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davecarney

How many seasons do you use lights?

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I see that most if not all hit the after Christmas sales hot and heavy and load up on thousands of lights. How many seasons on avg do you all get out of a set of lights when using animation? Does theconstant on/off make them burn up faster or are these purchases mainly to go bigger, better, and brighter?

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this was our second year with animation, and i do not think any of our light failures were caused by the animation,

we go big on the sales to go bigger and brighter. i have strings that are more than 5 years old still in use, got to love the light keeper pro

bob

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this is my first year with 16 channels....we're going bigger next year....probably add another 32 channels and couple thousand lights

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We didn't have much rain this year, but plenty of sun. Blue mini lights definitely last only 1 season here before they look very faded, so I'm thinking about replacing them with Blue LEDs this year. I also had some purple mini lights that are done after one season as well, they turned pink.

I'll probably get 2-3 years out of the Red and Green mini lights. I'll probably use my mini-trees one more year before re-stringing (3 years total).

For certain bulbs that are oriented just right on the trees, I'vebeen able to pop out certainred or green lightsthat are faded on the top and reverse the bulb in the socket to show the non-faded side to give me one more year's worth of use. They don't look too bad...

I was able to get a lot of Red, Green, and Clear minis from Target this year during the after Christmas sales, so I'm set for next year in those colors...

Randy

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Yeah I think most of us hit up the after Christmas sales to go bigger and brighter and have those extra light in case we need them because if you store the lights they are not going to go bad un used so it good to have extras around during the year when you come up with a new idea and they dont sell the lights during the off season. And you get a better deal on them instead of having to wait until they put out the Christmas Lights for next christmas at full price. So the after Christmas sales are a must for large displays!!

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Does anybody label their minis with the year they were first in use? Last year was my first year and this year I added a lot more and I can tell the difference between last years lights and my brand new ones. Since they are mixed in my display, it is hard to tell the difference between the two when I take them down. I was thinking if I labeled them with the year such as "07" I would know how long they have been out.

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Last year I was 16 channel and 15,000 lights and it was my first year,this year I'm 32 channels anda little over 30,000 lights.and while setting up this year I had strands that I tested 2 or three times before I put them in my trees and bushes and I still had lights blow after they were on the tree.I found that I had more Problems with the Depots and Big lots Lights a 2nd year than the Lights from Costco Walgreens and a couple other places.I figure they are so inexpesive anyway just to stock up and fix the ones that don't work in the off season:cool:

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RichardH wrote:

Does anybody label their minis with the year they were first in use? Last year was my first year and this year I added a lot more and I can tell the difference between last years lights and my brand new ones. Since they are mixed in my display, it is hard to tell the difference between the two when I take them down. I was thinking if I labeled them with the year such as "07" I would know how long they have been out.

Last year with each new set I bought, before they went into storage I unpacked them, but I also labeled each string a code with a sharpie so that I can reference them later. So, if I ever wanted to use that string, I know it's bulb voltage, string amperage, light count, lighted length, total length, etc. I then logged the location of all the strings so if I needed a clear 100 count string with white wire, I know exactly where it is. It may be overkill, but it's very nice when I'm trying to find a single string of something.

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rockyct wrote:

RichardH wrote:

Last year with each new set I bought, before they went into storage I unpacked them, but I also labeled each string a code with a sharpie so that I can reference them later. So, if I ever wanted to use that string, I know it's bulb voltage, string amperage, light count, lighted length, total length, etc. I then logged the location of all the strings so if I needed a clear 100 count string with white wire, I know exactly where it is. It may be overkill, but it's very nice when I'm trying to find a single string of something.

I did something similar last year, but bought a lot of Rubbermaid Bins and lettered the bins.I made an inventory of each bin in a notebook; then, as I worked on projects throughout the year, I could easily find the right string of lights or whatever else I needed. Also, I took all the lights out of the boxes and rolled them like a ball of yarn. This stretches the wires out and also allows you to get many more strings of lights into a bin.

