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SOB

1yr Old C9 LEDs Failing

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2016 was the first season for my light display.  Ceramic-style C9 LEDs in alternating pure white and red.  All purchased from HLE.

This season they have been turned on for just over 1 week and I am having bulbs fail.  So far a total of 7 bulbs - 6 of them the white ones.  They all worked at time of installation but now just about every night I'm finding another one that has gone bad.  Some are dim (you can tell 1 or 2 of the 5 internal LEDs have failed) but most go out completely.

My question is - is this normal??  I have about 200 bulbs total, 100 of each color so that's 6% failure SO FAR on my whites.  I take great care of them: put up my light string first then install the bulbs, remove bulbs before the string comes down, and always store them in the box where they are individually protected.

At $1/each I was hoping these would last longer than a year, in fact I assumed they would last the bulk of their 50,000hr life or at least 5-10 years.

I called HLE and they admit that that seems like a lot of bulbs - but unfortunately since we are technically into the second season I can only get 50% of the cost towards new bulbs (1st season is 100%, 2nd 50%, 3rd is 30%).  The cost isn't that concerning but I hate having to get the ladder and replace bulbs almost every night.  Soon the roof is going to be too slick to get up there and I'll have to live with the ugliness of failed bulbs in my display. 

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1. Make sure the bulbs are screwed in all the way. Sometimes they get lose when being taken up and down, and they just get backed out. 

2. Make sure the contacts aren't corroded. 

3. Check your power source. If they are plugged into a circuit that gets surged a lot, or if it's running a higher voltage than normal... this can cause lights to fail, especially after they have been installed for a little while. 

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Thank you for the suggestions.

1. I have tried re-seating the bulbs in the same socket as well as other socket with no luck.  Also, I have put in spare bulbs into these same sockets and those bulbs work just fine.  Like I said above, some of them you can tell 1-2 diodes have failed but the rest are working.  Also, I would also like to reiterate that I take the bulbs out and put them in the box BEFORE taking the strings down and I put the string up BEFORE screwing the bulbs in so that they do not knock around.

2.  The contact do not look corroded but I will take some light sand paper to them in case there is minor build up and try again.

3. Everything is plugged into 1 receptacle that (at time of writing) is reading 116Vac - I cannot speak to surges as I do not have a constant meter on the recept.  I will say that my house has never experienced signs of power surges (random electronics failing, light bulbs burning out, etc.) in the 6 years we've lived here.

Edited by SOB

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Any new appliances in the house that may surge? Like a humidifier, well pump, high powered floods?

What about the timer? Was that new this year? I've seen timers kick lights hard and cause them to fail. 

 

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No new appliances.  The (mechanical) timer was new last year and started having "dead spots" where the lights would turn of randomly.  Just this week I replaced it with a digital timer.

The last couple days have been good, i.e. no bad lights, so hopefully this was the last of it *knocks on wood*

Thanks for your suggestions!

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I installed HLE C9's for the first time last year as well (about 180 of them, also in red/white). 3 of the 180 failed between year 1 & year 2... not great, but not terrible - had spares. Hopefully doesn't get worse as the years go on - they're the best looking LED C9's I've found. If this pattern continues I can happily deal for as good as they look. I'll be pretty disappointed if they only last a few years. 

Edited by Stephen Blue

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On 12/7/2017 at 8:06 AM, SOB said:

No new appliances.  The (mechanical) timer was new last year and started having "dead spots" where the lights would turn of randomly.  Just this week I replaced it with a digital timer.

The last couple days have been good, i.e. no bad lights, so hopefully this was the last of it *knocks on wood*

Thanks for your suggestions!

keep me posted and let me know if they have stopped failing.

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Thanks Stephen - I too agree they look fantastic!

I lost another white one this weekend.  I think that's 8 now.  Still only the one red failure.  I'll def post an update as the season progresses.

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I am using the red and green (150 each) of the ceramic C9 from HLE.  This is my 3rd season using them.  The first season, I think 2 of the reds failed.  The 2nd season I think I lost 2 more reds. That is just a little over 2.5% failure.  I don't recall losing any greens.

The failure rate may seem small, but considering that I have about 500 C9 facet blue and 100 C9 facet sun warm white from CDI and none have failed and they are into their 5th season.  I think I can live with 2.5% failure rate for the ceramic given that they give off a nicer glow than the facet.

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