LED Candles...

LEDAdd1ct

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I find that as the days turn to night earlier, I am drawn back to candles. Does anyone with the QVC/Candle Impressions candles that have the timer option use 1.2 volt rechargeables? I would like to know for sure whether 2.4 volts is enough to satisfy the circuit, or whether they *need* 3.0 volts.

If 2.4 is enough, I will probably get the Candle Impressions D cell model with timer, and use LSD cells.
 

GreySave

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Never tried rechargeables. Given the long life and relatively low cost of the disposable batteries the added cost of rechargeables and a charger just did not make sense for us. Plus, we do not use ours all of the time so there would be some self discharge that I would probably find annoying. I want them to work if I decide to use them on any given night. Thus disposables make the most sense for our lifestyle.

Just read through the thread again. I also like the portability of the battery powered candles. If I want to take them out on the deck I do not have to worry about a power supply.

On the realism......If you are fanatical about them looking real....The Candle Impressions units are random, yet they are repetitive. By that I mean if you are fairly critical and stare at them for perhaps 15-20 seconds you will see that their "random" is actually a repetitive display. Thus it may not be the most realistic out there. I am a fairly critical person though and they do satisfy me, especially for the price. If you are not sure you can try to get a look at them some place or at least purchase from a retailer that offers a return policy.

On the prices....Be sure to shop around. It will be time well spent. I have seen the same candles I purchased for less than $20 a pair on QVC selling to $40 to $50 each on some sites.
 

LEDAdd1ct

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1) "Never tried rechargeables. Given the long life and relatively low cost of the disposable batteries the added cost of rechargeables and a charger just did not make sense for us. Plus, we do not use ours all of the time so there would be some self discharge that I would probably find annoying. I want them to work if I decide to use them on any given night. Thus disposables make the most sense for our lifestyle."

I can totally understand this. It would probably take years given how little current they draw to make up for the cost of even one pair of D size LSD cells. However, I already own the charger, so that cost does not factor in.

2) "Just read through the thread again. I also like the portability of the battery powered candles. If I want to take them out on the deck I do not have to worry about a power supply."


Yup, I was looking at the Candle Impressions D size with timer.



3) On the realism......If you are fanatical about them looking real....The Candle Impressions units are random, yet they are repetitive. By that I mean if you are fairly critical and stare at them for perhaps 15-20 seconds you will see that their "random" is actually a repetitive display. Thus it may not be the most realistic out there. I am a fairly critical person though and they do satisfy me, especially for the price. If you are not sure you can try to get a look at them some place or at least purchase from a retailer that offers a return policy."

I am a fairly critical person, too, and I noticed on the plug-in candle I bought last year after starting this thread that it isn't as realistic as I had hoped. The three incandescent bulbs put out a definite, sharply defined shadow, whereas the shadow from a real candle is more blurred. I think the Candle Impressions with LED may not do that. I was thinking about just buying two in the D size for my bedroom, and a couple smaller ones for blackouts. Although I would like them to be as realistic as possible, it seems you pay quite a bit more for the more expensive ones.

4) "On the prices....Be sure to shop around. It will be time well spent. I have seen the same candles I purchased for less than $20 a pair on QVC selling to $40 to $50 each on some sites."

Yes, I saw that, too. However, it seems that QVC may have poor quality control/customer service. I think I will probably purchase from a smaller shop that specializes just in this sort of thing. I like being able to phone the proprietor and speak to him/her directly. That way, I know if there is an issue, I can fix it quick. However, you are correct in that QVC seems to have the best prices, most likely since they sell a whole heck of a lot of 'em.

I wish there was a local place where I could see them in person. Bed, Bath & Beyond is referred to on the Candle Impressions site; however, they do not seem to stock the D size with timer. :(
 

LEDAdd1ct

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXb7O94SHdYSaw this post here and I am intrigued!

Has anyone had direct experience with this exact product yet?

EDIT: I will make an attempt to determine the OEM for this product, and if necessary, go to the local mall, visit the Brookstone there, and try to find out who really makes it. The advantage of this implementation goes like this:

With the other LED candles, the IC varies the intensity and the "on time," in its attempt to replicate flickering. This methodology is different. It appears to keep the light source constant, but allows some lightweight material to be carried about in passing air currents. This seems to be a superior method.

So according to what's been said in the thread so far and the new product posted by GordoJones88, the two moving flame contenders are:

1) The Brookstone product of an unknown maker

This has actual physical movement of the artificial flame by way of passing air currents.

