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Christmas Cheer

Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights? 107

Posted by Cliff
from the strings-of-luminescent-pearls dept.
glassware asks: "Perhaps you know that LED holiday Lights last hundreds of times longer than regular lights. Perhaps you know that your local utility company recommends them for drastically lowering your electricity bill. But my real problem is, where can you find them? I've found lousy battery-operated LED lights in some department stores; but even in the best stores I give up after a half hour of searching, and so far I see only one vendor making them. Surely there must be alternatives. Where do you get your LED holiday lights?"
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Where Have You Found LED Holiday Lights?

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  • Here...Ya lazy bastard [efi.org]

    I mean really. This isn't very askslashdot....it's more like AskGoogle -> "led holiday lights".

    Duh.
    • and so far I see only one vendor making them

      Hmmm... I wonder who might have posted the question...
      • Um, no? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:31AM (#4854103) Homepage
        Yes, he's saying he's only found one vendor that makes them,

        BUT HE'S ASKING IF ANYONE KNOWS OF ANY OTHERS!!!

        That's NOT advertising. Now if the article were a review of these Forever Lights, it would be a Slashvertisement. But he has pointed out the one vendor he's found, but is asking if anyone knows of other sources. (Some pages, such as the LED Museum, mention, "inferior" lights, but give no details on where to find such lights if you WANT LED lights with a transformer at the base.)

        As to the Ask Google trolls - I've asked Google and 90% of the links are pages that happen to have LED, Christmas, and light on the same page but do NOT have any content related to LED Christmas lights. The only Google links that came up in my search that were actually relevant were the links posted at the beginning of the article.
        • Re:Um, no? (Score:2, Informative)

          by WoodenBoy (553109)
          As to the Ask Google trolls - I've asked Google and 90% of the links are pages that happen to have LED, Christmas, and light on the same page but do NOT have any content related to LED Christmas lights.
          Try searching for "led holiday lights". With quotes.

          Search engines have supported quoted phrase searching for quite some time now. I'm always surprised at the number of people who don't know about it (or have failed to read any searching tip/faq page, such as Google's [google.com]).

        • ...for this purpose.

          Yes, he's saying he's only found one vendor that makes them, BUT HE'S ASKING IF ANYONE KNOWS OF ANY OTHERS!!!

          I don't know of any others. And I can't imagine that, for the moment, there will be too many of them.

          Listen, here's the problem. I love LEDs, but with current technology, they're not really appropriate for this application.

          First off, let me state that, for Christmas lights, tungsten bulbs - especially parallel-wired with 120V bulbs - are a huge improvement over the previous tradition of candles in the Christmas tree. But they're still not a great idea:

          • Heat to ignite tinder-dry Christmas tree and the ghastly ornaments the neighbor's kids made
          • Energy useage
          • Line power around potentially conductive metallized plastic tinsel
          • Broken bulbs expose line voltages to user. (This applies even with series strings where the bulb voltage may be as low as 1.8V; when the circuit is opened, there's 120V across the bulb socket, with enough current to kill)

          An alternative would be gas discharge lamps, like those little flicker-flame neons. But they're not without their flaws:

          • Dim
          • Limited availability
          • High prices
          • Limited choice of colors
          • Broken bulbs still expose 120V, generally without a series resistor to limit current - ie. potentially lethal shock.

          LEDs are a great idea, since they run cool. They're commonly available in a bunch of colors, and with triple-die LEDs, the lights could literally be any color and could change on-the-fly. But there's a downside:

          • Expensive
          • Require heavy and expensive transformer or switching supply to be practical
          • Dim
          • Small viewing angle

          Sure, LEDs are cheap, but they're still an order of magnitude more expensive that the little miniature lights on those cheap Made In Bangladesh light strings. Most people won't pay the extra, will they? (If in doubt about whether consumers know or appreciate quality, consider again VHS versus Betamax, or Microsoft versus Apple.)

