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Am I Crazy for using incandescent lights?

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Hi All,

 

I am new to LOR.  I purchased the beginners setup over the summer and have figured a lot of things out as I have been testing but I have one nagging question.  Am I Crazy for using incandescent lights?  I had read if you use LEDs you can't do a fade in or out as an LED is either on or off.  I know I am going to be limited on lights as they us more AMPs but is that ok with only 1 controlle(16 channels) and around 3000 lights?  My plan is to have a very basic display next year and grow ever year.

 

Am I missing something?  Should I be doing this a different way?  I am not opposed to LEDs but I don't have the money to purchase all new LEDs this year.

 

Thanks,
Bill 

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Gradually change from incandescent to LED as funds allow. This will give you more control on how many lights you can have to a power source without overloading. Wait until after the season and stock up. There are LEDs that will fade up and down, or at least mine haven't started any fires yet and they are diming. There are many that will push the RGB, but those also have a different look to the display. 

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Hi Bill,
Welcome aboard.
Not crazy - start with what you have for sure. Spending money on controllers can get you upside down in a hurry. As ARCHER (Kevin Kolak) will tell you, the energy saved will never payout in dollars verses strands expense - & he has a mega display of incandescents. I personally think LED is the only way to go. If for no other reason than they bounce. I have 875 C9 LEDs on my roofline & they only pull .56 amps total.... Over 15000 lights at 15 amps total...

And LEDs dim just fine too.
Good luck with whatever you do.
- Daniel

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Hi Bill,

Welcome aboard.

Not crazy - start with what you have for sure. Spending money on controllers can get you upside down in a hurry. As ARCHER (Kevin Kolak) will tell you, the energy saved will never payout in dollars verses strands expense - & he has a mega display of incandescents. I personally think LED is the only way to go. If for no other reason than they bounce. I have 875 C9 LEDs on my roofline & they only pull .56 amps total.... Over 15000 lights at 15 amps total...

And LEDs dim just fine too.

Good luck with whatever you do.

- Daniel

 

 

Bill,

 

mcha and MEGA are hitting the nail on the head. As you grow you can slowly phase out your incans for LED. Do yourself a favor and hide a couple hundred bucks that the wife won't know about for the day after Christmas.

December 26th be a man on a mission hitting every store that sold lights. I personally have had GREAT luck at drugstores like Walgreens and CVS.

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LED lights also offer better response flashing on and off (shimmer effect) than incandescant lights IMO.  My Halloween display is mainly incandescant lights and the Christmas display is all LED lights and I can tell the difference.

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No, you're not crazy at all. I run a "hybrid" display, both in terms of only part of my display being animated with LOR and the rest being static, and also in that roughly half of my lights are LED, while the remainder are incandescent. 

 

I personally LOVE the look of incan lights. The warm glow feel they have, and their relatively inexpensive acquisition cost, are wonderful. They are a power capacity drain for certain - one of my first conversions was virtually every clear incan strand I had was converted to warm white LED because you really can't tell the difference between them. My animated show section is virtually all LED because of how brilliant they are and how little power they draw. But a significant chunk of my static side is still incan, and will remain incan for the forseeable future because I love the look of incan.

 

Of course, to each his own. If you want to transition to LED as time goes on, do it! It's not a wrong decision, just as staying incan is not a wrong decision either. There are just trade offs (mostly involving power draw, bulb fading, and cost) that you have to take into account, and make a decision for yourself. 

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 I had read if you use LEDs you can't do a fade in or out as an LED is either on or off.  

 

Also, the "big box" store LED lights are generally what are called "half wave" - they are generally thought of as not well suited for using with LOR. "Full wave" lights from vendors found on this and other sites are considered far superior, while admittedly a bit more expensive. From my experience, the full waves from the vendors here tend to be a bit better in quality than big box store lights as well - though that being said, I have thousands of warm white half waves from Sams Club that I'm very happy with in my static areas, and I make significant use of Big Lots LED C6's I've gotten on sale after Christmas as well.

Edited by Stephen Blue

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I too use the lights from large stores usually without any issue. BigLots lights work nicely for less cost with the G3 controllers. Everyone else has already stated the advantages and disadvantages but incans do have their place in our displays but led's look very nice. One caution, stay far, far away from Home Depot's "Martha" series LED strings. They will not dim and there have been reports of fires. They are fine for just on/off only.

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Welcome.  Don't forget that this HOBBY (?) is for the fun of it (in spite of the work and expense).

 If your in this to be the TOP DOG you are sadly mistaken.  There is always a few with more time and money that the next guy.   Don;t try and beat anybody.

 Do the best show you can with what you have available and Enjoy it.

 Once it gets past the enjoy part it is time to do something else.  What we as designers like is often much different from what the average viewer likes.  We like flashy and precise and most viewers like nice looking.

