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Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the strings-of-luminescent-pearls dept.

Christmas Cheer 107

glassware asks: "Perhaps you know that LED holiday Lights last hundreds of times longer than regular lights. Perhaps you know that your local utility company recommends them for drastically lowering your electricity bill. But my real problem is, where can you find them? I've found lousy battery-operated LED lights in some department stores; but even in the best stores I give up after a half hour of searching, and so far I see only one vendor making them. Surely there must be alternatives. Where do you get your LED holiday lights?"

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Askslashdot, not AskGoogle...geez (2, Informative)

Kaz Riprock (590115) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853301)


Here...Ya lazy bastard [efi.org]

I mean really. This isn't very askslashdot....it's more like AskGoogle -> "led holiday lights".

Duh.

Ask Slashdot as advertising (3, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853443)

and so far I see only one vendor making them

Hmmm... I wonder who might have posted the question...

Um, no? (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854103)

Yes, he's saying he's only found one vendor that makes them,

BUT HE'S ASKING IF ANYONE KNOWS OF ANY OTHERS!!!

That's NOT advertising. Now if the article were a review of these Forever Lights, it would be a Slashvertisement. But he has pointed out the one vendor he's found, but is asking if anyone knows of other sources. (Some pages, such as the LED Museum, mention, "inferior" lights, but give no details on where to find such lights if you WANT LED lights with a transformer at the base.)

As to the Ask Google trolls - I've asked Google and 90% of the links are pages that happen to have LED, Christmas, and light on the same page but do NOT have any content related to LED Christmas lights. The only Google links that came up in my search that were actually relevant were the links posted at the beginning of the article.

Re:Um, no? (2, Informative)

WoodenBoy (553109) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855960)

As to the Ask Google trolls - I've asked Google and 90% of the links are pages that happen to have LED, Christmas, and light on the same page but do NOT have any content related to LED Christmas lights.
Try searching for "led holiday lights". With quotes.

Search engines have supported quoted phrase searching for quite some time now. I'm always surprised at the number of people who don't know about it (or have failed to read any searching tip/faq page, such as Google's [google.com] ).

Probably few vendors because LEDs suck... (3, Informative)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 11 years ago | (#4859682)


...for this purpose.

Yes, he's saying he's only found one vendor that makes them, BUT HE'S ASKING IF ANYONE KNOWS OF ANY OTHERS!!!

I don't know of any others. And I can't imagine that, for the moment, there will be too many of them.

Listen, here's the problem. I love LEDs, but with current technology, they're not really appropriate for this application.

First off, let me state that, for Christmas lights, tungsten bulbs - especially parallel-wired with 120V bulbs - are a huge improvement over the previous tradition of candles in the Christmas tree. But they're still not a great idea:

  • Heat to ignite tinder-dry Christmas tree and the ghastly ornaments the neighbor's kids made
  • Energy useage
  • Line power around potentially conductive metallized plastic tinsel
  • Broken bulbs expose line voltages to user. (This applies even with series strings where the bulb voltage may be as low as 1.8V; when the circuit is opened, there's 120V across the bulb socket, with enough current to kill)

An alternative would be gas discharge lamps, like those little flicker-flame neons. But they're not without their flaws:

  • Dim
  • Limited availability
  • High prices
  • Limited choice of colors
  • Broken bulbs still expose 120V, generally without a series resistor to limit current - ie. potentially lethal shock.

LEDs are a great idea, since they run cool. They're commonly available in a bunch of colors, and with triple-die LEDs, the lights could literally be any color and could change on-the-fly. But there's a downside:

  • Expensive
  • Require heavy and expensive transformer or switching supply to be practical
  • Dim
  • Small viewing angle

Sure, LEDs are cheap, but they're still an order of magnitude more expensive that the little miniature lights on those cheap Made In Bangladesh light strings. Most people won't pay the extra, will they? (If in doubt about whether consumers know or appreciate quality, consider again VHS versus Betamax, or Microsoft versus Apple.)

The transformer or switching supply would absolutely constitute a benefit to consumers, in that it would virtually eliminate the possibility of getting a shock off the string. But try to explain it to consumers: "Point the mouse at the little picture of a computer on your screen. Click twice quickly." "Stop it! You're being too technical!" Therefore, it would really only become an extra burden to manufacturers.

Dim. LEDs are a hell of a lot brighter than they were a few years ago, and while they throw out a lot of light, it's over a fairly small viewing angle (typically under 45 degrees). The net output is miniscule compared to a tungsten bulb. Most LEDs can't even be seen to be lit in direct sunlight - but even my miniature light set is clearly visibly on.

Viewing angle is small. Readily available high-intensity LEDs are generally meant for automotive taillight and traffic signalling duty. They usually only have a viewing angle of 12.5 degrees. Your tree will look pretty dark if each light is only visible for 12.5 degrees of a walkaround.

How could this be solved? Maybe clear LEDs with frosted housings in order to make the light diffuse over the entire surface of the LED? Good idea, but it's still not bright enough to be satisfactory for that purpose. Nor does the frosting, in practice, diffuse light as evenly as you would want.

