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copotay

Leds Have Gotten Dimmer

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I have about 100 led strands in my display along incandescents, I have been using LEDs for about 8 years and have come to notice some strands have become dim over time. All of my LEDs are non- commercial from Lowes, Target, Home Depot etc. My first LEDs were from Lowes, their brand, and they are still just as bright as the day I bought them. I have had some white/blue Target LED icicle for about four years and have noticed they have gotten dimmer. Dim enough that u can look straight into the led, especially the white, and it will not blind you. They are no longer crisp. To make sure I was not going blind, I plugged in a new set next to the old one and you can definitely see the difference. I posted this for others with similar issues and have read somewhere that some LEDs do fade or get dimmer over time. It's really a shame at 10 bucks a box that I will have to chunk the old ones and buy a bunch of new ones to get the lighting I want after only four years.

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I have about 100 led strands in my display along incandescents, I have been using LEDs for about 8 years and have come to notice some strands have become dim over time. All of my LEDs are non- commercial from Lowes, Target, Home Depot etc. My first LEDs were from Lowes, their brand, and they are still just as bright as the day I bought them. I have had some white/blue Target LED icicle for about four years and have noticed they have gotten dimmer. Dim enough that u can look straight into the led, especially the white, and it will not blind you. They are no longer crisp. To make sure I was not going blind, I plugged in a new set next to the old one and you can definitely see the difference. I posted this for others with similar issues and have read somewhere that some LEDs do fade or get dimmer over time. It's really a shame at 10 bucks a box that I will have to chunk the old ones and buy a bunch of new ones to get the lighting I want after only four years.

 

Well considering that you bought non comercial strings and they lasted close to 8 years, you are doing well. 8 years ago the LED techology was quite new and probably only tested indoors under ideal conditions. As for throwing them out, don't, they can be used as a extension cord in a pinch.

Remember, you get what you pay for.

Edited by christmas_nut

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More than likely a single bulb is causing the string to be dim.

I would suggest an LED keeper to find out which one it is.

I have MANY sealed, commercial strings that are doing the same thing after 3 years, so I would take the above comments and disregard them.

(midgets and nuts are not usually helpful anyway)

The good thing with replaceable bulbs is it will be easy to change out the bad ones. 

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steve, I {and I am quite sure christmas-nut} do not appreciate your above comment one bit. I suggest you alter your tone when speaking about other members here.Thank you.

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I'm fairly certain Steve was only kidding, but I would suggest you consider your own advice. When I read your initial comment on this thread, I thought it seemed to have a condescending tone.

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No need to speak for Steve,I am confident he can handle his own business.Big difference between expressing ones opinion on a products quality {my only intention in my original post, I am truly sorry if you misunderstood the message} and the value of a members {actually 2 members in this case}. opinion.

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Well you know what they say about opinions.....

 

I figure if I could actually HELP someone, I will respond.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings. 

Merry Christmas

Edited by SteveMaris

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Have store bought/big box LED strands and I have found them to dim due to one specific color failing, guess which color?  BLUE!   Seems Bluie LED's or at least from what I have noticed in my experience tend to fail quicker than any other color.  I had a strand doing the same thing, seemed a lot dimmer, replaced each color LED with a new one, when I finally found the culprit it was a blue LED, next strand with the same problem went through the same process, again it was a blue LED that was the issue, so when another multi color strand failed once more, I started removing only the BLUE LED's and replaced them, sure enough, another BLUE LED was failing.

 

Now all these strands the blue LEDs were lit, but the strand when on would be dim, it would flicker {like the LOR twinkle effect} randomly, then it may stay on for a long duration, and every strand it was a blue LED that was the culprit every time.

 

So you may want to look at the blue LED's and replace them first.  Not saying this may work for you, but with the LED strands I have, from various stores, Lowes, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Big Lots, Home Depot, Michael's Craft Stores, Walgreen's, CVS and even Hobby Lobby when I have had problems with a strand dimming down, was due to a bad Blue LED.

