How to Extract LEDs From LED Christmas Lights




This Instructable will cover the extraction of LEDs from molded LED Christmas lights

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Step 1: Items Needed.

The Following items are needed:

*Led Light Strand

Step 2: Purchase LED Light Set.

Purchase a set of LED Christmas lights. I purchased mine from Walgreens but you can get them fomr ACE, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, and many ther places.

Please Note:
These Instructions have ONLY been tested with the set i bought from Walgreens. They MAY work the same with similar models but I cannot be sure. I plan to update this later to determine if it works with other brands.

Step 3: Remove Bulb From Casing.

The Strand i am working with has little tabs that secure the bulb to the strand. Your's may or they may not. After taking the bulb out of the strand bend the leads straight so that you can pull it from the green housing.

Step 4: Remove LED From Bulb.

Grip base of LED with pliers and bend back and forth until bulb separates from the LED.

Step 5: Remove Rest of Plastic.

To do this I simply slid the piece down over the leads until it came off. You might have to squeeze it with the pliers to loosen it up.

Step 6: Your Finished

You should now have a LED that is separated from its casing. If you have any questions send me a message. I will update this later with a video and Find out if this works with other brands.



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    38 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 6

    How does this compare to simply buying a bag of new LEDs from Digi-Key or Mouser Electronics? Sure, you can find LEDs at places like Radio Shack, but they charge too much due to the expensive individual packaging and the quality is inconsistent.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Great idea, I have about 10 strings of LED lights that the squirrels have chewed apart. Good thing my OCD won't let me throw anything out ;-)

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6

    I think the term for your condition should be CDO.That way the letters are in alphabetical order. ;-)


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Go to your local recycling center and see if they will let you go through the wire bin.I've had good luck there.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Great idea :) my question is, how do you know what type of led it is after you take it out of this, i'm still learning about leds, and have read lots about voltage drop, forward current etc etc.

    how do you figure out those numbers when you don't have a... data sheet for the led

    I'd like to pull apart some of my led xmas lights and use them for a 12-14 volt application



    11 years ago on Introduction

    P.S. Where can I find LEDs online (cheap, bulk, colored, RGB, etc...) ? I live in the USA. Thanks much.

    10 replies

    Sure electronics sell leds in lots of 100 with a resistor for 5v and 12v (200 total) they can be found if you want lots of 1000 try Angel edeal on eBay Less than $20 for 1000 leds
    Just be aware that the white leds on eBay don't last anything like the 100000 hours they quote the phosphor they use is crap.


    i purchased 50 ultra bright blue 3mm from hong kong for 8 bucks they took about 2 weeks
    email me if you want the seller


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    go to walgreens right after christmas during 75 % off(like right now) and buy LED christmas lights. I got 600 LEDs for 10$ a few hours ago!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i get all mine from this shop on ebay. you get 100 ultra bright leds 5mm with 200 resistors 100 for 4.5v and the other 100 for 12v. goto and type "100 ultra bright leds" and then look for them it cost about £10 for the lot.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Just wanted to say how great it is to see some who knows that the phrase really is "Jerry-rigged" as opposed to the omnipresent and incorrect "jury-rigged." A little history lesson: in WWII, the Germans - referred to as "Jerrys" or "Gerrys" by the Americans, were famous (if you want to call it that) for using anything they found to wire, tape or otherwise repair their beaten-up equipment.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is good to know! Each winter the city covers the trees downtown with LED lights, and each spring, they use tree cutters to rip them out. I know, not very cost effective, but the weather in Denver kills the plastic on the wires, (3 feet of snow one day, 75 degrees and sunny the next) so unwinding them is next to impossible. They just throw them away and i was wondering if the bulbs actually were removable (I thought they were glued in place) so thanks!