EDIT: Or does it? Brookstone's website depicts either a white or red candle, and claims it moves by electromagnetism. The video posted by Gordo shows a yellow candle, and states it moves by air currents. Are these two entirely different products, by two different OEMs?

The RED5 candle uses 2xAA batteries, while the Brookstone uses larger "D" cells.

These are two different products.

Additionally, though the UK shop "RED5" posted the youtube video here, they do not have the product in stock.

This page shows that they did at one point carry the product. Hmm...

2) The http://www.feelings-flame.dk/ candles suggested by LED-FX

This has actual physical movement of the artificial flame by way of a "magnetic impulse."

Stay tuned for updates...
 
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GordoJones88

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I didn't necessarily mean the flickering flame moves by air currents,
I meant it responds to them, if you blow on it, the flame dances about.

However, I put my hand directly over the LED,
and it felt like the heat from the LED was maybe
causing a warm air current to rise and move the flame about.

This candle is huge and heavy.
I didn't know it wasn't a real flame till I got within 2 feet.
There is nothing remotely cheap, gimmicky, or goofy about this particular candle.
I would have bought one on the spot for $10-$20.
But not at $40.

Here I embedded the video:

 

LEDAdd1ct

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Very big thanks for the clarification, Gordo!

1) When you went to Brookstone, what color was the candle? Was it yellow, like in the RED5 video?

2) How closely would you say your sensory impressions of the Brookstone candle were to the one in the RED5 video?

I am trying to figure out whether the one RED5 had for sale is the same or merely somewhat similar to the one for sale at Brookstone, as well as who makes both of them (who the OEM is).
 
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GreySave

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I am very particular about my LED candles just as I am with my lights. While this is of course subjective, the candles that I like best and purchased are the QVC Candle Impressions and the flickering flame candle which QVC sells as "Luminaria" or something like that.

The Candle Impressions lights have no visible "flame." The flickering LED is actually INSIDE of the candle with a fake wick that will not light visible at the top as someone else has mentioned. Most run on two C or D cells which provide a VERY long run time and slowly diminishing output as the cells weaken. They will run for perhaps 3-6 months on one set of cells running at 5 hours per day on their built in timers. The version that is designed for outdoor use is made of resin and while the flickering works the same the candles themselves do not look as real. The trade off is that you can use them outside on a hot night and they will not melt. I have about 20 of the C and D cell versions and all have been 100% reliable and items like the battery compartment are easy to open and nicely built. The AA version of these which I also own will eat through two AA cells in about 30 days running every day on their timer. They also have a visible LED if you look down into the candle from the top. There are many varieties and colors of these to choose from, so take your time and pick out what will work the best for you.

The Luminaria style lights look fake when turned off as you can see the reflector (The "flame" that you see in the video). When turned on unless you are within a foot or two they look extremely real. I actually use them as part of my theft deterrent equipment. From outside they look 100% real and who would leave candles burning when they are not home? These candles will burn through a set of two D cells in 21-30 days running for 6 hours a day on their built in timers. I do not own any of the AA powered Luminaria candles but from other user's reviews they will burn through a set of cells very quickly, so unless they have improved run time I would not recommend those. These also operate more like a regulated light. When the cells become weak the candle will flash on and off. The door to the battery compartment is not as well made on these. It is a bit harder to align the tabs and get them closed properly and the tabs look a little weak, so careful handling is a must. The reflector itself also looks like it could be damaged....Or more specifically poor handling might damage the mounting and affect the ability to flicker if they are handled carelessly. Don't get me wrong. They are not fragile. I just exercise more care with these than with the Candle Impression brand as these are also more expensive.

As to how they flicker..... I really do not feel any heat and the movement is too generous to be heat related in my opinion. I once thought about perhaps the photons themselves somehow causing movement but that also didn't seem plausible. I did read somewhere that there is some sort of magnetic / electromagnetic process at work. That might explain the higher power consumption. However they accomplished it, they are truly realistic looking. Even the tint and the amount of light they project is just about right.

Questions welcomed to [email protected]
 

LEDAdd1ct

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Thank you very much for your contributions, GreySave—your earlier comments/suggestions and the ones you just posted are definitely appreciated!

I tried some of the Candle Impressions ones, but found they didn't quite look real. They tended to twinkle and glimmer, not quite capturing that authentic flame effect I desire. In an attempt to find out what brand Brookstone is selling, I ventured to the local mall this afternoon. Before making my way to the center of the mall, I stopped in Sears and saw a gentleman and his young daughter browsing the flashlight aisle. It is difficult to suppress your inner Flashoholic when you see a fellow human being about to leave with a pair of cheap 2D plastic flashlights. After engaging him in conversation and explaining Rebel and Cree emitters to him, and giving him the name of our website, I continued on my way to Brookstone.

