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DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 04:08 PM
OK, I know there has been a list of the good things about LEDs and a few bad things.

I just wanted to have a list of the pros and cons for people in the future and something I can learn easier from to then turn around and sell to the customers.

Something easier to read and learn from specifically to this topic.

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 05:02 PM
1. Brighter (if you poney up and buy full wave sets)
2. Last longer
3. Bulbs Don't break
4. Dont get hot
5. Use less power
6. No extra outlets typically needed for installs
7. Something new vs. what everyone else has
8. Can hook 43 sets together on most sets, up to 125 sets together with commercial sets.

cons
1. cost more
2. Very few people make LED lights well
3. SOme might not like the look

DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 05:27 PM
thanks, what "white" is more white? The cool white or the soft light?

Jason Rose
09-05-2008, 05:33 PM
Cool white is more blue, some people prefer it because it's "different" and looks more "cold and christmasy". I'm not a big fan...

Warm white is closer to std. incandecent light.

Sun white is about part way between the two, from the pictures of them I've seen side by side.

MowHouston
09-05-2008, 07:08 PM
What is the definition of a "full wave set" ?

turf hokie
09-05-2008, 08:28 PM
We will only be offering LED going forward and are in the process of converting existing customers over the next 3 years as contracts and material expire.

We prefer warm white and do not offer the other whites as an option. It is too expensive to stock that much material.

I hope to make up for the cost plus of LED in less service calls and longer life.

DeepGreenLawn
09-05-2008, 08:33 PM
I haven't even looked at anything other than LED myself. I just wanted to get the facts down for when I start selling...

turf hokie
09-05-2008, 08:37 PM
We are riding the enviromental go green wave and selling it as energy conservation at 85-90% energy savings. I have one house we are converting over that will save almost 2 grand in electric over the 3 months the display is up.

I am not as willing to give up sources as others on this forum because I like to keep those things on the DL in the open forum but you can pm if you would like.

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 09:06 PM
dont you have to buy from Christmas Decor? I heard that was the case if you had a franchise. Just curious.

turf hokie
09-05-2008, 09:11 PM
dont you have to buy from Christmas Decor? I heard that was the case if you had a franchise. Just curious.

"approved vendors" stop knowing too much and causing problems:nono:*trucewhiteflag*

The easiest way to say it is, I am a business owner first and foremost.......so I keep up with what is out there. Put to use what I can....

hotrod1965
09-05-2008, 09:15 PM
Someone just told me that once and I was just wondering.

you will find that one you go all LED you will start beating out other companies, even though your prices are higher. It's a smart move!

David Gretzmier
09-06-2008, 03:02 AM
Hotrod sell leds and loves them. I've been testing LEDs for a good 6-7 years now, and here's what I know. every year they say they last longer, use less power, etc. I believe that they use less power. and I believe in a lab they last a crazy long time.

I have looked and tested them from dozens of companies, and I am not at all impressed. Only recently has the vibration gone away, and even the 5 LED warm white C-9 does not give the home a nice glow. it just makes the bulbs look brighter. they don't actually give off illumination. and they still look entirely different depending on the viewing ange of the viewer to the bulb. The only ones I like are the ceramic looking ones, and even they are a bit too dim for my taste.

On LEDs I replaced about 1% of them in the first year last year, on 4 different jobs ranging from a 1000 bulb install to a 150 bulb install. this is about triple our normal burnout on 3000 hour 130 volt c-9's. I dread wondering what the next few years will be in service calls.

If you take an incandescent c-9 or mini, and show it to a prospective client next to it's led equivalent, 90% will choose the incandescent. it just looks better. I have only seen one set of LED mini's that truly looked pleasing to the eye, and they were 10-20 times the cost of regular mini's. you also cannot repair led mini's like you can incandescant with a light testing unit. When that set looses a connection at one the led's , you cannot buzz it. maybe you can find the fault with a live wire tester, but that take time, alot of it.

I could rant more, but you know where I stand.

