How to Make Christmas Lights Blink

Quick fix for making your lights blink and twinkle

Published: 2022-11-23 08:50:02

Christmas lights are among the most fun traditions around the holidays, but they can quickly evolve into the most frustrating as well. The good news is, there is a quick way to make most Christmas lights blink that many people overlook. In this blog, we’ll go over a quick fix for making your lights blink as well as a few options that might make your life easier. Nothing stands out as much as Christmas lights that blink and twinkle.  

The Basic Way

Making your Christmas lights blink should be a simple and fun process. You'll need a few basic supplies to get started.  

What You'll Need:

  •     A string of Christmas lights  
  •     A power outlet 
  •     A red-tipped flashing bulb  
  •     Gloves 

Instructions:

  1.     Start by unplugging in your string of lights from a power source.  
  2.     Once your lights are unplugged, put on some gloves to protect your hands.  
  3.     Once your gloves are on, you can choose any of the standard light bulbs on your string of lights to remove. For a more uniform look, choose one that would normally be hidden from sight at the end of the string.  
  4.     Grip the bulb at the base and gently pull straight out to avoid damaging the bulb. Avoid squeezing the bulb as you grip it, these can shatter!  
  5.     Find your red-tipped flasher bulb, most Christmas lights come with one in the packaging. Place the bulb in the empty socket. This does not require a lot of pressure, so take your time.
  6.     Once the bulb is secured, plug in the lights, and watch them blink!  

Timers

Timers are a great way to conserve energy around the holidays, especially if you forget to unplug your lights in the mornings. Keep in mind, most Christmas light timers will not make your lights blink without the red-tipped blinking bulb, but we’ll go over how using timers can help your lights shine bright throughout the season.  

There are two main types of timers that you can use for this purpose: mechanical and digital.  

Mechanical timers are the simplest and most common type of timer. They work by using a spring-loaded mechanism to turn the lights on and off at specific intervals. To use a mechanical timer, simply plug it into an outlet and then plug your lights into the timer. Set the timer for the desired interval (usually between 1 and 60 minutes) and then turn it on. The lights will turn on and off at the interval you have set, even if you are not home.  

Digital timers are more sophisticated and offer more features than mechanical timers. For example, they can be programmed to turn the lights on and off at specific times and can also be used to create blinking patterns. Digital timers are more expensive than mechanical timers, but they are also more convenient to use.  

Music-Activated Lights

Music-activated lights are one of the most popular ways to decorate for Christmas. You can find these lights at most stores that sell holiday decorations. All you need is a set of music-activated lights and a music player.  

To use music-activated lights, simply plug in the string of lights and turn on your music player. The lights will pick up the music with an internal microphone and blink and change colors in time with the music. You can use any music player, from a stereo to a smart phone.  

These lights are great for parties or adding extra holiday cheer to your home. For example, if you want your lights to blink in time with Christmas carols, simply put on a holiday radio station or playlist. Your lights will add extra fun and festivity to any event.  

Remote-Controlled Lights

Remote-controlled lights are one of the most popular types of Christmas lights. They are very easy to use and can be controlled from a distance. However, you will need to specifically purchase remote controlled lights for this to work.  

Once you have your lights plugged in, it’s as simple as using the remote to select the desired effect. Some remote-controlled lights have dozens of light and pattern combinations, so don’t be afraid to get creative with it!  

Special Effects

Achieving special effects with your Christmas lights is simple with a little creativity and the right materials. There are many ways to make your lights blink, flicker, or chase each other. You can purchase purpose-built controllers, but they can be expensive. If you’re handy, a more economical solution is to use a cheap computer power supply and some relays.  

You can wire a relay in series with your lights for a simple blinking effect. The relay acts like a switch, rapidly turning the lights on and off. You can create all sorts of patterns and effects by controlling the relay with a computer.  

For a more sophisticated effect, you can use multiple relays to control multiple strings of lights. This allows you to create chase effects and other patterns. By using different colors of light, you can create even more interesting effects.  
 
This method is more complicated than the traditional methods but could also be more fun for those who are more inclined to get their hands dirty with some basic electrical work.  

Troubleshooting

Christmas lights are a common holiday pastime. If they're not working, you can often resolve the issue by checking the bulbs and connecting wires. Other times, replacing the entire string of lights may be necessary.  

If your Christmas lights are not blinking, check the bulbs to see if any are burned out. If all bulbs are lit, check the connections between the bulbs and the socket. Make sure all the connections are tight, and there are no loose wires. If the problem persists, you may need to replace the entire string of lights.  

If you have replaced the entire string of lights and the problem still exists, there may be an issue with the sockets. Try plugging the light set into another outlet to see if that resolves the issue.