My perspective? I love LEDs. They're my favorite modern electronic component. (Second is probably the MOSFET. Overall favorite is vacuum tubes.)

I've got a 1960s or early 1970s Sound A-5000 power amplifier (try doing a Google search for that! Anyone got any info on the amp, e-mail me) which blew its tungsten pilot light. The light was a GE #47 - 6V, 150mA pilot light. Consumes 0.9W off the amp's low voltage supply to light up a dim red indicator on the front panel.

So I took a traffic duty red LED that I had kicking around. Clusters of these are used to make brake lights and traffic lights. The LED is rated for 3,000MCD at 12.5 degrees with a forward voltage drop of 2.1V and a peak current of 30mA.

The resistor was calculated as follows: Vin-Vdrop = 6.3V - 2.1V = 4.2V. R = E/I = 4.2V/0.03A = 140 ohms. Next standard value is 150 ohms, and I used that. When I measured the current through the LED, it was (unsurprisingly) 28mA, 93% of the LED's rated maximum. The forward voltage drop was 2.1 volts. The LED is being driven harder than I would like, and it gets warm after a few minutes.

Even so, the dim red indicator on the front panel is still dim. Right on axis, it'll blind you, but from any other angle, the indicator is still too dim to be useful. Improvements were made by actually grinding down the end of the LED and using clear hot-melt glue to attach it to the back of the bezel, but it would still be unacceptably dim on a finished product. Certainly dimmer than the old GE #47 was, not even as bright as the panel LED on the front of my Viewsonic. And that's with a traffic duty LED, pushed hard.

In summary, naked LEDs are great when viewed on axis, used as indicators or when a fine shaft of light is required. But trying to diffuse them or expect behavior similar to an incandescent bulb is still pushing things... for the moment.

Re:Probably few vendors because LEDs suck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4860536)

Stop it! You're being too technical!

Re:Probably few vendors because LEDs suck... (1)

Shadowkahn (633450) | more than 11 years ago | (#4868950)

well i wouldn't say that the normal christmas lights are as dangerous as you make them out to be. After all, in our lawsuit happy society, where people sue McDonalds because they're fat, if christmas lights were dangerous, the lawsuits would be flying. 120V is not as dangerous as people make it out to be. You can get shocked by 120V and just feel some tingling in your arm. This has happened to me several times (you know the routine: "Honey is the power off?" "Yes" zzzap!) 120V only becomes dangerous in a couple of situations: Increase your conductivity significantly - stand in a basin full of salt water, for example. The other way it can become dangerous is if you let it cross your heart. You'd pretty much have to grab both sides of a split wire, completing the circuit, to do that. (this is why electricians have the "one hand" rule where one hand stays in your pocket when you're working on live wires) It's pretty unlikely that someone trying to extract a christmas bulb would be able to get both hands in a position where they could complete the circuit across their body - -the current would just jump from one hand to the other. Plus keep in mind that most (if not all) christmas lights have fuses inside the plug. If someone starts getting shocked off of a broken bulb, the amp draw on that strand will go through the roof and blow the fuse. That said, I'm not gonna accept any liability if someone reads this and goes off to shock themselves ;)

Re:Askslashdot, not AskGoogle...geez (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4853715)

Dear Slashdot,
Please tell me, how do I use Google?
Sincerely, A Moron.

Dear Mr. Moron,
You have to write www.google.com in your browser. I hope this is not to difficult. Maybe I will better spell it for you: w, w, w, dot, g, o, o, g, l, e, dot, c, o, m. Then, you have to write your question (but without the "Where Have You Found" and the question mark -- it is artificial intelligence and it will understand you even without those words) in the little text field. Then, you must press enter and you will be surprised how many (about 138,000) websites you will find.
Sincerely, Slashdot.

Re:Askslashdot, not AskGoogle...geez (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4853744)

Hey, he tried. Did you read this? "I give up after a half hour of searching" The man spent 30 minutes searching, which is like 3 years in internet time. Hurry up and give him an answer!!

  1. Provide free advice on local shopping
  2. ???
  3. Profit!!
Your dot-com fortune awaits!

Re:Askslashdot, not AskGoogle...geez (5, Informative)

glassware (195317) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854788)

Lesson Learned - never ask a question on slashdot without answering all possible snide replies.

I have bought, tried, and returned many LED light sets. I have hunted at all the stores listed on the ForeverBright where-to-buy page. I have been searching regularly for three weeks now. I have seen the online ordering pages; but somehow I just don't feel comfortable buying mail order when there's only a few more weeks till Christmas, and seeing as how I'll probably have to return them anyway.

Re:Askslashdot, not AskGoogle...geez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4856747)

I have bought, tried, and returned many LED light sets...probably have to return them anyway.

Then you don't need AskSlashdot, you need AskATherapist. Why don't you just buy a set and be happy that you're saving your energy bill? I don't know what your problem is that you have to keep returning light sets.

You won't buy from the suggested stores. The ones you have found and bought you've returned. You won't buy from a website (even though the lights can be put up next year too even if they're a little late this year). It looks like you just want someone to say "I found them at WalMart".