          The transformer or switching supply would absolutely constitute a benefit to consumers, in that it would virtually eliminate the possibility of getting a shock off the string. But try to explain it to consumers: "Point the mouse at the little picture of a computer on your screen. Click twice quickly." "Stop it! You're being too technical!" Therefore, it would really only become an extra burden to manufacturers.

          Dim. LEDs are a hell of a lot brighter than they were a few years ago, and while they throw out a lot of light, it's over a fairly small viewing angle (typically under 45 degrees). The net output is miniscule compared to a tungsten bulb. Most LEDs can't even be seen to be lit in direct sunlight - but even my miniature light set is clearly visibly on.

          Viewing angle is small. Readily available high-intensity LEDs are generally meant for automotive taillight and traffic signalling duty. They usually only have a viewing angle of 12.5 degrees. Your tree will look pretty dark if each light is only visible for 12.5 degrees of a walkaround.

          How could this be solved? Maybe clear LEDs with frosted housings in order to make the light diffuse over the entire surface of the LED? Good idea, but it's still not bright enough to be satisfactory for that purpose. Nor does the frosting, in practice, diffuse light as evenly as you would want.

          My perspective? I love LEDs. They're my favorite modern electronic component. (Second is probably the MOSFET. Overall favorite is vacuum tubes.)

          I've got a 1960s or early 1970s Sound A-5000 power amplifier (try doing a Google search for that! Anyone got any info on the amp, e-mail me) which blew its tungsten pilot light. The light was a GE #47 - 6V, 150mA pilot light. Consumes 0.9W off the amp's low voltage supply to light up a dim red indicator on the front panel.

          So I took a traffic duty red LED that I had kicking around. Clusters of these are used to make brake lights and traffic lights. The LED is rated for 3,000MCD at 12.5 degrees with a forward voltage drop of 2.1V and a peak current of 30mA.

          The resistor was calculated as follows: Vin-Vdrop = 6.3V - 2.1V = 4.2V. R = E/I = 4.2V/0.03A = 140 ohms. Next standard value is 150 ohms, and I used that. When I measured the current through the LED, it was (unsurprisingly) 28mA, 93% of the LED's rated maximum. The forward voltage drop was 2.1 volts. The LED is being driven harder than I would like, and it gets warm after a few minutes.

          Even so, the dim red indicator on the front panel is still dim. Right on axis, it'll blind you, but from any other angle, the indicator is still too dim to be useful. Improvements were made by actually grinding down the end of the LED and using clear hot-melt glue to attach it to the back of the bezel, but it would still be unacceptably dim on a finished product. Certainly dimmer than the old GE #47 was, not even as bright as the panel LED on the front of my Viewsonic. And that's with a traffic duty LED, pushed hard.

          In summary, naked LEDs are great when viewed on axis, used as indicators or when a fine shaft of light is required. But trying to diffuse them or expect behavior similar to an incandescent bulb is still pushing things... for the moment.

          • well i wouldn't say that the normal christmas lights are as dangerous as you make them out to be. After all, in our lawsuit happy society, where people sue McDonalds because they're fat, if christmas lights were dangerous, the lawsuits would be flying. 120V is not as dangerous as people make it out to be. You can get shocked by 120V and just feel some tingling in your arm. This has happened to me several times (you know the routine: "Honey is the power off?" "Yes" zzzap!) 120V only becomes dangerous in a couple of situations: Increase your conductivity significantly - stand in a basin full of salt water, for example. The other way it can become dangerous is if you let it cross your heart. You'd pretty much have to grab both sides of a split wire, completing the circuit, to do that. (this is why electricians have the "one hand" rule where one hand stays in your pocket when you're working on live wires) It's pretty unlikely that someone trying to extract a christmas bulb would be able to get both hands in a position where they could complete the circuit across their body - -the current would just jump from one hand to the other. Plus keep in mind that most (if not all) christmas lights have fuses inside the plug. If someone starts getting shocked off of a broken bulb, the amp draw on that strand will go through the roof and blow the fuse. That said, I'm not gonna accept any liability if someone reads this and goes off to shock themselves ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Hey, he tried. Did you read this? "I give up after a half hour of searching" The man spent 30 minutes searching, which is like 3 years in internet time. Hurry up and give him an answer!!

