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2017 Suggestions


hotrod1965

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Yeh Big J, I'll be the one.

I think your WAY off here, for more than one reason.

But one of the biggest, and most obvious, is comparing lights from : Wally world, Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, Farm and Fleet, Ace Hardware, True Value, Target, FIM  ect

to any of the vendor here, Yeh they make them in the aame factory, but are any of the lights you listed sealed,one piece injected, pro lights? Ansewr ? No

 

As far as the rest of your rant? I'm not even going to got there, don't need to.....

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16 hours ago, buzzandwoody27 said:

Thank you Hotrod. Thanks for bringing them in but by the time I add the exchange rate I can almost buy twice as many of your regular lights for the same price. 

I'm OK if you just buy twice as many regular lights :) 

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On 1/15/2017 at 11:30 PM, Big J Illinois said:

Pretty much ALL the vendors are Buzz...and you know, they all get there product from the same vendor that makes the lights and product for Wally world, Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, Farm and Fleet, Ace Hardware, True Value, Target, FIM  ect.They have jacked up the prices and pass that price to you and I....No thanks, everyone on here thinks that the vendors are helping you....they are not...I will roll the dice of the big box stores, second hand, craiglist, eBay and let go ect. I wish someone else would step up and call BS to the rip off vendors on here...I have looked, watched,noticed and the vendors DON'T have any better deals. Not a better pruduct and CERTAINLY not ANY cheaper, then the next vendor, place of sale ect. Lots stop sugar coating everything ,and look at what IS at hand. Yah,yah, I will get jeered,booed, ,but whatever. It seems as if that all we get offered is the same crap, higher price. Not what I call loyality. To call them your "followers", HA!! Fraud is what I call it. I have noticed ,that since the "sale" or "presale".the shipping has either changed..the price has gone up or the product isnt available.    I am not looking for a hand out by any means..I do well and haven't ever asked, but join together, and let's put a cap on what the "vendors" or whatever you wanna call yourselves, charge ,for a alibaba ,imported over inflated,  sub par product. Sorry for the rant, and probaly will get kicked off...thanks for the ear to fill about the stupidity that drives me nuts on here Thanks J

 

Whoah whoah. 

Yea, the sealed lights from the vendors here are NOT inexpensive. Trust me, I know. I use a diverse mix of sealed full waves from the vendors here, unsealed half-waves from the big-boxes, and big-box incans. (This year I used about 35,000 full-wave LED's from the online vendors, about 59,000 half-wave big-box LED's, and about 33,000 big-box incans.) There ARE 3 primary differences I've noticed (other than the price):

1) Out of box failure of sealed full waves is virtually zilch. It happens, but it's rare. With the exception of a batch of M5 blue's, I have seen about a 2% failure rate after 2-3 years with the full-waves (I've seen about a 15% 3 year failure rate on the blue M5's. Dunno what the deal was...). This is compared to a very inconsistent failure rate of big box LED's. Some are great - under 5%. Some were absolute crap - 50% or worse in year 2 worst case. The average seems about 10-15% after 3 years. There's NO question, the full-waves are built better than the half-waves.

2) The full waves are much brighter than the half-waves. Sometimes this is a negative. The WalMart mini-100's are BEAUTIFUL. I much prefer them over any full wave m5 I've seen. 

3) Color & bulb-type selection & color consistency. The full waves all look the same, generally. Where consistency matters, they're money in the bank. Half-waves often have different shades, even same "models" from the same vendor where they were made in different factories at different times - warm whites being the biggest culprit. Some are really yellow. Some are really white (not cool white, but, a decisively different shade). Also, color & bulb type selection at big boxes are difficult sometimes. WalMart & Home Depot have been leaders in this, but before last year, find me a green M5 at a big box store. You couldn't.

What's this all boil down to? Well, if you're like me, you can't afford to go to all sealed. They're simply too expensive. I've got to work in big boxes for the cost effectiveness (and in many cases, they're highly desireable - the 200ct warm white spools from Sams Club are very valuable to be and the 100ct Walmart T5's are the most beautiful LED lights I've seen). But besides your standard colors, you're not going to find an abundance of color/bulb selection at your big box.  And as far as price/value go... yea, if a Walmart 100ct gets me to year 4, it's become a better value than a full-wave. But Sometimes you also get burned by a light type (here's looking at you, WalMart 300ct Warm White boxes and your 35% out of box failure rate & Big Lots 120ct C3 spools and your 75% 1 year failure rate). So yeah, because I truly believe with 4 seasons of full-wave/half-wave mixed use experience under my belt, that full-waves are a better long-term value, for short-term expansion & budget (as well as long term research to find good values), it's worthwhile to explore and use the inexpensive half-waves. 

