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nickdunn

Beware Of Martha Stewart Leds

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I bought some Martha Stewart Everyday LEDs from Home Depot at the beginning of the season. I wasn't to happy with having  to buy her brand of lights but she was the only one that had all green LED sets. Well in the past two weeks I have had 4 out 8 sets I bought completely go out, I am really unhappy about this!!!!.  :mad:  :mad:

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Just because it has MARTHA STEWART name on the box , does not mean its really not made by Hun Dwan Chong Woo .... in China

 

Seems a LOT of LEDs are actually crapola .  They are WAY more expensive and last less time  than incans do !  ( even though the bulb is supposed to last MUCH longer . And it ALWAYS turns out NOT to be the bulb , but the wiring connection to the bulb ( LED ) 

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Suggest you spend your hard earned $$ on quality LED's from one of our PC Member vendors, CDI, MITS, HLE.  I have over 400 strings from CDI and MITS and had about 3 failures in 3 years, with 0 failures on this years shipment.  They cost more initially, but to me it's worth it to not have to worry about failures during the season.......

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Suggest you spend your hard earned $$ on quality LED's from one of our PC Member vendors, CDI, MITS, HLE.  I have over 400 strings from CDI and MITS and had about 3 failures in 3 years, with 0 failures on this years shipment.  They cost more initially, but to me it's worth it to not have to worry about failures during the season.......

+1...........Also if you watch for when they have sales there really isn't a huge difference in price from the Big Box Stores and your getting a  quality product!

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I think most, if not all, LEDs from local retail outlets are crappy.  I only have 1 type of WalMart LEDs (purchased back in 2009) that is still working till this past season (2012).

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If you check the ones from the big box stores, they all have replaceable bulbs. This was done due to consumers lack of understanding of the difference between an LED and an incandescent, that being the LED lasts thousands of hours and doesn't burn out like an incandescent does. The ones that were originally available had sealed bases, the big box stores could not sell them because Joe consumer couldn't replace a burned out bulb. Thus the new trend of replaceable bulbs, worst thing you could do to an LED. This allows moisture to seep into the base causing corrosion and contact issues. I have several of the originally available ones that have sealed bases which have no problems, I also have several of the newer style with replaceable bulbs that are constantly having issues. The only issue I have ever had with one set with sealed bases is I needed to replace one half of the bridge rectifier.

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Ha, so basically it's Joe consumer's own fault for having to purchase junk LEDs in the first place.  Darn you Joe!
  I was out clearance shopping last weekend and it almost seams to me the LED prices are higher than they were last year.  LEDs the only thing left in most stores.  Incans sold out way earlier.  Maybe Joe has realized it's not worth the money too.

Edited by vkjohnson

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I want to know then why do they have a 5 year warranty on the box? Why would they warranty a product if its only going to last a few weeks?

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Because most people just buy a few strings and if they fail just throw them away. I would bet that very few actually return the defective ones.

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Because most people just buy a few strings and if they fail just throw them away. I would bet that very few actually return the defective ones.

And when you do, most times they want the original receipt some the actual box.

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Who makes Martha Stewart LED's?  I bought a few cases of Sylvania (made by a company in Northbrook, IL) mini dome shaped LEDs from Home Depot several years ago on Black Friday and had the exact same issue.  As moisture got in them and after being in storage, about every 2 of 5 strands would not work the next year. 

 

I also have some mini dome style icicle lights from Walmart that I have the same issue with year in and year out.

 

Yes, they are warrantied, but its a major pain to get replacements.  if you dont have your receipt, its really tough, plus they want about 6-8 weeks to issue replacements.  If you put your lights up in November, that time frame doesnt work.  So, usually I just buy a new set from Walmart and then take it back with the new receipt.  Is it ethical?  No, but they shouldnt sell junk either.

 

I have some C6 style LEDs that I have been using consistiently the last few years and have had no issues (knock on wood).  Mendard's Enchanted Forest brand seems to be pretty decent quality, although, I believe the larger bulbs hold up a lot better then the mini style.  They seem to be more protected from the elements. 

 

I also purchased some Philips LEDs from Target this year so we will see how well those hold up....

Edited by carnivalmatt

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If you check the ones from the big box stores, they all have replaceable bulbs. This was done due to consumers lack of understanding of the difference between an LED and an incandescent, that being the LED lasts thousands of hours and doesn't burn out like an incandescent does. The ones that were originally available had sealed bases, the big box stores could not sell them because Joe consumer couldn't replace a burned out bulb. Thus the new trend of replaceable bulbs, worst thing you could do to an LED. This allows moisture to seep into the base causing corrosion and contact issues. I have several of the originally available ones that have sealed bases which have no problems, I also have several of the newer style with replaceable bulbs that are constantly having issues. The only issue I have ever had with one set with sealed bases is I needed to replace one half of the bridge rectifier.

I couldn't agree more,instead of using copper they have learned to use metal that will rust the first time it is exposed to water. If you can find LEDs that have sealed bases, those would be the type you want to purchase.

