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EmberCat

Looking for LED version of old school incandescents

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When I grew up, the Christmas tree was magically random.  We used the big C7 incandescent bulbs, with a mix of solid burning and TwinkleBrite bulbs.  This was back in the day when the 'chasing'/programmed twinkle lights weren't a thing yet.  So...the tree twinkled randomly.  

After an unfortunate incident in which an overly dry tree got scorched (think big brown spots!) from the incandescents, I switched to the cooler LEDs and twinkles.  But I've always missed the random individual twinkles.  Everything switching off and on at the same time, or chasing each other, just isn't quite the same.

LED tech has come quite a distance in the past ten years, and I SWEAR that a year or two ago I saw an LED string that not only twinkled randomly/individually, but also changed colors on each bulb individually.  I've never been able to find that string, though.

Does a random twinkle LED string exist?  Or was I hallucinating?

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I think I remember seeing them at Target.   But the way LED lights are made it going to be rare.  Old school lights were all in parallel.  LED are in series.   In series if one light blinks, they alll blink.  to true if in parallel.

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look at the selection of LED bulbs offerd by Christmas Lights ETC, They offer c-7 and c9 retrofits in a ceramic style that are both steady and that twinkle randomly, I bought some of the c9 last year and they are the closest to incandescent I have found in LED.

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34 minutes ago, Vintage Lights said:

look at the selection of LED bulbs offerd by Christmas Lights ETC, They offer c-7 and c9 retrofits in a ceramic style that are both steady and that twinkle randomly, I bought some of the c9 last year and they are the closest to incandescent I have found in LED.

AWESOME.  I found these, which are kind of what I had in mind:  

C7 LED Multi-Color Quick & Slow Change Replacement / Retrofit Bulb

If you scattered those through the light string, it might provide the desired effect.

 

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Douggg said:

I think I remember seeing them at Target.   But the way LED lights are made it going to be rare.  Old school lights were all in parallel.  LED are in series.   In series if one light blinks, they alll blink.  to true if in parallel.

The twinkle lights from target are a joke imo. Good quailty strands but only a few bulbs actually twinkle randomly. Maybe 8 out of the 100 count strand.

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10 hours ago, EmberCat said:

AWESOME.  I found these, which are kind of what I had in mind:  

C7 LED Multi-Color Quick & Slow Change Replacement / Retrofit Bulb

If you scattered those through the light string, it might provide the desired effect.

 

Thanks!

 

When you use the retrofit led bulbs does the entire string have to be leds?  Can you mix incans and retrofit leds on a string?

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deleted...thought you were referring to old school screw in C7s.

Edited by qberg
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Ok......I am still not sure if the old screw in icans can be mixed on the string with retrofit led bulbs.  Can you use both types on one string?

Edited by donna123

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Yes, as the ballast is built into the base of the retro fit bulb. It's only looking for 120v A.C.  Using an old string of C7/ C9 stringer..yes

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Old school lights as Big J pointed out are 120vac.  The sockets are all in parallel, meaning every light was 120vac.  The LED MUST have a ballast/voltage dropping resister as LEDs are about 2vDC.  LED strings are in series.  Crud math here but 120 volts divided by 2 volts dropped per LED means you need 60 LED bulbs in series to drop voltage.  If one bulb in a series string ƒlashes they all do.  Some LED strings have circuits in the plug which drop the voltage to 12 or 24 volts and convert the AC to DC.  Incandescent bulbs can use AC or DC but LEDs can only use DC,  (That’s why a ballast or AC to DC circuit is needed if an LED light is used in old school).  If there is a voltage dropping and AC to DC current circuit in the string you will see a box at the AC plug.

Unlike C7 and C9 old school there is no standardization for LED lights.  And I am sure no LED light with out the voltage dropping circuit would have a screw (edison) base so it can screw into an old school string.  If you were to find one,  it would catch on fire in seconds.  

When it comes to LEDs I know they make flashing LEDs.  But don’y know if they ever made there way into a Christmas light bulb.

With high voltage old schooll using AC and a parallel circuit and new school LED using low voltage DC current in series/parallel configurations.  Unlike old school, nothing is standard with LEDs.

You are going to have to play detective and figure out what you have, what’s available and what’s possible to see if you can get what you want. 

It’s not like it use to be is it. 

For fun I just looked for flashing LED.  For $7.00 you could buy 100 flashing LEDs if you are a DIY.

https://www.amazon.com/Multicolor-Flashing-Changing-Electronics-Components/dp/B01C19END2/ref=br_lf_m_8vwacw52xj629ko_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&s=hi

I think you will find the strings with blinking LEDs alll use these flashing LEDs.  Funny thing is the flashing LEDs cost no more than standard LEDs yest the strings sold in stores cost 10 to 20 times as much 

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1 hour ago, Big J Illinois said:

Yes, as the ballast is built into the base of the retro fit bulb. It's only looking for 120v A.C.  Using an old string of C7/ C9 stringer..yes

 

31 minutes ago, Douggg said:

Old school lights as Big J pointed out are 120vac.  The sockets are all in parallel, meaning every light was 120vac.  The LED MUST have a ballast/voltage dropping resister as LEDs are about 2vDC.  LED strings are in series.  Crud math here but 120 volts divided by 2 volts dropped per LED means you need 60 LED bulbs in series to drop voltage.  If one bulb in a series string ƒlashes they all do.  Some LED strings have circuits in the plug which drop the voltage to 12 or 24 volts and convert the AC to DC.  Incandescent bulbs can use AC or DC but LEDs can only use DC,  (That’s why a ballast or AC to DC circuit is needed if an LED light is used in old school).  If there is a voltage dropping and AC to DC current circuit in the string you will see a box at the AC plug.