Don't ask a question if you want a specific answer. Cause even if someone gave it to you, you'd already have known it to be the answer. They're going to be up for a month of the year, buy something and toss them in your bushes and be happy.

It's christmas for cripe's sake.

Re:Askslashdot, not AskGoogle...geez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4887577)

If you do find them at the store, perhaps you can buy them after Christmas for 1/2 price!

who cares?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4853362)

who cares??

Well the author cares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4857325)

Why else would he bother to write in?

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4853626)

LED holiday lights find you!

Not quite there yet (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853629)

As taken from http://www.es.wapa.gov/pubs/files/2001_holiday_lig hts_fs_es.pdf [wapa.gov] :

http://www.foreverbright.com/ [foreverbright.com]
http://www.ccl-light.com/ [ccl-light.com]

Nope, ain't a lot out there.

I think many rope lights use LEDs. You should look into those.

rope lights using LEDs? (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854001)

If you know of any, I'd like to know who manufactures them. I am hoping to find just that, but so far I have not found any based on LEDs.

timothy

Re:rope lights using LEDs? (3, Interesting)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855890)

Better idea, go to Target and grab a few coils of their electroluminescent wire, in the car-pimping department.

Re:rope lights using LEDs? (2)

shorti9 (307602) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856209)

And grab a tape pinstripe while you're at it. It'll make your christmas tree go faster!

(on-topic: personally, i have an assload of the 2$-a-string lights from wally world, which i have strung from the ceiling with fishing line to give a nice soft light in the living room)

Re:rope lights using LEDs? (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4860047)

Covered your ceiling with tons of lights? Who are you, the Invisible Man? Good book.

Perfect... Maybe (2)

Chris Canfield (548473) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853631)

I've been trying to decorate a bicycle with christmas lights for some time now. An LED String would be ideal, given knowledge of the power requirements of these bulbs. Sadly, it sounds like the Everbrights have the AC-DC conversion at the base of each bulb, but maybe with one of the so-called inferior brands with the transformer at a more inconvienient location would be easier to hack.

Anyone tried this?

-C

Re:Perfect... Maybe (2)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853916)

Why not just get your own bag of LEDs, a soldering iron, and a spool of wire and make them yourself?

Re:Perfect... Maybe (3, Funny)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855649)

You sissy. Real men mine the ore, extract the metals, and make their own wire. And then for the LEDs...

Re:Perfect... Maybe (2)

Kaz Riprock (590115) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854009)

There are quite a few different cheap versions of battery-powered regular Christmas lights. I've decorated all sorts of things with these and the worse you need to do is hide the battery pack (size of 2 or 4 AA batteries). They last hours at a time. While LED's would be better for time, the ubiquitousness of the regular lights probably means you can get a string of lights for under $20.

Re:Perfect... Maybe (2, Informative)

Smitty825 (114634) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854345)

I know that we are really starting to venture into "off-topic" land here, but these lights for your bike wheels [hokeyspokes.com] look really cool. I don't have any first hand experience using them, but if you're looking to spend some money lighting up your bike, then this might be an investment...

Re:Perfect... Maybe (2)

Chris Canfield (548473) | more than 11 years ago | (#4857535)

Those are very cool. Unfortunately, the point of using cheap lights on this particular bike is that it is a cheap commuter that is perpetually locked up outside, currently in the snow. You wouldn't believe the kind of theft deterrent Duct Tape provides, esp in the kinds of quantities that make it look structural. Cheezy lights go well with that aesthetic.

On the other hand, This probably would be perfect for large rotating signs at raves... Maybe it would be worth the investment after all. Get enough of them spinning in unison and they could form a semi-transparent christmas tree.

Ah, holiday spirit.

-C

red battery powered lights, cheap (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854779)

I bought a string (20 lights) of red LEDs, each in a little red plastic ball, for $5 (half off regular price of $10) at Walmart last year, has worked pretty well since then. Powered by C batteries, also has a DC input of I think 3v. It's cheap / chintzy (battery case is weak, not quite to the needs-tape stage), but still a nice way to add red lights to my car or wherever.

timothy

Re:Perfect... Maybe (2, Insightful)

kps (43692) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856419)

It's not that I've bothered to check (this being Slashdot, after all), but maybe they convert AC to DC with, um, like, diodes? Somebody mentioned 80 LED strings, and with them in series, they'd get around 2V peak (which is reasonable) and the whole string would pull 1 or 2 amps.

(It isn't practical to wire LEDs in parallel, because they aren't particularly uniform in resistance, and besides, the transformer to put out 2V at 2 amps would be too expensive for Christmas lights.)

By the way, while LEDs have their advantages, they are not, generally, more efficient than other lamps. A current 'super-bright' LED yields around 2 to 5 lumens per watt, with high-end ones (which again are too expensive to be in these Christmas lights) about 10 lm/W. Normal incandescents are around 6 lm/W, although the tiny coloured ones in Christmas light strings are indeed most likely less efficient. Halogen incandescents give around 20 lm/W, and fluorescent tubes around 80 lm/W.

