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bhays

Quality Issues - scares me to death

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Like many of us, I am looking to switch my display over to LED. Several thousand dollar investment, as it would be for most of us with larger displays.

It seems like the quality is horribly hit and miss on these things.. This latest deal with Travis seems to have a quality control issue at it's root.. from reading it sounds like CDI had the same issues last year, although I gather they made it right.

The led's I have bought from the stores to test out (Home Depot, Big Lots, etc.) have been (in a word) crap..

Am I the only one really apprehensive about pulling the trigger on switching out my display when it seems I could end up just blowing the money for nothing?

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apprehensive about pulling the trigger on switching out my display when it seems I could end up just blowing the money for nothing?

I've asked myself that same question several times and am still on the fence. Would be interesting getting opinions from others who have made the switch.

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I still use regular minis on my controllers, LEDs save energy, look nice & have neat effects but they have not been out long enough for me to buy any in bulk or convert my display.

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I'm the same way. Before I start changing over I need to hear that a certain brand/type/model has actually lasted as long as they say they're supposed to! It's probably going to be a few years before this actually happens.

It's either the quality gets verified or the prices come down to the mini's price range.

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I sit here facing the same thing... fortunately CDI sent me a few samples and I literally BEAT them to death on a spare controller for several days 24/7.. the sequence literally hammered them... faded them, twinkled them shimmered them.. left them on for an hour and then did it all over again and over again...

now they are outside in the real display getting rained on snowed on... cold , warm... sitting then running.. and when christmas is over they will be back in the basement and in the freezer some of the time running that hammer sequence...

granted its only 3 strings but I feel if they can take what I give them and last doing it till the end of january when the pre-order has to go in that im going to pull the trigger and buy lots of them...

shipments will arrive in may or june and I will be subjecting ALL the new lights to at least a day or two of the hammer sequences.. figuring that there is plenty of time still at that point to get strings warrantied out and replaced if they turn up no good...

im at a crossroads and unfortunately cannot easily wait another year.. all of my mini trees after this season will be 4 seasons are SHOT.. the blues are faded and dead... so they need replaced.. im going to do a real mega tree next year and LED's look great on a mega... my arches are beginning to show some fade as well so they are going to need replaced...

then there is the "I cant grow my display unless I have a larger electric service installed" or I have to run exclusively on the gas heat system rather than run hybrid / gas electric during the season.. so im looking at facing having to begin the LED conversion.. at least for certain display elements....

-Christopher

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Paul from Creative Displays posted a while back about this, and pretty much said it all. Although the LED's are in fact rated for 20 years, the strings simply aren't. They're made in China with their usual production methods, and that involves significant cost/corner cutting.

I'm all LED, and have around 3600 strands up this year. I've had about 10 total failures this season, and only about 5 of those were electrical (rectifier failure resulting in a half-dim strand). The others were mechanical, and frankly were due to water getting into the plugs and popping out the fuses when it froze.

Weather and sunlight are your worst enemies for anything outside. Your LED strands will eventually fall apart due to this. So do your incandescents.

Do any of us even have extension cords that will last as long as some of the LED strands we've heard about? I think not. We need to be realistic.

If cost is an issue (of course it is), then you might just wait and see if the price comes down much. But if you look at some of the early order pricing, it's not too bad (depending on what color you buy).

If I was using all incandescent lighting, I'd be going crazy trying to find power (my utility pole transformer would have to be changed out), and replacing failed strings throughout the season would push me over the edge. That's just me though.

My 2 cents: it's worth it for me, right now.

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I am also on the fence also but since me longterm goal is to have well over 100,000 lights, I better start switching. My biggest issue is cost but I guess that means I can't buy as much for now. I am just tired of the minis not working right, the color fading, and the power they use. Is it worth spending more to have the same color year after year? Yes. Is it worth paying more for the same if not less problems with the strings going out but saving alot of power? Yes. Even if I have issues with leds, I will take that versus minis garunteed to be junk after 4 or 5 years.

I used to be a huge critic with them also. I hated the color of the blues and multi colors. They are better. I still won't buy white leds because I haven't seen any that look good yet. But at least with minis, the color can't fade.