      1. Provide free advice on local shopping
      2. ???
      3. Profit!!
      Your dot-com fortune awaits!
    • by glassware (195317) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:47AM (#4854788) Homepage Journal
      Lesson Learned - never ask a question on slashdot without answering all possible snide replies.

      I have bought, tried, and returned many LED light sets. I have hunted at all the stores listed on the ForeverBright where-to-buy page. I have been searching regularly for three weeks now. I have seen the online ordering pages; but somehow I just don't feel comfortable buying mail order when there's only a few more weeks till Christmas, and seeing as how I'll probably have to return them anyway.

  • Not quite there yet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:34AM (#4853629) Homepage
    As taken from http://www.es.wapa.gov/pubs/files/2001_holiday_lig hts_fs_es.pdf [wapa.gov]:

    http://www.foreverbright.com/ [foreverbright.com]
    http://www.ccl-light.com/ [ccl-light.com]

    Nope, ain't a lot out there.

    I think many rope lights use LEDs. You should look into those.
  • I've been trying to decorate a bicycle with christmas lights for some time now. An LED String would be ideal, given knowledge of the power requirements of these bulbs. Sadly, it sounds like the Everbrights have the AC-DC conversion at the base of each bulb, but maybe with one of the so-called inferior brands with the transformer at a more inconvienient location would be easier to hack.

    Anyone tried this?

    -C
    • Why not just get your own bag of LEDs, a soldering iron, and a spool of wire and make them yourself?
    • There are quite a few different cheap versions of battery-powered regular Christmas lights. I've decorated all sorts of things with these and the worse you need to do is hide the battery pack (size of 2 or 4 AA batteries). They last hours at a time. While LED's would be better for time, the ubiquitousness of the regular lights probably means you can get a string of lights for under $20.
    • Re:Perfect... Maybe (Score:2, Informative)

      by Smitty825 (114634)
      I know that we are really starting to venture into "off-topic" land here, but these lights for your bike wheels [hokeyspokes.com] look really cool. I don't have any first hand experience using them, but if you're looking to spend some money lighting up your bike, then this might be an investment...
      • Those are very cool. Unfortunately, the point of using cheap lights on this particular bike is that it is a cheap commuter that is perpetually locked up outside, currently in the snow. You wouldn't believe the kind of theft deterrent Duct Tape provides, esp in the kinds of quantities that make it look structural. Cheezy lights go well with that aesthetic.

        On the other hand, This probably would be perfect for large rotating signs at raves... Maybe it would be worth the investment after all. Get enough of them spinning in unison and they could form a semi-transparent christmas tree.

        Ah, holiday spirit.

        -C
    • I bought a string (20 lights) of red LEDs, each in a little red plastic ball, for $5 (half off regular price of $10) at Walmart last year, has worked pretty well since then. Powered by C batteries, also has a DC input of I think 3v. It's cheap / chintzy (battery case is weak, not quite to the needs-tape stage), but still a nice way to add red lights to my car or wherever.

      timothy
    • by kps (43692)

      It's not that I've bothered to check (this being Slashdot, after all), but maybe they convert AC to DC with, um, like, diodes? Somebody mentioned 80 LED strings, and with them in series, they'd get around 2V peak (which is reasonable) and the whole string would pull 1 or 2 amps.

      (It isn't practical to wire LEDs in parallel, because they aren't particularly uniform in resistance, and besides, the transformer to put out 2V at 2 amps would be too expensive for Christmas lights.)

