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LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:21 am
by Paul
Just watching a programme on TV about Christmas lights - says they should last 25k hours... I wish!!! I had a set that didn't last one season!!
Anyway, on the subject of Christmas lights, here is a photo of my house in 2004.... 8-)
It's the one on the right, tastefully illuminated with 4ft fluorescent tubes ;-)

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:34 am
by XmasLightGuy
LOL the key word is "should" ... last 25k hours.
Except for a couple of crappy sets I have had no real problems with LED Christmas lights & have been adding to my LED collection every year (during the after-xmas clearance sales :) ).


Oh and so cool on using colored 4ft fluorescents for decorating! I used a couple inside last year & thought alittle about outside, but there's no good way to do it (plus i don't want to risk good colored lamps out in that freezing cold LOL)

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:18 am
by Kev
Never saw this post.. How cool. What fittings did you use under the soffet there? And what lamps?? Not vintage i hope? Nice to see you on here xmaslightguy! I thought u were always in to your older incandecent xmaslights?

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:59 am
by Paul
I used Thorn Europroof fittings with :oops: yes, my vintage lamps.... There you see a red, blue and gold unbranded Thorn in use, a branded Thorn 4ft green.

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:59 pm
by Kev
Naughty boy...Installing vintage tubes! Don't do that again!!! Go to the wholesalers and get in some new tubes!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:04 pm
by SuperSix
I hope you used Pulsestarters too if they were on a ballast and starter switch. Upon switch-on, the starter closes and preheats the tube's cathode filaments. Upon opening, the magnetic field within the ballast collapses, causing a voltage pulse which strikes the tube. This is often repeated twice or more, causing the distinctive blinking at startup.">switchstart circuit! You can't afford to loose any emitter in those vintage tubes :o

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:17 pm
by Tom
Yes he did use PulseStarters LOL! I helped put them up! Problem with new coloured tubes is they are all T8s and as we all know, don't perform too well outside in winter! Those old T12s did a grand job! :D

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:08 pm
by Paul
I consider myself reprimanded LOL :o

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:16 pm
by Kev
Tom you have not commented on my garage install yet!!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:16 am
by XmasLightGuy
@kevxsi16v: I do still use plenty of the older mini incandescent xmas lights & probably will till i wear 'em out LOL

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Using vintage colored tubes outside would be :eek: but even modern ones are a bit expensive to risk ... I'd have to run 'em on kevxsi16v's favorite: Instant Start Electronic HF Ballasts LOL ... plus I think i'd want some sorta clear 'shield' infront of them just incase someone tried to throw rocks/use a bb gun/etc...

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:59 pm
by Paul
We did use IP65 fittings weatherproof fittings to protect the lamp where we could ;-)

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:09 pm
by Kev
@Xmaslightguy, But if i remember instant fail electronic ballasts are harsh on the lamps? Over here our Programmed electronic fail ballasts are most of the time easy on the lamps and when the ballasts do go 90% of the time its not due to being left with dead lamps and the lamps that are in them work again! I think probably switch start with electronic pulse starters is a good option however if it was say my vintage Atlas that i was using long term i would definatly use High Failure ballasts!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:16 pm
by XmasLightGuy
LOL LOL at the terms "instant fail electronic ballasts" & "programmed electronic fail ballasts"
From what i've heard 'instant fail' is indeed hard on the lamps...the reason i'd prefer not run good colored lamps on them.
'programmed fail' here seemes to mostly used for T5 (have never seen one for T12 .. and for T8 is rare)

Magnetic rapid start would be my ballast of choice ... but they don't like cold (esp if it gets below 0(F) ) Maybe electronic rapid start would work...I've never fired one up in bitter freezing weather to see what'd happen LOL

Switch start 4-foot is rare here..the few i have are old/vintage (plus have no thermal protection) LOL.
Funny thing is finding the normal 'glow' type starters is no problem - pretty much any hardware store has them (I've also seen the electronic starters on eBay)
I did test a switch start 'fixture' & it even fired up at -19F (very dim ofcourse) .. I was deff shocked by the fact that it worked at all.

