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Thread: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

  1. #1
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    Default LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    I saw the posts about Halloween lights at Target. Looks like Walmart is selling LED Christmas lights for $10 to $12. They are sold in 50, 60 and 70 light sets, 10 to 22 foot lengths, multi, clear colors, and various designs (Icicle, Star shapes, Teardrop, Faceted, Round...) They are made by Noma (Not sure if it's related to the UK Noma Lites)


    Here is a web link to the Walmart LED's (inliten.com)

    http://www.inliten.com/products/plma...?plid=39&cat=1

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    I don't have a link for anyone, but the other day I saw LED Christmas lights at Target as well. 3 different styles, bare LED, small traditional popular pointed bulb style, and a slightly smaller version of the night light style bulb. These were Philips brand, and they had a nice display where you could push a button and a string of about 6 or 8 would light up. They appeared just as bright as regular Christmas lights. Each string had 60 multi-colored LED's for around $12. I was tempted, but I decided to hold off for now.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    I aa heading to target this weekend. Will look for them. Wouldnt mind a set or two. One for myself. Nothing like taking off my glasses and looking at the blur of colors. I hope they have some that blink or strobe. COOL!!!!!

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Let's not talk about Christmas already...

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    cobb, the sets at Target were all steady burn, not blinking, but I suppose you could get one of those little plug adapters that makes the whole set (not individual bulbs) blink on and off at the same time. The whole set was rated at something like 4.8 watts, compared to 48 watts for the incandescents! What a difference, and no heat problems, supposedly.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Lowe's has an awesome selection of LED lights this year. I'm replacing all of my Target LED lights from last year (very un-even red, green yellow) with sets from Lowe's. These are MUCH improved over the sets I got from Target a year or so ago. They seem to be very similar (if not identical) to some of the ones that Target has, but Lowe's has a better selection of bulb sizes & colors. I'm grabbing some of the all-white sets for lighting up equipment panels. Lowe's does have some of the crappy red/green/yellow sets, but they can keep 'em. I'll pony up the extra $3 for the better quality (and brighter) LEDs. I'll probably also be there on Dec26 buying up any remaining LED sets.. CPF'ers in W. Florida beware.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Thanks for the tip, TPA. Gonna check my local Lowe's next time.

    Are these the same Philips lights that Target picked up this year? I tried the "try me" button on the Philips multicolor displayt at Target and while they seem to be the same size as the Foreverbrights, they seemed considerably brighter than the FBs. Of course they might have been running the "try me" power supply a little hot, and I'm sure they were running it on DC because there was NO strobing or flickering. A DC supply contributes to greater apparent brightness because of the 100% "on" duty cycle.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    I bought led's at Target last year, I think they are the white/blue icicle looking one's, they looked ready cool outside on our small spruce tree.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    The generic Target brand of 2 or 3 years ago were horrible. The set I bought actually burned out in the first few minutes due to defective parts and the replacement wasn't much better. Dim, cheap, and just overall unsatisfying. I just picked up a set of 60 blue and a set of 60 white phillips ones from the store here yesterday for $11.99.

    Yes the store display is quite bright as it's running on batteries. The lights do flicker quite noticeably when running on AC. I'm going to experiment with a little rectifier and capacitor solution later on today and see if I can't smooth out the AC a bit going into them.

    A strand of 60 white LED's pulls less than 5 watts.

    PS: the lowes here has no LED lights of any kind, I was in there a week or so ago and made it a point to go through the christmas section that they were putting together So perhaps they are in the local market decision list still.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    I'll be headed for Wallgreens later today and will look for Christmas lights then, but I think they still have Halloween stuff in the "seasonal" aisle.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    I'm going to experiment with a little rectifier and capacitor solution later on today and see if I can't smooth out the AC a bit going into them.
    Course, I drop in on radio shack as I'm returning my rented tuxedo and they have exactly 1 capacitor in the drawer thing. So... are they phasing out the hobbyist section of the store entirely? I dont mind ordering stuff, but I was hoping to pick up something to experiment with in the short term. oh well...

    (The need for a rented tuxedo is not relevant to this story, only that returning it had me walking past the radio shack in question)
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    When I worked in the seasonal department one year at a hard ware store, we got a shipment in of christmas lights, and one kind looked exactly like LED's, but when I looked closer, they were just regular bulbs, in the shape of a LED.