Edited by Orville Fugitte

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Your apology is accepted merrymidget, in your reply to me, "and you expected what?",  did seem a bit harsh and sarcastic as though I am ignorant for buying big box store leds, even though you did not intend it to be, hopefully. Believe it or not I make barely $40,000.00 a year after being in law enforcement for 28 years. I would love to purchase commercial strings but sadly with my pay I cannot afford to buy the "good" stuff and care for our family needs. I simply try to bring a little joy to my family during the season whichever way I can and one way is to run my little Mr Christmas box with LEDs I can afford. I have been a member here for many years and enjoy Chuck's site very much along with the forums, where, for the most part, everyone is trying to help everyone else out in the spirit of Christmas. I am also trying to save enough money to eventually go with a small channel LOR. I have a 10 foot Mega tree that I want to eventually outfit with some LEDs, but I have to use incandescants on it right now because I cannot afford to buy 32 strands of LEDs, even at "bottom of the barrel" big box store prices.

My original post was intended to make a statement and inform others that might not realize that their LEDs could be dimming. I do realize I am buying low end LEDs and am aware that I could have problems which I already have had with the same Target icicles. The steel leads of the bulbs rust away to nothing and cause the string not to light. I have been stealing bulbs from a brand new string just to keep replacing these bad bulbs as they go out, but I also have figured out to remove the bulbs on a new string and put electrical grease in each socket to coat the steel and keep it from rusting. I do realize commercial sealed lights would, or should, not have this problem.

 

I have purchased an LEDKeeper, tks Steve, to help save some old strands and have used it twice already to repair two old LED strings that had a bad bulb, those were some 8 year old sealed Lowes strands that had one bad bulb, so I used both of my small Pods that come with the Keeper. Inside each pod is the 330 ohm resistor to help complete the circuit without stressing the other leds.

 

Orville, thank you very much for filling me in on the blue leds, I currently have 9 strands connected end to end, oh and they are not on the Mr Christmas, they are simply static along my eave. All 9 strands seem dim when a new one is plugged along side. Orville, from your experience, do you think that one blue led in one strand could create the problem with all 9? I will methodically take a new blue exchanging each out, and try one strand plugged in at a time to see if I can get them going. I did take the LED keeper pro and tested one of the whites in the bulb tester, it remained dim, so I am not sure if this could be the culprit, but I will give it a go and see what happens. Tks again.

 

I included a picture of the strand looking directly into the led so everyone could see how dim it was. Btw I never noticed it before but while I was trying to take the picture of the string up close, which was not blinking and simply solid on, the camera eye picks up the led fading in and out about every 2 seconds although the naked eye cannot see it. When I switched to video on my phone, I captured the lights fading in and out about every 10 seconds alternating between themselves. Kinda weird.

 

Merry Christmas to all of you

 

Heres the video and the picture below of the how dim they are

 

http://youtu.be/sGrSKBMHXEo


 

post-1421-0-84623200-1356360620_thumb.jp

Edited by copotay

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More than likely a single bulb is causing the string to be dim.

I would suggest an LED keeper to find out which one it is.

I have MANY sealed, commercial strings that are doing the same thing after 3 years, so I would take the above comments and disregard them.

(midgets and nuts are not usually helpful anyway)

The good thing with replaceable bulbs is it will be easy to change out the bad ones. 

I guess my comment wasen't helpful. :(

Oh well, at least I'm still a nut. :P

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I paid top dollar from one of our on-line vendors that many of us do business with for commercial led net lights.  After 1 season 3 of 10 no longer worked, 1 more was dim.  Just a few weeks into this season 2 more went dim.

 

"Christmas Lights Etc."

Edited by Tim Bateson

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I paid top dollar from one of our on-line vendors that many of us do business with for commercial led net lights.  After 1 season 3 of 10 no longer worked, 1 more was dim.  Just a few weeks into this season 2 more went dim.

 

"Christmas Lights Etc."