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Of the small display I have...I have greased ALL lights, some 8 yrs ago from ace hard ware, some 6 yrs from walmart and some 2 yrs from kmart...never had a failure...incan or LED...I know some people possibly can't do that. But when a sealed bulb dies, and it does happen, how do you make it a truly sealed string?? You cant...you can only older and tape or perhaps use that scotch coat ,gooey stuff, and tape...heat shrink is ok , but cold weather and the sun will cause it problems....so other then cost, which isn't all that much, there isn't a zilch,out of the box light set. There isn't ANY light set that is fail proof, either sealed or non sealed. I am not cutting anyone or anybody down. Call me a liar, but take a chance and grease the sockets and tell me in 5 years if you ever have a problem. Is it tedious, OH YES, but the time you spend doing it, say when it's 75 and sunny, will out weigh the fustration, being PO'd and trudging through the snow, ice, slush and missed dog poop in the sub zero weather, to fix, troubleshoot or replace strands that have caused problems. 

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As i have been installing lights for the past 12 plus years not just my own display but many houses of friends year after year.  I do somewhat like the look of incan but cannot stand the maintenance that comes with them, esp when its not my house. Even more irritating when its a brand new strand that goes out 2 weeks later. Also in AZ the sun bleaches them out, so you'll only get one season from them.  Another issue ive had is any of the "commercial grade " lights have had the absolute biggest failure rate.   

Ive gotten tired of the inconsistency of the big box stores when it comes to leds, mainly for my own display use. Cant find the same color consistency, certain colors, or even the same type year to year. The online vendors have this,the colors i want, the quality is very consistent, including how each one is twisted tight. The overall feel and how bright they are is better.   I do have big box store lights, but will use them on neighbors yards or the back yard. Everything will have issues and failure rates, its more so just take your risk and go with it. 

I will say one thing tho, im not sure you will find the type of awesome customer service elsewhere as you'll find with some of the online vendors. At least ive yet to encounter this. 

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On 1/15/2017 at 10:30 PM, Big J Illinois said:

Pretty much ALL the vendors are Buzz...and you know, they all get there product from the same vendor that makes the lights and product for Wally world, Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, Farm and Fleet, Ace Hardware, True Value, Target, FIM  ect.They have jacked up the prices and pass that price to you and I....No thanks, everyone on here thinks that the vendors are helping you....they are not...I will roll the dice of the big box stores, second hand, craiglist, eBay and let go ect. I wish someone else would step up and call BS to the rip off vendors on here...I have looked, watched,noticed and the vendors DON'T have any better deals. Not a better pruduct and CERTAINLY not ANY cheaper, then the next vendor, place of sale ect. Lots stop sugar coating everything ,and look at what IS at hand. Yah,yah, I will get jeered,booed, ,but whatever. It seems as if that all we get offered is the same crap, higher price. Not what I call loyality. To call them your "followers", HA!! Fraud is what I call it. I have noticed ,that since the "sale" or "presale".the shipping has either changed..the price has gone up or the product isnt available.    I am not looking for a hand out by any means..I do well and haven't ever asked, but join together, and let's put a cap on what the "vendors" or whatever you wanna call yourselves, charge ,for a alibaba ,imported over inflated,  sub par product. Sorry for the rant, and probaly will get kicked off...thanks for the ear to fill about the stupidity that drives me nuts on here Thanks J

I'm one of the resident bargain hounds here.  I love clearance sales.  Over the years I've had some friendly competition with folks like Tim to see who finds the best deals (also known as who's the biggest cheapskate).  My point is that I understand where you're coming from on prices.  However, I think you are wrong on several points.

The quality issue has been pretty well covered by others so I'll just say that although I don't own any of the full wave sealed sets, I see an obvious quality difference.  In addition to the failure rate, the full wave sets don't flicker and they do work correctly with light controllers using dimming.  Some of the big box discount sets will dim correctly and some won't but they all flicker.  I have learned that not everyone can see the flicker (just like with the old CRT computer monitors), but I see it.