    I'm hoping that because of the lower wattage, we will be able to hook more than 3-4 strands together with out blowing any fuses. That should make it a lot easier to put them up.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    The rectifier trick works well in ironing out the flicker. Use a full-wave bridge rectifier and you might not even need the capacitor.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    PhotonWrangler: Just for kicks since the caps I ordered haven't arrived yet I wired 2 sets of them up to a little tiny rectifier that I had lying around and the results are quite striking! The flicker isn't completely gone, but it's much reduced and the lights appear brighter because the duty cycle is higher. I hope I'm not increasing the voltage too much by putting them on pulsed DC rather than a nice sign wave.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Quote Originally Posted by James S
    PhotonWrangler: Just for kicks since the caps I ordered haven't arrived yet I wired 2 sets of them up to a little tiny rectifier that I had lying around and the results are quite striking! The flicker isn't completely gone, but it's much reduced and the lights appear brighter because the duty cycle is higher. I hope I'm not increasing the voltage too much by putting them on pulsed DC rather than a nice sign wave.
    Good point, but ultimately the peak voltage is still the same; with a bridge rectifier, the negative excursion of the cycle is simply flipped into the positive area, so the duty cycle is being doubled (so there's a little more heat) while the frequency is effectively being doubled from 60hz to 120hz.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Not really a concern since it is so low, but you have doubled the energy consumption as well right? Not that going from 4.8 watts to 9.6 watts is going to break the bank with the electric bill.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Quote Originally Posted by not2bright
    Not really a concern since it is so low, but you have doubled the energy consumption as well right? Not that going from 4.8 watts to 9.6 watts is going to break the bank with the electric bill.
    Well, the lamps are now on for the full ac cycle instead of half of it, but at any one instant it's the same amount of current draw. Ultimately it increases the spin on the wattmeter in the basement because it looks to the power company as if you've had the same string of lights turned on for twice as long.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    They have the Noma brand LEDS at my Wal-Mart.

    My Costco is selling the Forever Brights they had last year plus a new set.

    I think Doit Best hardware stores were selling Forever Brights in multicolor and white last year. There's a Doit Best close by in Chino that I know of but I've never been to that store before. Maybe I'll have to check it out.

    edit: I look on Doit Best's website and they have them again this year in both white and color

    They are not listed yet on Lowe's site

  19. #19

    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Re: Radio Shack and finding parts..


    I used to own a Radio Shack dealership. Yes they have been phasing out small parts for years... the stuff just doesn't make enough profit per square foot as cell phones and dish TV, etc....

    A good and common place to get used bridge rectifiers, diodes, and capacitors is out of an old PC power supply.... you can yank the big aluminum heatsink out as well and mount a LM317 adjustable voltage regulator on it plus add a couple other parts for a cheap and effective 1.5 amp variable DC power supply to use for experimenting on LED's and Luxeons.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Well, I was at Wallgreens yesterday and today, and they have not yet set out the Christmas lights - they still have Halloween decorations and other such horse puckey out.

    So it looks like I'll have to wait until at least early-November before I might have any joy in that department.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler
    The rectifier trick works well in ironing out the flicker. Use a full-wave bridge rectifier and you might not even need the capacitor.
    I grabbed an 8A/200V fullwave at Fry's, installed it in an outlet box, and now I have a regular outlet with DC, from which a powerbar distributes the rectified power (clearly marked and isolated so I don't find out what something expecting AC will do with it) and I now have several of the new Phillips strings lighting up my floor now, together with some of last year's Foreverbrights. The resulting 120Hz flicker is nice and stable to the eye, unlike the TV-screen-like 60Hz halfwave.

    I like the fact that the Philips "bulbs" are removable; buy five sets of the multicolor (red, orange, yellow, green and blue) and rearrange colors to suit. You'll have red and green sets for Christmas, orange for Halloween, and yellow and blue for UCLA fans

    Not sure what to do with the provided spares tho

    Anybody know what values of capacitance C per X number of lights would suffice to flatten out the DC to imperceptible ripple? I think I recall how to calculate the needed capacitance for a resistive load, but I don't remember if all that changes for nonlinear loads (LED's)... should I just figure out Vp from Vrms, measure the current, and work out a load R? I haven't done those calcs in years...

    One minor warning: there IS some heating of the resistors in each light when running this rectified DC; they might get a bit warmer still with capacitance.
    Last edited by Canuke; 10-17-2005 at 11:06 PM.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    I was working on that too, also with the phillips lights. Got my order of various capacitor values to try. Remember that rectified DC is higher voltage than the RMS of the AC that goes into it. So if you rectify 120v you're going to get 160v DC! Which is quite a bit higher for the LED's and you need a 200v capacitor.

