The Anatomy of Christmas Tree Lights
The good news is that there are usually excellent instructions that come with each box of Christmas tree lights. The bad news is that often times the lights get separated from the box -- okay, let's just say it -- the box gets thrown away. And probably somewhere in your kitchen junk drawer is a little plastic bag that came with the lights that you've never taken the time to look at. It's just an extra bulb or two, right?
WRONG. Take a closer look. Many of the newer Christmas tree light sets not only come with a few extra bulbs but a couple of extra fuses as well. Extra fuses? I never heard of such a thing! If you have some strands of lights that no longer work -- and before you run out to replace them -- check and see if it's a fuse issue. The "fuse box" is not located in a dark corner of your basement. For a strand of Christmas tree lights the fuse box is located in the plug. And real quick before you start poking around: DON'T MESS AROUND WITH CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHT THAT ARE PLUGGED IN! I'm just sayin'. Look at the plug for a little slot that. You might need a magnifying glass and a screwdriver. On my lights it actually says "open" with an arrow which was to slide the cover to access the fuses.
Most strings of Christmas tree lights have the plug, then 30" of plain wire before the first light. Try not to use an outlet that is more than a couple of feet away from the tree to avoid stretching the wire. Personally, I think it's a good idea to get a power strip. And don't roll your eyes. You don't need to get an $80 computer power strip from the office supply store. You can get an inexpensive one for under $10 at any big box store.
Christmas tree lights either plug in end-to-end or the plugs stack together. The Christmas tree lights that plug in end-to-end are self explanatory. There is a plug on each end. Christmas tree lights that stack are joined together at the plugs and each strand has only one plug. Each plug has prongs on one side and two "female" receptacles on the other.
Every box of Christmas tree lights has the specifications on the box including if they connect end-to-end or stacked AND how man sets of lights you can safely string or stack together. If you've thrown away the box, the general rule is that you can string three sets of 100 lights together, or six sets of 50 lights, before having to start a new plug.
Lights come strung on green wire, brown wire and white wire. I still don't understand the white wire unless you are installing on a fake white tree or maybe a flocked tree. Do people even do that anymore because I'd like to see how to flock a tree. Anyway, I go for the green wired lights, because I don't want to see any wires at all. Which is another area of Christmas tree light installation that my dear husband and I don't agree on. He thinks that the wires are great places to hang Christmas tree ornaments.