fixing LED Christmas lights

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Being an EE it was very disappointing to find out that LED Christmas lights fail almost as fast as the old incandescent lights. I thought paying the high price meant never having to run through a string figuring out what bulb was bad ever again. Unfortunately Phillips/GE must have figured a way to engineer limited life into what should last decades not a year or two. smirk I have the ones like this https://www.target.com/p/philips-60...ring-lights-multicolored-gw/-/A-50835380 https://www.target.com/p/philips-60...ring-lights-multicolored-gw/-/A-50839309 Also, surprisingly there are not many replacement LED bulbs for sale, and the ones that are are just as expensive as the string. frown I thought I would share my research and findings for fixing blown LED bulbs. 1) catch them before the entire string goes out you can loose a few before this happens but once it happens you are in for a long test period. Amazon has a LED tester for this but it is not cheap. (relative to the light cost) 2) You are looking for 3mm LED bulbs. Be careful that you get plain LEDs and not ones with the resistor built in. These are the plain 1.8 to 2.3V (depending on color) LEDs. I found this kit on ebay 120 Pcs 3mm LED Light White Yellow Red Blue Green Orange Assorted Assortment Kit. for ~$5. It works great https://www.ebay.com/itm/120-Pcs-3mm-LED-Light-White-Yellow-Red-Blue-Green-Orange-Assorted-Assortment-Kit/152483523026?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649 3) When you pull the bulb pay attention to the length of the leads and what position the longer lead is compared to the plastic locking tab. On mine the longer lead was opposite the plastic locking tab. 4) My leads were slightly longer on the new LED than the original ones so I has to let them go down a little longer before bending them upwards. The tip of the wires should end just below the rum on the top side of the socket. as high as it can go without being able to touch it when installed. These little replacements work fine and have similar brightness and color to the originals that are healthy I'm having the most trouble with the blue ones for some reason. They get dimmer before they go out. Replacement ones are nice and bright. Now that my PSA is done it looks like ACE hardware has answered the call to address this issue. Haven't tried them but the price is now reasonable. Last year it was not. https://www.acehardware.com/departm...Tt-ac3wIVA7nACh2USwviEAQYAiABEgIum_D_BwE Merry Christmas yaull!!
 
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Looks like blue LEDs are made from a different semiconductor than the other colors in the string and that substance also has to be grown on a sapphire or SiC substrate...maybe these factors contribute to the higher mortality rate? The odd things is that the white light sources for things like TVs are actually blue diodes with phosphors and those seem pretty reliable... I like LEDs, never dealt with blues myself but I designed a few drivers that concentrated on reds. The low forward drop of red LEDs made it really hard to come up with a good current sense that worked as well for a string of 12 series LEDs as for a single.
 
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Strings i bought stay lit even if bulbs burn out. Key is buying this type of set. Im on year 2 with a set and notice a few are out already, disappointing indeed
 
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Originally Posted by Virtus_Probi
Looks like blue LEDs are made from a different semiconductor than the other colors in the string and that substance also has to be grown on a sapphire or SiC substrate...maybe these factors contribute to the higher mortality rate? The odd things is that the white light sources for things like TVs are actually blue diodes with phosphors and those seem pretty reliable... I like LEDs, never dealt with blues myself but I designed a few drivers that concentrated on reds. The low forward drop of red LEDs made it really hard to come up with a good current sense that worked as well for a string of 12 series LEDs as for a single.
Funny you mention this...it seems only blue LEDs are the only ones failing on the strings i have...
 

JHZR2

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Not surprising that these die fast... Many LED lightbulbs die much faster than intended, in a less severe environment. Thanks for sharing some fixes!
 
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Originally Posted by JHZR2
Not surprising that these die fast... Many LED lightbulbs die much faster than intended, in a less severe environment. Thanks for sharing some fixes!
I definitely had some infant mortality issues with the first few batches of household LED bulbs I bought, but things have been much better for me that past few years. The only bulbs I've had to change for some time have been the big globe bulbs we use in the bathroom fixtures over the mirrors, haven't seen cheap LED versions of those at Home Depot or WM yet (although I haven't really looked since the spring). My favorite LED bulbs now are dimmable ones that look just like old school incandescents, they are not particularly cheap but they don't have the directionality issues of some of the low cost LED bulbs and I like the color.
 
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The old miniature sets are so cheap that its easier to just buy a new set if anything is wrong. I has hoping LEDs would be better. But if they are going to fail after a couple years of use then maybe its not yet time to go to LED. (I am a big fan of normal household LED bulbs).
 
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Factor in power savings . Do not know how many dollars of electricity that would add up to . Years ago , a customer had incandescent Christmas lights on an old microwave tower . For several years , each year they had us go up on the roof & get them burning again . Most of the time , no one took them down and stored them inside , during the rest of the year . We found it was cheaper to buy new strings of lites with lamps , than to buy replacement lamps . After a couple of years , the sun light had deteriorated the insulation on the wires & it needed replacing any way .
 
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My solution for Christmas Lights has been: 1) Keep it SIMPLE / one string of lights around the front entrance 2) Five minutes to install / five minutes to remove 3) I buy three sets of lights at one time …. 1/gets used …. 2/extra set …. 3/extra bulbs 4) Install on Dec 10 …. & …. Take down on Jan 4 Merry Christmas to all.
 
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Originally Posted by mattwithcats
We're supposed to take Christmas lights down?
I tried that argument with my wife once.... What would be better are LED strings that you can change the colors on (I think they're readily available nowadays actually). This way, leave them up year-round. At Easter time, change them to white, pink, etc. Around the 4th of July, change them to red, white, and blue. Around Halloween, change them to orange.
 
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Originally Posted by Donald
The old miniature sets are so cheap that its easier to just buy a new set if anything is wrong. I has hoping LEDs would be better.
I hate that wasteful attitude but have to admit, I've ended up going this route. So have many of our neighbors that I've talked to. It's not worth the time and effort....
Quote
Clark: Russ, we checked every bulb, didn't we ? Rusty: I'm sure we did Dad. Clark: Maybe we need to check them again. Rusty: Whoa, look at the time ! I have to go to bed, brush my teeth...
This year, we bought a $35 string of LED bulbs. I hooked it at one end of our front roof, then the opposite end. It was a U-shape at this point and I know where the middle is, so I then attach it there, ending up with 2 "U"s. Keep splitting the middle and you get a nice even pattern. Anyway, I hooked the middle, climbed down the ladder to move it, and the first 1/3 of the string had went out. Lifespan of 30 minutes tops ? Exchanged them for the same thing, I know, I know.... but so far - knock on wood - so good.
 

Kestas

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Originally Posted by Donald
Anyone know what the plastic looking gun sold on TV does when it claims to fix strings of Christmas lights?
It's called the Lightkeeper Pro. I bought one and it works. It'll take a dead string of lights and zap it to life so you'll know which bulbs to replace. I get about a 60-70% success rate with it.
 
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