Just another reason I buy from the Big Box/Discount stores locally for my LED strands with replacable bulbs.   I got to test out some sealed strand LED's and have one that went completely dim to not working at all, then after unplugging them for a month, plugged them back in they worked normally, so let them run for 24 hours and after that, dimmed once again, then went out again.   Have another strand that several of the LED's have gone completely out in it.    And I don't like cutting and splicing either a 330k resistor in leu of the LED position because then you have a large gap that just doesn't look good {at least to me}.  Or I could splice in another LED socket that uses a replacable LED bulb, but too much work when you have spots in the strand where you may have several LEDS out that are every other or every 2 LED's in the strand.

Yet, another reason I stay with local BB/Discount stores and buy replacable type LED strands, much easier to fix than sealed ones.

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thus far I have done pretty good with my blue and white LED's from CDI..  I pulled out a string that I bought with all my others in 2009  but never used and compared it to ones that ive used since 2009  and brightness is still uniform and bright..  ive got some Lowes Multi strings and after 3 years they are also still good on all colors..  though I do notice on all of the strings after 4 christmas seasons in service  the cords on them all are starting to show some fade and such..  no cracks yet  but makes me wonder how good any of them are..  the Lowes and the CDI lights have the same cord look after 4 seasons used...

-Christopher

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Agreed Orville on the gap left in the line if they are strung out vs wrapped in a display where it's a little harder to tell. I tried replacing blues and whites in one of the strands to no avail. The new led bulb was much brighter than the older ones in the same strand.

I had done some more reading where the actual led itself, not necessarily a christmas string led any led, will degrade in brightness up to 50% in a period of time due to factors such as heat and usage, something about the phosphors around the semi conductor suffering from heat and age. The ambient heat also degrades the resin covering of the diode. I store these icicle lights over the season in an outdoor metal shed that gets over 130 degrees with the doors closed during our hot days of summer. I guess that does not help their life either. My other LEDs that are not yet that dim to me, I store in plastic trash cans in an open air shed that does not get near that hot. Although many led manufacturers claim 100,000 hours of life the usable full strength output life is way less some as short as 6000 hours. The advantages are still greater than incans for lower energy consumption and longer full output life, however the cost at purchase is not ideal if you get a short period of use out of them. Icans also suffer from output degration, however they burn out by the time they begin to lose their brightness. Also looks like regardless if the LEDs come from professional or non-professional sources, they will all degrade in light transmission dependent upon certain factors. Impurities in the resin surrounding the diode can have s effect on the life also. I read some of this from this site which explains a lot, pretty technical though:

http://www.doubulb.com/led-technology.html

I guess to try and get more full output life I might try to store the icicles in a cooler place. Now I know some people will probably post that they store all their LEDs in their 180 degree roof/ attic over the summer with no problems, but I am just trying to find solutions to benefit everyone. This may not even be what caused these strands to lose output, could just be cheap chinese manufacturing with below standard construction, but I'll give it a shot and report back in 2 - 3 years. If it works and I can save, or help someone else save, money, it's worth a shot. By no means am I an led technology engineer, all I can do is relay what I read from researching over the net. I will say that manufacturers claiming 100,000 hours of life may be correct, but they are not telling the whole truth regarding actually being able to use LEDs for that many hours. It does no good to have an led with 40,000 hours on it that has only 10% light output from 100% when it was new.

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Seems the only time I've had any of the BB/Discount store LED strands go dim is when they've been literally out in the Florida weather, heat, rainstorms, thunder/lightning storms.    I store all mine in a storage unit and it has never been very hot in there, and I've opened it in mid-summer with temps in the very high 90's (97-98 with a heat index of 110 if that means anything}, but inside the unit was always very cool, never got hit with a blast of heat when opening it.    So maybe that's why I've had better results with my replacable LED strands than some.

 

BTW: I have LED's mounted in model train locomotives and cars that have been there longer than the "life rating" of the LED and they are still as bright as the day they were installed/replaced incan bulbs that were originally there.  Some of these locomotives and rolling stock have had LED's in them since 1988 and were run daily for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for close to 3+ years.

 

So I'm thinking quality standards have gone down instead of up to try and make LED's cheaper than they were when they weren't as commonplace when I started using them for projects.

