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Corroded LEDs


thstevensons

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My family has been doing a large display for some time now.  I recently (a couple of years ago) made the suggestion that we start converting to LEDs and we did.  We try and replace failed light strings with LEDs.  Well this year a majority of those LEDs failed.  As I began to try and fix the strings, I noticed many of the sockets and light leads were corroded and rusty.  It has been very time consuming to clean the rust from each individual light and socket to get the strings to work.  After doing some research, I have found that LEDs may be more trouble than they are worth.  Now I am debating whether or not I should abandon the idea of LEDs and stick with old school technology or what.   Just want to get others opinions on this and see if you are having problems are issues.  I have noticed that the lights with coverings such as the C9 and C7 plastic globes do not corrode as bad and are presenting lots less trouble.  

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I second that....higher quality sealed bulbs solve that.  The cheaper sets, like those sold at Walmart, with replaceable bulbs/sockets are prone to the corrosion.  Not sure why the LEDs have prongs that corrode as opposed to the incan bulbs that use copper?  I am sure there is a reason out there by someone smart.

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I got my LEDs from lowes and the c9 are absolute junk. I usually go into lowes with 8 to 10 strands every year and throw a fit and they give me new ones. The LEDs they use seem to use aluminum for the two contacts and the freezing seems to break those in two, and every so many bulbs in the set has steel with a capacitor soldered to one of the leads and you cant buy that bulb so when it breaks you throw it in the trash and sometimes that only takes a week or two for that to happen, it really sucks because I have over 40 sets and they are all garbage.

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I just bought like 30-40 sets of GE Coroite LED's for this year, I hope they work out ok... They were expensive, i'd hate to have to replace them all next year. I bought them because I was told they look the closest to incandescents, so, we'll see. 

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2 hours ago, Big J Illinois said:

I look every bulb out and greased them...SUPER TEDIOUS,  But worth it

I am up over 25,000....no way for me to accomplish that feat.  But hats off to you!  Greasing them will definitely cut out your GFI trips.

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The strands we sell have an injection molded socket. This creates a sealed system that keep water out of the sockets, therefore they don't rust. 

LED's have a very long life span, so it is very rare that a single bulb would fail, so its definitely worth it in the long run to have sealed sockets. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I bought my first string of LEDs during the 2007 at Target. One string of C7. In 2008 I bought several more just like it. This year, one string failed. So if this was the 2007 string, they didn't even last a full decade! Thank goodness they were 90% off. 

In 2008 I also bought some tiny LED strings at 75% off at Walmart. They rusted first season. I continued to buy them each year at 75% off, and one by one they would fail. I only have one string left out of the original 2008s. Walmart no longer sells that style and haven't for many many years.

I think the worst set I've ever gotten though was a few sets of cool white C9s that Home Depot sells. It was very odd, one store sold these, and a different store sold the exact same box (same style and UPC they use today) with different housings. I hung the older style on the roof, with the other (current) style on the ground. One by one the clear bulb casings would fall off.

These were more annoying than the c3s I bought last year at Walmart. Every single box failed within days! They looked great during testing, so I would string them up, only to discover that the majority of the bulbs either didn't light or were too dim to even notice. Each one had that little resistor dongle thingy after the first bulb by the plug, and it would be foggy in color and then appear wet in one spot. Each and every single one! 

On November 10, 2016 at 4:52 PM, hotrod1965 said:

LED's have a very long life span, so it is very rare that a single bulb would fail, so its definitely worth it in the long run to have sealed sockets. 

My indoor Christmas tree is on its third year. It uses C3 warm white bulbs. Already had to replace 6 of them. It's strange that those are more sensitive than the ones that live outside in the elements.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 11/10/2016 at 1:38 PM, qberg said:

I second that....higher quality sealed bulbs solve that.  The cheaper sets, like those sold at Walmart, with replaceable bulbs/sockets are prone to the corrosion.  Not sure why the LEDs have prongs that corrode as opposed to the incan bulbs that use copper?  I am sure there is a reason out there by someone smart.

I had problems with those junky replaceable LED strings also. I made a "eureka" discovery about the wire leads on led's, you can pick them up with a magnet which seems to indicate that they are made of steel with some kind of plating on them, every one that i had kicking around, including electronics type led's designed to be soldered on circuit boards had plated steel leads! Does anybody know Why? Is it something to do with the manufacturing process that they can't use copper leads? The mystery Deepens...

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12 hours ago, Mikeymatic said:

I had problems with those junky replaceable LED strings also. I made a "eureka" discovery about the wire leads on led's, you can pick them up with a magnet which seems to indicate that they are made of steel with some kind of plating on them, every one that i had kicking around, including electronics type led's designed to be soldered on circuit boards had plated steel leads! Does anybody know Why? Is it something to do with the manufacturing process that they can't use copper leads? The mystery Deepens...

no mystery, its about cost. Copper cost more. To make the strands cheaper, they don't use it. 

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I don't know how many lights i have, but its over 200,000.

I totally agree on pro bulbs, and use them most of all. Especially on high to reach spots , like house, or roof, or mega trees,etc so that i can be sure they'll wont be problems.

