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Holiday Decorating/the prelit tree that doesn't light


Jim wrote at 2006-12-10 20:50:14
Had a similar issue with our brand new GE tree.  After initially working great (for 24 hours), one-half of one level (four contiguous branches, half of one string) went out.  Replaced both fuses--didn't work.  Replaced every non-functioning bulb--didn't work.  This is a "constant-on" model, and each half-string has a single "fuse-bulb" with a white recessed base (different in appearance from all of the other green bases).  The fuse bulb is the one bulb that GE says you can't replace (it will void warranty, plus there is not a replacement bulb/base included).  I had tried gentle manipulation of this bulb to no avail.  Finally, I pushed firmly on it, wiggled it a little, and the offending half-string lit up.  It is pretty tenuous; wiggle it a little and it goes off, a little more and its back on. This fuse bulb is a real achilles heel, as it can render an otherwise very nice tree useless, and cannot be replaced by the consumer.  

Bill wrote at 2013-01-04 02:39:39
The fuse bulb, with the white bulb base, is not designed to be user replaced. However, it can be if done carefully, with a normal bulb fitted into the white base. Obviously unplug the tree/lights. Once the suspect fuse bulb is identified (blackened a bit?), remove the very small insulating plug where the three wires go into the base. Optional, but at this point you can confirm this is the problem by shorting across the single wire terminal to the double wire terminal with a piece of metal wedged in (I used a nail).  Be careful not to touch the shorting metal, and then plug in. All should light up except the burned out fuse bulb. Unplug and continue. The objective is to remove the white socket from the green base without damaging either. This can be done by pushing the white socket out from the bottom with a small screwdriver (firm constant pressure). The spare green socket bulbs will NOT fit in here though, so a bit more of a work around is still needed.  Once the white socket is removed with the light in place, we need to remove the burnt out light bulb from the white base, This is easily done by straightening the two bent wires on the sides of the socket. Pull the bulb from the top of the socket. You now have an empty white socket. Next replace this bulb with one of the spare bulbs, removing it in a similar way from one of the spare green sockets and then inserting it into the white socket. Bend the wires back in place and replace the white socket back into its base. Replace the little insulating plug removed at the beginning and all should be good.

John wrote at 2015-01-14 19:07:32
I replaced a number of the white-based fuse bulbs in a tree we have. Lots of sections had gone out. As stated in the previous answer, I pulled those specific bulbs out--with a bit of work and all seems good. Only concern I would have is whether it's still safe? Anyone know?

Virginia wrote at 2015-01-16 12:21:08
Bill, thanks so much for your great tutorial.  I was advised by the tree-maker's CSR to buy a new light strand. After googling the problem, I tried your method of changing out the bulb yesterday, and it worked great!  

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Bob Sponaugle


I can answer any question related to outdoor Christmas and Halloween decorating. It can range from the technical, as far as problems with wiring, how to fix light sets. It can also be asthetic, as far as color combinations, etc.


I have been decorating since I was 7 years old. I set up Christmas displays with over 32000 lights, tastefully done.

Awards and Honors
I have won neighborhood decorating contests since I was 14 years old

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