Who can mod my xmas tree topper with LEDs?

mega_lumens

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Hello everyone,
I have a Christmas tree topper that’s very sentimental to me and I want to save it by changing dead bulbs with LEDs. I need a handy guy that knows LEDs to mod my tree topper. If you can offer to help to do the mod or know someone who can please let me know and I’ll PM the details. Thank you in advance.
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DIWdiver

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That looks like a pretty easy mod. It could be run off batteries or a wall adapter. The hard part might be to get the look you want.

Those look like neon bulbs. They would have provided kind of an orange glow around the rods inside. Most LEDs are small points of light, but you can now get LED 'filaments'. These are in 'retro' style LED bulbs that have what look like long thin emitters, emulating the filaments in an old style bulb. They might be just the thing for this project.
 

mega_lumens

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That looks like a pretty easy mod. It could be run off batteries or a wall adapter. The hard part might be to get the look you want.

Those look like neon bulbs. They would have provided kind of an orange glow around the rods inside. Most LEDs are small points of light, but you can now get LED 'filaments'. These are in 'retro' style LED bulbs that have what look like long thin emitters, emulating the filaments in an old style bulb. They might be just the thing for this project.
I thought about filament bulbs as a better option but I don’t have the skills to do a project like this. Between the LEDs, resistors, low volt power adapter and soldiering skills needed, I’d be more comfortable to pay someone who has the skills for this.
 

PhotonWrangler

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Yes, the series current limiting resistor for each lamp is another clue that those are probably a variant of the NE2 neon glow lamp. An LED filament would look lice as a replacement but it would probably need around 50-70 volts DC per filament strip. I think the easiest route is to pick up a string of LED "fairy lights" and stuff them in there. Some of the fairy light strings run on a battery pack but some also have an AC adapter input. Check in the holiday section of any good sized craft store for them. Since it's low voltage, you don't have to worry about electrical shocks from working with them.
 

Dave_H

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How much would you spend on this project i.e. price of sentimentality?

Be careful, any rework or mods could affect safety and your insurance coverage.

(1) You might be able to find direct replacement for the neon tubes but most common neons like NE-2/2H are much shorter and probably a lot less bright.

(2) You could use standard NE-2 (or 2H) type neons, put two or three in a row, but you'd wire them in parallel and likely need to change the dropping resistors; a bit messy.

(3) You could replace with incandescent bulbs (removing dropping resistors) but they will run hotter, which might not suit the plastic body; and they need to be the right voltage. Also, incans have a habit of burning out which means opening it up to replace them.

(4) Small (candelabra) LED filament-type bulbs which run directly off line are available; again remove dropping resistors. You might find others with different shape i.e. cylindrical but what I've seen tends to pricey.

Look for 2200K colour temp (CCT) which would somewhat mimic the neon colour (assuming it's orange); but most are typically 2700K or higher. Common C7 bulb may or may not fit inside the star; check with available (incan) Xmas/nightlight bulb.

Globe Electric has some which are 0.5W, 35 lumens, 2700K; see them at HD but a bit pricey though.

(5) Small candelabra non-filament LED bulbs are available. I use them in nightlights. Some are pretty impressive for 0.4W. Light dispersion on some is very good, for nearly point-sources.

https://www.feit.com/product/4w-equivalent-2700k-led-night-light/

(6) You might work with LED filaments directly but I don't recommend it. Typical one in ac bulb requires about 70v or so but needs proper current limiting circuit (which is built into base of bulbs). You need to know what you're doing.

Dave
 

mega_lumens

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There are 3V LED filaments available, even in 2200K. Just google "3V LED filament".
I was looking into these type of low volt filament bulbs as an option. If I were to wire 2 of these in series what kind of power supply would I need? I think low volt USB powered setup would be safe and fitting option. I don’t think any other type bulb will fit inside. The current xenon bulbs are burned out and can’t be replaced as they’re factory soldered, They have to be cut out anyway so I don’t mind gutting everything out and having a power supply wired.
 

mega_lumens

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Yes, low-voltage filaments are around, just not sure if the OP wants to rewire for low-voltage.

Dave
I don’t mind gutting everything out and replacing the power supply. Low volt filament sounds like most fitting option to me. Earlier you asked on my budget. Is under $100 reasonable?
 

Lynx_Arc

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Why not just open it up and put as many LEDs from a string of 25 LED lights in it and have the rest of them sticking out of the bottom of it.
 

mega_lumens

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Why not just open it up and put as many LEDs from a string of 25 LED lights in it and have the rest of them sticking out of the bottom of it.
I attempted that before, you end up having most of limited space filled up with wire and not bulbs so it just didn’t light up evenly or look nice.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I attempted that before, you end up having most of limited space filled up with wire and not bulbs so it just didn’t light up evenly or look nice.
Then you likely will have to consider a double sided board with surface mounted LEDs on it as likely any option that uses wires will be the same. One other thing to possibly consider it one of those LED light strips with RGB chip LEDs on it using a ribbon type strip but that would require some creativeness but if it was satisfactory you would have a remote controlled color changing etc star.
 

Dave_H

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I don’t mind gutting everything out and replacing the power supply. Low volt filament sounds like most fitting option to me. Earlier you asked on my budget. Is under $100 reasonable?
Low-voltage LED filaments would take around 3v each so you could run five in parallel using current-limiting
resistors (not the same ones in there now). Depending on brightness, you might run each at (say) 1W (about
0.33A each) total about 1.7A from a 2.1A USB charger (through a USB cable). Resistors would be typically 5.6
or 6.2 ohms, 1W (each). You might have to experiment a bit.

If you run them series with single resistor you would need about 18v supply at 1/2A; in that case
resistor typically 10 ohms 2W. If run from 24v would need 27 ohm 5W resistor (wasting 3W).

COB LED strips are cheap, could even find some in low-cost products e.g. dollar-store. Problem is they are
one-sided and to get light in other direction, need to use two back-back. As with filaments they need
current-limiting; some might have it built-in. Not impossible but gets a bit more complex.

Dave
 

Dave_H

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LED strips which run from 5v can be cut to length (in the right places). To get light from both sides
use a piece twice the length, folded over on itself. You have some choice of tint (white); or colours
say amber or orange. Strips have their own current-limiting resistors.

Some meant for automotive use run from 12v, in which case use a cheap 12vdc wall-plug adapter.

Dave
 

Dave_H

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USB-powered RGB LED strips mentioned by Lynx_Arc could also be nice if you want to go to the effort.

I picked up a 6-foot strip at HD (in Canada) for $10. Even a 3-foot strip might be enough (which cost $4).
However, the LED "density" of many of these is not high, maybe one per inch, so it's not going to look like your
old light. You could squeeze in 3-4 LEDs per section of the star (x2 folding strip over).

Cheap strips I have can do basic colours R/G/B plus some limited mixes. You'd cut into sections
and fold over as described. Each strip typically needs four wires connected (in parallel) to the
controller. Orange created by red+green is OK, yellow is so-so. Due to red plastic shell, some
others may not look so great, but worth a try.

Dave
 
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