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LED Strings - Replaceable, Intermixable Reliable


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Title got your attention?

These are the Holy Grail for us that are adopting LEDs. Rust, corrosion and failure plague these strings and most of us have decided to stay with sealed units. Read on.

Holiday Lights - http://www.holidaylights.com/ - has been one of my wireframe vendors for about 5 years now. I have a very good relationship with Larry Swords the primary sales rep for the past 4 years. We have had many detailed discussions over those years on Christmas, wireframes, lights and life. 2 years ago he started revealing that HL was going to migrate the entire lineup they had to LED. That sparked interest in me. Knowing their product and process, I wondered, "how were they going to do that". He explained that it would be with a replaceable LED string. My first thought was "Oh boy, here we go". HL has a solid reputation in the wireframe world. They are the big boy that supplies many other vendors. They knew that this move had to be calculated so as NOT to harm their reputation and revenue stream. Larry revealed that they understood the issues of corrosion, rust and reliability. Also, that they had started working with their manufacturer on protypes to see if they could get a working solution. They came up with one, a good one. Last year most of their lineup was also available in LED.

As a favor, Larry was going to sell me some of his rejects last year to get me over a hump I had with some wireframes I got from Winklebottoms. HL was not selling these last year at all. Rejects for HL are strings that are either 49 or 51 bulbs. They get them on occasion, but did not have the numbers I needed for the colors I wanted. But, I did secure a string from him for testing, and I explained to him that if these are as good as he states, this is a great solution for those that make their own wireframes, and that I would spread the word on the forums.

I got the string the first week of January and proceeded to toss it outside plugged in for 7 weeks straight in the Seattle weather. No failure. Pulled the string apart, clean as a whistle. Left it unplugged but still outside. It is now April. The string still works, and not a hint of rust or corrosion. I did some performance testing using LOR. These are dimmable. Not as consistent as other LED products, but usable for fading. I tested them with and without a snubber, and the snubber did noticeably help. HL have a patent pending on the socket/bulb design, and they will tell you that eventually these will succumb to the elements, but their testing has shown where these should last for years of normal use before failing or rusting.

These bulbs are LED M5 not the M6s we have all come to get used to in the mini size. So they are a direct replacement for incandesant minis. In 2010, HL will open up and start selling strings of these to the public. They will not have volume for huge orders like other vendors offer, but if they see enough interest, they will continue to increase the offering each year. I am attaching the pricing sheet. These are only 50ct strings, white wire. You can start ordering them immediately. HL will guarantee timely delivery if you can order before April 30th.

My keen interest in these is for the custom wireframes I am making, or even buying. Due to the ability to intermix different colors on a string, this gives Framers a viable LED option that is equal to incandesants. I will be taking my string to the WA State Mini for inspection and discussion, and most likely the Chicagoland Mini as well.

If you are interested, give Larry a call or send him an email - larry@holidaylights.com.

Price and color selection document attached.

Attached files M5 Replaceable LEDs.pdf

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