DeepGreenLawn
09-06-2008, 07:40 AM
I have heard that the dim out as they go. You take a year or two old strand and hold it up to a new strand and there is a considerable difference. This may have been a poor quality strand... I don't know...

hotrod1965
09-06-2008, 09:57 AM
Well, I will say that I have never had anyone pick the incandescent over the LEDs I sell. (I always bring a set along) But I am selling the best out there, and yes they cost a lot more than a $2 strand of mini lights. The good lights only have about a 50,000 hour life, this is because they are the higher powered flicker free sets, so they end up being brighter than incandescent sets. LED's have been around since the 70's, so there is data supporting the long life outside of a lab. What you will find is that the wire and plugs will wear out before most bulbs. So you may only get 10-15 years out of a commercial set of LEDs.

If you buy the good sets, they won't dim over time. What happens, is that the cheap sets don't have the propper resistors in them, so the LED ends up getting more power than it needs, so it makes it wear out, which is why it dims over time.

They make really good sets with replaceable bulbs now, so if a bulb went bad you could easily replace it. They are coating the components better to prevent rust out.

There is only one company that does the 5 LED C9's well (in my opinion), and yes it still looks a little different than incandescent, but so do all LED sets.

The technology in the last couple years has boomed on LED lights. I can't wait to see what next year bring!

David Gretzmier
09-06-2008, 05:54 PM
I will agree they have gotten better. But Christmas Led's were not availabe from Brite Ideas,Christmas Decor, or Bethlehem/GKI until 2002 or so. and al were the blue white. around 2004 the warm whites started, but the retro-fit and mini-warm whites did not show up in quantity until 2005 and 2006. So there is no long term data out there on real world outdoor usage of LED's for Christmas.

They may have accelerated indoor testing for UL labs, but the reality is there are not a great quantity of LED Christmas sets out there older than 5 years. And let's face it, those older ones and haldf the new ones today looked terrible. The only real tested ones out there are the ones that were left out in the weather 365 days a year for the past 5 years and burned every night. Has any one got any actual data or experience with that?

I had one "commercial,"set I got 3 years ago and I put it on a bush, left it out and put a photo-cell timer on it. ran all night long for about 9 months. then done. not fixable. another set I put on a roof and left it up for 12 months. would not work in year 2. not fixable. the first retro fits c-9's I left on my home for 12 months. my wife hated the blue color, neighbors complained and 1/3 of them were out in 10 months. I took them down.

These sets do not last 50,000 hours. they would have to be able to run 12 hours a night, 365 days per year, for 10-15 years to do that. The longest I have experienced, even rectified DC sets is closer to 3000-4000 hours. the local outdoor promenade mall has LED's mini's they run all year long in the trees. the bluish ones. I spoke with the maintenance manager and he says they put them in less than 2 years ago, and has changed out about 20% of the original 100 or so sets put in. He said the old incandescent was triple that. so they are better. but by my estimation the sets he has are in reality 8-9000 hour sets. but I bet they advertise they last for 50,000 or 100,000 hours. I have some 12,000 hour incandescant mini's. They also sell 15000 hour ones.

hotrod1965
09-06-2008, 08:10 PM
Umm, a 5mm LED is a 5mm LED, the same that has been around since the 70's. So there is a ton of data showing they last. They have been mainly used as all sorts of indicator lights for electronics and such.
What happened several years ago was that folks wanted LED's now, so China poored out garbage LED christmas lights. These things dimmed quickly, they rusted out. etc. It was like buying the $1.99 big box mini light specials, where you have a 20% change they wont work right out of the box. This stuff really was crap! Some companies still sell this crap. They sell LED strands for $6, and people think they are a great deal. They will do everything Dave said and then some!
However, if you pony up and buy a $20 set of lights, you will have far better luck. The components are so much better built, the wire is heavier, they have resitors and rectifiers.
Last year I had one C9 bad out of the box and zero go bad during the season, I had one set of minis that was bad out of the box only because the end plug was bad, not that the lights were bad. Again, no problems during the season. 3-life warranty right from my suppliers, so no hassel getting new stuff when it dies.