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This was my first year going with an LED display and I invested in about 100+ strings. The one thing I learned from my newbie experience is know what product you are buying when you place your order.

So far, from my experience everything that has been said about the quality and reliability of string by Holiday Creation (Diogen) are true. Of the entire product I got, these strings are that worked the best.

However, the problem is the popular vendors on this site don't disclose who manufactured their strings when you order and you get whatever stock they have from the manufactures they chose to purchase or have backlog for. In my largest order in July I received one type of string for 2 of my colors, and Holiday Creation lights for the other two... The non HC lights were crap and I ended up replacing them all this weekend.

I've learned from now on, to make my order contingent on receiving Holiday Creation lights.... If the vendor can't garuntee delivery of Holiday Creation branded lights, I will not be ordering from them (even if it's a great pre-order price).

Edited by ArtieMcD

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I am nervous about switching over to LED also because of the large cost and the quality issues.

It would cost $20,000 to replace all my minis with LEDs and with all the after Christmas Sales I can replace all the minis with new ones for about $1,200 and $3,000 if I purchase them at full price.

It is cheaper to just buy new lights every 3-4 years. we spent about $1800 last year to do a power upgrade because it was still cheaper than buying all LED lights.

If i knew I was getting rock solid LED strings, I may be more willing to jump on the bandwagon but my fear is spending a ton of cash and then being stuck with LEDs that have problems.

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I am nervous about switching over to LED also because of the large cost and the quality issues.

It would cost $20,000 to replace all my minis with LEDs and with all the after Christmas Sales I can replace all the minis with new ones for about $1,200 and $3,000 if I purchase them at full price.

It is cheaper to just buy new lights every 3-4 years. we spent about $1800 last year to do a power upgrade because it was still cheaper than buying all LED lights.

If i knew I was getting rock solid LED strings, I may be more willing to jump on the bandwagon but my fear is spending a ton of cash and then being stuck with LEDs that have problems.

Exactly the boat I am in Richard. I am now considering going to LED for all of my colors and keeping the incandescent clears... that's about half the expense for me...

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I've had bad luck with the LEDs from the stores and honestly even with after holiday sales it hasn't been worth the cost. I had several strings go out last 1-2 years MAX. The green LEDs frankly ****** and are so dim I can't see them at night. And they are next to red so it makes it worse as red is very bright. The sting to string screw connectors tend to go bad before the string does.

I use LEDs on my roof line as I don't have the power up there to pull true C-7s without impacting some other elements.

I do plan to replace ALL the roof line LEDs this year with Paul's product as I've seen and heard great things about them. I like the fact that they are individual bulbs as repair becomes so much easier and they are tested with LOR and bright. I don't so much mind changing a few bulbs here and there or replacing the cord. The intial investment will be big but the maintenance will be much less than throwing away string after string of the store bought bulbs.

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It has already been said but because I have nothing better to do at the moment, I say it again: The Holiday Creations LEDs are the best LEDs I have used by far. I have somewhere between 600 to 700 strings so far in the yard and not one failure. I have had received 3 strings which were defective.

While it's true they save money on your electric bill, I really doubt you will recover your cost through electric savings alone. My biggest benefit comes from time savings. I don't hunt for that missing or burned out bulb. I also dont not have to worry about overloading a controller and for that matter, I do not have to pay much attention to power at all. 700 strings pulls about 23-25 amps.

For me, I will deal with the vendors here and the problems that may come about. I always have a plan "B" anyway (for this year, it was run last year's show).

Holiday Creations M5 FW 70ct LED stringers, sealed one piece construction <--- Two Thumbs Up.

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I'm still waiting a couple more years. The Box Store LED are crap, look like crap, and fail.

The vendor's that sell "top quality" have even had problems with their product.

Think back to the early 60's. All our lights were C7 and C9. I remember Mini lights first coming out. They were crap. Dad bought some and half way through the year pulled them off the tree and put the C7's back up.

Now we accept them and know how to fix them just the way they are. In a few years LED's will be all we have and we will learn how to fix them and the quality will be up and the price down.