I expected to see the "AA" version at $40 each, but instead found a large version, taking a pair of "D" cells, marked two for $70. A much larger footprint, and certainly longer runtime. I can now confirm that the brand Brookstone is selling is indeed the Luminara Dream Candle. Here are my thoughts on it:

1) Some of the candles had gentle fissures running through them. Since they claim to be made of real wax, I would take that at face value, and treat them gingerly.

2) There is a light source beneath the aperture where the "flame" sits. The "flame" is a piece of plastic/paper in an oval shape, where the light source shines up through the opening. On the bottom of the "flame" is a weight or magnet, and probably an electromagnet which repels the permanent magnet in the base, causing the plastic "flame" to swing about. The fake flame sits on a thin copper wire, which appears very fragile.

3) The tint of the light source looks absolutely incandescent, under or equal to a max of 3000k. In my opinion, they came close to nailing a candle's tint.

4) When switched on, the oval plastic "flame" bobs about, while the light, presumably a 5mm LED, shines on it. I left my glasses in the car after driving to the mall, and can confirm that from three feet away, the candle comes close to looking real, without quite getting "it." It does come closer than the Candle Impressions candle by a significant margin.

So would I buy one? Two comments about that:

1) If you look at the reviews for the Luminara candles, again and again people report the candle flashing or blinking after some time. While it is possible that those candles are defective, it is quite likely that the batteries are simply low. Were I to purchase one, I would simply wire in a 3 volt DC power supply and never worry about batteries again.

2) $40 a candle is way too high. At the current sale price of two for $70, $35 each is better but not enough to empty my pocket. I'll wait until the inevitable post-holiday sale, when they will be $30 or less.

As it is, the candles that hide the light source beneath the wax shell remove the light source from view, and therefore eliminate it as a possible way of detecting that the candle is a fake. However, these candles tend to twinkle or blink, and therefore don't look as real. The Luminara candles as observed this afternoon in Brookstone do an excellent job of simulating a real flame, with the tint, movement, and brightness all looking right. Does it look perfect? No. But it's very, very close. Instead of manipulating the light source, it manipulates that object which the light source falls upon, in this case, a plastic, oval shaped surface which receives the rays of light from below the aperture.


My final reservations would be cost vs. build quality. The thin wire the artificial "flame" sits on which enables it to bob about freely looks fragile, and even $35 seems far too high. If/when Brookstone has a sale and they are $25, that might tempt me. Be that as it may, these are definitely contenders, and if money slips out of your pocket more easily than mine and you have a place to rest them where children and pets won't knock them about, I think they would be a cool addition to your stable. I definitely agree that placing a couple of these on a windowsill by a curtain, flowerpot, drapes, etc. will absolutely give passersby the impression you are home, as the visibly dancing flame from more than three feet away looks like the gift of Prometheus itself. 3 volt DC adapters are plentiful, and it would be trivial to snip off the barrel connector and wire up the candle to run off the AC/DC transformer without permanently harming the candle's guts.

If anyone else lives near a Brookstone, I'd love to hear their (your) impressions.

Enjoy!


LEDAdd1ct

----------------------------------------------------------------------

With respect to the candle in the RED5 video, after emailing RED5, they refused to disclose the OEM for the candle, stating that it was not their policy to reveal vendor information. I hate it when companys do that! They also stated that:

1) You can now only purchase the candles in their physical stores. This makes it difficult for someone in the United States to obtain a sample.

2) The brand they now carry is not the same as that depicted in the video. The candle depicted in the RED5 video is yellow, not white or red as the Luminara Dream candles are. I would still very much like to know what brand they are. If a member or someone stopping by from a Google search knows who makes that yellow candle posted in the RED5 video, please let us know! If you purchased one from RED5 in the past and still have the box, that would be an easy and accurate way to determine what company makes it. It sure looks real!
 
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GreySave

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From my experience the "flashing" after a time is the low battery warning. It starts as a negative pulse (LED output alternates between normal and reduced brightness) and if the batteries are not changed in then goes into a blinking mode. I do not blame you on the price....But every decent one I have seen is on the high side. Eventually they will come down, but I have not seen any substantial downward movement on the price and I think my first post was back in 2007. Every one of those original candles is still working BTW.