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:25 am
by Kev
I have seen your videos on youtube...Hours of entertainment there for anyone who has not seen them! Not that my girl friend is too happy about it! Over here most new installations are programmed electronic start. Its been about here since the late 80s although it was rare and even more unreliable up until about 1998 ish, Now everywhere has it! So what would you use for your coloured fluorescents outside xmaslightguy magnetic rapid start? But if it was cold they would not start? I still think we need to help you build a Switch start 8 foot!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:20 am
by XmasLightGuy
YouTube is where i originally found that there were other people who were 'into' fluorescent lights LOL i just happened upon someone's "fluorescent startup" type video...before that i thought i was the only one who was into that crazy stuff :)
There's so many good "fluorescent videos" on that site :D

Magnetic RS would be cool except for the fact that it can just get too cold here to be reliable...I'd probably try electronic RS (or maybe try a programmed start F28T5 ballast - I know for a fact that they'll fire up F32T8's (inside where its warm) <Its harder to light a T5 which will fire up in sub-zero temps, so i'm guessing the T8 should light as well.> )

& I completely agree on the 8-foot ... If i find the parts one of these days that'll happen :lol:

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:43 am
by Kev
@Xmaslightguy same with me! Youtube is where i met eliot who introduced me to LG...I too thought i was the only person with a massive collection of fluorescents of all ages and size. Then this site started up just after christmas and i have been using this one a bit more than LG lately. LG is ok but as has been mentioned before you get some people on there who spin all this technical crap when you just ask a simple question! I should get a picture of my Atlas Superfive Blue lit really!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:21 am
by Tom
@Xmaslightguy I'm loving your old GE red as your avatar! I have a 2' blackight blue with the same style etch from the late 80s! :D all blackight blue tubes this side of the pond are T8 now!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:34 pm
by Kev
@Tom i don't think they are, When i was working in a B&Q just before xmas the only T12s they had were BLB!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:40 am
by XmasLightGuy
kevxsi16v: I've been on some of the xmas-light sites for years <LOL don't know why i never searched for fluorescent sites>...
I found LG through google (after finding 'light' videos on YouTube) from there i found GOL (which i for some reason don't visit too often) .. then ofcourse you let me know about this site :)

The name on that Atlas Superfive Blue blue sounds cool/interesting

st_tdci: Thanks.. I got a pair of those Red's from a local thrift-type store :) before that i'd never seen an 8-foot colored lamp.
I've only seen a 4-foot T8 Blacklight once, they're all still T12 here (same for 2-foot Blacklights .. but the 18-inch ones have always been T8 LOL)

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:12 am
by Kev
@Xmaslightguy what all your T12s are still coloured??? That is cool i may get dieselnut to throw some of them in the box if he has any???

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:41 am
by Tom
I'd say! Pretty much all coloureds here have been T8 (and more recently T5!) since GE took over Thorn who was the main player for coloured tubes in the UK! (and they rocked!) Since then I've seen a few GE coloured T8s but the main player now is Osram. We no longer have solid reds and golds are scarce and the only sizes available are 2' 4' and 5' .

I have seen some nice Philips T8 coloured tubes (and the odd vintage T12) whilst on holiday in Ibiza, Spain and Greece including the illusive solid red!

Re: LED Christmas Lights

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:55 pm
by XmasLightGuy
@kevxsi16v: Yep they still make T12 colored lamps here & they are redially available! (online only tho) And T8's are available as well.

The only mfr that still makes 'em (as far as I know) is Industrial and they're just like the old vintage lamps, including solid Red :) ... they even make orange :shock: (new color as of last year i believe) but i've never seen anyone that sells it :(

Coloured T5's are made by Sunlite (Red/Green/Blue) ..but they're different - more pastel-ish & even 'red' is white when off (maybe they're kinda like your colors?)