Until them I have about 100,000 replacement bulbs saved, all kinds of peices and parts, and 90% of my strings are less than 3 years old. I'm hoping for 5 years before I have to switch.

(was at Menards yesterday and they have cleared the shelves of lights and put what is left on one small rack. What they had I could have fit in two shopping carts.

I'll wait.

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I think for the most part, the one of the reasons many of us use LEDs is because it gives us the opportunity to expand our display rather effortlessly. The biggest advantage for me however is the brightness and pure clarity of them, IMO they look so much crisper than Incans.

Regardless of which side of the fence you're on, in the next few years you're not going to be able to find many incans in stores (already happening now at Walmart), its simply the direction many of them are going, mainly because the profit margin is so much more.

Edited by Goldglove106
Grammar

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No matter if you have been told "our LEDs work great with LOR" (AL, D-light, Renard, etc).....

Just remember as I have learned recently "They may not meet your standards".

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No matter if you have been told "our LEDs work great with LOR" (AL, D-light, Renard, etc).....

Just remember as I have learned recently "They may not meet your standards".

I know what you mean. I did some programming for a customer and his whites behaved different than the red. For some reasons when you had a lot (guessing 15 to 20 strands) of the white LEDs on one channel, it would have a problem with the fade off and would blink off and on when it was fading down.

LEDs have different fade curves and they fade different from each other depending on manufacture, color, even the batch date. When programming I have a few incans set up on a controller so I will know exactly how they will fade.

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How is this different than the incandescent world? Quality varies quite a bit, and even the best incandescent strands don't last too long, due to their very nature.

Likewise, some of the LED's are total junk, and others are pretty good.

The good LED's are much less hassle than good incandescents. Again, I've had 5 strands have a total failure this year out of 3600. The other six strands had ice/fuse problems and were easily fixed.

Cost, I can't argue that point: LED's are much more expensive. Seems to me though that the larger your display, the more you'd benefit from 'good' LED's. Large city displays that I know of have teams of people replacing incandescents daily. That'd kill me, as I'm the only one maintaining my display.

And, like others have said, I can keep growing and growing without too much concern for power issues.

I think you'll see cost come down somewhat, but quality isn't going to get much better than the best LED's right now.

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How is this different than the incandescent world? Quality varies quite a bit, and even the best incandescent strands don't last too long, due to their very nature.

.

I got most of my minis for less than $1 a box, if a set goes bad I dont feel like its a big loss.

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I'm just saying it's merely a cost/time issue, not a reliability issue if you bought good LED's. Let me ask, because I really don't know the answer. If you had a large display, like 10,000 strands or more, could you maintain it if it were incandescent? You could do it all by yourself if it was good quality LED.

It dawned on me that I've had about the same total failures of my extension cords this year as my LED's. Yeah, it's only one cord, but percentage wise it's about the same.

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I'm just saying it's merely a cost/time issue, not a reliability issue if you bought good LED's. Let me ask, because I really don't know the answer. If you had a large display, like 10,000 strands or more, could you maintain it if it were incandescent? You could do it all by yourself if it was good quality LED.

.

Many people have been maintaining displays like that for many years, I see what your saying tho, LEDs do cut down on maintenance & save you $$ in the long run.

All I meant by my original post is its too early for ME to invest in a large quality of LEDs. I live by that old saying "good things come to those who wait" I know LEDs will be much cheaper & even more reliable then the ones now in a few years, besides I dont have $5,000 to spend on them anyway right now.

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I am pretty much in line with others relative to quality/cost issue. It is pretty cheap to replace incandescent strands, quality of them is predictable, the financial risk small, etc. However as a couple others have mentioned another driving factor which I faced this year was I was maxed out on power as I wanted to expand my display. So my cost equation shifted to "is it cheaper to convert enough lights over to LED's or to expand my power service?" This is a bit more of a macro consideration. But, in the end I compromised. I am trying out some LED's on my roofline where I have power sucking static C9's and dialed back my expansion plans a bit. But, as I consider my 2010 plans I once again am going to have to make that decision. Do I trust LED's enough to spend the extra money for them? I am not sure yet. And as others have said the LED C9's just don't put out the light that an incandescent does --though they do have great color saturation.

Scott

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