MINNEAPOLIS - It's one of the most common holiday frustrations - plugging in that strand of lights only to find them fizzle.
A product on the market, LightKeeper Pro, claims to restore failed light sets in a few easy steps, just "plug, click and fix" according to a company commercial. KARE 11 brought the product at Frattollone's Hardware, in St. Louis Park, and decided to put it to the test.
"I have had quite a few customers come in that swear by them, say they work great," said Jim Lee, store manager.
Lee agreed to test the LightKeeper Pro, using customer's recycled light strands cast off at the store. He used the red handheld gun, which according to directions, emits an electrical pulse to a defective bulb, restoring electrical current and reigniting the strand.
But after several ties, Lee had no luck. He tried the device on several strands.
"I would say it's probably not quite as fast and easy as it says. Due to my personal experience here today," said Lee, who vowed to take it home and master the device on his own failed lights. "But,I think it would be an ideal great tool if you have your lights strung on your tree or on your house already."
KARE 11 also brought the LightKeeper Pro to Mike Justak, of Plymouth, who has crafted a synchronized light show to music, with more than 40,000 lights.
"I try to put on a good show for everyone and if the sets don't light, sometimes, I may be the only one who will notice it but that is enough," said Justak.
A burned out stand of lights is even more important, when you consider the cause. Justak calls the show "PD Shimmers", to raise awareness for his early onset Parkinson's Disease, which someday will have a firmer grip on his life.
Monday, when testing his lights before a show, Justak found one strand of 100 lights half burned out, and we asked him to see if LightKeeper Pro could come to the rescue.
And, after a few minutes?
"Shazam," said Justak. "That was amazing! Somehow pulling the trigger 30 times on the half set that was bad, fixed where the bad filament was, and restored the bad connection, so now I have a restored light set again."
Justak says he may invest in a little handheld magic, believing the $23 dollar investment could pay off. He's considered it's cheaper just to buy a few new strands, but when he considers the big picture of his intricate light show, the device could make it easier.
Ulta Lit Company President John DeCosmo says the company hotline is lighting up this time of year, and customers can call 888-ULTA-LIT (888-858-2548). New this year, the company has added a device to repair LED lights. The LightKeeper Pro only repairs incandescent lights.
"We've been offering assistance for incandescent light sets for 15 years; this year we've added the ability to help people diagnose and repair their LED lights as well as offer tips to keep their live trees from becoming a safety hazard with the first and only Christmas Tree Safety System on the market today," said DeCosmo.
See Justak's light show, "PD Shimmers" nightly in Plymouth on 4320 Ithaca Lane North, from 5pm-10pm nightly through Dec 28. He also live streams it nightly.
Learn more about LightKeeper Pro; atwww.ultalit.com.