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I have some sets that are well over 10 years old and still work fine..as long as

you keep up with changing out dead bulbs and such sets of mini lights should

last many years.

As for weather flashing mini's shortens bulb life, i haven't really noticed it

flashing incandescent lights puts more stress on the filaments (probably more

an issue with C7/C9 since mini filaments are so short length) but at the same

time the lights are on for a shorter period of time, so overall you're putting

fewer hours on the bulbs each night than if they ran steady... in that case you

may get more seasons use out of them.

On and fading the lights on/off will increase their overall life as a fade on will

reduce stress on the filaments.

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I have some sets that are well over 10 years old and still work fine..as long as

you keep up with changing out dead bulbs and such sets of mini lights should

last many years.

As for weather flashing mini's shortens bulb life, i haven't really noticed it

flashing incandescent lights puts more stress on the filaments (probably more

an issue with C7/C9 since mini filaments are so short length) but at the same

time the lights are on for a shorter period of time, so overall you're putting

fewer hours on the bulbs each night than if they ran steady... in that case you

may get more seasons use out of them.

On and fading the lights on/off will increase their overall life as a fade on will

reduce stress on the filaments.

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davecarney wrote:

I see that most if not all hit the after Christmas sales hot and heavy and load up on thousands of lights. How many seasons on avg do you all get out of a set of lights when using animation? Does theconstant on/off make them burn up faster or are these purchases mainly to go bigger, better, and brighter?

Throw your lights away or replace bulbs on irreplacables like wireframe figures, chasing lights etc at least once every 3 years. Same for big strings. After the third season the strings become problematic. One strategy we have developed here is not to repair $2 each 100 light strings, when they darken, replace the entire string, throw the old away. Now we do this with strings we suspect are already old.. if I have a brand new string up and it goes dark in first season I'll try to repair as often this is just a loose or broken bulb, rarely do I get first season burned bulbs because we run top voltages around 95 volts as opposed to 120 volts and this extends bulb life. Blues are thrown away once they show whitish lights from cracked paint or fading so for me blues rarely exceed 2 seasons, some only for one. Reds, greens and whites I use until 3rd season and we also use masking tape to identify age of the strings.

This year I put a piece of blue masking tape on the wire above the male plug, last year all new strings were put a beige masking tape, year before got clear tape, etc... strings with no tape were 4 years old and tossed at the end of last season and not stored. Before I pack my stuff and go thru my strings... all with clear tape showing they are 3rd season will be tossed due to their age. This helps keeps next year's display, new,fresh, reliable and richly colored.

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davecarney wrote:

I see that most if not all hit the after Christmas sales hot and heavy and load up on thousands of lights. How many seasons on avg do you all get out of a set of lights when using animation? Does theconstant on/off make them burn up faster or are these purchases mainly to go bigger, better, and brighter?

Throw your lights away or replace bulbs on irreplacables like wireframe figures, chasing lights etc at least once every 3 years. Same for big strings. After the third season the strings become problematic. One strategy we have developed here is not to repair $2 each 100 light strings, when they darken, replace the entire string, throw the old away. Now we do this with strings we suspect are already old.. if I have a brand new string up and it goes dark in first season I'll try to repair as often this is just a loose or broken bulb, rarely do I get first season burned bulbs because we run top voltages around 95 volts as opposed to 120 volts and this extends bulb life. Blues are thrown away once they show whitish lights from cracked paint or fading so for me blues rarely exceed 2 seasons, some only for one. Reds, greens and whites I use until 3rd season and we also use masking tape to identify age of the strings.

This year I put a piece of blue masking tape on the wire above the male plug, last year all new strings were put a beige masking tape, year before got clear tape, etc... strings with no tape were 4 years old and tossed at the end of last season and not stored. Before I pack my stuff and go thru my strings... all with clear tape showing they are 3rd season will be tossed due to their age. This helps keeps next year's display, new,fresh, reliable and richly colored.

