Lightkeeper Pro Christmas Light Tester - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

12-8-2004

Lightkeeper Pro Christmas Light Tester

Lightkeeper Pro Christmas Light Tester
By: Amy Jacquin

'Stringing lights on your Christmas tree is hard work! So it's really frustrating when part of a strand goes out. But this Does it Work product may be able to help solve that problem.

We head to Lowes in Cape Girardeau to pick up three beautiful Douglas Firs, tree stands, a tree preservative, and a wand to help test your miniature Christmas lights. That was the easy part. Setting the trees up in the KFVS lobby took some work!

As soon as they're standing straight, we mark the first for plain water. The second for a store-bought Peters tree preserver, which promises to prevent needle loss and browning, and keep your Christmas tree lasting up to 50 percent longer. And the third tree is for a home-remedy of a splash of vodka every time you fill the water tank. According to stories on the internet, the theory behind this is that vodka breaks-up the sap, allowing the tree to drink more water.

Well, we'll see. I'll continue to water and add products accordingly over the next several weeks, then we'll see which tree is the freshest.

But we want to insert a warning here. If you try any of this at home, make sure your pets cannot drink the water, or they could get very ill! That brings us to today's product.

"There's nothing more aggravating than these lights," says Barry Meadows of Mayfield, KY. "They work one year... You put them away for the season... Pull them back out and put them up, and they don't work ."

Makers of the $17 Lightkeeper Pro claim it's your complete solution to fixing lights. Able to test bulbs, sockets, fuses, and find broken connections. Look closely at Barry's beautiful tree, and you'll see some dark bulbs.First he tests those sockets to try and identify the problem.

"That lit the strand back up, so then we know that it's just a burned-out bulb," says Barry. "That part works."

The tool even claims to be able to repair broken sockets, but we weren't able to find a socket we could prove defective.

We also test the bulb sensor, and the Lightkeeper Pro has no trouble showing which bulbs are good and which aren't.

Now for the biggest test."We had placed the strands on the tree before testing them," Barry explains as he examines the tree. "We got up this high, and the top part didn't work."We all know how that feels!

"From here, this way, the strand stops," he says, pointing around the tree.

The Lightkeeper Pro is supposed to beep if it detects a good connection, or pathway for electricity. It stops beeping if that connection is broken. You hold it close, press the button on top, and follow the strands of lights."Right there," Barry says, holding up a section of the lights where the tool stopped beeping.

But the Lightkeeper Pro is very sensitive to how you point the wand, and sometimes stops beeping even where bulbs are lit. And requires several passes. But it consistently stops at the beginning of the darkened half in between bulbs, which may indicate the wiring itself is messed up.

"Maybe this part of the strand is just not fixable," he says.

To give it one more test, we have someone insert a bad bulb in this strand of lights. The tool beeps pretty steadily until we get to two bulbs. One of them proves to be the bad bulb.

"That's it!" Amy exclaims. "Now I have no more excuses to not finish trimming the three trees!"

So we finish decorating our three trees in the studio. But you'll have to wait until after the New Year before learning the outcome of the tree preserver verses vodka verses plain water test.

But the Lightkeeper Pro is ready to be graded. It can be sensitive when tracking strands. But works well in other areas. So the $17 product earns a solid B.

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