Troubleshoot and Repair Roofline Lights

Posted by claire@bigstarlights.com BigCommerce on Nov 11th 2021

Troubleshoot and Repair Roofline Lights

When you can’t get your string of roofline lights to work, follow these quick and easy steps to testing and repairing your roofline LED light string!

Let's Talk About Lights!

Nothing is more frustrating than installing lights on a high roofline, plugging in your lights and discovering they don’t turn on! Trust us, you are not the only one who has experience this! When you can’t get your string lights to work, the problem is generally a really simple fix. In this blog, we will be solving the issues that may come with installing roofline lights by running through a series of troubleshooting steps to test and repair your LED light string.

It is a good idea to first determine whether the lights you are using are working in series or in parallel. If a set of lights is working in series, it means that each bulb is connected to the power source collectively, removing a bulb would cause the whole string to go out. If your lights are working in parallel, each bulb has its own individual route to the power source. Removing a bulb would not cause the whole string to be disconnected.

Roofline Lights Not Working: Where should you start?

1. Check to see if your power source is working properly

If the whole line is out, first check that the power source is working. This can be done using a clamp meter, or by using a device that you know is working 100%.

Once you confirm that you are indeed receiving power, follow your extension cable and test every connection along the way. This is often the issue when installing roofline lights. Check to make sure your plugs are installed with the right orientation (male to female plug, female to male plug).

Pro Tip!

Check that the teeth within the plug are not folded over, and biting into the wire. This is very easy to miss. If they are, simply bend the teeth upwards using needle nose pliers, or use a new plug.

2. Single Bulbs are not working

It’s rare that an LED bulb has ‘burnt out’ - that’s more of a term for incandescent lights. Usually it’s just as simple as screwing in your bulb tighter, or cleaning the base of the bulb as there may be some corrosion. If that doesn’t work, then it could be an issue with the socket base itself. The sockets work much like your zip plug, in that there are prongs that need to bite through the SPT2 wire and make a connection. Test the socket with a brand new bulb - if it still is not illuminated, remove the socket and attach a brand new one.

Checking for corrosion on the base of a bulb

Checking for corrosion at the base of a bulb

3. Ensure the socket hasn’t popped off

Sometimes when using a staple gun to attach your lights to a wooden surface the socket can get knocked off. Having your point of contact to the wall as close to the socket as possible is ideal for a straight and even orientation of the bulbs, but too close to the socket can cause the socket to pop off. Be sure to add a couple centimetres of buffer when using a stapler, or use a foam pad on your stapler for a ‘no thinking required’ install.

We hope that this guide helps you better understand some of the issues that come with installing roofline lights, so that you can get to your next job faster!


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