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We throw away the faded strings..they usually last 3 seasons here. At less than a $1 per hundred, its more cost effective (time is money) to pitch them out and always have plenty on hand. After the season is over, I plug in each string to check for fading and to make sure each bulb is lit. If there is no fading or its minimal, I'll replace the bulbs. But, one thing I will do which is time consuming is pull good bulbs and keep them in a container which is marked as to type, that way there are always plenty of spares on hand. And if you do throw them out, cut the plugs off..they come in handy.

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We throw away the faded strings..they usually last 3 seasons here. At less than a $1 per hundred, its more cost effective (time is money) to pitch them out and always have plenty on hand. After the season is over, I plug in each string to check for fading and to make sure each bulb is lit. If there is no fading or its minimal, I'll replace the bulbs. But, one thing I will do which is time consuming is pull good bulbs and keep them in a container which is marked as to type, that way there are always plenty of spares on hand. And if you do throw them out, cut the plugs off..they come in handy.

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I'd say it may depend on your climate, but here in Illinois it gets pretty cold and windy. Milder climates the lights may last longer.

I agree with Joseph above, about 3 years my light stands start getting finicky especially the icicle lights which around here with the wind take a good beating every year. I actually just replaced all my icicle light during the after christmas sales for next year.

As this is my first year with animated lights, I cant comment on the wear and tear of on/off.

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I'd say it may depend on your climate, but here in Illinois it gets pretty cold and windy. Milder climates the lights may last longer.

I agree with Joseph above, about 3 years my light stands start getting finicky especially the icicle lights which around here with the wind take a good beating every year. I actually just replaced all my icicle light during the after christmas sales for next year.

As this is my first year with animated lights, I cant comment on the wear and tear of on/off.

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Carrie Sansing wrote:

But, one thing I will do which is time consuming is pull good bulbs and keep them in a container which is marked as to type, that way there are always plenty of spares on hand. And if you do throw them out, cut the plugs off..they come in handy.

Don't Forget to keep the wire!\\

http://www.crazylightlady.us/RecylingWire.html

I've used this trick many times, and there are some good uses for it, My favorite is getting power across the sidewalk because the cords are smaller and fit in the cracks easier.

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Carrie Sansing wrote:

But, one thing I will do which is time consuming is pull good bulbs and keep them in a container which is marked as to type, that way there are always plenty of spares on hand. And if you do throw them out, cut the plugs off..they come in handy.

Don't Forget to keep the wire!\\

http://www.crazylightlady.us/RecylingWire.html

I've used this trick many times, and there are some good uses for it, My favorite is getting power across the sidewalk because the cords are smaller and fit in the cracks easier.

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I used to label my strings by year but it wasn't that useful to me so I fell away from the practice...

I probably get about 5 years out of my strings, sometimes more, sometimes less. They get retired either when the defect is too hard to diagnse (I can usually fix a "partly out" string in well under a minute) or due to fading, as others have mentioned. Fading is in the eye of the beholder, so some people might toss lights earlier than others. I probably err on the side of using them too long, but that's the cheapskate in me...

My mega-tree lights are now 5 year old. The green is starting to fade noticably, but I'm reluctant to replace them because a) they're all "super-strings" twisted/tied together, and B) I have a dream of someday converting to LED's on that tree, but the pricing just isn't there yet (and it seems to be going in the wrong direction, argh...) I touched up many of the greens with a large green sharpie and they should be good to go for another year (I normally wouldn't take the time to do that but since these are special strings, it was much quicker than replacing).

-Tim

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I used to label my strings by year but it wasn't that useful to me so I fell away from the practice...

I probably get about 5 years out of my strings, sometimes more, sometimes less. They get retired either when the defect is too hard to diagnse (I can usually fix a "partly out" string in well under a minute) or due to fading, as others have mentioned. Fading is in the eye of the beholder, so some people might toss lights earlier than others. I probably err on the side of using them too long, but that's the cheapskate in me...