Re:Perfect... Maybe (2, Insightful)

kps (43692) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856499)

Oops, typo in the above post. Watts.


Also, they might well use two strings of 40 LEDs each.
That way they'd get brighter lights from cheaper LEDs at the cost of reliability and a little extra wire.

Re:Perfect... Maybe (2, Insightful)

DRACO- (175113) | more than 11 years ago | (#4857128)

Why not try something a little cleaner.. some el strips (electro luminecence). You could super glue these pretty cleanly to the bike body. Im considering ordering up some el strips for the interrior of my car. In my town people always expect me to feature some out of the ordinary gadget somewhere near me.

DRACO-

Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (3, Funny)

alfaiomega (585948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853639)

I found mine in my neighbour's garden.

(I was too lazy to use Google [google.com] and buy my own, so I stole them.)

Re:Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (2)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854303)

I think you are joking, but this is a real problem. What sort of creature steals christmas lights? There was this house in my home town that used to put up several hundred thousand lights, creating a winter wonderland. However they stopped when someone stole something like 10% of the lights they put up.

Re:Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (1)

EatHam (597465) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855697)

heh. I used to have that problem until I started stripping small portions of the insulation off of the wires. FYI - I did test this on myself, and it doesn't really cause *that* much of a shock. Does hurt though.

Re:Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (2)

Wiwi Jumbo (105640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856824)

That rocks!

My girlfriend's parents house is on a pathway and every year they have problems with this...

One year they actually cut the wires! In seveal places...

I would *love* to give those little brats a really good jolt...

Re:Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (1)

alfaiomega (585948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4857880)

I used to have that problem until I started stripping small portions of the insulation off of the wires.

I hope it won't rain where you live on Xmas. Because it would end your light effects. But... On the second thought, I think it could actually start the light effects. In that case, I hope it will rain.

Re:Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (1)

EatHam (597465) | more than 11 years ago | (#4858759)

And that (from testing) is why you only strip alternating sections of it so that the bare wires don't touch themselves or anything else. You can get them wet if you're careful on how you strip them.

Re:Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4856319)

We used to have a problem with the asshole across the street blinding everyone in the neighborhood with, like, a million lights -- until we started stealing his lights and using them on our trees.

Re:Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? (1)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 11 years ago | (#4862199)

>>What sort of creature steals christmas lights?

a few years ago `comic relief` in addition to the red noses you could buy for your person brought out red noses for your car. A friend went into work that day and his workmate had a car red nose that had a bash in it. "Had an accident?" asked my friend. to which the guy replied "Nah - the bash was in it when I found it"

unfortunately people are cheap. They are also dishonest - do you know how burglaries take place at Xmas time. all those presents lying under trees... it's a tempatation!

Fire safe, too (2, Insightful)

mary_will_grow (466638) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853677)

They also drastically reduce the chance of fire.

Who knew, a dried up dead tree strapped full of extension cords pumping mad current could be a fire hazard?!?!

Re:Fire safe, too (4, Insightful)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856353)

Not using lights at all further reduces the fire hazard. Not killing a tree and leaving it in your house to dry just about eliminates the fire hazard.

Re:Fire safe, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4857393)

You know, those trees scream when you kill them.



Personally I like to cut the tops off of trees and mount them on a stake as a warning to the other trees in the neighborhood.

Re:Fire safe, too (2)

quintessent (197518) | more than 11 years ago | (#4858619)

Artificial trees are a good idea.

And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (3, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853697)

Since I do not support countries which are de jure repressive regimes, forced infanticide, who long ignored an AIDS crisis, and who believe that their people are State property, I do not buy products made in China. Where can you get holiday lights made elsewhere?

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (1, Offtopic)

jjshoe (410772) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854173)

if a car is painted in america but built in china its considerd made in america.


if they put the windows xp liscence sticker on the case in america they can say it was built in america even if it was truly assembled in china.

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (1)

Yottabyte84 (217942) | more than 11 years ago | (#4861078)

I want /dev/girl.... Is there a kernel patch?

/dev/girl (2)

Jaeger (2722) | more than 11 years ago | (#4866767)

I want /dev/girl.... Is there a kernel patch?
Most implementations are proprietary, so they have to be compiled in as a (tainted) module. The advantage if those implementations, though, is that you don't have to share your /dev/girl with anyone else, which many people tend to prefer.

off topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4854382)

Property is defined by enforcement, not claims.
Thus I could say that mars is mine, and I'd like anyone who sets foot there to pay me 3.25$. Since I can not enforce this, the claim is empty.
On the other hand, I can claim that this computer is mine, since if you come and try to steal it, this countries government will help me enforce my claim.
So, the question of whether the people belong or don't belong to a government can be answered thus: Does the government have any problems putting certain people anywhere it wants with no trial, or is this power restricted by other powers in the country - courts, etc?
Excersise to the reader: make a list of counties which according to this definition "own" their citizens.

