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LED Christmas Lights, please educate me.
Old 11-12-2010, 08:46 AM   #1
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LED Christmas Lights, please educate me.

At the moment we have 125, C9, 7 watt Christmas lights alternating red/blue spanning 125'. 125 x 7 = 875 watts and since we're on time of use hydro, it's costing us around $50.00 per year plus replacement bulbs to light these suckers up during Christmas time. It's time to look into LED C9 bulbs. I've heard:

on some, if one goes out they all go out
if the resister in the center of the string goes out half the line goes out
you can replace the led in the faceted type led's
they sell retrofit C9 led's to fit into your existing incandescent string and work.
led C9's are much less bright then the regular C9's.
they sell colour changing led's


and the list goes on.

What gives with all these choices.....any idea what my options truly are and what you would would suggest?
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:49 AM   #2
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You can buy the triple wire kind that do not blow out the full string if one goes out...

But, these are very cheap IF you buy then just after Christmas... I try and buy up a number of boxes for the next year 'just in case'...

We have had the two wire and one year over half did not work... glad I had spare strings ready to go...
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:56 AM   #3
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The LED lights have become so cheap, I would just go buy them. The electricity saving should about cover your cost in the first year. As a bonus, they do not get hot like the incandescents, so reduced fire hazard.
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:17 PM   #4
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You can buy the triple wire kind that do not blow out the full string if one goes out...

But, these are very cheap IF you buy then just after Christmas... I try and buy up a number of boxes for the next year 'just in case'...

We have had the two wire and one year over half did not work... glad I had spare strings ready to go...
To replace what we have in the two wire would cost $125.00. Due to the spacing between the bulb we would have to purchase more. In other words our 25 bulb C9 is 25' long where as the standard 25 faceted led C9's are 16' long.
I also tried buying them on boxing day (last year) and were sold out within the hour so I didn't get any. I don't think it will be any different this year as I've already thought of that angle.
I've heard the triple wired have resisters half way down the line and if one burns out, half the string goes out. Don't know what to believe anymore.
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The LED lights have become so cheap, I would just go buy them. The electricity saving should about cover your cost in the first year. As a bonus, they do not get hot like the incandescents, so reduced fire hazard.
Hydro savings would be about $45.00 per year and cost to purchase the low priced LED's would be $125.00. Based on what I've read I'd have to purchase replacements every years. Question is how many will last?
I've seen better quality retro fit bulbs at 3 times the price of regular LED's but them the return would be in about 6 years. And that's only if they don't burn out.

Why aren't led's as simply to understand as incandescents?
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:34 PM   #5
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Wow... sold out that quick... I have seen them a week after Christmas... at the HEB they were selling for $1 per box...


You might be right about the half on half off... I have not paid much attention to them... but I do not remember seeing any where one bulb was burnt out... in fact, now that I am thinking about it... there is a special bulb you put in the first slot to make the whole string blink... but I think I own the two wire stuff...

Except for the strings that my sister gave me (the ones that did not work)... I have not had any burn out... knock on wood...
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:02 PM   #6
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In conclusion I've decided to install the incandescent C9 bulbs and I wasn't impressed with what Lowes, Home Depot, Rona sold. Maybe I'll check back online during boxing day or what you Americano's call "Black Friday". When is that by the way?
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:09 PM   #7
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I've hesitated to buy LED Christmas lights for a few reasons.

1) We use the miniature lights already, they don't use near the juice of the old C9/C7 type, so the electric bill savings would be small going to LED.

2) While the LED 'bulbs' themselves should last far, far longer than those incandescent 'bulbs', I'm not sure if the wiring quality is any better. Many of the strings we have go out because of a loose wire somewhere, and the series connections make it hard to find.

3) Color - DW doesn't like the 'blue-white' color of the LEDs. Though I'd be OK with it if we replaced ALL of them, so you wouldn't have the warmer light to compare. I think some are now a warm white, but I don't think those go on sale yet.

One counter to #2 though. It looks like the LED strings might fare better, because the connections to the 'bulbs' are sealed,since they don't need the replaceable socket. That probably makes them more reliable.

