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thrilltainment
03-21-2011, 01:13 PM
The trend with LEDs is becoming more popular in our daily lives (stop lights, TV, computers, instrument panels, etc...), in this post I will try to convince you that LED lighting is way to go for 99% of your haunted house lighting needs. This post isn't for promo purposes but simply to inform about safe lighting practices and to illustrate the benefits of placing more focus on lighting in your haunt. Please feel free to post any technical questions you may have and I'll try to the best of my knowledge to answer them.

Why use LEDs?

Safe --- LEDs are low voltage and generates very little heat, reducing risk of fire dramatically, this reason alone should convince you to use LED lighting in haunts. You can also hide LEDs in virtually any material w/o worrying it'll catch on fire.
Durable --- LEDs typically won't shatter when dropped, there are no moving parts or hollow spaces. LEDs can even be made water resistant or water proof with the correct type of casing.
Energy efficient --- the amount of light per watt of power used is significantly better than traditional incandescent lights. This year, LEDs will exceed the efficiency of compact florescent lights (the curly light bulbs).
Environmental friendly --- there are no toxic substances in the LED, there is mercury in fluorescent lighting. In case you do manage to break an LED, you won't have to worry about dealing with hazardous materials.
Easier to install --- Although I don't know all the local fire codes, I don't believe low voltage lighting wires require running it through conduit, this will save a lot of time when running your wires around.
Directional light --- LEDs inherently emit direction light, making them great spotlights.


Why are people still using the traditional bulbs?

Perhaps their haunt was built way before LEDs got popular, it was probably a lot of work to install the electrical system and they haven't felt the need to switch over
LEDs may seem like unfamiliar territory because they come in so many types and very few (until recently) are compatible with traditional light fixtures
For making your own LED lighting system, it does take some basic technical understanding of electricity.


LED Basics
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, this is a type of semiconductor that will light up when a voltage is applied to it. Because LEDs are diodes, polarity matters --- that is, in order for the LED to light up, the positive voltage must be applied to the anode and the negative voltage must be applied to the cathode. LEDs typically light up with only 1.3V - 4.0V applied to it, this voltage is specified in the LED's documentation and varies between colors and models. One important thing to understand is, simply hooking up a small battery to a bare LED is NOT good practice. This is because your battery is not limiting the current that will be applied to the LED. The LED may still light up, but you may be significantly reducing its lifespan or burning it out. If you ever buy a really cheap key chain LED light (for about $1) and open it up, often you'll see a bare LED straddling a 3V button battery --- this is as cheap as it gets, the LED will light up but not reliably (you'll probably notice in the long run your LED may not be as bright as it used to be). The proper way to light an LED is to have a RESISTOR in series with the circuit to limit the current flowing through the LED (I'll explain how this works below). For more details, go to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Led

Differences between LEDs and traditional lights

Polarity matters: if you reverse the polarity on an LED, it just won't light up
LEDs are not dimmable in the same way that traditional lights are -- will go over this in more detail below
LEDs run on low voltage, even if you have LED bulb that screws into traditional 110V or 220V sockets, there is circuitry inside that steps down the voltage


How to light up a SINGLE LED from a 9V battery properly
Assuming you have a single RED LED with a turn on voltage of 1.7V and handles up to 20mA of current (usually these specs are on the website from which you purchased the LED or on some type of packaging that came with it), here's how you get it to light up reliably (we require some basic electronic principles).