Unlike C7 and C9 old school there is no standardization for LED lights.  And I am sure no LED light with out the voltage dropping circuit would have a screw (edison) base so it can screw into an old school string.  If you were to find one,  it would catch on fire in seconds.  

When it comes to LEDs I know they make flashing LEDs.  But don’y know if they ever made there way into a Christmas light bulb.

With high voltage old schooll using AC and a parallel circuit and new school LED using low voltage DC current in series/parallel configurations.  Unlike old school, nothing is standard with LEDs.

You are going to have to play detective and figure out what you have, what’s available and what’s possible to see if you can get what you want. 

It’s not like it use to be is it. 

For fun I just looked for flashing LED.  For $7.00 you could buy 100 flashing LEDs if you are a DIY.

https://www.amazon.com/Multicolor-Flashing-Changing-Electronics-Components/dp/B01C19END2/ref=br_lf_m_8vwacw52xj629ko_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&s=hi

I think you will find the strings with blinking LEDs alll use these flashing LEDs.  Funny thing is the flashing LEDs cost no more than standard LEDs yest the strings sold in stores cost 10 to 20 times as much 

 

Thank you both so much!  

I never understood about electricity which is ironic because Dad was an electrician.  He tried a zillion times to explain it to me but my head just didn't get it.  My sisters could wire an entire house, but not me......not even a lamp! :( 

Thanks!

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3 hours ago, donna123 said:

Ok......I am still not sure if the old screw in icans can be mixed on the string with retrofit led bulbs.  Can you use both types on one string?

Not sure why it couldn't be. No different than mixing bubble lights and regular c7 incans. 

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Just read the specs.  If they are rated for 120 volt AC then old school is fine.  If they are related for DC or anything below 120 volts or not rated will work once, momentarily.  If you are unsure, you could try one.  If it’s the wrong voltage it will explode like a firecracker and produce a fair amount of smoke.  (Don’t breath it in).

There’s no real danger of fire or electrocution unless you do this experiment on straw soaked with gasoline.  Just do the experiment in a concreate floor with nothing combustible in 10 feet or do it outside. When you plug it in just make sure you are about 10 feet away.  Best case it works.  Worst case the bulb with heat up, start smoking followed by a very small explosion.  The explosion might happen right away or might take 2 or 3 minutes.   Once it explodes all is safe.  Just unplug.

You might want to video the experiment and post on YouTube.  You will see others already have.   And if you have kids, this is a good teaching lesson about the power and danger of electricity. 

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On 12/2/2017 at 11:36 AM, Big J Illinois said:

My question is this then, if there are all series...why can you buy random twinkle lights and they don't all twinkle. 

Because the string isn't wired totally in series. Typically, these strings have a dropping resister to cut the voltage to the "twinkling" ones, and a small cpu chip encased in the "controller" or a tiny black box at the start of the string. They're dropping the voltage there, and then sending it our to specific LEDs not wired in series with the rest of the ones that provide the bulk of the light set. That's why you'll see a light set of 80 lights with 72 being on all the time and 8 random flashers.

 

 

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On 12/2/2017 at 7:09 PM, hotrod1965 said:

We have old school looking twinkle C9's you can mix in with any C9 bulbs you wanted. https://www.holiday-light-express.com/C9_Ceramic_twinkle_bulbs.php

Here's some videos of our ceramic style bulbs.

 

 

 

Wow these look really good.  Thanks for posting.  Any idea what the cost is?  

I would also be curious to know how much energy they draw.  Yes they are LEDs which require less energy to light....  But then LEDs operate in the 1.5 volt range.  On a120 volt circuit 118.5 volts needs to dropped and I disipated as heat a each bulb.  I could see a string of say 30 of these bulbs generating far more heat then light. 

Doing a quick calculation 98.5%  of the electricity to power these LEDs has to be disparate as heat and only 1.5% will be used to produce light.  

 

   .  

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LED bulb manufactures don’t use resisterors any more it’s too costly in terms of energy and could not be sold in some states. (If not all states.)  Remember incandescent bulbs can be powered with AC or DC current.  But LEDs can only be powered with DC current.

The LED string manufactures use to split LED strings in half powering each side with one half of the AC sine wave.  But that caused flicker.  Now they use the same “trick” computer power supply manufactures use which is to increase the frequency.  They LEDs still flicker but an a much higher frequency and with very little energy going to waste as heat. 

Why does this matter?   Depends on how much you are paying for electricity.  I know in some parts of the country you might only be paying $0.05 kWhr, but here in California (depending on what rate plan one is on) we can pay up to $0.85, yes nearly $1.00 per kWhr.   I’m paying my power company $0.33 kWhr to light my lights.    You had better believe when I buy lights I look at how efficient and how much they cost to light. 

I think might be a topic for a new thread.   

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