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Buy Direct?


roknjohn
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I was wondering if folks on here ever get together and order directly from overseas manufacturers for LED lights? e.g. Buying 1000 sets of full wave rectified 70ct in the $3-$4 range. I've ordered lots of other things from Alibaba in the past with much success. This seems a better route for those that want to convert their whole display over to LED.

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Are you volunteering to start a "group buy"? ;)

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jimswinder wrote:

Are you volunteering to start a "group buy"?  :)

Perhaps. I just sent inquires to a dozen manufacturers.

What is the popular configuration, 70ct M5 ice?
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Isn't this what CDI, MITS and HLE already doing for us with a presale?

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But, are you comparing apples to apples? These vendors buy and test the the lights they sell. They are full wave and sealed. These are not the same as what you buy at the big box stores. I personally haven't had any problems with flicker with the lights purchased last year or this year, adding snubbers did make a difference with fades. The only big box store that sells sealed leds is Shopko that I know of, but their retail price is rediculous, It's still high even at 50% off. When the price is right, I do like their berry lights. I do not have any first hand experience with the full wave lights, but I can sure pick them out in some of the quality displays you see here.

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Donny M. Carter wrote:



So CDI presale is $10-$12 per set. I need 800 sets, that's only $8,000-$9,600. No sweat! :shock:

Nothing against Paul @ CDI, they give great service and deserve to make a profit. I had my own business for 20 years, so I understand.

My research so far looks like they can be bought for about 1/3 of that price. Sure there is risk and quality/spec concerns, but the saving are potentially significant. I was just asking if anyone had done this before - at cost.
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roknjohn wrote:

Donny M. Carter wrote:


So CDI presale is $10-$12 per set. I need 800 sets, that's only $8,000-$9,600. No sweat! :shock:

Nothing against Paul @ CDI, they give great service and deserve to make a profit. I had my own business for 20 years, so I understand.

My research so far looks like they can be bought for about 1/3 of that price. Sure there is risk and quality/spec concerns, but the saving are potentially significant. I was just asking if anyone had done this before - at cost.



Well I may be paying too much from your standpoint, but I disagree and I'll go with MitS and Jacob Dell there. MitS tests, and makes sure before you get your LED strands they ARE ALL in working order before they leave to you. They ARE SEALED so no issues with rusting sockets or LED Leads like with the Big Box stores or cheaper lower quality strands.

I've been there and I KNOW YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

I've been watching, reading and asking questions about the sealed strands since I started this hobby. And the majority here say go with sealed strands and try and stay away from the big box stores because of the poor quality.

I LEARNED that lesson this year, I'm not made of money either, and I can't afford the full amount of sealed LED strands I would like, so I have to look at it realistically and buy what I can get. Fortunately this year (2012) I am able to start off with a purchase of 108 100-count sealed LED strands. Sure I'd love to have double or triple what I'm ordering, but I'll just have to build with this and add to it a little each year.

After having over 12 strands from the big box stores go belly up during my 2011 Christmas display, I knew then it was time to definitely listen to the experts here on why they prefer sealed LED strands over replaceable LED bulb types. I thought repacable was better, boy oh boy, was I wrong on that one. Several rusted out sockets rendered the entire string completely useless.

So buying blind is NO WAY to buy quality LED strands for your display. If you want to take that chance only to learn the hard way, like I did, by all means go for it.

Me, along with many others here, I'm going to make sure I get FULL WAVE SEALED LED STRANDS, no snubbers needed, no rusted out sockets, no rusted LED leads and hopefully just an occasional failure, but from what I've read, failures are a quite rare with the sealed LED strands.

From my own experience using big box store brands, I can say those will definitely let you down. Maybe not in the first year, but come their second season (year) of use, I had far too many fail.

So no I don't feel as I'm paying too much, not when I know what I'm getting (quality over quanity) and that if I do have any issues, they will be replaced easily and promptly and I won't have to wait for another slow boat to and from China to get my replacements!

Caveat Emptor!

Just my $0.75¢ worth.
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Dang Orville how do you ever get anything done writing all these essays. worth more than $0.75 to me.. ;p

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l0chte wrote:

Dang Orville how do you ever get anything done writing all these essays. worth more than $0.75 to me.. ;p

I get plenty done. As Ripley says, Believe it or not!:D
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I actually did try to set up a big buy from China with a rep from Neo Neon. I know him personally.. when I said I want about 100k lights they quoted me the price and then when I looked it over I had to say, " No, I want 100k lights, not strings of lights". They never returned my call after that. But the quote was still around $7.60-8.90 for 100 cnt strings of the quality we are talking.

As for the box store lights.. I bought a lot of 150 cnt C6 lights on the reels from Sam's Club and several hundred boxes of 60 cnt mini LEDs from Target. I had 4 strings go bad. I called them and they refunded me for the four. BTW, 2 of the four worked fine after I pulled them and plugged them in at my shop a week later. I think it was a loose LED in each of the stings. We didn't have sever weather but it rained a few times and froze about 7 days. (Freezing here is below 32 degrees.. not like some of you guys get). So I guess YMMV.