My mega-tree lights are now 5 year old. The green is starting to fade noticably, but I'm reluctant to replace them because a) they're all "super-strings" twisted/tied together, and B) I have a dream of someday converting to LED's on that tree, but the pricing just isn't there yet (and it seems to be going in the wrong direction, argh...) I touched up many of the greens with a large green sharpie and they should be good to go for another year (I normally wouldn't take the time to do that but since these are special strings, it was much quicker than replacing).

-Tim

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tfischer wrote:

I used to label my strings by year but it wasn't that useful to me so I fell away from the practice...

I probably get about 5 years out of my strings, sometimes more, sometimes less. They get retired either when the defect is too hard to diagnse (I can usually fix a "partly out" string in well under a minute) or due to fading, as others have mentioned. Fading is in the eye of the beholder, so some people might toss lights earlier than others. I probably err on the side of using them too long, but that's the cheapskate in me...

My mega-tree lights are now 5 year old. The green is starting to fade noticably, but I'm reluctant to replace them because a) they're all "super-strings" twisted/tied together, and B) I have a dream of someday converting to LED's on that tree, but the pricing just isn't there yet (and it seems to be going in the wrong direction, argh...) I touched up many of the greens with a large green sharpie and they should be good to go for another year (I normally wouldn't take the time to do that but since these are special strings, it was much quicker than replacing).

One thing to consider too is I hate when I use white wire... I made a mistake of buying all my green lights in white wire one year but this also show off how "dirty", weathered and dingy the lights get in general.

I used to run my lights until they died, but then when a neighbor joined my display in 2001, they bought Dasher controllers and went on a spending spree to catch up with my display that had many years to grow and accumulate a lot of lights. I couldnt help but notice how colorful their lights were and how you almost couldnt tell the difference between red and yellow and sometimes green on mine... blue was faded but still could tell it was blue... so I started changing my practice from just changing darkened bulbs to semi-annual total color replacement of lights rather bulbs needed it or not. This re-enriched the colors and replacement of cheaper sets also helped.

Also video logs from year to year since showed after freshly installing NEW lights, my camcorder picked up much more vivid colors then a couple years later as they faded... same camcorder and conditions but it reminded me to institute 2nd and 3rd year replacements.

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tfischer wrote:

I used to label my strings by year but it wasn't that useful to me so I fell away from the practice...

I probably get about 5 years out of my strings, sometimes more, sometimes less. They get retired either when the defect is too hard to diagnse (I can usually fix a "partly out" string in well under a minute) or due to fading, as others have mentioned. Fading is in the eye of the beholder, so some people might toss lights earlier than others. I probably err on the side of using them too long, but that's the cheapskate in me...

My mega-tree lights are now 5 year old. The green is starting to fade noticably, but I'm reluctant to replace them because a) they're all "super-strings" twisted/tied together, and B) I have a dream of someday converting to LED's on that tree, but the pricing just isn't there yet (and it seems to be going in the wrong direction, argh...) I touched up many of the greens with a large green sharpie and they should be good to go for another year (I normally wouldn't take the time to do that but since these are special strings, it was much quicker than replacing).

One thing to consider too is I hate when I use white wire... I made a mistake of buying all my green lights in white wire one year but this also show off how "dirty", weathered and dingy the lights get in general.

I used to run my lights until they died, but then when a neighbor joined my display in 2001, they bought Dasher controllers and went on a spending spree to catch up with my display that had many years to grow and accumulate a lot of lights. I couldnt help but notice how colorful their lights were and how you almost couldnt tell the difference between red and yellow and sometimes green on mine... blue was faded but still could tell it was blue... so I started changing my practice from just changing darkened bulbs to semi-annual total color replacement of lights rather bulbs needed it or not. This re-enriched the colors and replacement of cheaper sets also helped.

Also video logs from year to year since showed after freshly installing NEW lights, my camcorder picked up much more vivid colors then a couple years later as they faded... same camcorder and conditions but it reminded me to institute 2nd and 3rd year replacements.

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