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Best LED lights and questions


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56 minutes ago, AllAmericanJock said:

What type of LED string or other lights are best to use for displays. With Amazon Prime day here, are there any good deals on LED string light anyone recommend. Can LED strip lights be used? 

AC, Dumb, Smart? What you buy needs to be compatible with your controllers.

Also note. With Smart RGB you are probably getting in bed with your vendor as mixing sources has other aspects that need to be considered. Connectors is a major one. there are no standards and most are not interchangable (even if the look 'close'. The pinout may be different.

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The best led lights depend on how much money you want to spend. You can get premium, sealed, full wave lights for $40 a string or you can go cheap with lights from the big box stores. Personally I just go with the cheap ones, I hit the after Christmas sales and get my lights for $2 a box as most of my viewer wouldn't be able to tell the difference between full wave and half wave anyway with so many lights going. Also, if a string goes bad I just throw them away, it's $2.

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Most any big box store LED strands will work, rope lights, both incandescent and LED will work, if LED, make sure the details say the LED Rope Light is "dimmable", otherwise your options are limited to just full on and off only.  Just make sure any LED product you purchase says it is dimmable for best results.

And whatever you do DO NOT BUY Martha Stewart brand LED strands, these are not dimmable and quite a few folks have reported in trying to dim them, well, they have burst into flame!   So you don't want these or you could end up burning your home down!

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2 hours ago, AllAmericanJock said:

As to the controllers, I recently bought the Light-O-Rama TSO showtime central starter package. 

I had to look that up. You have a AC (residential) controller. 16 ports. You can have almost as many LED strings end to end as they allow without overloading a port (channel).

If you use other bulb types (eg AC spots), keep track of the Watts (divide by 120 for Amps). A Bank can handle 15A (12 if you were running 100% duty),but the feeds need to be on separate Breakers. The port can do 4A (note 8*4 is way over 15A, so don't get crazy :p )

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I get my RGBs from LOR.  But my regular LEDs I get mostly from ChristmasLights.com but have also picked some up at Walmart and other box stores when on sale.  I've changed most of display over to LED which has been a big savings on my electric bill.  There are very expensive LEDs which theoretically are supposed to last longer.  I have settled on the next level down for budget reasons.  As mentioned earlier, the advantage to the cheaper LEDs is when they break or stop working you haven't lost a huge investment and can go get more. I do have a mix of quality but have been trying to add/replace with a little higher quality.  So far, other than squirrels eating the wires, they have lasted and performed well.  Most of my light replacements are due to squirrel damage.  I try to add something every year and more of those additions have been RGB lights from LOR.

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I bought some quality LEDS from Creative Displays. They're heavier duty than the big box stores, which I've also bought to fill in the gaps here and there. I also have experienced the same issues with squirrels. Coincidentally enough, my local tree rodents seem to prefer the cheaper big box store lights. Who knew?

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Before I ever got into the LOR Controllers, I had static displays for years using LED strands from big box stores when they first started coming out, then I moved to a wireless 4 channel Mr. Christmas and used those same LED strands with it, then after checking out other Christmas displays in my area and saw some of these animated lights synchronized to music displays that looked a whole world better than my Mr. Christmas, and fortunately able to talk to some of those folks is how I learned about LOR Controllers, the software and how it all went together, I was hooked.

So 1st controller {bought used in 2009}, didn't have my first LOR display until Halloween 2010, then Christmas and I was still using those same LED strand from all those earlier years, all purchased at stores such as Walgreen's, Big Lots, K-Mart{all gone in my area now},Home Depot, Lowes, Sears{all gone in my area now}, Garden Ridge {now called something else in my area, but still the same store}, Ace Hardware, CVS, Michael's, Spencer's Halloween Store, Target and Wal-Mart.

When I moved over to RGB and did away with the LED strands {gave them all to my church for their use} they were still working perfectly, and these strands, many of them well over 10+ years old from big box stores or discount/bargain stores.   So I can't complain about the LED strands I purchased at the retail stores as they served me very well, and are still serving the church I gave them too 3 years ago.

I still have 2 older CTB16PC G2 AC Controllers in my show for blow molds and a few other items, but the roof lights and other areas I may outline are all now LOR RGB bulbs or bullet nodes.  Except for the 2 LOR Singing Christmsd Trees {RGB bullet nodes} I purchased this year{2020}.

BTW: I never had any critters, not even squirrels ever gnaw or chew on any of my retail store bought LED strands.

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Orville, I wish there was someone close to me that could help me understand it all, but most people around me just put up christmas lights like everyone else does. I'm trying this all on my own. Since I work in the grocery business I know my job is safe and I can spend money to put up a good display. Hopefully people will still put up there christmas light displays this year. 

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