lead on the side of the socket, and the other in the middle bottom of the socket and see what if any voltage your getting from it.
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
i get no voltage in a socket on the bad string. on a good string I get voltage similar to a standard wall outlet
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Ok and do the light bulbs work on either side of the socket that is not showing any voltage?
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
no the whole string is out
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Oh ok sorry - Then use the volt meter and check the very first socket that is first in line after the plug.
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
okay i did that. no voltage
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Your only other option at this point is to change the plug on the end of this string. If your not getting any voltage at all, then its the only place the problem could be.
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
yeah, it's weird, cause I get full voltage at the other end of the string--at the female plug into which you might plug the next string
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Ok you have three or four wires coming off of the plug?
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
three
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Ok - if you wiggle the wires where they enter the plug - do any of the lights turn on?
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
no
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
Ok heres the deal. with the being wired in parallel, and the entire line being out but you have power at the other end of the string tells me you have a broken connection in the male plug. If you want to use this string, you will need to replace this plug on this line.
Inactive
Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,772
Experience: Electrical Contractor
Verified
Inactive and 87 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
okay thanks!
Electrician: Inactive, Master Electrician replied 7 years ago
No problem.... if you need anything further please be sure to let me know. Good luck......
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Ask Inactive Your Own Question
Inactive
Inactive
Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,772
4,772 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Electrical Contractor

Inactive is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future.

JimmyBagley, IA

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Mike

Mike

Master Electrician

1,426 satisfied customers

Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer

Jason

Jason

Service Technician

3,942 satisfied customers

Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.

Mike G.

Mike G.

Master Electrician

7,826 satisfied customers

Proven Professional 48 years Experience

Kevin

Kevin

Licensed Electrical Contractor

3,870 satisfied customers

31 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License

AssuredElectrical

AssuredElectrical

Master Electrician

3,264 satisfied customers

Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade

electrifier

electrifier

Master Electrician

1,458 satisfied customers

Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise

Rich

Rich

Master Electrician

1,115 satisfied customers

Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain

< Previous | Next >

Related Electrical Questions
Trying to install a new USB outlet in a section of my
Trying to install a new USB outlet in a section of my kitchen that is circuit with a GFIC outlet. There are only two outlets in the circuit, which has its own dedicated breaker.Problem is that new out… read more
Kevin
Kevin
Licensed Electrical Contractor
Diploma
3,870 satisfied customers
I am replacing an electrical outlet that is in series with
I am replacing an electrical outlet that is in series with another outlet and controlled by one switch. Now the lights work but the new switch new longer operates them. … read more
Terry Peterman
Terry Peterman
The Internet Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade School
18 satisfied customers
I'm having an issue with a set of outlets that won't work.
I'm having an issue with a set of outlets that won't work. … read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
7,826 satisfied customers
I have a few questions about changing the outlet that is
Good Morning, KevinI have a few questions about changing the outlet that is controlled by a wall switch. I would like the switch to control a different outlet - are you available for few questions. Mc… read more
Sam I
Sam I
Electrician
B.S.
472 satisfied customers
Gfci outlet green/red light is not on. Breaker is on.
gfci outlet green/red light is not on. Breaker is on. Another gfci outlet has green light. no power for any of the outlets on the line. Some gfci, some not. … read more
Kevin
Kevin
Licensed Electrical Contractor
Diploma
3,870 satisfied customers
I replaced an old GFI outlet with Leviton GFNT1_KW outlet. 4
I replaced an old GFI outlet with Leviton GFNT1_KW outlet. 4 wires and a ground, two black two white. Green status light is on but no power. … read more
Kevin
Kevin
Licensed Electrical Contractor
Diploma
3,870 satisfied customers
I have 14-2 source into outlet box. Another 14-2 into outlet
I have 14-2 source into outlet box. Another 14-2 into outlet box from light box. 14-3 in outlet box going to light switch. I want the switch to only work for light. … read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
7,826 satisfied customers
The outlets in my garage no longer work. The lights do,
The outlets in my garage no longer work. The lights do, however. … read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
7,826 satisfied customers
I am trying to add an outlet to a box at the bottom of a
I am trying to add an outlet to a box at the bottom of a pole light that is in a series of 4 poles. The box has 3 white tied, 3 black tied, 3 green tied, and 2 red wires tied together. What do I put u… read more
Kevin
Kevin
Licensed Electrical Contractor
Diploma
3,870 satisfied customers
GFCI outlet tripped during the night and is not allowing me
GFCI outlet tripped during the night and is not allowing me to reset--what can I do to fix? … read more
Kevin
Kevin
Licensed Electrical Contractor
Diploma
3,870 satisfied customers
I'm concerned about the outlet that usually powers my
I'm concerned about the outlet that usually powers my bathroom fan and a nightlight. I tried using a new hair dryer with it this morning, and the electricity to both the dryer and the bathroom fan shu… read more
Sam I
Sam I
Electrician
B.S.
472 satisfied customers
Gfci outlet was fried which caused the upstairs outlets in
Ok... so gfci outlet was fried which caused the upstairs outlets in the bathrooms not to work... pulled the old gfci switch, put a new one in, had the white wires on the neutral side and black on the … read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
7,826 satisfied customers
Im trying to replace an electrical outlet with a USB outlet
Im trying to replace an electrical outlet with a USB outlet but I'm not sure if it can be done or how it should be done. Here are pictures.… read more
Sam I
Sam I
Electrician
B.S.
472 satisfied customers
Hiya -- if an electrical outlet makes a sound, smokes, and
hiya -- if an electrical outlet makes a sound, smokes, and then it and several other outlets stop working, is there a fire hazard? … read more
Sam I
Sam I
Electrician
B.S.
472 satisfied customers
I have a legrand adorne outlet I took out the old outlet
Hi I have a legrand adorne outlet I took out the old outlet which had a red and black both on hot and a white on white. I put the red and black on hot - first I put the two hot wires in opposite sides… read more
Sam I
Sam I
Electrician
B.S.
472 satisfied customers
Question on wiring GFCI outlet... Late 80's...and no. Outlet
outlet is under the sink...bottom outlet goes to switch on the wall… read more
Sam I
Sam I
Electrician
B.S.
472 satisfied customers
Wiring a gfci outlet in kitchen (had old normal outlet) and
Wiring a gfci outlet in kitchen (had old normal outlet) and have disposal and over sink light in same box. Power comes into outlet. There are also 3 other lines leaving to other outlets in kitchen. Wa… read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
7,826 satisfied customers
I took down a half wall with an outlet. the outlet was
i took down a half wall with an outlet. the outlet was connected to a 3 way switch and now the light will not come on. what should i do … read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
7,826 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x