Re:off topic... (2)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856480)

1) China
2) North Korea
3) Iraq
4) Iran
5) The [go.com] United [theunionleader.com] States [heraldnet.com] of [newhousenews.com] America [bayarea.com]

mod this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4857149)

bush is da cunt

Re:mod this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4861087)

Bush fucks sheep!

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (3, Insightful)

anomaly (15035) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856437)

Hear Hear! I choose to boycott them because of their religious oppression, human rights abuses, and the fact that the trade imbalance with the US entirely funds the ballistic missiles that they point at us.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find products not made in China. This is particularly true in the areas of children's books/toys and electronics. I recently had to poke through each model of DVD player offered by a chain store to find ONE not manufactured in China. In one case, the display model was made in Japan, but every single unit of that model on the shelf was made in China!

Our culture cares more about getting a cheap DVD player or kid's toy than we are about other humans working as slave labor for an oppressive government. It's sad.

I haven't found a solution other than physically visiting the store and looking carefully for the "made in China" stamp on the box. If you find one, please let me know.

Regards,
Anomaly

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (2)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#4857199)

Yes, but their food still rocks, and that's made here.

What I don't get is fortune cookies. They no longer contain fortunes. They used to read, "You will live a long and happy life" or "You will enjoy our DVD players". Now they read, "You work hard" or "You are a punk." Where have all the predictions gone??

On a more serious note, you know someone is getting oppressed...we bought a foosball table from Costco for work. I noticed it was made in China. How cheap must these (heavy!) things be to make if we got a good solid table made in China, shipped to the US, trucked to the store, and stocked on the shelf...er...pallet, for $149? You'd think all the overhead in getting it here would make it cheaper to build them in the US.

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (1)

russellh (547685) | more than 11 years ago | (#4859911)

So.... in other words, if everyone stops buying stuff made in China, then the situation will be better? That somehow, if China is unable to export goods, that oppression will decrease?

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (2)

bluGill (862) | more than 11 years ago | (#4860006)

It is an ecconomic argument. I hold to the side that says" They can do whatever they want, I can't control their behavior. However it is immoral for me to support that in any way, and buying their products counts as supporting them - if nothing else it says "I don't like how you act, but keep the cheap (junk) coming and I'll overlook it."

The other side (which I disagree with) says that spend a lot of money on their stuff, and they will send people over here to build a relation and those people will see our way it better and go home dissatisfied by their goverment. (Obviously I don't buy this arguement so it is hard for me to get it right, hopefully you can see the point)

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (1)

russellh (547685) | more than 11 years ago | (#4860110)

It is an ecconomic argument. I hold to the side that says" They can do whatever they want, I can't control their behavior. However it is immoral for me to support that in any way, and buying their products counts as supporting them - if nothing else it says "I don't like how you act, but keep the cheap (junk) coming and I'll overlook it."

I agree with that, selectively. For instance, Cisco selling hardware that they know is being used for censorship. Or buying goods known to be made in a sweatshop or by slaves.

But it takes educated people to see what's wrong and be able to do something about it. Economic improvement == more education.

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (2)

anomaly (15035) | more than 11 years ago | (#4870685)

It's on two levels:
1) If what they are doing is not working for them, they might change. I did not mention that I make a practice of writing letters to their president (about once a year) to let him know that there are Americans who know what is going on there, and who refuse to buy their goods. Realistically I know that my boycott has virtually no influence, but a large lake is made of drops of water.

2) If I send my money to places where oppression does not happen, those countries will prosper and more businesses will move there.

I can't change them, but I can let them know that I'm not giving them my money unless they change.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4856805)

I do not buy products made in China.

in soviet russia PRODUCTS buy you

Re:And where can you find ones NOT made in China? (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 11 years ago | (#4887230)

I know that the boxes of c7 style lights I get are made in Poland. As a bonus, Poland has 130V line current so the bulbs will live a nice long life on 115V here and are still plenty bright.

Bad question, potentially interesting answers (3, Insightful)

ke4roh (590577) | more than 11 years ago | (#4853763)

The Foreverbright site [foreverbright.com] (linked from "holiday" in the intro) has a "Where to Buy" [foreverbright.com] link offering a lengthy list of retailers. I haven't checked the shelves yet, but it seems you should look at those little hardware stores and drugstores rather than random department stores if you want to buy them in person.

Re:Bad question, potentially interesting answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4853949)

The "where to buy" link is in the article and "glassware" hints at a problem with the information provided on the linked page, namely that the stores which are supposed to have them don't have them.

Re:Bad question, potentially interesting answers (1)

lameland (23851) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854111)

QVC is one of the vendors selling them online [qvc.com] .

Come on, It's at the top of the fricking page. The editors really need to do a better job picking these Ask /. questions.

bad news re: bulk discounts (2, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854031)

I called a few distributors, hoping that I'd be able to get a better price if I bought more LED lights at once.

Short answer is, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

In any quantity that a regular person would buy (as opposed to, say, someone in charge of site purchases for Disney World), you're not going to get a discount, is the long answer. (I'd like to hear contrary evidence, but that is the received wisdom so far.)

