Jump to content

Newbie Starting Slow


Recommended Posts

This year I will be putting lights up to the exterior of my home for the first time ever.  I will start slow and add a little each year.  This year the minimal goal is to outline the gutter and street-facing roof line with blue LEDs.  The bonus goal is to also decorate the front entry way and windows and hopefully, the garage entry.

 

The front entry is 8.5'hx7'w.  The three front bay windows are 6'hx3'w.  The garage entry is 7'hx16'w.

 

Here are my questions:

  1. I plan on using C9 at 12" spacing for the roof and C7 at 6" spacing for the rest.  Will the C7 be too big?  I like C7 because I can custom cut the socket lines to fit.
  2. I would like to run two lines (blue & gold) on the roof and put some simple effects.  Is there a reasonably priced controller (under $100) that does not require too much learning curve?
  3. Are the retrofit bulbs considered a sealed system or only the pre-made stringer lights? 
  4. I prefer to purchase supplies when demand is low to get more for my money.  What are the sales seasons for Christmas LED supplies and how much discounts from in season prices?

I will post my electrical question in the electrical forum.

Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO go for the C9 and C7.  I think it will look great and you are correct, it makes for easy splicing and custom strings. 

 

Sealed usually is used to refer to M5 and C6 LEDs and whether or not bulbs are removable.  In that case you always go for non-removable (sealed) if you want reliability.  They will last longer than store-bought which usually are not.  The retro bulbs are a bit different because they screw into sockets, but no water will get in the actual bulb, so no worries.  When buying retro try to find ones that have 3 LEDs per bulb. Some of the C9s may even have 5.  They will be much more vibrant and brighter than store-bought with only 1 LED.  My biased opinion will also ask what's wrong with the good ol' incandescent bulb? lol

Sales will happen throughout the year from different vendors.  Right now I know Creative Displays is doing a run-on sale with a different set of in-stock items each week.  The big bulk sales with the best deals and special orders strait from China will happen right after Christmas and into the spring.  It should show up here in the forums when each vendor will be starting that sale. 

Welcome aboard!
 

Edited by vkjohnson
Link to post
Share on other sites

... My biased opinion will also ask what's wrong with the good ol' incandescent bulb? lol

 

...

I think the biggest advantage to me between LED and incandescent bulbs is I do not have to worry about overloading my electrical circuits as a newbie.  I just want to stack the strings and be done.

Edited by mifronte
Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome! To me the biggest thing is to decide on a color theme and then stick with it. Mine is red and clear mostly C9s - how original! Some folks, one in my neighborhood, buy whatever is on sale so they put up a lot of lights, but it is a mish-mash and looks terrible. Adding a little each year is a good idea and will give you a better feel for care and maintenance needed. At our house, nothing "new" goes up until all of the "old" is fully operational!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I decided to decorate too late in the season, I don't have too much time this season for anything other then to use it as a test bed to get a feel of the technicalities of decorating.  For examples, installations techniques, wire runs, and color schemes.  Knowing this will give me a better idea what supplies I will need.

 

This year I have committed to my four year old to put up some of her favorite color, blue.

 

Does anyone recall if LED icicles usually goes on sale at all anytime after the Christmas season?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi mifronte, welcome to the forums.  I am using all LED for the same reason (no risk of electrical overload) and also because of the longer life and lower energy usage.  I am also starting slowly, partly because LEDs are so much more money and also to work out installation techniques etc as you mentioned.  This will be my second year of putting lights on the house and not just throwing a few strings in the bushes!

 

Last year after Christmas I put a big order in with Magic in the Sky (there are several other companies that do these "pre-orders") and received my lights in the summer.  You get a good discount by purchasing them before the stores place their orders with their suppliers in China.  It was further discounted because I paid 100% up front instead of just putting a deposit down.  I purchased, among other things, blue LED icicles, but I have also seen them on sale at local stores after Christmas.  I don't recall seeing as many of them as just the regular strings, though, so don't count on finding many on sale.  You will find that purchasing from the major suppliers on line (MITS, Creative Displays etc) also provides for a better quality product, and, in the case of LEDs, you get full wave (ie. dimmable) whereas buying from Costco or Wal Mart you get half wave (ie. not dimmable).  While I don't use controllers right now, I prefer to buy full wave so that in the future I don't have to replace half wave if I need dimmable lights.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi LangfordDave.  Thank you for suggesting Magic in the Sky.  I did not see them listed on the vendor page.

 

Can you tell me the discount you received on the icicles?  I am debating if I should get them this year or wait for a presale to get them for next year.  If there are no discounts, I might just get them this year to enjoy them an extra year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought:

 

35ct 5mm for $5.86, now $7.52

70ct 5mm twinkle for $12.73 now $14.55

100ct 5mm for $14.88 now $18.27

70ct C6 icicles $10.98 now $13.71

 

So average was about 20% off.  I'm sure if you purchased in larger quantities (I didn't order more than 10 of anything) you could get a better discount.  Prepaying 100% gave an extra 2% off on top of those prices.  

Also, it seems that prices go up every year after the pre-orders.

 

Their web site is http://www.magicintheskylighting.com/

Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought:

 

35ct 5mm for $5.86, now $7.52

70ct 5mm twinkle for $12.73 now $14.55

100ct 5mm for $14.88 now $18.27

70ct C6 icicles $10.98 now $13.71

 

So average was about 20% off.  I'm sure if you purchased in larger quantities (I didn't order more than 10 of anything) you could get a better discount.  Prepaying 100% gave an extra 2% off on top of those prices.  

Also, it seems that prices go up every year after the pre-orders.

 

Their web site is http://www.magicintheskylighting.com/

 

Let me know if the C6 icicles look too big and bright.  I have only seen the M5 icicles, but I don't know if 70 count of M5 may be too sparse.  However, the discount does make sense for me to wait.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I used blue C6 icicles last year and I like the way they look with a straight string of white C6 above them.  I'm hoping the ones I bought from MITS will match the ones I already had.  I am at work right now but I can post a pic when I get home of my house from last year so you can see what they looked like.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a close up of the house from last year, about 90% complete.  As you can see the white C6s are much brighter than the blue C6 icicles.  I'll be adding more icicles to the sides of the carport, more lights to the front porch, and some mini trees to the front lawn.  

 

post-16975-0-58628500-1383234477_thumb.j

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the blue glow around the front door, window, and railing coming from the icicles?  Do you plan to hang more icicles along the three slanted roofs?

 

By the way, very nice color scheme.  How does the roof look with snow on it?  By house will be the same color scheme, but reversed with blue on the roof and white icicles.

Edited by mifronte
Link to post
Share on other sites

The glow is mostly from the blue lights around the window, door, and on the railing (they don't look blue in this photo), but I suppose some of it is from the icicles.  I made frames for the door and window out of J channel ().  I don't plan on adding icicles to the rooflines this year, but perhaps in the years to come.  I will be slowly adding lights each year as I don't have enough money to drop a ton on lights :)  I did buy a bunch of white 5mm lights to wrap the small maple in our yard, too (that was the majority of the online purchase I mentioned above).

 

Didn't get snow last year but I've heard it will be cold and wet this year, so here's hoping!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...