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How to tell if Full-Wave...Half Wave?


aaronmunson
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I purchased numerous sets of my favorite lights I can obtain locally from HD, The GE Energy Smart LED Colorite light's, apparently made my Nicolas Holiday, in my opinion are awesome, nice, bold bright, but is there a way for me to tell if these are full-wave or half? I can't seem to find anything online about it, and I don't have any special tools like some of you guys on here. Any ideas?

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This may or may not work, I have some half-wave LED's, and you can't tell the difference in them from the full wave ones.  But sometimes, not always, a half wave LED set may only work if the plug is plugged in one way, if you flip it around to reverse the prongs, it might not light at all, but the end female will still have power.   Found this out with some LED sets I bought at HD a few years back, set up my strands and middle one was out, 1st and 3rd strands were lit, figured bad LED, so took the string out, plugged it in and it lit up, okay, weird, so took it back out, plugged it in like it was before, no light...WTH???   So I unplugged it, flipped the male plug, plugged it back in and it worked.   Okay, that's weird, but that's the way, again some, not all, work and even in the same sets, it may be a manufacturing blunder, because I have others that aren't affected like that.

 

A full wave will always work no matter which way the plug is connected, or so has been my experience.

 

Another thing is supposedly 1/2 wave LED strands don't fade down to 0% well, usually they will flicker a bit as they reach around the 10% to 8% level of the down fade.  So plug them in a controller and try doing slow fades, if they flicker quite a bit, they are more than likely 1/2 wave.

 

Other than those two, not sure if there may be another way to tell or not.

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Dang - no edit button for a while

 

There is one other test I almost forgot about this simple one,, you can plug them in and shake them, if you see a flicker effect they are 1/2 wave, if they look steady on, they are full wave.  And the flicker when doing this is very noticable.


George beat me to it, but that's probably the easiest way to check and test 1/2 vs full wave.


Okay, that was weird.  I had already posted the above, replied with the info at the bottom about George beat me to it, and it got appended to the previous message.    Some strange things happening around here. :ph34r:

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Usually you can tell half-wave lights by their flicker.  You'll see it most easily in your peripheral vision, or by moving the lights from side to side at a distance of a foot or so in front of you.

This place is getting strange and weird George, my precious post was THREE different messages, yet each addition got appended to the original message prior to the one I was responding to you.

 

I think the forums got some very strange gremlins running around in here! :o

 

And if this one gets appended, I'm not gonna know what to think about the forums then..... :huh:

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My first sets of light were GE LED's before I started buying the sealed full wave LEDS..........But it seems to me the 1/2 wave Ge's arn't as bright as the full wave when I had them next together, I actually gave them away because of the brightness difference IMO

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I read on a DIY Christmas forum, that you can tell for the most part that a set of lights is full-wave if it has a longer plug (2"ish), and has 3 wires coming out of it, vs. the ones that are shorter or have a polarized plug, or is shorter with only about 1" plug and two wires coming out, and then 3 wires starting from the 1st light in the string. As much as I would like to believe this, I have my major doubts. I have plugged in my set of lights, and they are really bright LEDs, no flicker noticed either when moving in front of me, or from the side. I didn't notice any flicker last year when my lights were on either, but now that I'm reading how important it is to have full-wave, perhaps I'm psyching myself out, especially because I have so much invested in what I feel are high quality lights. 

 

Also, since I'm writing I might as well ask, I ran across this website and these lights, which I've heard a couple people mention: Holiday Light Express, or Holiday LED Express, which seems to be the same. But I was looking at the 5mm LEDs. Does anyone use these lights? Is there is a good track record behind them? I just want to make super sure before I order several, several cases in Jan, which is apparently when they have great sales. 

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I have some of the 5mm, sometimes called "button" or "dome" LED's.  They are okay in some instances, but like George, they are not as viewable from any direction like M5's, M6's, C5 or C6 bulbs are. 

 

I try and mainly use C5, C6, C7 or M5 type LED strands. 

 

But will use the 5mm in some areas that don't require a side view, usually use those types in signs or things that would be seen head on for best results.

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Well thanks to the both of you, you've definitely saved me some trouble and money. I personally have never been a huge fan of the 5mm looks, but I figured they seemed pretty popular, so maybe that's what everyone was using, so I really appreciate the input. I had the assumed at first that the direction issue might be a problem, so I'm glad you guys confirmed that. 

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I read on a DIY Christmas forum, that you can tell for the most part that a set of lights is full-wave if it has a longer plug (2"ish), and has 3 wires coming out of it, vs. the ones that are shorter or have a polarized plug, or is shorter with only about 1" plug and two wires coming out, and then 3 wires starting from the 1st light in the string.

 

That is correct. If the male and female plug and socket are larger than normal and both have 3 wires, then it is most likely full-wave.

 

An another full-wave configuration is a box at each end that have 2 wires in one end and 3 wires in the other. This is just like large-plug configuration except the rectifier is built separate from the plug. In longer strings there will be a box in the middle that has 3 wires in and 3 wires out.

 

If there is a box after the plug, before the first light that has 2 wires in and 2 wires out, then this box is the full-wave rectifier and the string is full wave. The unique thing about this configuration is that the female socket at the end will have rectified voltage at the end, meaning that you can plug a half-wave into it and defending on which way you plug it in, it will either not light, or will light as if it were full-wave.

 

If the plug is normal size, with 2 wires that come out and go directly to the lights, then it is half-wave.

 

It's always possible that 1 diode in the rectifier has failed, making a full-wave string into a half-wave string.

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