I'm not going to buy more than 10 boxes, though. I figure 10 boxes (at $20 a pop) is already really pushing it, but I don't want them for "Christmas lights" exactly -- I want them as general string lights which I might happen to use during the winter holidays borrowed from the No. European pagans, but will also set up in my room etc.

timothy

Re:bad news re: bulk discounts (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854352)

All electronics will give you a price break for as few as 10 or 100. It's not wholesale, but I think they were pretty competitive for a few hundred lights. They do tend to get you on shipping, so combine orders with friends.

Re:bad news re: bulk discounts (2)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855962)

Forget All Electronics, buy Jameco! [jameco.com]

Re:bad news re: bulk discounts (1, Troll)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#4857248)

but will also set up in my room
Have you checked with your mom to make sure it's ok?

I'm a dealer (3, Informative)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854535)

I'm a dealer for National Specialty Lighting. Although mostly known for their rope light (including LED rope light), they also make pro-grade xmas lighting.

Here's their page on LED xmas lights. [nsl-ltg.com]

"Suggested Retail" is $11.95 per string. Case-lot discounts begin at 24 strings.

Just FYI, of course. I'm not trying to advertise here, just inform. Many electrical supply houses (where the real electricians buy stuff) are National Specialty Lighting dealers. You might try one of them.

power source on those? (2, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854850)

Mononoke:

Can you clairify whether those strings need a wall wart, or if (like the foreverbright ones) they just plug into a wall directly?

(Also, white would be nice :))

timothy

Re:power source on those? (2, Interesting)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855207)

Can you clairify whether those strings need a wall wart, or if (like the foreverbright ones) they just plug into a wall directly?
I haven't held any in my hand, but I'll bet they are non-wall wart, with the 'lamps' in series.
(Also, white would be nice :))
Very nice. White LEDs are still a bit too pricy yet, though.

Re:power source on those? (2)

quintessent (197518) | more than 11 years ago | (#4858504)

AFAIK, white LEDs are really colored LEDs with a phosphorescent coating that converts some of the light to other colors, to make the overall thing look white. So you can guess this would be more expensive, less efficient, and maybe not last as long.

Re:I'm a dealer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4855892)


they also make pro-grade xmas lighting


and risk losing my xmas amateur status? i think not.

Why use LEDs?? (2)

ScottG (30650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4854896)

Now I know that LED holiday lights may seem all hi-tech and geeky, but regular ones are so cheap and readily available, the LED ones just don't seem worth it.

The 80 light LED set linked to above costs about US$20 and come only in red. I can go to my local supermarket and get a regular 100 light set for $US1.47 in a variety of colors or multi-colored. For the cost of one LED string, I can buy 13 regular ones, and still have change left over. Thats 1300 lights vs 80 LEDs!! Sure the LEDs are more effiecient and sure, they will last longer, but not enough to come anywhere close to making up the cost difference.

I think a better "Ask Slashdot" would be: Gee, holiday lights are so darn cheap these days, what other uses can we find for them?" (and no, they won't run Linux, and no, you can't turn them into a web server....or can you?)

Re:Why use LEDs?? (1)

sjbrown (9382) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855245)

Sure the LEDs are more effiecient and sure, they will last longer, but not enough to come anywhere close to making up the cost difference.

Non sequitur much?

Actually that's the point they do make up for the cost difference. And then some. Unless maybe you're living in an apartment and not paying utilities.

Re:Why use LEDs?? (3, Insightful)

ScottG (30650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855625)

The aesthetics are certainly debatable, but I don't find the difference in appearance between to the two lighting technologies to be interesting enough to debate.

As for the cost difference: Lets actually run some numbers:

Let's assume a string of traditional lights consumes 100 watts and a string of LEDs consumes nothing. (I think you would agree that both of these assumptions are more than fair to the LEDs).

If we energize the lights 8 hours per day for 30 days during each "holiday season", that is 240 hours per year that the lights are in use.

If we assume an electricity cost of US$0.10/kwh(which is typical around here, but varies widely depending where you live), that is an annual electricity cost of US$0.024. Lets just go ahead and round this up to 3 cents.

Let's further assume that the LED lights would last forever, but the traditional lights need to be replaced each year at a cost of US$1.50. We now have a total annual cost for the traditional lights of US$1.53 compared to the one time cost of US$20 for the LED lights.

That means it will take the LEDs approx 13 years to reach the break-even point against the traditional lights.

And remember, I made all my assumptions in the favor of the LEDs. Real LEDs do consume some power and real traditional lights don't need to be replaced every year and real LED lights will not last forever (the LEDs themselves might, but the wiring, etc will deteriote due to exposure to sun, weather, etc). So, in reality the break-even point is probably much more than 13 years.

If you just crave the LEDs, then go ahead and buy them, but don't try to claim that you are saving money by doing it.

Re:Why use LEDs?? (2)

dondelelcaro (81997) | more than 11 years ago | (#4857144)

Error. Third grade math.
$0.1/kwh*0.1kw*240hr=$0.024? Yeah right. More like $2.40.