Again welcome and don;t sweat it.

 If you like what you have created  you have hit a home run if others like it even better.

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Thank you everyone for all the advice.  I think I will begin the move to LEDs this next year.  Will just do it slowly.  

 

1 more question.  Is it ok to use an extension cord to string lights together?  Like wall plug to extension cord to light strand to extension cord to light strand?

 

Thanks again.

 

Bill 

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As many have said, work with what you have and then add. I think you will find its how a lot of people got started with this hobby

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Hi Bill, welcome to the addiction! :D

 

I too have a Hybrid of Incans and LED's in my display plus a little RGB. As stated above the best LED's for shows like ours are the ones from vendors mentioned in these forums but I have some from Big Lots and even Sam's that have worked pretty well over the years. The most noticeable issue with half wave LED's is slow fades. Incans fade much better and the Full wave ones do very well also. The half wave sometimes do flicker until they hit their "on" amount of power. If you have rather fast fades you may not notice much at all.

 

As for your last question about the cords, if I understand you correctly you are asking about having extension cords BETWEEN light strings. I'm guessing to bridge the same channel from one element to another like from bush to bush or tree to tree. If this is right the issue you will have with the regular extension cords are that most are grounded and have 3 prongs and the light strings only have 2. So you will not be able to plug the male end of the extension cord to the female end of the light string. I would suggest getting a heavy duty 3 way adaptor plug to go to the extension cord coming from the controller/wall plug then connect your light string then run another extension cord to the other light string.

 

Later,

Al

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Like its been said before do with what you have. When I started my hobby I set aside some money to spend after Christmas and bought close to 150k led lights from big box stores. I found typically from the day after Christmas to the week before new years led lights at 50% off, the week before new years they typically are marked down to 75%. If you are lucky it is very easy to pick up ALOT of led lights for cheap (of course incandescent are 75% off as well so they are temping, but don't fall for it lol).

 

Dan

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I too LOVE incans. I don't EVER plan on getting rid of them. There is something nostalgic about them to me. I have very few LED lights. I plan to expand more this NEXT year. But, I do have a lot of pixels this year and LED strips and again will expand more for next year. To each his own.... it is YOUR display after all. Not mine or anyone else's on this forum.

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I"ve used all incans for years but have been slowly switching to LEDs as budget allows and as older strings fail.  The power bill has been the biggest incentive to switch to LED and we started noticing a reduction in our electric bill very quickly.  Still have some incans running but everything new I buy is either regular LED or RGB LED.  THis is our 3rd year using LOR and animating our lights to music.  I also like the LEDs over the incans because they stay cool whereas some of the incans can get very hot.  We always use a real tree inside and that was switched to LED first simply because hot lights on a real tree was just not a safe combination.

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I live in northern wisconsin, close to a highway. I found that big box store LED's will not stand up to moisture and salt spray from the road. The pronges from the diode will rust and the lights will fale. This is how I found plant christmas and LOR. I was tring to find out more about my problem with the lights.  This is my first year also, and I have went with the pro-grade LED's from the christmas sites. They are much better quailty, and more costly. I figure and cost of controlers and everything I have put into my display, I want it to last. As I said I do live in a harsh environment. I under stand that budget is something to keep in mind.  I was going to keep it small this year and it snowballed out of control. I have purchased 2 controlers, 150 sets of lights( most from a garage sale site), spt wire, plugs, built a star, transmitter, sequenceing, and a computer, just under 4000 grand later. I did start in the beginning of the year,  so I had all year to go out of control. So good luck with your display, up-grade slowly, and have fun.

 

Gary N

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I love incandescent lights myself.  I fought it for the last few years wanting to buy leds.  Made the jump from 100,000 incandescent to 15,000 smart and dumb rgb.  Why buy a red, white and green string of lights for a mini tree.  100 dumb nodes are way brighter than 300 incandescent and gives you versatility to do unlimited things with display.   Work with what you have like others have stated for now.   I would skip the LED and jump into RGB in the coming years. This is coming from someone that's been fighting stepping foot into the LED or RGB world for many years.   I love incandescents but rgb and pixels are awesome!

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You are all awesome.  I appreciate all the advice.  I believe my Dec 26 just got really busy.  

 

I think my last question is what are you guys using for FM transmitters?  I have found a few but the price varies so much I don't know what I need to get.  I don't need to push the music out to my neighborhood but would like to cover a hundred feet or so around my house.

 

Thanks again.

 

Bill 

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just do a forum search for fm transmitter -- lots of info out here already.

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The two favorites are the FS CZH-05B and the EDM

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EDM, hands down, Its in the forum under fm transmitters. I just went though this whole thing about transmitters myself.

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