Edited by Orville Fugitte

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I would think that too, just like the outer coating of resin, if it contained impurities from substandard manufacturing the heat may have effected the resin surrounding the diode in turn damaging the diode. You cannot see it that well in the video or pic, but the white led resin had a yellowish tint to it like heat had discolored it. You being from Florida and me from Southern Louisiana, we both know what heat and humidity will do to things along with heat indexes. My metal sided, non-insulated building gets really hot during those mid afternoons and can only believe that it can't be good for them. I have seen stuff in my building over the years that has been damaged just from the high heat so I would believe anything is possible. This past summer we had heat indexes for several days at 115 and with these LEDs, wrapped on a piece of PVC pipe holder I made to keep them hanging instead of bunched up, I will bet they got real hot. I had it propped up on a nail right next to the metal sunbaked roof inside the building where everyone knows heat rises so it was the hottest area in the building.

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Agreed Orville on the gap left in the line if they are strung out vs wrapped in a display where it's a little harder to tell. I tried replacing blues and whites in one of the strands to no avail. The new led bulb was much brighter than the older ones in the same strand.

I had done some more reading where the actual led itself, not necessarily a christmas string led any led, will degrade in brightness up to 50% in a period of time due to factors such as heat and usage, something about the phosphors around the semi conductor suffering from heat and age. The ambient heat also degrades the resin covering of the diode. I store these icicle lights over the season in an outdoor metal shed that gets over 130 degrees with the doors closed during our hot days of summer. I guess that does not help their life either. My other LEDs that are not yet that dim to me, I store in plastic trash cans in an open air shed that does not get near that hot. Although many led manufacturers claim 100,000 hours of life the usable full strength output life is way less some as short as 6000 hours. The advantages are still greater than incans for lower energy consumption and longer full output life, however the cost at purchase is not ideal if you get a short period of use out of them. Icans also suffer from output degration, however they burn out by the time they begin to lose their brightness. Also looks like regardless if the LEDs come from professional or non-professional sources, they will all degrade in light transmission dependent upon certain factors. Impurities in the resin surrounding the diode can have s effect on the life also. I read some of this from this site which explains a lot, pretty technical though:

http://www.doubulb.com/led-technology.html

I guess to try and get more full output life I might try to store the icicles in a cooler place. Now I know some people will probably post that they store all their LEDs in their 180 degree roof/ attic over the summer with no problems, but I am just trying to find solutions to benefit everyone. This may not even be what caused these strands to lose output, could just be cheap chinese manufacturing with below standard construction, but I'll give it a shot and report back in 2 - 3 years. If it works and I can save, or help someone else save, money, it's worth a shot. By no means am I an led technology engineer, all I can do is relay what I read from researching over the net. I will say that manufacturers claiming 100,000 hours of life may be correct, but they are not telling the whole truth regarding actually being able to use LEDs for that many hours. It does no good to have an led with 40,000 hours on it that has only 10% light output from 100% when it was new.

 

Awsome info LEDs far as the light itself is concerned normally will not change from Big Box to commercial other than the commercial will carry a extened warranty and have a heavyer cord. The commercial string will also be called dimable. This revoles around the light string being Full wave or half wave with out compacitors in line *martha stewart"

types were know for this. The sealed portion vs. the replaceable portion has more issues to do with the + and - leggs and the connection with in the socket. The leggs are normally made from steel and not brass or aluminum hense the disimilar metal corrosion facter. Easy way to tell  the make up is a magnet. The commercial ones will normally have an agent QCing the make up. The resins making up on the cone can have a higher spec normally blocking UV light. Lower UV Blend cousing the resin to cloud or yellow with exposer.

 

You might try and make the lights full wave to get more color out of them but sounds like you might have a bad bulb or resister. Converting to full wave will add to the demise of the LED or giving it a shorter life.

The LED Keeper is a great tool and a must have if you have a bunch of leds. A couple of needles and a known DC source will also work.

 

Good thread though love to hear a better way,,,, :)

 

P.S. Seems I have also read Blue seems to be a problem child with others also... um... :huh:

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