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I also agree, NEVER NEVER buy LED's with replaceable bulbs. You're just asking for problems!!. I have easily over 100,000 LED's and NONE of them are in sockets. Don't buy cheap crap. If you check this forum, this information has been published for YEARS!!!. I don't feel sorry that your cheap Martha Stewart LED's aren't working. You got exactly what you paid for and they're probably half wave also. Sorry. --Greg--

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For those that need to continue to buy unsealed LED lights this may work for you. Spend a few dollars and buy a 40 watt hot glue gun and some bags of glue sticks. It takes about 20 cents in glue and about five minutes to fix a 100 light string so they will work long term for you. I use over 100,000 lights in my display and all of them are from different manufacturers with replaceable lights. Use the glue gun and seal the wires as they go into the back side of the light socket make sure this gets done before they get wet or used, sealing the strings this way keeps the water from getting into the back of the socket and to the wires causing corrosion. In the last five years of use after doing this I havn.t had a string failure from any of the manufacturers I've used. To replace a bad light you will need to pry the light out of the socket this pulls the peg on the back of the light out of the glue and allows for installation of a new light. The glue will stay in place on the back of the socket and the new light will reseal in the socket. I live in Washington State and we are one of the wettest States. I started doing this after I bought my first 30,000 LED lights six years ago from Lowes and they ended up getting corroded after one year and I ended up throwing them out. Doing this will be a matter of how much money you have to spend verses the cost of your time to fix the cheep lights. 

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Thanks Charles. You have me wondering whether there is a product (something like plasti-dip???)  that you can maybe heat to a thin waterlike consistency that would harden to create a clear waterproof barrier? It would be easier to dip something than to squeeze and reload the glue gun all those times!!!

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Another reason to buy LED strings with replaceable lights is so you can change out your old characters to LED. For those that don't want to buy the unsealed lights you are missing out. We can buy any multi color LED light string and change out the lights to any configuration We need to update our old incandescent characters to LED's. You just need to seal the strings after doing this and before installing them on the characters. I have change out all of my old characters to LED and haven't had any problems with corrosion.

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Thanks Charles. You have me wondering whether there is a product (something like plasti-dip???)  that you can maybe heat to a thin waterlike consistency that would harden to create a clear waterproof barrier? It would be easier to dip something than to squeeze and reload the glue gun all those times!!!

Actually Plasti-Dip should work.......I saw a demo video by one it the DIY guys and he used it in a diluted form to seal RGB lights ......He also recommended diping them and let it dry and then doing a second dip. If it worked well on RGB so it should work on LED lights.....The idea is the same, just making a  weather proof seal. 

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Actually Plasti-Dip should work.......I saw a demo video by one it the DIY guys and he used it in a diluted form to seal RGB lights ......He also recommended diping them and let it dry and then doing a second dip. If it worked well on RGB so it should work on LED lights.....The idea is the same, just making a  weather proof seal. 

I had tried that back when the video was made., It didn't work very well for me as I had it on a megatree which was prone to the wind blowing causing the wires to pull apart breaking the seal. I even had them tie-wrapped to double strands of parachute cord and it didn't help. Maybe if they were attached to something solid it would work better.

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WOW !  Sorry to hear you had to go thru all that trouble.........Guess sometimes it's better to spend the extra $.$$ and get better strings, I know I used sealed lights  from CDI on my 20' mega tree and I never gave it thought of using supports for the light wires I just wrapped the wire on the hook head then tentioned them and made another wrap on my base ring, been doing that for 3 seasons now an no problems and we get some strong winds come thru here at times.

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I have used my glued ones in my 18' mega tree and my walk trough path for the last three years and haven't had any issues and I have little kids grabbing the path lights all the time. As far as the dipping method I would be afraid you might not be able to remove the light when one burns out if the plastic dip gets into the socket. The reason I have stayed with the replaceable lights is so I can use them to do my wire frame character change overs from incandescent light to LED's, If you use the sealed lights you can't do that.

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I have used my glued ones in my 18' mega tree and my walk trough path for the last three years and haven't had any issues and I have little kids grabbing the path lights all the time. As far as the dipping method I would be afraid you might not be able to remove the light when one burns out if the plastic dip gets into the socket. The reason I have stayed with the replaceable lights is so I can use them to do my wire frame character change overs from incandescent light to LED's, If you use the sealed lights you can't do that.

Your probably right about glueing the lights as opposed to plastic -dip if you have the time to do all the lights but I have 65,000+ lights and I just wouldn't have the time so the sealed ones from CDI and others are much better for me.

As for replacing and switching colors on LED strings I think you have been lucky..........2 yrs ago I added an element to my display at the last minute and didn't have time to order sealed lights, sooo, I ran up to our local lowes and got there GE strings,,, well needless to say we had wet season and the lights went out after only 2 weeks so I had your idea go buy multi color strings and replace the colors I needed...well that was a fiasco the strings lasted a few hours and nothing worked ..........I explained my problem on one of the DIY forums and found out that LED strings have different size rectifiers in them depending on the color and if the voltage isn't right they burn out and thats exactly what happened to me.  I'm telling this little story just FYI......Good luck 

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I agree with the rectifier issue, you just need to stay with the same number of lights per section. I have used every brand and never have had one problem with any of them. I have some that were done 5 years ago and still work just fine you do need to be carful how you mix them up though. I have over 100,000 LED lights now and I am moving to 240 channels of light O Rama this year and adding another 30,000 lights. I have already glued about 10,000 of them and your correct it does take some time but every day is a Saturday for me, I am retired with lots of time.

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I explained my problem on one of the DIY forums and found out that LED strings have different size rectifiers in them depending on the color and if the voltage isn't right they burn out and thats exactly what happened to me.  I'm telling this little story just FYI......Good luck 

You are correct. Red leds for example use less current than blue for example. So you have to use larger resistor sizes in the rectifier or you can burn out the red leds. And if you use blue leds in a string designed for red the blue will just be a little dimmer. There used to be some special Flex-Change leds I think made by GKI Bethlehem that were made interchangeable but the were pretty expensive. I don't know if they still make them.

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