I will say it again and again, very few people do LED christmas lights well.

David Gretzmier
09-06-2008, 11:25 PM
Hotrod, i need to get some of your retro fit c-9's and try them out. maybe a set of mini's to check out the color. You realy do believe in them, and I feel I have to give you a chance to prove me wrong. What are you able to charge customers for an led strand sold, installed , taken down, etc? Since I charge 27.50 per 100 incandescant mini's now, I am trying to prepare for the customers repaonse when that has to go up to 45? or 60? per 100 to cover the cost of the LED's.

DeepGreenLawn
09-07-2008, 08:16 AM
you will save the money with your electric bill possibly?

hotrod1965
09-07-2008, 11:37 AM
We are charging $20 per strand of 25L at 6 inch spacing, which is our commercial grade sets. These are 12.5 feet long.
For our 50L 5mm sets that are 25 feet, I am at $25 per strand, but these cost about $1.50 more than a 25L commercial strand.
I'm getting pretty good prices on my stuff since I buy so much though, so you might have to be a few bucks higher.

Around here, most get about $15-20 per set of 100 comercial grade minis, maybe $25 if they are branch wrapping, these are about 33 feet. So I'm getting $25 for 25 feet of lights. So not a ton more.
Since we lease, I will get $17.50 for that $25 set of lights the following year.
The plan is that I can bill at least that amount for 10 years on a strand of lights. Some will be shorter, some will be longer. The lights have at least a three year waranty, so I know I'll have them at least that long.

I wish I could get the prices Dave gets around here, but it just isn't going to happen. We have 5-6 franchise companies in the area all competing which drives prices down a little, plus a bunch of layed off auto workers low balling.


Hotrod, i need to get some of your retro fit c-9's and try them out. maybe a set of mini's to check out the color. You realy do believe in them, and I feel I have to give you a chance to prove me wrong. What are you able to charge customers for an led strand sold, installed , taken down, etc? Since I charge 27.50 per 100 incandescant mini's now, I am trying to prepare for the customers repaonse when that has to go up to 45? or 60? per 100 to cover the cost of the LED's.

David Gretzmier
09-07-2008, 03:49 PM
for competitors I have 2 brite Ideas, 3 holiday bright Lights including me, a new Chrismas decor and old Chrismas decor, and 3 independants that I know of. may market is around 500,000 folks spread over 2 counties. I am always the 1st or 2nd highest bidder out there, but I have the most experience and the largest company as far as I can tell. I also sell 95% Holiday Bright Lights product, which I believe is the best quaity out there right now on links,displays, and foliage.

If you call the local news channels and become thier "lighting safety" guy, call the local entertainment magazine or newspaper and talk about what you do, local media always like to run Christmas stuff from the week before thanksgiving to Christmas Day. this will help establish you as the expert in your field. I find that this exposure builds trust in the eyes of the consumer, and customers tend to spend higher dollars on 3 things: quality, trust and experience. Hotrod has also discovered folks will pay for innovation as well. I tend to lean on the 3, and since I compete with other HBL guys, push the experience and trust issue.

hotrod1965
09-07-2008, 11:02 PM
I like the lighting safety guy idea! I do blogs and interviews and such, but never would have though about calling up the Detroit TV stations and doing that.

I still have to make sure things look perfect, I still have to use high quality, be trust worthy and do the best work. (Dave is very right on these points)
I just live in a very environmentally friendly area so I use all LED's. The city of Ann Arbor switch all over to LED last year (huge boast for me), so I almost have to sell them. your area will make a difference on what you sell, no question!



If you call the local news channels and become thier "lighting safety" guy, call the local entertainment magazine or newspaper and talk about what you do, local media always like to run Christmas stuff from the week before thanksgiving to Christmas Day. this will help establish you as the expert in your field. I find that this exposure builds trust in the eyes of the consumer, and customers tend to spend higher dollars on 3 things: quality, trust and experience. Hotrod has also discovered folks will pay for innovation as well. I tend to lean on the 3, and since I compete with other HBL guys, push the experience and trust issue.