That being said Ive also bought store bought ones, which for the most part are junk, but there  are some that do actually last. I was just in the yard last night talking with a friend about it. Ive had some lights I bought from Sam's club about 11 or 12 years ago, and some of them, mainly the c9 all died with rust issues soon, but others like t5's are just now this year dying, not bad!!!! Also bought some random twinkle icicles, that Ive had to repair but are still in use.

Ive also have good luck with GE brand lights, Ive gotten about 8 years now on some of them, yeh sure I did have maybe at most 5 out of 50 die, but that's not to bad if you ask me!. Especially when your getting them for 50, 75 or %90 off?!?!?!

 

All that being said this year was the absolute worst year ever for after sales. Light wise nobody had much at all of lights that I would buy. What the stores did this ,year other than not have much selection ,of  new stuff, was to before after sales,[ that were 2 days before Christmas this year], was to take away any full cases, and mainly leave just open cases of lights, other than some like at Home Depot that they had millions of, that I wouldnt but, like 100' leds. You know when a rectifier or what ever goes, you instantly have 50' bad feet...

As far as blow molds this year? This is the first year in  history, that I didn't buy any blow molds!!! I mean I bought 45 of the really big lights, but that's it!! I'm still in shock about that!! I bought I think 7 pre Christmas, but not 1 after!!! I just cant believe it!

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Back in the day before sealed led's, everyone had methods for trying to keep the corrosion problem down. It is virtually impossible to remove and grease every bulb in big displays so one of the methods we used was to soak strings in a product, cant remember its name, that was basically a highly refined vegetable oil. It could by bought by the gallon. put the oil in a five gallon bucket, throw a bunch of strings in, remove and let dry. Worked great but really, what a picture. Sealed strings are the only way to go. The replaceable strings are cheaper in the short term but after you factor in the amount of time consumed with maintenance combined with the aggravation of failed strings they are just not worth the investment. Just my two.

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The strands we sell have an injection molded socket. This creates a sealed system that keep water out of the sockets, therefore they don't rust. 
LED's have a very long life span, so it is very rare that a single bulb would fail, so its definitely worth it in the long run to have sealed sockets. 

This is why when I'm ready to switch to LED in 2 years I'm buying from you.


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1 hour ago, BECKfamilylights said:


This is why when I'm ready to switch to LED in 2 years I'm buying from you.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Its worth every penny, in short and long term. Virtually plug and play with little to no maintenance needed. 

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They need to put on a BIG LABEL on them that says  INDOOR USE ONLY   

I have two small trees that I put lights up in last year. Only took five strings each and I liked the look of the ones that have every 5th light that twinkles.  But by the end of the season there were only two strings working in one tree and only one in the other.  This year I dug out some old incan twinkling sets - they look just fine, and every 3rd light twinkles :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

After having experience with over 100,000 sealed Led strings, I hate to burst everyones bubble but they fail too. I have ended up with entire cases that strands worked when tested after they were hung, half of them were dead after a rectifier. This has happed both right out of the box and after 1 year of storage.. Granted most have out lived any and all store bought strands but wanted to advise that even these sealed strands are prone to failure, which is disappointing after sending 3×s the $ from a store bought set even when not on sale. I will vouch and say I have had the best luck with the LEDs from HLE but have still seen some failures.

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I have been putting up 130,000 LED lights since 2010, that was the first year I changed over to all cheap LED's. After that year I threw out 75% to 85% of my strings because of rust. Prior to Christmas in 2011 I started using a hot glue gun to seal the back side of the sockets where the wires enter the socket. I found that the water was entering through that area and was causing the rust. I have only thrown out around 10 strings of cheap lights since 2011 and this year I only had problems with about 7 of the cheap strings and just had to replace a few bad lights in each string. When the lights were removed from the socket (0) rust was found in the sockets. Most of my strings will be seven years old this year and I don't have any plans to replace any strings for next year because of rust. I use the lens covered lights as much as possible because the lens help seal the top of the socket and stop the water from getting in. The M-5 dome lights also last a lot longer when sealed. I have been happy with the cheap lights and haven't got any plans to go to the expensive sealed lights.

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On 11/10/2016 at 6:05 PM, Big J Illinois said:

I am at 25k plus and actually , took me about 5 months to do. Sealed ones are great also. :)

Now that's dedication!

TED

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18 hours ago, Big J Illinois said:

People, ALL LIGHTS WILL FAIL!! News alert....

Exactly correct,especially for what are relatively inexpensive,made in China products that the consumer sees as not worth spending the $30-40 cost it would take to produce a bulletproof light strand{therefor no market for} with higher quality LEDs,better quality diodes,resistors,wiring,surge protection,etc.

 

The only advantage the sealed strings bring to the party is to eliminate the largest reason for strand failure,which is rust issues due to trapped moisture corroding the legs of the leds inside the sockets.There are still the less common failure issues present,such as rectifier failure due to parts quality.....but overall,their longevity is much,much greater than the non sealed strings simply because you eliminated the number 1 cause of failure....rust.

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