I also agree on the Luminara mechanism appearing fragile. As I mentioned, careful handling is required. I get nervous every time I invert them to change batteries. I bought them when I did because they were a relatively new product and were selling out on QVC very quickly and I really wanted them to be burning when we left for vacation.
 

LEDAdd1ct

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Do you frequently use the Luminara candles in that capacity, as a burglar deterrent?

Or do you use them for their aesthetics, or both...?
 

LEDAdd1ct

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I just got a Luminara Candle, and here are my impressions:

1) This thing smells. They call it scented, I call it a whopper of a stink bomb. In five minutes of being in my bedroom, the whole place reeked like mutant vanilla.

2) The battery compartment door is made very, very poorly. I would be surprised if anyone could own this long term without the battery door snapping its little tabs.

3) Without my glasses on, from five feet or more away, it does look real. However, it wobbles quite a bit. Real candles don't always flicker, they sometimes remain perfectly still. That being said, it is still the most real looking of those artificial candles which do not attempt to hide the flame behind the wax.

I have mixed feelings. As a burglar deterrent, putting this on a windowsill would be tops. If you are putting this up high, in a glass jar, on a shelf, etc., I am sure it would be great. But at eye level/close up, you can tell it isn't the real deal.

As real as it looks at the proper viewing distance, the main detractor is build quality. They could have spent the extra nickel to make the battery compartment door more robust, but did not do so. If they cut corners there, then where else?

If anyone else buys one, please let us know what you think.
 
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GreySave

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LEDAddict - You and I think alike. Your comments about the battery compartment echo mine. By contrast the Candle Impressions battery doors are much more robust and much easier to close. We have had ours for several months and thus several battery changes. I am just VERY careful opening and closing the compartment.We use ours both for aesthetics and as a deterrent as they are visible both to us and from outside as well. I really cannot, or should I say will not, go into a lot of detail but suffice it to say they are not the only deterrent in play. I saw the deterrent side of the candles as just being an added bonus. As for the candles being scented.....Mine were not so I did not get to experience that issue at all.
 

LEDAdd1ct

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There is nothing wrong with the Candle Impressions units per se, but they hide the light source "in" the wax. By offering the flame in plain sight, the Luminara candles add more than just a little realism. I originally thought about wiring up a 3 volt battery pack so I would never have to mess with batteries again, but now I am seriously considering returning it tomorrow morning. The teeny copper wire the plastic "flame" rests on just doesn't inspire confidence, and the battery door...junk.

But putting these by the window will certainly make an impression on those outside. I just can't justify leaving $25 invested in something when that money could go towards something much more robust (countless other lighting gadgets/flashlights).

EDIT: Luminara candle returned.
 
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LEDAdd1ct

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I went on another candle buying quest in the last couple months, including repurchasing some Luminara candles with the moving wick.

I would up gifting the "moving flame" type candles by Luminara to colleagues (who loved them!) because they felt delicate, fragile, not at all well built, and I thought the movement of the flame was kind of...off. They moved a lot more than a real candle would, because, presumably, a real candle, indoors, in a dining room, living room, kitchen, etc., will not be subject to major air currents that waffle the wick all about.

Instead, I bought some Candle Impressions candles of the older variety, which do not have a visible wick, but they, too, look off; in this case, more orange than yellow or white as a proper candle ought to present.

I am using them on the bottom of a downstairs window plugged in a single gang box wired to a photocontroller; they were illuminated and flickering before bed yesterday evening, and were off at 7:41 A.M. this morning when I checked them. I anticipate them returning to duty nightly at or before dusk.

I picked up some AA dummy adapters to power the candles from wall warts. The seller did not disclose they would be reeking of cigarette smoke—yuck—but they let me skip Alkaleaks and interface with the photocontroller my dad and I put together.



However:

I want better!

The tint is still too orangey for my tastes; I want something more yellow/white, which doesn't bounce around/flicker in terms of the light quality quite so much. I also want it to be visible from all angles, and, if possible, not feel like it is built by direct orders from the bean counters to be produced as absolutely cheaply as possible.

I tried Candle Impressions newer variety, which, unlike the Luminara, does not use a moving "wick" and instead projects a light on a fixed piece of plastic.

Unfortunately, the color temperature is "off" and it is only visible in one direction.

What else is out there that people have tried?

I believe there must be something else!

Important Note:

They are two major styles of LED candles, those with switches that slide and those with tactile, clicky buttons.

The tactile, clicky button variety will not work in my application because they need to always be in the "ON" state, so that the wired AC photocontroller does the switching. An artificial candle will need to have a fixed switch to work.
 
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