    I just ordered what allelectronics had in stock and didn't pick a specific value, but I can say that the 200v 1000uf are more than enough, indeed they are too much. They work beautifully though, I've got 2 strands plugged into one and the capacitor could probably handle twice that many or more. Remember that the higher the load the more capacitance that you'll need to even out the flow, and you'll also need to remember that running the LED's solidly on DC they are actually on for twice the amount of time that they were from AC, so the rated usage is probably closed to 10 watts and not the 5 thats on the box.

    I'm a bit concerned about running them from 160v, I'm testing them now to see how hot they are going to get. after just half an hour, the wires running down out of the bulbs are warm to the touch through the insulation, so I know that the LEd's must be getting hot in there. If I run them through a dimmer and reduce the dimmer to between 15% or 20% then I can get a good 120v DC out of the rectifier and capacitor so I think that is what I will do.

    Once you add a capacitor though there is a real danger, especially with one that big. LED's pretty much stop conducting at all once they fall too far below their forward voltage. When you turn off the power on this the cap can actually run both strings for a few seconds as they dim slowly towards off. But even when off there is still about a 75v charge in the capacitor that will not bleed off through the LED's! This is potentially lethal, when I shorted the cap to make it safe it welded my screw driver.

    So you need a resister across the cap to bleed the charge and make it safe. Right now I'm using just a 1meg 1/4 watt resister and that seems to be safe and effective. It still takes like 5 or 10 minutes to finish draining the charge through it when it would be dangerous, but you wont open it up next christmas and get burned by it, you would have to be careful immediately after turning it off, say when changing a bulb or something, cause off is not off once you add this!

    The use of a 1/4 watt resister in a line connected circuit like this is safe because the resistance of it is so high, at 160v a 1meg resister only sinks about .025 watts, which is about 10 times below it's rated .25 watts (or at least according to my math, which I did only once so could be wrong, but it's happily running over there showing no signs of overheating or a problem even though it's just a quarter watt resister connected directly between the pins of a 200v capacitor!) You could use a lower resistance and sink more power to discharge the cap more quickly, but then you will be wasting more power just sitting there all the time too and be running a little heater in the box. the 1meg wont heat up too badly.

    But remember, discharge that cap while you're playing with this!!!

    I can say that evened out beyond the 120hz flicker they are quite beautiful and very bright, even when reduced to 120v instead of the output at 160.
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    When I worked in the seasonal department one year at a hard ware store, we got a shipment in of christmas lights, and one kind looked exactly like LED's, but when I looked closer, they were just regular bulbs, in the shape of a LED.
    Those are called "rice lights". Used to fool me too. You have to look closely to see the filaments.

    Now, with these "removable" LED bulbs, the ForeverBrights are removable too. But since the different colors need different wattage or something, they tell you not to switch them, and I did it unknowingly once, and it doesn;t light in another socket. So are you sure that these Philips are truly switchable? Have you actually done it? (I didn't even know Philips had LED Christmas lights. Where did you get these from?)

    Also new from Forever Bright this year, tri color "yellow-white-blue" (actually amber, blue, and the two mixed, which will probably yield a very pinkish white), and red-magenta-blue.
    http://www.christmas-treasures.com/A...ghtMiniIce.htm
    (seems to be the icecicle lights only).

  24. #24

    Default Incandescent Lights: +1, LED Lights, -5 !!

    I have had two strings of multicolor Christmas lights running continuously since last Christmas in my kids rooms as night lights. One was LED based (new last year), and one incandescent. They have been on continously other than the odd power outage. Every single incandescent bulb is still lit believe it or not. The color is looking ratty with tons of fading, but they are still on. I am currently down 5 LEDs out of the string, 4 blues and one green. So much for 100K life... :-) I really did not expect 100K hours, but I was hoping for at least few failures. If they were on a tree, they would be a throwaway.

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    Flashaholic EricB's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    That's probably not the LED's going out themselves, but rather the resistors, or perhaps the wires are bad or something. (Hve you had a lot of weather over the year?).
    When you see LED's go out; on signs, traffic lights, etc; it is the circuitry, and it is often bad weather that does this, including the cold. I'll bet that it is the fact that they give off little heat which allows the circutry to be damaged by cold and wetess where incandescents keep it warm and dry.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Most likey a bad connection somewhere. I have an old set of 2001 ForeverBrights that I used outdoors for the last couple years and another I keep inside. The one that I had left outdoors for almost half a year had a few LEDS that looked like they went out but they were actually still lit; just not anything near full brightness.

    I noticed some of the LED wires were rusted in the sockets when I took those out. They seem to work fine after I filed them clean.

