Christmas tree lights come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Their one most important feature that everyone cares about, however, is whether they blink or not. What’s more, the preferences “for” and “against” blinking Christmas lights seem to be divided straight down the middle – some people like their lights to twinkle like stars while others hate it when they do that.
So, if you’re wondering how to make Christmas lights flicker or how to make them stop, here are a few suggestions.
How to make LED Christmas lights blink?
If you’re looking into how to make LED Christmas lights twinkle, the first thing you’ll need to figure out is whether your Christmas lights are wired in a parallel set up or in a series.
What’s the difference between parallel and series lights?
Simply put, series wiring means that all the lights are on a single circuit and if you remove even just one bulb, the rest will turn off too. This is a simpler and more affordable way to set up string lights which is why they’re popular.
Parallel wiring, on the other hand, means that every bulb is on its own secondary circuit, and removing one bulb won’t affect the others (too much, it will still affect the voltage they receive but that’s beside the point). Parallel wiring makes for more costly light strings but also makes them easier to manage.
There’s a third option too – a combination of the other two where you have a parallel string of multiple smaller series. Removing one bulb there won’t affect the entire string but it will affect the smaller series.
So, why does this matter? Because the easiest way to make LED Christmas lights blink is to add blinking bulbs to a series.
Blinking vs non-blinking bulbs
A string of Christmas lights will typically come with at least several extra lights. However, it should also come with two different types of lights – blinking and non-blinking. The non-blinking (or “normal”) bulbs have no noticeable markings on them. The blinking bulbs, however, should have either a red or silver tip on them.
So, if your Christmas lights are not blinking and you want them to, here’s what you should do:
- Turn the lights off and disconnect them from the electrical socket.
- Take any bulb out and reconnect the lights to the electrical socket to see if the wiring is parallel or in a series. If all the lights went off, it’s in a series. If only a few did – it’s parallel with mini-series. In the latter case, you should repeat step 2. several more times until you find all the individual series of lights within the wiring. And then-
- Swap a non-blinking light in each series of lights with a blinking light. This will make all other lights in the series blink together with the blinking light.
And that’s about it! Just make sure the light string is turned off from the socket every time you tinker with it.
How to make Christmas lights stop blinking?
If you have blinking Christmas lights and you want to make them stop blinking, all you need to do is the same process but in reverse. Locate the blinking bulb(s) in the string, turn off the lights, and change the blinking bulbs with non-blinking ones.
Alternatively, if there’s a control box you can bypass it by cutting the wires coming from both ends of the box and connecting them to one another. If the blinking was due to the control box, this should remove the problem. You should be careful when handling the wires, however, and you should make sure to match hot wires with hot wires and neutral with neutral – use a multimeter to determine which is which.
Or, you can use a bridge rectifier which is an even more complicated method that we wouldn’t recommend to non-professionals.