The current state of Christmas lights

Dr Lobster*
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Of the things it is increasingly hard to source, it's subtle, warm, cosy Christmas lights.

Although the old school tungsten lamps were a real pain in the arse - if one bulb was loose the whole string would go out, they were fragile, the fuse bulb would randomly blow when they were turned on, etc etc, it was the quality of light which tickles some warm part of 1980s childhood nostalgia - the glow from those lights, especially the coloured ones, you just can't reproduce with coloured LED.

What gets me though, is why some clever manufacturer hasn't come up with the idea of using a warm white LED (which have come such a long way in recent years, they are themselves almost indistinguishable from tungsten lamps) and placing it inside a painted glass or plastic envelope so they look like real old fashioned Christmas lights.

The other thing is I've never been able to locate a nice set of LED lights with the old skool flowery shaped shades - you can still get these on old fashioned sets, but not LED.

Do any of you guys share my nostalgia for old fashioned lights - and have you been able to source a modern LED set which comes close?

As you can see from the photo above, I've got a pastel set (which I got from Tesco a few years back, which they didn't sell this year) on my tree in the living room which doesn't burn your retinas and has quite a nice ambience, and then in the hallway I've got 960 warm white cluster lights on an artificial tree (we normally have the artificial tree in the living room and a small pop up tree in the hallway, but we found a lovely real tree by chance) - the warm white from those LED lights is really close to tungsten in colour, the photo doesn't quite do it justice.

Also, lets see your festive fir!
thegeek
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Alec from Technology Connections on YouTube has been banging this particular drum for a couple of years now - his DIY efforts have included painting white lights with sharpies and acrylic paint. Here's his latest effort - plus some big outdoor bulbs with LEDs in them.

It does feel a bit like the big shops' coloured LEDs have got a bit harsher - my new 'warm white' string for the garden is more orange than the set I bought a few years ago, and the coloured string we've got for the tree just feels a lot brighter than the previous set. (It was a distress purchase last year after the children managed to break the cable at the plug end last year - would not recommend re-lighting a tree once it's been decorated).

My faves - which I bought a few sets of a few years ago - are these colour-changing ones from Wilko - they gently fade at random through a pastel spectrum, and the resin balls give off a nice soft light. They've been doing them for the past 5 years or so, and I'm surprised that the colour-changing LEDs haven't shown up in more string lights.

Pictures to follow...
DAS
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As a kid we had a set of warm white fairy lights where some of the bulbs had a very gentle candle-style "flicker". Absolutely impossible to find an equivalent nowadays. The closest I've got is to create a pattern using Twinkly smart lights, but it's a pale imitation of the effect I remember. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
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Sput
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I got these from sainsburys a couple of years ago. I made the mistake of believing the photo. In reality they were washed out, greyish nonsense that actively made the room more depressing.

Also they smashed really easily. Threw them out immediately.
Knight knight
Dr Lobster*
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Thanks for the technology connections link - subscribed!

I agree with the lights that are made with the cheap or colder cool white LEDs, they are indeed grey and look dire.

My mum has a set of those changing globe lights, they are lovely, I wanted a set for outside, but they'd all gone by the time I went to look - actually seems like everywhere has had stock problems - our local Range had completely sold out of almost everything by the weekend of the 5/6th Dec.
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WillPS
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I bought a set of 600 Twinkly lights from Costco this year. Most of the effects on there are bloody hideous things but there are a couple of really nice subtle effects and better yet you have the ability to control the brightness.

In terms of cheap sets I tend to look for anything with RGB colour-changing LEDs as the effect is pretty and they're typically quite subtle.
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all new Phil
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I’m glad fibre-optic lights and trees seem to have died a death. They were truly the CFL bulbs of the fairy light world.

I’d like some tree lights that sparkle like the Eiffel Tower. This doesn’t ever seem to be an option though.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
bilky asko
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all new Phil wrote: Sun 26 Dec, 2021 09.52 I’m glad fibre-optic lights and trees seem to have died a death. They were truly the CFL bulbs of the fairy light world.

I’d like some tree lights that sparkle like the Eiffel Tower. This doesn’t ever seem to be an option though.
Go to any garden centre, they'll have a selection of LED fibreoptic trees
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Pete
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WillPS wrote: Sun 26 Dec, 2021 09.40Most of the effects on there are bloody hideous things but there are a couple of really nice subtle effects and better yet you have the ability to control the brightness.
yes what is with the effects being designed to cause epileptic fits? the effects on the old fashioned bulbs were far better. I assume its one cheap controller they all use.
"He has to be larger than bacon"
Philip
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Warm white LED fairy lights look alright, but colour ones just look ghastly and the blue seems to overwhelm everything compared to the old fashioned colour lights.
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bilky asko
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Pete wrote: Tue 28 Dec, 2021 09.19
WillPS wrote: Sun 26 Dec, 2021 09.40Most of the effects on there are bloody hideous things but there are a couple of really nice subtle effects and better yet you have the ability to control the brightness.
yes what is with the effects being designed to cause epileptic fits? the effects on the old fashioned bulbs were far better. I assume its one cheap controller they all use.
The problem is the effects were originally designed for the incandescent bulbs, and their inherent fading between states of brightness.

The early LED strings had three or four steps at most between being at full brightness and off, so even on the fastest fading looked jumpy. These, I believe, were just the incandescent controllers on the LED strings.

Add that to the LEDs being a lot brighter, and they can get very distracting.

The connectable Morrisons lights they had in last year (and this year I believe) at least had the advantage of being on the still setting when you switched them on, rather than the demo mode.

This year I got one of the Twinkly Flex neon-style lights. Whilst it's clear the app is more geared towards the strings and clusters they sell - some modes look quite poor with the diffusion you get with the strip - it works really well.

Being able to draw your own still patterns with the app, for example, is a boon. You can control the speed of most of the animations, and make the colours more subtle to achieve a similar result.
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