    Contact Cleaner anyone?
    Last edited by yuandrew; 10-19-2005 at 10:29 PM.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    As far as I'm aware, 2004 and newer (possibly 2003 and newer) Forever Brights have lamps that cannot be removed from their receptacles, and should be at least reasonably weather-resistant - in that they should not suffer from rusted or corroded LED leads.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Quote Originally Posted by EricB
    Now, with these "removable" LED bulbs, the ForeverBrights are removable too. But since the different colors need different wattage or something, they tell you not to switch them, and I did it unknowingly once, and it doesn;t light in another socket. So are you sure that these Philips are truly switchable? Have you actually done it? (I didn't even know Philips had LED Christmas lights. Where did you get these from?)
    I picked these up from the Target in Thousand Oaks, CA. Incidentally, for those interested, they also have LED ropelights, something I thought was only available from bulk suppliers. They have white, and multicolor (red, yellow, green, blue). The odd thing about these LED ropelights is that the LED's all face towards the same end of the rope, making them appear especially bright when seen along one direction as compared to the other.

    Regarding the interchangeability, I figured that each light was resistored independently to ensure interchangeability. They have a small snap-in clip which the instructions specify must be aligned properly for polarity's sake. The instructions make reference to "4 volt LED's" but not to color. I've not tested this yet, so hold on... brb....

    OK, I just hot-swapped a red and blue one, no problems.

    Seeing as these are meant to sell to people used to regular incandescents (as evidenced by the inclusion of spares), I expect that each LED is resistored to take up the slack between Vf and 4 volts.

    The fact that half of them shut down with a pulled light tells me that Phillips is using groups of 30 LED's in series, as opposed to the 35 LED's of Foreverbrights. That means 30 LED's are getting 120V = 4 volts per LED in the Phillips, and about 3.43 volts each in the Foreverbrights. So, I suspect that Phillips used 120Vrms as their expected voltage, not peak voltage. As I understand it, Vrms doesn't account for polarity... so rectifying the AC alone does not significantly alter the Vrms.

    Adding a capacitor, however, pushes Vrms up towards Vpeak... as much as 170V (not accounting for rectifier voltage drop). If so, it means that filtered power adds a significant amount of overdrive to these lights -- over one volt extra per LED for the Phillips (160V/30 = 5.333V) and Foreverbrights.

    So the dimmer is definitely a good idea with filtered power, but not so much for unfiltered rectified DC.
    Last edited by Canuke; 10-19-2005 at 10:10 PM.

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Added- About the DC thing, I dug out one of my ATX supplies and examined the circuit board. I got 158 volts DC from the filter capicators (Measured with a Craftsman DMM; there's also a bridge rectifier next to them.)

    Ok, I ran wires from the capicators legs out of the box and connected it to a receptical marked 160 volts DC. I tried running a set of 2001 Forever Brights on it first and they worked great, in fact they were brighter than on 120 volts AC. I later tried a set of 2004 Forever Brights that I bought from Lowe's last year (70 light C7 style Red, Yellow, Amber, Green, Red, Yellow, Amber, Blue set) and on DC, only half the string lit up. When I reversed the plug, the other half lit up.

    "Beamshots"

    (The Setup, Power supply in background)
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...w/100_0744.jpg

    (2001 Forever brights. Set on the left is connected to DC)
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...w/100_0745.jpg

    (2005 plug. First position)
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...w/100_0747.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...w/100_0748.jpg

    (2005 second half)
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...w/100_0749.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...w/100_0750.jpg

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    Default Re: LED Christmas Lights at Wal-Mart

    Quote Originally Posted by yuandrew
    I later tried a set of 2004 Forever Brights that I bought from Lowe's last year (70 light C7 style Red, Yellow, Amber, Green, Red, Yellow, Amber, Blue set) and on DC, only half the string lit up. When I reversed the plug, the other half lit up.
    My string of 70 amber Foreverbrights did that.

    To fix that, first find the midpoint of the string. That's the spot where the cable between two lights consist of only two wires, not three. This is the spot where two 35-light chains are joined to make a 70-light chain.

    Cut the two wires, switch them around and splice. That will bring the latter half of the chain into phase with the first. This will work with Phillips chains showing this issue as well.

    In even more news, I popped into the Target on Sepulveda in the San Fernando Valley and found more Phillips LED's, this time in the icicle-string configuration; 70 lights in white or blue.

    I also found some other brands of lights, including C-9 color changing lights, some long icicles with blue LED's inside (they were too long IMO, only being lit on the top half) and some C9's with fiber-optics inside (gimmicky IMO). I picked up a set of the color changers.

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