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George Simmons

wbottomley wrote:

I guess you'll pack them up, ship them back to China, and ask for a replacement or refund, right?

The only problem is that virtually all companies in China don't accept returns. Seriously, they don't. You might (maybe that should be a capital MIGHT) get replacement product for free added to your next order or maybe a discount added to your next order but don't even bother thinking of returning product. Nor would the economics and logistics of returning product to them even make sense.
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plasmadrive wrote:

I had 4 strings go bad.  I called them and they refunded me for the four.  BTW, 2 of the four worked fine after I pulled them and plugged them in at my shop a week later. 

Did you return the refunded money to Target for the two ? Since you got a refund for 2 which actually did work? :D
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Those that failed were from Target. I didn't have to return them..

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Champion Sound Entertainment

Im actually looking into it myself - I was quoted for 500-2000 strands of lights between $2-5 with shipping about $100 per box of 250 lights. So from my standpoint im probably going to buy much more than I need and then put the rest in the front of my store and buy a banner saying we sell LEDs. I figure if i dont sell them at least i will have gotten alot of LEDs really cheap. Ive always wanted to go full LED but at the moment i have about 80k incans and to switch that over to LED at full retail price just isnt nearly worth the price to me.

Alot of people have been quick to say you get what you pay for etc. etc. - the fact remains is ALL these lights come from china. You just have to look around to get the right lights - also im from san diego so the worst the weather gets here is about 40-50 degrees at night and we get almost no rainfall - but when i lived in colorado for a few years we had the cheapo LED out on the front of our store and it would snow hail rain and then be sunny the next day then dump a foot of snow the next. Our cheap LEDs did just fine. I bought about 20 strands 5 years ago and they still all work to this day...

So even though I appreciate people's advice, im always a bit skeptical from what their standpoint may be - id like to think everyone is speaking from their heart and of true experience, but if i believed everything everyone ever said i would be a foolish fool.

If your interested in doing a large purchase through manufacturer, message me and maybe we can work something out to get the price even lower... Also I ship alot through UPS so I would be able to directly ship at a price that would be cheaper than most...

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As indicated above there is a great "risk/reward" element in dealing with China. I personally think the risk is too great. Even those that have dealt with these manufacturers for years and in person have been burned. Just ask Paul S. at CDI about the 2008 shipment he received.

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Well, here is my standpoint.

I'm not going to install 'big box store' LEDs on any commercial project. Why? They fail more often the LEDs from (for example) CDI. The reliability of the LEDs from CDI (and other vendors here) far exceeds anything you'll find in the big box stores.

This past season I found myself in Arizona helping on a project. When they had LEDs flickering, want to guess where I got them from? Yep. CDI. Wasn't about to tell them they should get them anywhere else. Last I checked that part of Arizona isn't all that harsh of weather, and yet the LEDs still failed.

People are offering you their advise based on their past experience with LEDs. I doubt anyone here is getting a commission from the vendors for recommending their product. (At least I know I don't.)

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And know we know why I despise the ability to edit a post.

Here is what was posted, for the record.

Champion Sound Entertainment wrote: Im actually looking into it myself - I was quoted for 500-2000 strands of lights between $2-5 with shipping about $100 per box of 250 lights. So from my standpoint im probably going to buy much more than I need and then put the rest in the front of my store and buy a banner saying we sell LEDs. I figure if i dont sell them at least i will have gotten alot of LEDs really cheap. Ive always wanted to go full LED but at the moment i have about 80k incans and to switch that over to LED at full retail price just isnt nearly worth the price to me.

Alot of people have been quick to say you get what you pay for etc. etc. - the fact remains is ALL these lights come from china. You just have to look around to get the right lights - also im from san diego so the worst the weather gets here is about 40-50 degrees at night and we get almost no rainfall - but when i lived in colorado for a few years we had the cheapo LED out on the front of our store and it would snow hail rain and then be sunny the next day then dump a foot of snow the next. Our cheap LEDs did just fine. I bought about 20 strands 5 years ago and they still all work to this day...

So even though I appreciate people's advice, im always a bit skeptical from what their standpoint may be - id like to think everyone is speaking from their heart and of true experience, but if i believed everything everyone ever said i would be a foolish fool. But when I hear that people buy the "big box" leds from walmart or what not and that the majority of them fail...i just cant help to think there are other motives at play - or you have some seriously harsh weather...


My previous message was in reply to that post.
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I have to agree that it is a risk reward thing.. I tend to believe if you connect with the right supplier the risk will go down. I am not doing commercial projects with Christmas lights so I have no issue with going to China to get lights.. if it is worth it.. But like someone said.. CDI got burned bad one year.. I would hate that to happen to me..

I too have quote requests in with Alibaba and perhaps the 40 thieves.. ha ha..

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