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LISAinTN

Reliable C7 or C9 LED Lights

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Hello Everyone,

I'm looking for recommendations on reliable C7 or C9 LED multi-colored lights. Last year we bought 8 boxes of the Holiday Time C9's from Walmart. After running for 6 hours the first night, we had one strand go out right away. By the end of the season, there were only 3 strands left that were working. 😳 I'm wondering if I just need to go back to the incandescents? Yes, the bulbs go out, but at least they can be changed. The LED's we had last year could not be fixed, and they have horrible reviews now, too. Any suggestions?

~Lisa

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Sorry you had a bad time with the Walmart lights, I haven't had an issue with the net lights or mini lights as of yet.  As for the C-9 or C-7 led's, all of mine have come from Lowe's, and I have had no issues. I have used them for at least 4 years.  Also I buy the 3, 5, and 6 lights from them as well and again no problems.  I don't know if it matters, but I buy the spools of lights instead of the boxes.

 

Merry Christmas,

Bill

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I haven't had many problems with the Walmart brand either, but I wish I could find a C-7 or C-9 Led that was brighter.  When I take off the covers of the C-9's, the bulb looks the same size as the many lights.  Does anyone make C-7 or C-9 led strings that are brighter than a mini light string, or am I just not noticing the difference in the two.

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Thank you for the replies. I've used the Walmart mini and icicle lights for years, with no problems, but the LED C9's were a big dissapointment. Maybe I'll try the one's from Lowe's this year, and see how that goes. Thanks!

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Well, after reading the reviews on the C9's at Lowe's, I think I'll just go back to incandescents. It was so disheartening to do all the work of putting up the lights last year, only to have them start failing strand by strand after only 6 hours. I don't want to go through that again. 😕

https://m.lowes.com/pd/GE-Energy-Smart-100-Count-66-ft-Constant-Warm-White-Multicolor-C9-LED-Plug-In-Christmas-String-Lights-ENERGY-STAR/50262269?cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-SeasonalOutdoorLiving-_-TrimATree-_-50262269:GE&CAWELAID=&kpid=50262269&CAGPSPN=pla&store_code=1800&k_clickID=6bc664bc-52e6-4cf8-873d-54254ce99ed0&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn9mu0KqQ3gIVkoqzCh3pjw5VEAQYASABEgLiv_D_BwE

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I was in the same boat a few years ago with the store bought [ Home depot. Lowes, Walmart, Hobby Lobby,] C9 LED strings with not being bright enough and having to constantly fix them. I had about 10 strings that year fail. I got so sick of it that the following year I  spent the extra money on pro grade light strings and retrofit bulbs. 4 years now and very happy, have not had one fail yet and they are plenty bright. I still use  Walmart mini lights  for some things only because the after Christmas sales are very cheap.

Tom

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Obviously going to commercial grade lights would solve your problem but at a cost of course.  I'm surprised at the failure rate for the LED lights sold by the big box stores.  That's an indication of poor quality control.  Each week I go to the local Goodwill outlet store and look to see what Halloween or Christmas decorations they have.  This past week it was half a dozen strings of alternating blue and white C9 lights which ended up costing about 30 cents a string for 25 lights spaced 6" apart.  All of the Chinese made lights have a tag indicating the date of manufacture.  These were dated 6/2008.,  It's impossible to tell how much they have been used over the past decade but all of them worked which is a pretty good indication of longevity.  They are the typical 5mm flat top LED in each holder.   It is quite possible that some of these lights come from the local gambling resorts and they would likely be commercial grade.  Those usually show up in February.   Giant piles of lights all at one time is a good indication of commercial user.  It's just amazing how many LED strings are showing up.  If they are at all tangled, they go to the outlet store right away.  These blue and white ones will complement the red and white c9 strings that were there not long ago.

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On 10/18/2018 at 2:10 PM, Fodstar said:

I've been using the same strings of LED C9s and C6s from this vendor for 5+ year without a single problem; I find them plenty bright, but they are more expensive than what you find at the big box stores:  https://www.christmaslightsetc.com/

I get my C7 Bulbs and C9 bulbs from Christmaslightsetc. If your in Atlanta there warehouse and showroom is in north Atlanta. It’s cool place to check out. Also I have 60+ sets of LED C9 sets from sams club for last 8 years with LOR light controller. What I have done for years is buy one set in Nov.1and see if it holds up using LOR ( run program for 12 hours a day until Nov.20( in my basement). If they work well I go to store when they are marked down and buy a bunch. Normal it they fail it will happen with in 15days running them 12 hours a day.

Edited by Scott Rob

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The best way is to go with retro fit bulbs. Much brighter and more durrable than strand lights. Then if a bulb goes bad, you can just replace the one bulb. You can also custom cut the strands so they fit your house perfectly. 

We do sell some C7 strands: https://www.holiday-light-express.com/C7_strands.php

But if your budget can afford it, I'd recommend going with retro fits.

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One thing to consider if you are going to use individual c9 LED  retrofit bulbs is the power consumption compared to a string designed for LEDs.  Each retrofit bulb has to contain electronics to convert AC to DC and some way to drop the voltage to what is required for the LED.  That's way less efficient compared to running a string of 25 bulbs in series with a rectifier at each end of the string.  The 25 bulb string with 5mm LEDs that I bought Thursday is rated 2.4W for the entire string.  The individual bulbs mentioned above for Holiday Light Express are rated at 0.58W per bulb so a 25 bulb string would use 14.5W.  That's six times the watts used by a string designed for 5mm LEDs in the first place.

