How To Save Your Pre-Lit Christmas Tree From The Trash

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How To Save Your Pre-Lit Christmas Tree From The Trash

I was this close to throwing my pre-lit Christmas Tree in the trash! Those dag-gum lights! Seriously! 😞

But we saved it!! Yay!😀   I discovered the answer, after searching LONG and HARD on Google and YouTube.

Disclaimer: Hubby and I are not electricians. We are not here claiming we have knowledge of electricity. This is just a tip we found that worked for us. We do not guarantee that this will fix your Christmas tree.... but it might!

We have two 9ft. GE Pre-lit Christmas trees. They are supposed to stay on even if one of the lights burns out. Sounds great, right? Well, it has worked well for almost 8 years. Last year, we started have a lot of lights burn out and we purchased the Light Keeper Pro.  This is what it looks like. That affiliate link is included for your convenience.

That little tool is awesome and has made fixing some of the light issues soooo much easier!! You can test light strands for power, test light bulbs, and so much more!! One of the best $20 we've spent!

HOWEVER.... this year we had a whole NEW set of problems.... I seriously was at my wits end.  Whole sections were out! What? 😤 😣 😵  And I'll show you the culprit!

Our Christmas tree has a little light called a current resistor bulb. It looks different than all the other lights on the tree. Do you see how the base of the bulb is white? On some trees, I've heard they can be black.

current resistor bulb

Most of your lights will be green, like these. 

Christmas Tree Light Bulb Base - Green

When that current resistor bulb goes out, the lights following it have no power.  Somehow, when that light is burnt out it stops the flow of electricity. Anyway, that light bulb needs to be changed.

But! GE glued that baby in and gave no lip to pry it out or anything! Really??? What??  Is your Christmas Tree done then?? I think that really stinks. I would've thought that GE would have done a better job. But we all know it's about the $$. They don't want your tree lasting forever!

So, I watched this guy on You Tube. Click HERE to see it.

Basically, Hubby took an Exacto knife and carefully cut a bit of green off around the top edge of the bulb. ( The guy in the video used a Dremel, either way it gets the job done.)

Fixing current resistor bulb

Now, that the white bulb base is exposed, you can grab it and wiggle it loose. It might get a bit mangled using needle nose pliers, but that's fine. Remember, they are probably glued, so it takes a bit of work to loosen it.

When it's loose, take it out.

Fixing current resistor bulb

The white bulb base looked very similar to the other light bulbs on the tree. The easy part is next.

Just replace the bulb. 😊  Then replace the light bulb base back into the light strand.

Fixing current resistor bulb

Yay! We didn't have to toss the tree! 

Fixed current resistor bulb

Here's a tip we learned.  Every year be diligent about replacing burned out light bulbs. That keeps the current resistor bulb from burning out. Now we're pros at replacing light bulbs and that Light Keeper Pro helps a TON!

Unfortunately, that didn't fix all of our Christmas tree light problems... We made due this year, by adding some lights in areas we couldn't get to work. Bummer... but we have a plan for next year that doesn't involve trashing the tree!

I really hopes this helps some of you!



  1. I hate pre lit trees because this happens all the time. I always add a few more light sets to the pre lit trees that I have since the rule is usually at least 100 lights per foot, pre lit trees seldom come with enough lights on them. Many of the trees that I have (Total of over 20 this year) had their lights die out so I just cut them all off the Tree and lit them myself which was more to my liking anyway. I prefer not to have pre lit Trees...

    1. Hi Debbie!! Yes, I'm leaning towards your way no more pre-lit! But... I'm thinking the LED ones might be the answer?? Whoa! 20 trees?? I bet it's beautiful! I'm going to head over to your blog and take a looksee! :)

  2. Hi good post. When using the light keeper pro did the bulb next to the current resistor bulb showing as if it had current?

    1. Yes, it did! One side had power, and the other side did not. Thanks for stopping by! :)

    2. Tried this but it didn't fix ours. The lightkeeper pro is indicating I need to use the tool to fix the shunt but the base is too big to use it on. May have to modify the lightkeeper pro or cut the light out and rewire it. It beeps on one side (power in) but no beep on the other side (no power).

    3. Ugh! What a bummer! Lighted trees... I have a love/hate relationship with them...

  3. I have the same problem. Nearly all the resistor bulbs are burnt out. I took the tool you suggested buying, located the next bulb AFTER the resistor bulb. Then I plugged in the LIGHT KEEPER PRO and fired the trigger two or three times and the lights came back on, MINUS the resistor one. THANK YOU for the tip on how to remove them. Once the strand lights up, find and replace the rest of the bulbs that are out in that section as well!

  4. I identified the resistor bulbs before seeing this, but the BULB of mine is glued into its base!! I can pop it out but can’t replace the bulb because of the glue. :(

  5. Wish someone would explain what the resistor bulb does and does the bulb you are replacing it with have to be a resistor bulb or is the white thing the resistor?

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