I don't think it's fair to say that all the vendors have jacked up the prices (or to call them "rip off vendors") just because their prices are significantly higher than the big box stores.  The big box stores buy in tremendous quantity which enables them to get huge discounts that even the largest "small vendor" could never get.  (Many of the big box stores don't mind cutting corners to get a cheaper price which is why the quality of a lot of their items is poor.)  Also, big box stores sell some products at or below cost just to get people into their stores.  (It's known as a "loss leader".)  The way that small vendors are able to exist in this climate is by offering options not available in big box stores.  The things that come to mind immediately are the following:   1. They offer higher quality goods.  2.  They offer merchandise that the big box stores don't have,  and 3. They provide personalized service.  To be fair I must acknowledge that there have been instances of people getting ripped off by a small vendor but I don't think any of those vendors are around any more.

It is incorrect to say that one vendor doesn't have any better deal than the other.  I've been reviewing many of the sites in the last few days particularly the ones having a pre-sale.  I have seen a huge difference in prices.  In particular I've been comparing the prices of zip cord, zip plugs, and C9 LED bulbs.  Some vendors are more than twice the price of others.  For example I've seen the zip plugs range from $0.45 each to over $1.50 each.  I've seen LED C9s range from $0.90 each to well over $2.00 each.

TED

 

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I guess I can shine some light on this since folks seem interested. 

Big box lights have a higher margin than we do. In other words, they are "jacking" the price up more than we do. What happens is that they build their lights to a price point, not a quality point. This is why in season pricing between Big Box lights, and our lights really isn't that different (we are usually right on with GE brand and maybe 10-15% higher than house brand), but we have a higher quality light. They have a big store on prime real estate to pay for, so they have to run higher margins to cover their costs. This is also why when they hit the 50% off sales, they are still making money. 

We certainly could bring in a lower grade of lights and beat big box pricing, but that's not what we are about. I like selling good quality products that folks don't have to mess with. 

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Ive been thinking of this post , and after reading it again, it really does just seem to be mean spirited, and idiotic.

I mean its like going to Home Depot ,to buy a chainsaw. Lets say 20" Stihl or Husky, and finding one for $300.

Then going to smaller local store , that sells Stihl or Husky, saws, but they doesn't sell consumer saws, but pro saws, so a 20" saw is $600 or $700.

Then going to the smaller guy and calling them rip off vendors, fraud,and try to smear them as scum?

 

 

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13 hours ago, Big J Illinois said:

From what I have gathered online or personally.. vendors are required to purchase a minum amount of goods to carryvthem. Alibaba is a prime example...you have to buy in bulk and hence pass the savings on...that's how it works.

Sure there are minimums but if you are buying multiple millions of sets for a chain of hundreds or thousands of stores (and you accept lower quality to get a lower price) you will get a much better price than if you are only buying thousands of sets and do not skimp on the quality.  A big retail chain might get hundreds or thousands of container loads while a small vendor may only get 3 or 4 containers.  I remember a few years ago one of the small vendors (I don't remember which one) posting about when their ONE container for the year was scheduled to arrive.

TED

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I don't think a chain store sells any less inferior product, or a vendor. It's how you maintain them. Kind of like you buy a new chevy from a dealer down the road or a new chevy from a dealer out of state. They are all made in the same plant.what you do with the chevy, in terms of maintaining it, is up to the owner.    Yes, chain stores get a slight advantage on a discount, based on volume. But you don't always get a better deal from a vendor...I would roll the dice and buy twice...or the old adage , buy cheap, buy twice. ...I have bought cheap and gotten burned, but that has outweighed buying more expensive, and lasted just as long.

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On 1/18/2017 at 8:01 PM, hotrod1965 said:

I guess I can shine some light on this since folks seem interested. 

Big box lights have a higher margin than we do. In other words, they are "jacking" the price up more than we do. What happens is that they build their lights to a price point, not a quality point. This is why in season pricing between Big Box lights, and our lights really isn't that different (we are usually right on with GE brand and maybe 10-15% higher than house brand), but we have a higher quality light. They have a big store on prime real estate to pay for, so they have to run higher margins to cover their costs. This is also why when they hit the 50% off sales, they are still making money. 

We certainly could bring in a lower grade of lights and beat big box pricing, but that's not what we are about. I like selling good quality products that folks don't have to mess with. 

Thank you for the insight there hotrod.  I thought there was a much larger difference between the prices of retail big box LED lights and the permanently sealed sets.  I think the cheapest big box LED sets were $3.99 for a set of 50 (walmart).  I believe the cheapest of the sealed sets is around 7 or 8 bucks.  Because of this I had in mind that the sealed sets were about twice the cost of the big box sets.  Now I did NOT evaluate prices closely so this was not a true "apples to apples" comparison.  Next year I'll look closer to see how they stack up.