With a 9V battery, 1.7V will be dropped across the LED, that means 7.3V still remain --- this voltage will be dropped across a current limiting resistor, which is in series with the circuit. Since we want at most 20mA travelling through the LED, that also means at most 20mA will travel through the resistor. By basic Ohm's Law: Voltage = Current * Resistance we get: 7.3V = 0.020A * R, if we solve for R, we get 7.3/0.02 = 365 Ohms. This means you want to use at LEAST this resistance in your circuit because this limits the current to at MOST 20mA. You probably won't find an exact valued resistor for what you calculated, just use the closest standard value that is HIGHER than what you calculated. More resistance = less current. Below is a simple diagram and a really useful tool for calculating the resistor value needed for your LEDs.

http://www.pcboard.ca/kits/led_notes/
http://www.pcboard.ca/kits/led_notes/led_circuit_single_led.jpg

You'll realize most of the 9V we started out with was dropped through the resistor (7.3V) and only a small portion of it (1.7V) was through the actual LED ---- this is pretty inefficient as most of the energy was simply burned off as heat through the resistor and not as light. A more efficient way to do this is hooking up several LEDs in series on the same circuit:

http://www.pcboard.ca/kits/led_notes/led_circuit_three_led_series.jpg
In the picture above, 3 LEDs are hooked up in series, meaning 5.1V (3 x 1.7V) is dropped across it and only 3.9V needs to be dropped across the resistor. By the same calculation method above, you'll get 3.9V = 0.020A * R, and solving for R we get 195 Ohms. Of course there is a limit to how many LEDs you can put in series, the total combined voltage drop MUST be less than your voltage source. If you're running off of a 9V battery like in the diagram, you'll also want to account for the battery's voltage lowering as it starts to run out of juice. Say the battery can potentially drain down to 8V, then at MOST you can hook up 4 LEDs in series.


Dimming LED lights:
Traditional light bulbs dim out when a lower voltage is applied to it. This will work for LEDs to SOME extent but you won't a very smooth transition between ON, DIMMED, and OFF. The brightness of an incandescent light is proportional to the voltage applied to it. The brightness of an LED is proportional to the CURRENT running through it, however this is much more difficult to control. There are two ways of dimming an LED, one way is simpler and less efficient, the other is more complex but very energy efficient.


Simple but inefficient: if you add a potentiometer (a variable resistor) to the circuit above, you can throttle the current through to the LED.
Efficient but more complex: LEDs work more efficiently when they are either fully ON or fully OFF. If you're switching the LED ON and OFF very fast (more than 100 times per second), you won't be able to see the flickering. During this ON and OFF cycle, if the ON time is more than the OFF time, your LED will appear brighter. If the OFF duration is more than the ON duration, the LED will appear dimmer. By varying the relative pulse width between ON and OFF, you'll be changing the perceived brightness of the LED, kind of like taking an average of the light output. This technique is called "Pulse Width Modulation"

http://www.signindustry.com/led/articles/images/2007-10-15-PWM3.gif

Most low voltage LED dimmers work in this fashion. For example here:
http://www.ecolightled.com/product/led_pwm_dimmer_inline_12V/pwm_led_light_dimmer


Using a LED lighting system in your haunt
Most low voltage lighting systems on the market are using 12V, it's pretty standard because you can find 12V in a bunch of places:

Standard wall warts (you can rip it off some existing appliance or buy a universal one from Radio Shack)
Car batteries
Regulated power supplies specially designed for LEDs

Most of your haunt probably is using 110V AC power --- you'll need to find a way to convert it down to 12V DC, most of the time people can just go to Radio Shack and buy a 12V power supply. Just make sure the the total current being used by the LEDs do not exceed the current rating of your power supply. For example, if you have a 2.0A power supply at 12V DC, and each LED you have uses up 20mA, that means you can took up at MOST 100 of these LEDs in parallel. Once you have your 12V source, you can use terminal blocks to distribute the power to your individual LED lights.
https://store-4cd0d.mybigcommerce.com/product_images/uploaded_images/wiringdiagram.png

One great thing about low voltage lighting is the ease of installation --- since you're not running much voltage (or current), you won't need really thick wires (unless you're running your wires several hundred feet). For the most part, 24 AWG speaker wire is a cheap and effective way to light up your LED system. You can also use ethernet or telephone cable, pretty much any wire around the house will work. For wire management purposes, it is recommended to use one power adapter for every few adjacent rooms instead if wiring up an entire haunt with just a single adapter.