Any one have experience on those points?

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Old 11-13-2010, 07:52 PM   #8
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I think some are now a warm white, but I don't think those go on sale yet.
Stimulated by this discussion, I just ordered Bethlehem 25 foot strings mini "flexchange" LED warm white and multi-color from Amazon for $26-$30 per string. Good reviews.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:25 PM   #9
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Stimulated by this discussion, I just ordered Bethlehem 25 foot strings mini "flexchange" LED warm white and multi-color from Amazon for $26-$30 per string. Good reviews.
Thanks for the info. I get the incandescents ridiculously cheap though - $2-$3 a string on sale? So the payback doesn't seem reasonable yet, unless these things last 25 years. Hopefully someday soon they make economic sense, they certainly are getting closer each year.

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Old 11-13-2010, 10:02 PM   #10
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if the resister in the center of the string goes out half the line goes out
I know nothing about these LED lights, but if there really is a resister in there, it's unlikely to fail for many thousands of hours. They are simple things and very reliable.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:33 AM   #11
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I've hesitated to buy LED Christmas lights for a few reasons.

3) Color - DW doesn't like the 'blue-white' color of the LEDs. Though I'd be OK with it if we replaced ALL of them, so you wouldn't have the warmer light to compare. I think some are now a warm white, but I don't think those go on sale yet.

Any one have experience on those points?

-ERD50
We've got the white led's and the color is very different - the house is now glowing. I do miss the old warm white...look...but SO went nuts and we have a huge hodge podge of colors going on so it all mixes in ok...
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:04 AM   #12
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Four years ago I bought 4 strings of large bulb LED Christmas lights and one has failed each year other than the first year. They were much dimmer than my old incandescent lights. Over all I am not happy with them at all.
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Old 11-25-2010, 06:19 AM   #13
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Stimulated by this discussion, I just ordered Bethlehem 25 foot strings mini "flexchange" LED warm white and multi-color from Amazon for $26-$30 per string. Good reviews.
These arrived a few days ago, I bought a tree, put it up inside, and strung the lights yesterday -- two strings of 50 lights each. They look very nice. The warm white ones twinkle. Let me be the first to wish you all a merry Christmas.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:21 AM   #14
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Four years ago I bought 4 strings of large bulb LED Christmas lights and one has failed each year other than the first year. They were much dimmer than my old incandescent lights. Over all I am not happy with them at all.
When you say "one has failed each year" are you refering to a single bulb or the whole string of bulbs?
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:44 AM   #15
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When you say "one has failed each year" are you refering to a single bulb or the whole string of bulbs?

Enough bulbs failed (4 or 5) in each string that I discarded the string. Mostly the colored cover over the LED disconnected from the string. The LED itself was still lit.
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:53 PM   #16
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Enough bulbs failed (4 or 5) in each string that I discarded the string. Mostly the colored cover over the LED disconnected from the string. The LED itself was still lit.
This is what I'm afraid of. The LEDs themselves might last a lifetime of holiday illumination, but if the rest of it falls apart, weakest link, etc...

But LYBM, DIY, environmentally conscious me would have kept a broken string (see the 'hoarder thread') to use the parts as replacements for the others. I assume the caps could be glued on?

Turkeys in the oven, time to do final clean up and relax for a minute before company comes.

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Old 11-25-2010, 01:04 PM   #17
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Bought three strings of LED's last year. Half on one string is not lit this year. Not what I expected!
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:23 PM   #18
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Dang--very disappointing to read! We are going to buy some LEDs to put on the boat for the Holiday Boat Parade in a few weeks.
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:56 AM   #19
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Based on most of the replies I'm glad I didn't run out and get the led's this year. I think it's best to wait another year in hopes that they improve on the technology. I'm all for savings in hydro, even if the intial outlay is a bit more, but not if the outcome is as stated. There still seems to be too many quirks with LED's but in the mean time I think I'm going to check ebay and do some testing of my own with standard led's and see what I can experiment with for next year.

There is a lot to learn about LED's.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 11-26-2010, 11:32 AM   #20
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$1.98 a string Home Depot Black Friday special
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