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Author Topic: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?  (Read 9360 times)

Offline Yulelights76

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How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« on: November 24, 2010, 12:52:26 pm »
Now that L.E.D. holiday light sets have been out for at least 10 years, I would like to find out how long they last under real world conditions. The stated bulb life is 25,000 hours or almost 3 years if lit continuosly!
I want to find out how long the sets last when used outdoors. I discovered that the wire leads of the L.E.D. bulbs are made of steel clad in another metal, possibly tin. As we all know, steel corrodes very quickly when exposed to moisture from rain and snow.
Perhaps this is an example of a designed in life span. Anyone have experiences with these sets?
Enjoy the holidays. :-)
Updated 11/27/10
Checked the retailers customer feedback forums and found several people complained that the sets fail after 2 or 3 seasons of outdoor use.
One person only got one season of use out of a set! He also noticed the wires were badly corroded.
So I DO NOT recommend using the new L.E.D. sets outdoors, unless you live in a dry climate regiion.
Oh well, as with any new technology, the manufacturers still need to get the bugs out.  :-(
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 09:08:27 pm by Yulelights76 »

Offline jonathan cassiday

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 09:27:27 pm »
for the past 3 years I have used LED light sets on a holly tree in my yard to great effect. I have only had a few bulbs go out but they did not affect the whole set and have had no problems with bulbs falling out of the sockets. I use the GE watt miser leds, the Phillips leds and had no problems. The GE sets are really nice because if you have a bulb fall out of the socket the string continues to light and they also have replacment bulbs available at Lowes. I also have a few sets that were marketed under the westinghouse name in which all the bulbs are molded as part of the sting and can not be replaced but I have had no problems with any of them going out. I use all red on the trees outside and they look alot better than the incandesents because they do not fade. I am in the Atlanta area and we do get rain and fog durring the christmas season, and some years I have not gotten tthe sets down untill Febuary, but still no problems. I do check the bulbs and there is some rust forming on the leads, but I make sure to dry out all sets before storing and I think that is part of the key to preserving the sets. I lay them out in a room for a few days to make sure the sockets are dry before storing. I also have other sets of LED's through out the house on other trees in all diffrent colors and the new warm white. No problems yet. I have had a few bulbs go out in some strings, one string last year I had a problem with teh green bulbs, but I was able to find suitable replacements to replace the dead bulbs and have not had any problems since. I do kind of prefer the stings with permenent bulbs, but I do like being able to replace the enevitable bad bulb. But the good thing is you are not relying on a shunt device when a bulb goes bad.
yes this is Jonathan Cassiday how may i help you

Offline Hemingray

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2010, 04:16:16 pm »
Instead, you're relying on the LED to fail in a short-circuit mode.

Offline Yulelights76

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 08:54:26 am »
I bought 4 L.E.D. Christmas light sets this year and here's what I found.
First bought 2 sets from WalMart in a 70 light mini tubular style, like the old T 1-3/4 bulbs, one multi color and one in warm white. Both of these had non ferrous bulb wires so that's good. In the multi color set, there were twice as many red and yellow bulbs as green and blue bulbs, so the colors were not evenly distributed. This set had only a slight flickering. The warm white set was a similiar hue to incandescant but had a more noticable flicker.
Next bought a G.E. energy smart constant on C3 set. This one did not have ANY flicker as there appears to be a filter in the plug assembly. That's great but noticed this set has steel wires on the L.E.D. bulbs so it can't be used outdoors.
Next bought a Kmart 60 light multi color set in mini tubular style like the WalMart set but in 5 colors red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, and with the colors evenly distributed. This set also had non ferrous bulb wires and only slight flickering.
In my opinion, this was the best L.E.D. set of the four.
Have a happy and bright new year!

Offline jonathan cassiday

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 09:19:26 am »
I have had the GE constant on sets for a couple of years now in an outdoor situation and have yet to have any rust form on the leads of the LEDS. The sockes of the GE sets are well constructed to seal out the water so the leads do not get mush exposure. The Phillips sets on the other hand do tend to get exposed to teh water and there is rust forming on those leads.
yes this is Jonathan Cassiday how may i help you

Offline adam2

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 04:35:04 am »
I have been disapointed with the life time of LED Christmas lights.
There seem to be several modes of failure, gradual dimming of the LEDs down to less than half brightness after 1,000 hours use, the ingress of water if used outdoors, and random complete failures of the LEDs.

If an LED in a series string fails short circuit then the others in the string will be overloaded, perhaps badly. If one fails open circuit then of course all the others in string go out.
In the case of line voltage strings this can be a fire hazard.

I bought some cheap LED lights a few years ago that worked from a supplied 24 volt transformer, these dimmed badly after a few hundred hours use.

I have had better luck with small LED sets intended to work from 3AA batteries. These sets are very cheap, and it is a simple matter to remove the battery holder and wire three sets in series from a 12 volt DC supply. No failures yet even if used outdoors. The very low voltage is safer than line voltage. To gaurd against any LEDs going short circuit and drawing excessive current, with risk of fire, I protect each series string with a 300ma fuse.
The fuse is permanently soldered in place, no need to allow for replacement as it will only blow in the event of a failure that requires replacement of the lights.

Offline Nick D.

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 03:42:03 am »
LEDs can be dimmed but they need a fine electronic control like a potentiometer. Pheostats and other devices are too "crude" to work with the infinitesmal wattage of LEDs.

Offline adam2

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2011, 05:16:16 am »
I have dimmed 12 volt strings of LED lights , but not with a standard dimmer.
Between the 12 volt supply and the lights I connect a home made dimmer that consists of of a number of diodes in series and a multiway switch, That selects how many diodes are in series between the lamps and the supply.
About 8 steps of dimming can thus be obtained.
Full brightness is normally prefered, but a lower setting may be better in an otherwise unlit atea.

Offline Justin

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2011, 06:26:06 pm »
I've dimmed the GE constant-on sets with a triac dimmer.

I've been using LED lamps that screw into an actual C7 or C9 lamphoulder.  I haven't had a problem with water intrusion or GFCI tripping. 

Offline Nick D.

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Re: How long do L.E.D. light sets really last ?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2011, 11:55:33 pm »
I just want to add to this discussion that I actually have a very early set of 100 LED lights, before they came out with 'special' envelopes and a full set of colors. The set is only red and green.

I replaced 1 bulb in all of the years - at least 8 - that they have been used.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 11:57:11 pm by Nick D. »