Lets go ahead and add on the $1.50. Now all of a sudden we're at $3.90, and ~5 years to break even, assuming that the LED lights cost $20 as much as the traditional lights.

That's not even counting the value of your time wasted with a voltage detector debugging those pesky light strings.

Re:Why use LEDs?? (2)

ScottG (30650) | more than 11 years ago | (#4857708)

Oops!

You are, of course, correct.

But even with my "factor of 10" error, I think my conclusions are still valid. It still takes 5 years to pay for itself. I think the bottom line is still: The electricity costs (and therefore potential savings) for either type of lights is so low as to be negligable compared to the extra cost of the LEDs.

You shouldn't have to spend any time debugging the lights if you are replacing them every year (which was assumed in my calculation).

And remember, a burned out bulb is not the only source of failure - a broken wire or damaged connector can happen to both types of light sets.

Re:Why use LEDs?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4857230)


Ehh... I got a multi-colored 25-foot string with 70 lights for US $7 so I don't know where you're getting the $20 number from.

Re:Why use LEDs?? (2)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 11 years ago | (#4858007)

Can i move in with you? I'd love to not have to pay utilities.

Labor cost (2)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855613)

Nothing sucks more than trying to figure out which light in a series burned out -- and the LEDs last 20 times as long. And they don't go out on impact.

Every year, I plug in the lights and "debug" the strings, figuring out which lights are dead. It'd be a lot easier to just have them work.

Re:Why use LEDs?? (1)

Gangis (310282) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855736)

Just imagine a beowulf cluster of christmas lights! ...Oh wait, we do that all the time.

Re:Why use LEDs?? (2)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 11 years ago | (#4862256)

One word comes to mind that explains the value of LED Lights.

Waste

First year on my own I bought a controlable string of 200 lights for $20 at Sams Club. Loved them to death with all the various settings it had (favorite was the slow fade between colors) But then next year, regardless of the fact that I put it away nicely in it's original package and inspected it before putting it in the closet, next year I had to buy a $2.00 string for spare bulbs.

Year after that I had to do it all over again so I said the hell with it and bought the $2 string and used it, tossing out the broken controled string and the previous string that was canabalized for parts. Year after than same damn thing...dead bulbs and I bought another string.

$26 spent on bulbs and all that copper, plastic and glass sent to the landfill.

Year after that I learned about the LED bulbs. Spent $20 on them. Used them for my third year now and still no dead bulbs, no frustration, no waste.

$2 dollar strings every year for 10 years, or $20 dollars for a string that will last you the same 10 years. Advantage, no waste.

And if it does hold true that they will last 20 times longer than a standard string (my personal record for an intact string has been 2 years with an average of only one) You'll save money in string costs, energy costs, and trips to the stylist to hide the fact that you ripped two huge chunks of hair out and need to hide it.

Phoenix

Where? (2, Interesting)

drydiggins (612614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855180)

Raley's (Supermarket) Placerville (Calif) 'bout eleven dollars a string. red, amber & multi(?) color. (Just thought a straight-up, non-hostile reply might be novel.) Cheers!

Marked down, last year at Kmart (2)

ecloud (3022) | more than 11 years ago | (#4855254)

It was a good deal too at half-price. I forget exactly what price though; maybe $6 or 7? And I only found one string; the rest had sold out already. They are shaped like stars, run on 120V and seem to work well but I haven't put them on anything yet. This was the day after Christmas at a Kmart in Scottsdale, AZ.

Re:Marked down, last year at Kmart (1)

grasscutter (324838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4859211)

I bought mine here in Mesa, Arizona at a Target store just a few weeks ago. If I recall correctly, they were something like $8 for 60 lights, but the only downside is that they do not include blue LED's.

Let me hook you up! (3, Informative)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856135)

Send me an RFQ. Spec the desired length, spacing, colors, diffuse or water-clear, and pattern. I will reply with a quote for manufacture. LED terminals protected with heatshrink tubing. Blue LEDs will cost approximately ten times more, a bipolar set with alternate LEDs blinking from red to green will be about twice cost of steady-glow or alternate-blink.

120 Blue LED Christmas Lights = £29.99 (2)

brejc8 (223089) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856524)

Maplin [maplin.co.uk] has blue LED Xmas lights. They're £29.99 and that gets you 120 blue LEDs. Thats 25p each! They say theyre discontinued but a friend has seen them still in stock.

from Dave @ Forever Bright (3, Informative)

voisine (153062) | more than 11 years ago | (#4856964)

Forever Bright is really the only way to go.
They have a patent on the system they use that
doesn't require a transformer and can be strung
end to end. Here's the response I got from
sales@foreverbright.com

All of the retailers listed on our Website
carry our product line, but they did not stock
all locations. This left retail availability
very poor in some areas and many consumers
frustrated.

We're trying hard to convince them to stock all locations as consumer demand for our products
is very high. It often helps when consumers
tell retail store managers they're looking for
a particular product or brand. The managers
report the requests to corporate offices for
future inventory considerations.

Raley's Drugs stocked the Forever Bright line
in all of their locations and we believe they
may have stores in your area. American home
hardware may also be worth a try. Sorry, we
can't sell direct.