Looking at the information provided by one of the sellers on ebay I see the following which suggests these would be brighter than the ordinary c9 string lights and it might explain the higher power consumption  but it doesn't specify the size of the LED:

"The lumin rating for these bulbs is 7.05.  120 volts, 0.37 watts per bulb, 0.019 amps per bulb. (9.25W for 25 bulbs)  5 LED diodes inside bulb. These are Full-Wave LED bulbs (the rectifier is in the base of the bulb)"

 

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My question would then be, how many of these retro fit strings (assuming 25 bulbs per string) could I put on a 20 amp breaker?  I had to get away from the old C-9's because I couldn't put more than nine strings on a breaker.

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Gotta say, big box store C9's just don't cut it for me. They typically only have one LED and do not look very bright, and quality is mediocre. (And I'm a huge fan of the WalMart mini LED's)

@hotrod1965's ceramic LED's are the closest C9's I've seen to a classic look and classic brightness, and the quality is excellent. The only other thing I would consider is the Lowes GE-brand C6 ceramic's, they're the only LED C-style bulb that look as good as a classic incan C-bulb, but they are a smaller bulb, and come in a denser 100ct string - maybe not the look you're going for.

3 hours ago, slankard said:

My question would then be, how many of these retro fit strings (assuming 25 bulbs per string) could I put on a 20 amp breaker?  I had to get away from the old C-9's because I couldn't put more than nine strings on a breaker.

HLE lists their C9 retro's at about 0.6 watts per bulb, so you're looking at about 15 watts per 25 count string. If I'm not mistaken, a classic incan C9 string of 25 runs 175 watts. You can easily put over 100x 25-bulb strings on a 20 amp breaker. 

Edited by Stephen Blue

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I didn't realize that the text quoting the specifications for the ebay retrofit C9 bulbs would not show up well on this site so here it is again

The lumen rating for these bulbs is 7.05   120 volts, 0.37 watts per bulb, 0.019 amps per bulb  (9.25W for 25 bulbs)  5 LED diodes inside bulb

These are Full-Wave LED bulbs (the rectifier is in the base of the bulb)"

This makes it easy to calculate the watts or amps for any number of bulbs.

 

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These are the ones I like to use in small sheep blow molds and areas were I am going for a more retro look. The picture is the soft white bulbs. 

690DD530-056B-47DE-8377-0D552BA22C65.jpeg

A435CAFD-FF53-4907-ADA1-A0BC34066A6B.jpeg

9B632472-3A08-403F-9DF6-07F521AAB25D.jpeg

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Also Found these from action lighting. If you are using light-o-Rama of other software to control your lights look for words like: Dimmable, Chaseable, and for use in animated displays. Most of these from action lighting are the three LEDs in each bulb type.

 

2018_10_26_09_10_46_C7_COMMERCIAL_LED_SMOOTH_FROSTED_RETROFIT_CHRISTMAS_BULB_PACK_25_bulbs_100C.png

2018_10_26_09_09_47_C7_COMMERCIAL_LED_SMOOTH_FROSTED_RETROFIT_CHRISTMAS_BULB_PACK_25_bulbs_100C.png

2018_10_26_09_14_21_Microsoft_Edge.png

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Just some more info on our lights. The new ones this year use a surface mounted diode (SMD). This is more efficient, brighter more more durable than the old 5 LED design. They are also dimmable so they can be used with LOR and such. 

The C9 strands look so bad that we don't even stock them. They basically but a single 5mm led (same as our 5mm strands) with a C9 cover. It's just a big lens for a single 5mm LED. 

Also for those who don't know, we do have a big sale starting in mid December, so if you are saving up for retro fits, that would be a good time to buy! 

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I too support HotRod1965 and Holiday Light Express.  I have been ordering in there pre-sale event for 3yrs straight and no issues with their lighting.  In addition, I did buy my c9 retrofits from another vendor mentioned (CLE) and going on my 5th season with them.

 

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On 10/20/2018 at 2:05 PM, Rich in Las Vegas said:

One thing to consider if you are going to use individual c9 LED  retrofit bulbs is the power consumption compared to a string designed for LEDs.  Each retrofit bulb has to contain electronics to convert AC to DC and some way to drop the voltage to what is required for the LED.  That's way less efficient compared to running a string of 25 bulbs in series with a rectifier at each end of the string.  The 25 bulb string with 5mm LEDs that I bought Thursday is rated 2.4W for the entire string.  The individual bulbs mentioned above for Holiday Light Express are rated at 0.58W per bulb so a 25 bulb string would use 14.5W.  That's six times the watts used by a string designed for 5mm LEDs in the first place.

Looking at the information provided by one of the sellers on ebay I see the following which suggests these would be brighter than the ordinary c9 string lights and it might explain the higher power consumption  but it doesn't specify the size of the LED:

"The lumin rating for these bulbs is 7.05.  120 volts, 0.37 watts per bulb, 0.019 amps per bulb. (9.25W for 25 bulbs)  5 LED diodes inside bulb. These are Full-Wave LED bulbs (the rectifier is in the base of the bulb)"

 

Every time i have put a retrofit LEd on a watt meter they pull 0.9 watts to 0.96 watts, both the 5 LED style and SMD.  That is still less than 1/7th of the incans, but if you are going to use a large quantity the the difference in power consumption will matter.

But in addition I too recommend the C9 LED retrofit, I use them on my home and in my local lighting business. I love the quality and brightness.

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Thank you to everyone, for all the tips and suggestions. I've decided to just keep using the old incandescent strings I have. I purchased a few more from a hardware store yesterday. I'll just stick with these until the affordable LED's become more reliable. Thanks again!

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Ive used Holiday Light Express and have had the same strings now for going on the 6th season, not a single failure. I did wait for a summer sale when I bought mine. 

I also have purchased retrofit C9s from:

https://www.reinders.com/led/ledretrofit

I have been very happy with both!

Edited by dhageremtp

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