      By the way, while LEDs have their advantages, they are not, generally, more efficient than other lamps. A current 'super-bright' LED yields around 2 to 5 lumens per watt, with high-end ones (which again are too expensive to be in these Christmas lights) about 10 lm/W. Normal incandescents are around 6 lm/W, although the tiny coloured ones in Christmas light strings are indeed most likely less efficient. Halogen incandescents give around 20 lm/W, and fluorescent tubes around 80 lm/W.

      • by kps (43692)

        Oops, typo in the above post. Watts.


        Also, they might well use two strings of 40 LEDs each.
        That way they'd get brighter lights from cheaper LEDs at the cost of reliability and a little extra wire.

    • by DRACO- (175113)
      Why not try something a little cleaner.. some el strips (electro luminecence). You could super glue these pretty cleanly to the bike body. Im considering ordering up some el strips for the interrior of my car. In my town people always expect me to feature some out of the ordinary gadget somewhere near me.

      DRACO-
  • by alfaiomega (585948) <alfaiomega@despammed.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:36AM (#4853639) Homepage

    I found mine in my neighbour's garden.

    (I was too lazy to use Google [google.com] and buy my own, so I stole them.)

    • I think you are joking, but this is a real problem. What sort of creature steals christmas lights? There was this house in my home town that used to put up several hundred thousand lights, creating a winter wonderland. However they stopped when someone stole something like 10% of the lights they put up.
      • heh. I used to have that problem until I started stripping small portions of the insulation off of the wires. FYI - I did test this on myself, and it doesn't really cause *that* much of a shock. Does hurt though.
      • >>What sort of creature steals christmas lights?

        a few years ago `comic relief` in addition to the red noses you could buy for your person brought out red noses for your car. A friend went into work that day and his workmate had a car red nose that had a bash in it. "Had an accident?" asked my friend. to which the guy replied "Nah - the bash was in it when I found it"

        unfortunately people are cheap. They are also dishonest - do you know how burglaries take place at Xmas time. all those presents lying under trees... it's a tempatation!
  • Fire safe, too (Score:2, Insightful)

    They also drastically reduce the chance of fire.

    Who knew, a dried up dead tree strapped full of extension cords pumping mad current could be a fire hazard?!?!

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:43AM (#4853697)
    Since I do not support countries which are de jure repressive regimes, forced infanticide, who long ignored an AIDS crisis, and who believe that their people are State property, I do not buy products made in China. Where can you get holiday lights made elsewhere?
    • if a car is painted in america but built in china its considerd made in america.


      if they put the windows xp liscence sticker on the case in america they can say it was built in america even if it was truly assembled in china.

    • Hear Hear! I choose to boycott them because of their religious oppression, human rights abuses, and the fact that the trade imbalance with the US entirely funds the ballistic missiles that they point at us.

      It is becoming increasingly difficult to find products not made in China. This is particularly true in the areas of children's books/toys and electronics. I recently had to poke through each model of DVD player offered by a chain store to find ONE not manufactured in China. In one case, the display model was made in Japan, but every single unit of that model on the shelf was made in China!

      Our culture cares more about getting a cheap DVD player or kid's toy than we are about other humans working as slave labor for an oppressive government. It's sad.

      I haven't found a solution other than physically visiting the store and looking carefully for the "made in China" stamp on the box. If you find one, please let me know.

      Regards,
      Anomaly
      • Yes, but their food still rocks, and that's made here.

        What I don't get is fortune cookies. They no longer contain fortunes. They used to read, "You will live a long and happy life" or "You will enjoy our DVD players". Now they read, "You work hard" or "You are a punk." Where have all the predictions gone??