Thank you for taking the time to write us.

Happy holidays,
Dave at Forever Bright

Re:from Dave @ Forever Bright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4863706)

I ordered a bunch of the white mini LED
lights from Brookstone [brookstone.com] . However,
once I got them I had to return them
because the wife said that the look
too blue. This is true, the white LED
lights do look blue-ish, especially when
compared to the yellow-biased conventional
bulbs. Other than the color, the product
appeared very satisfactory.

Re:from Dave @ Forever Bright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4868248)

Picky, picky!

Some people pay good money for the blue ones...

Albertson's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4857175)


I got mine at Albertson's just like it says on this web site ... http://www.foreverbright.com/buying.htm

Ugly Christmas Lights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4858449)

www.uglychristmaslights.com [uglychristmaslights.com] . Don't see any LED's there.

Led lights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4859578)

The company I work for sells LED lights for many applications. Not as cheap as the "made in China" stuff but built to last and the animated stuff is all fully software controllable.

http://www.myshowers.com

Good Vendor List (1)

yancey (136972) | more than 11 years ago | (#4860315)


http://www.energyideas.org/library/holidaylights ve ndorlist.cfm

Re:Good Vendor List (2, Informative)

yancey (136972) | more than 11 years ago | (#4860327)

Ehh, try this Vendor List [energyideas.org] instead, since the link doesn't format correctly when I post it as plain text. *hint hint*

One specific location (1)

ironfroggy (262096) | more than 11 years ago | (#4864932)

Almost specific...
If you are anywhere near the Concord, NC area, there is a craft store at Concord Mills that sells these. I havent bought any, but how about someone posting a link to a company that sells them if someone really needs/wants them.

ForeverBrights in California (1)

Dethedrus (633661) | more than 11 years ago | (#4875726)

As mentioned above, Raleys does have 'em in stock, and a nice variety to boot (not just the flame tips), though I'm not sure about the price ($8 or $11) I've been to three Albertsons in Southern California, and all of them had 70 light flame tip multi color (with blue), and for only $8. I say had, since I cleaned the three of them out :) In addition, they have clear (Antique Candle) and red/green, but everything is only available in flame tip.

Final Update (2)

glassware (195317) | more than 11 years ago | (#4878846)

Hi all,

Don't know how many of you are still interested, but here's my last update. I finally found Forever Bright lights for sale at a local Ace Hardware. $24.99 for the blue lights, $14.99 for the red/green lights. Pricey, but worth it if they reduce my electric bill noticeably.

So, I brought them home. The red/green lights are dim. Not very bright at all. The individual lights are small, although the colors are evenly bright throughout the entire string of lights. My first impression was so-so.

The blue lights were spectacular. Blazingly deep blues, the larger plastic around the LEDs make them seem much bigger than usual, and the color is just wonderfully satisfying. I plugged them in immediately and left them on all night. My first impression was extremely positive.

Now, one thing I noticed is that the lights appear to have a 60-hz cycle. If you wave the lights back and forth in the dark, you get a strobe effect. It seems strange to me, but I got used to it. You can only notice it strongly when you are close to the lights and/or moving past them quickly.

So, next morning I plugged my lights back in, and you know what? Both strings of lights were broken. The red/green string burnt out half its length. The blue string was completely dead. I've tried replacing dozens of individual lights, but without much success.

It seems to matter which direction the lights go in. If they go in the sockets backwards, it seems like they don't work. But then sometimes I'll plug the same light back in the same socket and everything will work again. It doesn't make much sense.

So, I'll probably return the whole set and wait for the lights to get better for another year. Sorry to disappoint.

--Glassware

Re:Final Update (1)

radwar (633881) | more than 11 years ago | (#4879926)

Actually I picked up 8 strands of the Forever bright White LED lamps a couple of weeks back and it works great. It is really bright. I picked up the strands for $19.99 for a set of 70. I have a couple of them I didnt use. To date it is has been burning 10 hours a night for 16 days and works great. Let me know if you need info on it.

What did you get? What is the bulb casing? is it the regular LED case or mini light casing?

Re:Final Update (2)

glassware (195317) | more than 11 years ago | (#4882690)

I didn't see any of the white LEDs available. Which products are these? The only ones available at my local store were the old school, 100 light set of red/green; and the 35-light set of sapphire blue. The sapphire blue set is the one pictured here [foreverbright.com] .

The bulb casing on the red/green lights is pretty bare - it's a standard LED stuck in what appears to be a standard set of christmas light wire. The bulb casing on the blue LEDs is the new, oval sapphire style.

On the web page, the foreverbright guys suggest to return the set and get a replacement - I'll probably try that tomorrow.

Where did you find your white ones?

Re:Final Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4882343)

LED xmas lights hack to reduce flicker and improve perceived brightness
http://www.phoca.com/xl/

Re:Final Update (2)

glassware (195317) | more than 11 years ago | (#4882742)

Nice one - I wasn't aware you could smooth out AC with diodes like that. Is there any reason you can think that the manufacturers didn't do this?
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