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100ct LED minis.. Where are the deals?


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Okay so *next year* (2010) we plan to expand in to arches.

The issues that the only place to put them is across the driveway in the front yard, and I really only want to run one cable over there, so that means everything (arches and anything else) should be under 13 amps, and ideally under 10 amps so I don't need to upgrade that cable we already have buried there to 12 AWG...

So we figure 4 arches with 8 channels each and 2 strings per channel gives us

4 * 8 * 2 = 64 strings of light.

At after season walmart 100ct incandescent mini prices ($0.30/box at 90% off) that would be ~$20.

At the lowest prices I can currently find online for 100ct LEDs ($12-$20/box) comes to ~$770.00 not including tax and shipping...

Obviously that's a huge difference and that number is pretty close to how much we've spent on EVERYTHING this season, our first year of animation.

But I realize the LED pricing I see now is the current, non sale price. However.... I can't say as I ever saw full-wave LED mini 100ct boxes on sale last year after christmas anywhere... Did anyone else?

Am I just blind? Where were the deals last year? I want to know where I should be looking this winter so I can plan ahead.

Thanks in advance.

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i dont think i have seen full wave in stores at all? maybe this year idk? i would do a google search for them i have found a few deals on lights but if you want quality and not have to replace you LEDS after a few years i would look into purchasing from a PC vendor like val, paul, or travis.

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FYI in case you didn't know: For outdoor use, buy only sealed bulb LEDs if you want them to last. Most of the ones from Target, Walmart, Lowes, Sam's and Costco are not sealed. They may be cheap after the season, but don't hold up (the contacts actually rust).

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I have some warm-white 50 count LED lights (only thanks to a fellow pc member) that I bought from them and decided to use on my new addition of leaping arches. I must say after looking at the lights they look pretty durable and are definitely a sealed base bulb design. I look at them, looked at the lit up arch and thought to myself " i just installed a nearly no maintenance set of lights. (unless the fuse blows!) If I do all of my display this way then all I have to mess with is technical errors! the costs might be higher, but the light quality is excellent!

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I bought 60ct walmart LEDs to use on arches this year. I figure two sets gets me close enough to 100. Got them pretty cheap after Christmas, $2-3 a box.

They're not full wave, but I can't really tell. I bought a few before Christmas, made a small one segment arch, and put it outside as a test. I drove up and down the street, didn't see any flicker. They fade fine... Good enough for me!

Will the rust? Maybe. If they do they're have a warranty, so I'll box 'em up and ship them back.

You're not going to find full-wave, sealed LEDs for better than $10 a box. Now, pre-Christmas, post-Christmas, Pre-Order...

I weighed this same thing last year. Do my arches with "good" LEDs, over $100, per arch, per color, with one string per channel. Use incandescents, you're under $5 per arch, per color.

I decided to go somewhat in the middle. I wasn't going to spend thousands on the arches, and I didn't want to use incandecents after spending all season replacing burned out bulbs in my marching band. Using the "bad" LEDs, I'm spending under $50 per arch, per color, but saving a bit on wire and plugs. Plus they're brighter and more vibrant than incandecents, and unless someone holds a sting of full wave LEDs up to my arch, no one will know they're not as bright as they could be.

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From my own experiences ive found that the transition from incadescents to LED is a slow one, you just build it up year after year, for me it seems as though I am almost starting over, although really I am just enhancing what I already have and soon it will look so great you wont even be able to tell the difference once more is at the LED stage! I should have almost a full roof of LED, which is a really good start!

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I am doing the "slow convert" myself - 5000 to 10,000 lamps per year (egads... its expensive!)

Another thing I'm doing is all "new" display elements are LED.

With this years LED purchases I will be at 22,000 LED lights, out of the 102,562 bulbs that I am putting up.

The two "biggest" elements I have to do are either my Mini Tree's or or the Mega Tree. Those are going to be expensive - as thats half of my total light count.

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to me, using LEDs for arches just doesn't pay for itself,

one channel will have one string of 100 minis on it using about .3 amps for a total of 5.3 amps per controller. The cost saviongs on the back end will take years to recoup and I'm not really gaining much by using them in a 1-to-1 string replacement like arches.

Where they do come in nicely is replacing zones that use several strings of minis like a roof line, where instead of using 8 strings of minis at nearly 3 amps on one channel, I can use 8-10 strings of LEDs and only pull about 1amp, thus freeing up the extra energy to spread around the display. The same holds true for a mega tree that doesn't spin, 20 strings of minis uses ALOT of amps

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For me i really couldn't think of anywhere else to use the LED's that I did use on my arches elsewhere. they didn't fit very well on my mega tree because I had to put two sets together which was not very effective, there fore i decided to make my mega tree from as many target energy saving mini's as i can and to use the LED's on my arch's, suited well for me. But I will be glad for the year I can convert my mega to an M6 LED mega tree, that will be sooo bright!

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I just bought a box of LED 100 Ct. Mini Conicals at Lowes for $11.00 and they came with a $10 off any purchase of $50 or more. Happy with the price, not so happy with the product. They are GE and they are visibly half wave. I can see the flikr, not even on LOR, plugged straight into the wall.

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hrm... quality isn't a concern, if only because we flat out don't have the funds to spend hundreds and hundreds on arches. So if it can't be done cheap it won't be done. We'll settle for lower quality if it puts things in our budget range.

Sounds like I'll be playing the waiting game to see what Walmart coughs up for after Christmas sales.

...or biting the bullet and adding 2 more 12 AWG cables across the driveway, and 2 more circuits on the panel to go with them. I estimate that cost to be somewhere around $100...

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www.christmas-lights-online.com earlier had a bunch of LED's on closeout at a really great price 100 mini for $4, but only have multi now.

They also had/have the C6 for $7 for the 100, but again are nearly out of the white. They do have the C6 50 strand for $3 so 2 would make 100 for $6, they have 225 sets left.

All of these are economy grade with removable lights. I bought about $800 worth and although I have not used them yet they seem to be better the ones I've bought at Walmart, Big Lots, etc., including the GE I've bought.

Not sure if others here have used their lights but they sold of hundred's of them so a lot of others are buying them as well as me.

I have mini LED's on my arches, but if I had to make them right now and saw these for $3 each I think I might have used them.

Good luck with your search

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