        On a more serious note, you know someone is getting oppressed...we bought a foosball table from Costco for work. I noticed it was made in China. How cheap must these (heavy!) things be to make if we got a good solid table made in China, shipped to the US, trucked to the store, and stocked on the shelf...er...pallet, for $149? You'd think all the overhead in getting it here would make it cheaper to build them in the US.
      • So.... in other words, if everyone stops buying stuff made in China, then the situation will be better? That somehow, if China is unable to export goods, that oppression will decrease?
        • It is an ecconomic argument. I hold to the side that says" They can do whatever they want, I can't control their behavior. However it is immoral for me to support that in any way, and buying their products counts as supporting them - if nothing else it says "I don't like how you act, but keep the cheap (junk) coming and I'll overlook it."

          The other side (which I disagree with) says that spend a lot of money on their stuff, and they will send people over here to build a relation and those people will see our way it better and go home dissatisfied by their goverment. (Obviously I don't buy this arguement so it is hard for me to get it right, hopefully you can see the point)

          • It is an ecconomic argument. I hold to the side that says" They can do whatever they want, I can't control their behavior. However it is immoral for me to support that in any way, and buying their products counts as supporting them - if nothing else it says "I don't like how you act, but keep the cheap (junk) coming and I'll overlook it."

            I agree with that, selectively. For instance, Cisco selling hardware that they know is being used for censorship. Or buying goods known to be made in a sweatshop or by slaves.

            But it takes educated people to see what's wrong and be able to do something about it. Economic improvement == more education.

        • It's on two levels:
          1) If what they are doing is not working for them, they might change. I did not mention that I make a practice of writing letters to their president (about once a year) to let him know that there are Americans who know what is going on there, and who refuse to buy their goods. Realistically I know that my boycott has virtually no influence, but a large lake is made of drops of water.

          2) If I send my money to places where oppression does not happen, those countries will prosper and more businesses will move there.

          I can't change them, but I can let them know that I'm not giving them my money unless they change.

    • I know that the boxes of c7 style lights I get are made in Poland. As a bonus, Poland has 130V line current so the bulbs will live a nice long life on 115V here and are still plenty bright.

  • by ke4roh (590577) <[jimes] [at] [hiwaay.net]> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:51AM (#4853763) Homepage Journal
    The Foreverbright site [foreverbright.com] (linked from "holiday" in the intro) has a "Where to Buy" [foreverbright.com] link offering a lengthy list of retailers. I haven't checked the shelves yet, but it seems you should look at those little hardware stores and drugstores rather than random department stores if you want to buy them in person.
  • I called a few distributors, hoping that I'd be able to get a better price if I bought more LED lights at once.

    Short answer is, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

    In any quantity that a regular person would buy (as opposed to, say, someone in charge of site purchases for Disney World), you're not going to get a discount, is the long answer. (I'd like to hear contrary evidence, but that is the received wisdom so far.)

    I'm not going to buy more than 10 boxes, though. I figure 10 boxes (at $20 a pop) is already really pushing it, but I don't want them for "Christmas lights" exactly -- I want them as general string lights which I might happen to use during the winter holidays borrowed from the No. European pagans, but will also set up in my room etc.

    timothy
  • I'm a dealer (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mononoke (88668) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @10:21AM (#4854535) Homepage Journal
    I'm a dealer for National Specialty Lighting. Although mostly known for their rope light (including LED rope light), they also make pro-grade xmas lighting.

    Here's their page on LED xmas lights. [nsl-ltg.com]

    "Suggested Retail" is $11.95 per string. Case-lot discounts begin at 24 strings.

    Just FYI, of course. I'm not trying to advertise here, just inform. Many electrical supply houses (where the real electricians buy stuff) are National Specialty Lighting dealers. You might try one of them.

    • by timothy (36799)
      Mononoke:

      Can you clairify whether those strings need a wall wart, or if (like the foreverbright ones) they just plug into a wall directly?

      (Also, white would be nice :))

      timothy
      • Can you clairify whether those strings need a wall wart, or if (like the foreverbright ones) they just plug into a wall directly?
        I haven't held any in my hand, but I'll bet they are non-wall wart, with the 'lamps' in series.
        (Also, white would be nice :))
        Very nice. White LEDs are still a bit too pricy yet, though.

