So I've got my Christmas tree up, with a lot of stands of lights plugged into it hooked together. Everything's working great, the wife and kids are happy, Jesus is going to come down my chimney with the Old Republic and a new SSD in a few weeks and all that. But after about 15 minutes, all the lights go out. Well damn, the dog must have unplugged them. Except... the lights are still plugged in, but the chord is really hot.
So I figure maybe it's a bad strand of lights, and plug in the next strand up the tree to the wall. All the lights are working again, and I'm back on track for chimney sweeping Jesus. Again, this strand gets hot and stops working after 15 minutes.
After ruining two sets of expensive lights, I'm hesitant to try to diagnose an electrical problem on my own. Any ideas/advice? And yes, I posted this on an an actual electrical help message board too, not just a PC gaming website. This place just has some of the smartest people I know.