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Christmas Lights - Set some standards

jack0987

Member
If you are using C7 or C9 bulbs then it is not so bad.
But what if you do not want all the glass color to flake off as in the case of incandescent ones.
What if you want blue emitting ones and not white colored ones for better color and they will not fade?
What if you want to use minis? God help you.
Christmas lights for the most part are little more than mass produced junk.

Each year I set up a tree outside and leave it there until the snow is gone in the spring.
During the winter, at least half of the light strings have failed in one way or another.
For example, if one bulb goes out, either the whole string goes dark or half of it.
Next year, I replace the bad strings with new ones and find out they changed the socket
so I can not interchange the lights from the year before.

I'm ready to do my own. Can I (we) build a better string?
 
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gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Would you rather spend $250 for a set of lights that last many years or $50 for a new set each season?
Commercial-grade Christmas lights exist.
 

jack0987

Member
Would you rather spend $250 for a set of lights that last many years or $50 for a new set each season?
Commercial-grade Christmas lights exist.
Firstly, the cheap ones will not even last the season.

Secondly, they do not need to be that much.
It costs none or little more to make them all the same once the mold is made.
They can be made consistently good for little more than they are now made consistently bad.
The point is the consumer is being ripped off.

There are other issues as well. How they are powered, for example.
Do we get a low voltage power supply? 12VDC? 6VDC?
That may be best if using multiple strings and no flicker.
For one thing, if a bulb goes out, the rest should always stay lit.
 
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gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Firstly, the cheap ones will not even last the season.

Secondly, they do not need to be that much.
It costs none or little more to make them all the same once the mold is made.
They can be made consistently good for little more than they are now made consistently bad.
The point is the consumer is being ripped off.

There are other issues as well. How they are powered, for example.
Do we get a low voltage power supply? 12VDC? 6VDC?
That may be best if using multiple strings and no flicker.
For one thing, if a bulb goes out, the rest should always stay lit.
Most of us live in capitalist countries that operate in a free market economy. Selling price has ABSOLUTELY NO RELATIONSHIP to cost of manufacturing. If someone bothers to set up a manufacturing process that makes a premium product, and enough customers are willing to pay a very premium price, why would they sell for just a few cents or few dollars more than crap options?

what is your goal here? Complaining? Figuring out how to make a premium light set? What?

also, making a premium light set has little to do with electronics and electricity (picking a highly flexible stranded copper source, good connectors and lamp sockets). The biggest issue will be Plastic materials selection, plastic processing (extrusion and molding) will be your biggest challenge (specifically a process known as insert molding).

Look up the price (in high volume) of 100 bulbs, 100 sockets, wall plug and, if you don't want series-connected lamps, pick a voltage regulator to drop 120vAC to a usable value for your bulbs. And, the right length of wire (make sure it is a durable one that can handle many cold-weather winding/unwinding cycles (the wire gets kinked/bent many times during one installation so you'll need to calculate all those kinks/bends x number of years you want them to last. Make sure the values are for low temp.
Good luck. I think $250 per 100 lamp set will be a low number (remember to add interest on loans for the equipment, labor, building rent, taxes. utilities and a lovely margin for the manufacturer, the wholesaler and retailer). After that, add interest on the loans for all the raw materials purchased and other costs incurred from January to September because you're not going to sell anything but you'll need to keep your facility operating to build up inventory for the busy season.

Let us know what your goal is.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Most of us live in capitalist countries that operate in a free market economy. Selling price has ABSOLUTELY NO RELATIONSHIP to cost of manufacturing. If someone bothers to set up a manufacturing process that makes a premium product, and enough customers are willing to pay a very premium price, why would they sell for just a few cents or few dollars more than crap options?
I completely agree - the selling price is set by "what the market will bear" - nothing else.

If that price makes you a good profit, all well and good - if it makes you a slender profit you won't last long - and if it makes you a loss then bye, bye!.
 

jack0987

Member
Let us know what your goal is.
My primary goal is to bring attention to standards in hopes that some of this will rub off.
If I learn here about how they are made, that would be nice but may make the topic too broad.
My bringing up issues is intended to point out things that could possibly be solved.
I guess the market price will always be what it can bear.

A few of main issues that come to mind with the lights are:

1. Non-standard lamp base type (A blade type may be best)
2. Poor connections (A good socket would help)
3. Dipped light colorant will flake off. (Colored glass would help)
4. I think LEDs that emit the color instead of using colored lenses look better

Of course, having standards may help, that does not prevent the manufacture of making look alikes, but it is a start.
For example, take molex connectors (something I personally would like to see go away). I believe
the standard calls for them to be #18 wire. I have seen them a low as #24. I used some of them to power a
graphics card and they burned out. A wonder they did not start a fire.

Best Wishes
 

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