        • AFAIK, white LEDs are really colored LEDs with a phosphorescent coating that converts some of the light to other colors, to make the overall thing look white. So you can guess this would be more expensive, less efficient, and maybe not last as long.
  • Now I know that LED holiday lights may seem all hi-tech and geeky, but regular ones are so cheap and readily available, the LED ones just don't seem worth it.

    The 80 light LED set linked to above costs about US$20 and come only in red. I can go to my local supermarket and get a regular 100 light set for $US1.47 in a variety of colors or multi-colored. For the cost of one LED string, I can buy 13 regular ones, and still have change left over. Thats 1300 lights vs 80 LEDs!! Sure the LEDs are more effiecient and sure, they will last longer, but not enough to come anywhere close to making up the cost difference.

    I think a better "Ask Slashdot" would be: Gee, holiday lights are so darn cheap these days, what other uses can we find for them?" (and no, they won't run Linux, and no, you can't turn them into a web server....or can you?)
    • Sure the LEDs are more effiecient and sure, they will last longer, but not enough to come anywhere close to making up the cost difference.

      Non sequitur much?

      Actually that's the point they do make up for the cost difference. And then some. Unless maybe you're living in an apartment and not paying utilities.

      • Re:Why use LEDs?? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScottG (30650)
        The aesthetics are certainly debatable, but I don't find the difference in appearance between to the two lighting technologies to be interesting enough to debate.

        As for the cost difference: Lets actually run some numbers:

        Let's assume a string of traditional lights consumes 100 watts and a string of LEDs consumes nothing. (I think you would agree that both of these assumptions are more than fair to the LEDs).

        If we energize the lights 8 hours per day for 30 days during each "holiday season", that is 240 hours per year that the lights are in use.

        If we assume an electricity cost of US$0.10/kwh(which is typical around here, but varies widely depending where you live), that is an annual electricity cost of US$0.024. Lets just go ahead and round this up to 3 cents.

        Let's further assume that the LED lights would last forever, but the traditional lights need to be replaced each year at a cost of US$1.50. We now have a total annual cost for the traditional lights of US$1.53 compared to the one time cost of US$20 for the LED lights.

        That means it will take the LEDs approx 13 years to reach the break-even point against the traditional lights.

        And remember, I made all my assumptions in the favor of the LEDs. Real LEDs do consume some power and real traditional lights don't need to be replaced every year and real LED lights will not last forever (the LEDs themselves might, but the wiring, etc will deteriote due to exposure to sun, weather, etc). So, in reality the break-even point is probably much more than 13 years.

        If you just crave the LEDs, then go ahead and buy them, but don't try to claim that you are saving money by doing it.
        • Error. Third grade math.
          $0.1/kwh*0.1kw*240hr=$0.024? Yeah right. More like $2.40.

          Lets go ahead and add on the $1.50. Now all of a sudden we're at $3.90, and ~5 years to break even, assuming that the LED lights cost $20 as much as the traditional lights.

          That's not even counting the value of your time wasted with a voltage detector debugging those pesky light strings.
          • Oops!

            You are, of course, correct.

            But even with my "factor of 10" error, I think my conclusions are still valid. It still takes 5 years to pay for itself. I think the bottom line is still: The electricity costs (and therefore potential savings) for either type of lights is so low as to be negligable compared to the extra cost of the LEDs.

            You shouldn't have to spend any time debugging the lights if you are replacing them every year (which was assumed in my calculation).

            And remember, a burned out bulb is not the only source of failure - a broken wire or damaged connector can happen to both types of light sets.
      • Can i move in with you? I'd love to not have to pay utilities.
    • Nothing sucks more than trying to figure out which light in a series burned out -- and the LEDs last 20 times as long. And they don't go out on impact.

      Every year, I plug in the lights and "debug" the strings, figuring out which lights are dead. It'd be a lot easier to just have them work.
    • Just imagine a beowulf cluster of christmas lights! ...Oh wait, we do that all the time.
    • One word comes to mind that explains the value of LED Lights.