On 1/19/2017 at 6:37 AM, Big J Illinois said:

I don't think a chain store sells any less inferior product, or a vendor. It's how you maintain them. Kind of like you buy a new chevy from a dealer down the road or a new chevy from a dealer out of state. They are all made in the same plant.what you do with the chevy, in terms of maintaining it, is up to the owner.    Yes, chain stores get a slight advantage on a discount, based on volume. But you don't always get a better deal from a vendor...I would roll the dice and buy twice...or the old adage , buy cheap, buy twice. ...I have bought cheap and gotten burned, but that has outweighed buying more expensive, and lasted just as long.

I feel like we have kind of hijacked this thread so I'm going to make this my last post (in this thread) about the quality/price issue and let the group get back to talking about the pre-sale.

It is a perfectly valid point of view to say that you aren't willing to pay more for the sealed vs. the non-sealed sets and even to say that the difference in the construction is not important to you.  However, the fact that the sealed sets do not require the maintenance of removing bulbs and greasing them while the non-sealed sets do is an obvious difference.  It doesn't make sense to say that there's no difference between them.  There are also the issues of flickering, dimming, and failure rate.  It's perfectly valid to say that you aren't willing to pay more for sets that don't flicker, always dim properly, and have a lower failure rate but those issues still exist.  The issue of sealed vs. non-sealed is not at all like Chevy to Chevy.  It's more like Chevy to Yugo.  ;)

The advantage that the big chain stores have in purchasing power is not slight.  It's HUGE!  If you really want to get a feel for it check out that book "How walmart is Destroying America" and read about the dirty tactics they use just to get a cheaper price.  (They have put many small manufacturers out of business by their dirty tactics.)
https://www.amazon.com/How-Walmart-Destroying-America-World/dp/1580086683/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

I agree with you completely that you do not always get a better deal from a vendor!  As I mentioned I've been checking out many small vendor sites in the last few days and some of them have substantially higher prices than others to the point that it's obvious that they are charging a high premium.  (I am NOT talking about hot rod or any of the other vendors here on P.C. in reference to the high premium.)

BTW, I think it would be great if you started a thread on how to take care of the cheaper sets.  (A new thread though.  Please, not here!)  I do have a few sets that I've picked up here and there on clearance.  I'd like to know the tricks of keeping them working.  I have mixed feelings about LED lights but there are some advantages that I just can't ignore (especially at clearance sale time). 

TED

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On 12/8/2016 at 7:29 PM, hotrod1965 said:

As in past years we welcome your suggestions. If there are products or services you'd like to see. Please don't be shy. You can post them here or send us a PM. 

Hot rod, do you have any pictures and/or video of the Ceramic style LED C9s compared to incandescent C9s?  I've been kicking around the idea of using them up on the roof.  Thanks!

TED

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15 hours ago, TED said:

Hot rod, do you have any pictures and/or video of the Ceramic style LED C9s compared to incandescent C9s?  I've been kicking around the idea of using them up on the roof.  Thanks!

TED

Not exactly a side by side comparison, but the white & red C9's on the roof gutter line are HLE C9 ceramics. The clear C9's hanging on the "tree lot" to the right are incan (and are about 30' closer than the roof line). The roof stripe lights are half wave M5 LED's. I'm VERY happy with them. 

15936424_1247674418644409_69075658258722

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Thank you Stephen for the picture.  The tree lot display is awesome (especially the bulbs hanging from the poles)!  Thank you hotrod for the link.  The pictures there are very helpful!  Looking at Stephen's picture and the pictures in the linked thread what I see is that the LED bulbs do a pretty good job of creating the look of incandescent C9s although you can see the "LED type color" if you are looking for it.  I'm sure it would be less noticeable if you had all LED ceramics with no incan ceramics nearby to compare to.

TED

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I have all LED retros around 200c9 pure white and 800c7 pure white, red , blue , and green.   You cant beat the vivid color of them.  Also being on a second story roof i dropped a couple( to the ground which is all rock here in az) climbed back down picked it up then installed it.   For that reason alone ill stick with led retros. 

Also the harsh sun here had no impact on having any bleaching of the lights problem like incan. 

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On 1/31/2017 at 9:56 AM, Stephen Blue said:

Hey @hotrod1965 - Is there any chance of getting single color T5 70's or 100's (at a similar price point as the multi strands you have listed)? 

Has to be in full case quantities, and they would be coming in on the last load of the season. But the price is pretty close to the M5 pricing. 

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