      Waste

      First year on my own I bought a controlable string of 200 lights for $20 at Sams Club. Loved them to death with all the various settings it had (favorite was the slow fade between colors) But then next year, regardless of the fact that I put it away nicely in it's original package and inspected it before putting it in the closet, next year I had to buy a $2.00 string for spare bulbs.

      Year after that I had to do it all over again so I said the hell with it and bought the $2 string and used it, tossing out the broken controled string and the previous string that was canabalized for parts. Year after than same damn thing...dead bulbs and I bought another string.

      $26 spent on bulbs and all that copper, plastic and glass sent to the landfill.

      Year after that I learned about the LED bulbs. Spent $20 on them. Used them for my third year now and still no dead bulbs, no frustration, no waste.

      $2 dollar strings every year for 10 years, or $20 dollars for a string that will last you the same 10 years. Advantage, no waste.

      And if it does hold true that they will last 20 times longer than a standard string (my personal record for an intact string has been 2 years with an average of only one) You'll save money in string costs, energy costs, and trips to the stylist to hide the fact that you ripped two huge chunks of hair out and need to hide it.

      Phoenix
    • LED Christmas lights are useful in the same way that my belt-mounted server, my chainmail jumpsuit, my GPS glasses, my trans-species Pet ID chip implant, my aerosol-lunch bandolier, and my camel-based office annex with solar array and client sidecar are useful.

      OK?!?

    • I think a better "Ask Slashdot" would be: Gee, holiday lights are so darn cheap these days, what other uses can we find for them?"
      You had to ask...
      I took a 50-bulb string and re-spliced the wiring every 5 bulbs. This converts a 120v string to a 12v string. My Jeep's spare tire is centered on the tailgate, just begging for a wreath at Christmas time. Lots of Jeeps have this, but mine lights up when I step on the brakes.
      I've had this for years. This year I added a centerpiece -- I found a 4" plasma ball at Walgreens (for $8) that already ran on 12VDC.
      I love it, my freinds love it. Strangely, my wife (and my friends' wives) just roll their eyes. Go figure.
      --
  • Where? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drydiggins (612614)
    Raley's (Supermarket) Placerville (Calif) 'bout eleven dollars a string. red, amber & multi(?) color. (Just thought a straight-up, non-hostile reply might be novel.) Cheers!
  • It was a good deal too at half-price. I forget exactly what price though; maybe $6 or 7? And I only found one string; the rest had sold out already. They are shaped like stars, run on 120V and seem to work well but I haven't put them on anything yet. This was the day after Christmas at a Kmart in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Let me hook you up! (Score:3, Informative)

    by cybermace5 (446439) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @01:59PM (#4856135) Homepage Journal
    Send me an RFQ. Spec the desired length, spacing, colors, diffuse or water-clear, and pattern. I will reply with a quote for manufacture. LED terminals protected with heatshrink tubing. Blue LEDs will cost approximately ten times more, a bipolar set with alternate LEDs blinking from red to green will be about twice cost of steady-glow or alternate-blink.
  • Maplin [maplin.co.uk] has blue LED Xmas lights. They're £29.99 and that gets you 120 blue LEDs. Thats 25p each! They say theyre discontinued but a friend has seen them still in stock.
  • by voisine (153062) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @03:20PM (#4856964)
    Forever Bright is really the only way to go.
    They have a patent on the system they use that
    doesn't require a transformer and can be strung
    end to end. Here's the response I got from
    sales@foreverbright.com

    All of the retailers listed on our Website
    carry our product line, but they did not stock
    all locations. This left retail availability
    very poor in some areas and many consumers
    frustrated.

    We're trying hard to convince them to stock all locations as consumer demand for our products
    is very high. It often helps when consumers
    tell retail store managers they're looking for
    a particular product or brand. The managers
    report the requests to corporate offices for
    future inventory considerations.

    Raley's Drugs stocked the Forever Bright line
    in all of their locations and we believe they
    may have stores in your area. American home
    hardware may also be worth a try. Sorry, we
    can't sell direct.

    Thank you for taking the time to write us.

    Happy holidays,
    Dave at Forever Bright

  • http://www.energyideas.org/library/holidaylights ve ndorlist.cfm

  • Almost specific...
    If you are anywhere near the Concord, NC area, there is a craft store at Concord Mills that sells these. I havent bought any, but how about someone posting a link to a company that sells them if someone really needs/wants them.
  • As mentioned above, Raleys does have 'em in stock, and a nice variety to boot (not just the flame tips), though I'm not sure about the price ($8 or $11) I've been to three Albertsons in Southern California, and all of them had 70 light flame tip multi color (with blue), and for only $8. I say had, since I cleaned the three of them out :) In addition, they have clear (Antique Candle) and red/green, but everything is only available in flame tip.
  • Hi all,

    Don't know how many of you are still interested, but here's my last update. I finally found Forever Bright lights for sale at a local Ace Hardware. $24.99 for the blue lights, $14.99 for the red/green lights. Pricey, but worth it if they reduce my electric bill noticeably.

    So, I brought them home. The red/green lights are dim. Not very bright at all. The individual lights are small, although the colors are evenly bright throughout the entire string of lights. My first impression was so-so.

    The blue lights were spectacular. Blazingly deep blues, the larger plastic around the LEDs make them seem much bigger than usual, and the color is just wonderfully satisfying. I plugged them in immediately and left them on all night. My first impression was extremely positive.

    Now, one thing I noticed is that the lights appear to have a 60-hz cycle. If you wave the lights back and forth in the dark, you get a strobe effect. It seems strange to me, but I got used to it. You can only notice it strongly when you are close to the lights and/or moving past them quickly.

    So, next morning I plugged my lights back in, and you know what? Both strings of lights were broken. The red/green string burnt out half its length. The blue string was completely dead. I've tried replacing dozens of individual lights, but without much success.

    It seems to matter which direction the lights go in. If they go in the sockets backwards, it seems like they don't work. But then sometimes I'll plug the same light back in the same socket and everything will work again. It doesn't make much sense.

    So, I'll probably return the whole set and wait for the lights to get better for another year. Sorry to disappoint.

    --Glassware

    • Actually I picked up 8 strands of the Forever bright White LED lamps a couple of weeks back and it works great. It is really bright. I picked up the strands for $19.99 for a set of 70. I have a couple of them I didnt use. To date it is has been burning 10 hours a night for 16 days and works great. Let me know if you need info on it.

      What did you get? What is the bulb casing? is it the regular LED case or mini light casing?
      • I didn't see any of the white LEDs available. Which products are these? The only ones available at my local store were the old school, 100 light set of red/green; and the 35-light set of sapphire blue. The sapphire blue set is the one pictured here [foreverbright.com].

        The bulb casing on the red/green lights is pretty bare - it's a standard LED stuck in what appears to be a standard set of christmas light wire. The bulb casing on the blue LEDs is the new, oval sapphire style.

        On the web page, the foreverbright guys suggest to return the set and get a replacement - I'll probably try that tomorrow.

        Where did you find your white ones?

        • I got them from one of the foreever bright distributers in Baltimore (drove down there!) The white ones are shaped like the mini lights but much brighter than the multicolor ones. I had a few strands of the the original multicolor ones and when I put the white ones on it, it is like the multicolor was barely visible with the white ones. the white ones are kind of bluish but they are white.
  • By buying these lights and hopefully increasing the production, it will hopefully drop the price more and help a project that is ongoing in Nepal where a guy has been giving batteries hooked up to super bright LEDs so that people can have light after dark for the first time in their lives, allowing children to spend more time learning to read and increasing the quality of life just that much more.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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