If I haven't addressed any technical part to this point, please comment below and let me know.

thrilltainment
03-21-2011, 01:14 PM
Now, for the the lighting techniques: this part is more subjective and everyone's opinion may vary --- discussion is welcomed

I want to start off by asking the rhetorical question: "What good is your $5000 animatronic if no one can see it?" Many people spent tens of thousands of dollars on building their set, awesome animatronics, but pay little attention to the lighting. I dare to say that lighting can make or break your scene. It brings out what you want your visitors to see and hides what you don't. It's great for misdirection, mood setting, and showing off all the hard work you went through to put your haunt together! I've been through several haunted houses on tours where we go back during the lights-on saying "I wish I had seen that in the dark, I didn't even know it was there!" On the contrary, you also don't want to walk in to a haunt where you CAN see everything, then there's no mystery --- this is why LEDs are perfect, they're not as bright as traditional lights, and can highlight JUST enough of what you need, nothing more and nothing less.

LEDs are also great because they come in so many different colors and tend to give more of a pure color than your traditional par cans with gels over them. Because LEDs are directional by nature, you can use it as a spotlight for many of your scenes.


A single LED enclosed in a tube can pinch off the light spread making a solid spot, this is great for highlighting props or casting creepy shadows
Several LEDs with a wider dispersion angle can give a nice soft flooding effect to a scene, you can get a nice glow in a corner of a room
There are many high powered LEDs on the market now (1Watt or even 3Watt), just a single one of these can flood an entire scene with color.


For completeness, I'll list a few examples of where to use certain colors (some may be quite obvious):
Reds: dungeons, hellish areas, any scene with fire, blood, or guts
Greens: alien scenes, labs, jungles, graveyards, creates a creepy mood
Blues: cold mood, freezer, water scenes, graveyards, futuristic scenes
Amber: this color makes anything look old (like in old color faded pictures), great for attics, barns, warehouse, also use with fire scenes
White (cold): almost the same color as fluorescent tubes, use in offices scenes, or to highlight props that need to show full color
White (warm): similar in color as a traditional light bulb, use it to make your scenes more natural looking, also use to highlight props that need to show full color

Remember if you're highlighting with any of the colors other than white, you'll most likely wash out the colors you used to paint your scene. Often times your scene detail make look awesome when you have normal lighting on it, but if you hit it with a red light, everything in that scene will be some shade of red.

I suggest to detail your set in actual haunt lighting --- this way you'll know what the final product actually looks like (or at least switch between your normal light and haunt light during the detailing process).

Alright, I know this was a pretty long post and really thank anyone who took the time to read this. If I had left anything out, let me know and I'll try to offer my advice as best as possible. Thanks!

Allen H
03-21-2011, 03:12 PM
Great tutorilal, I know alot of folks are making the LEDs from the tutorial I did a while back. It does not say in in my document that I email out on making them but the LEDs you make yourself can be controlled by Thrilltainments controllers.
Very well put together tutorial. Great info for the undustry.
Allen H

lonewolfmage
03-22-2011, 07:17 AM
Thrilltainment~

You mention " Polarity matters: if you reverse the polarity on an LED, it just won't light up".

What about the venors that say " you can plug in any way and it will light up, no matter the polarity" (or something to that extent)

Given the above between what you said and the others have said .. thats a bit of a contradiction isn't it ??


Just curious.
~LoneWolf

wickedfarmer
03-22-2011, 07:40 AM
I second the above.???????

lonewolfmage
03-22-2011, 08:13 AM
Wicked~

Im no the only one with that question.

But you know what they say (kinda sorta) "the only dumb/stupid question is the one not asked" :)

~LoneWolf

LightsAlive
03-22-2011, 09:15 AM
Thrilltainment has written a very good overview of using LED's There's a lot of good information there.

I'd like to expand on a couple of things....

Regarding the polarity questions, LED's are indeed polarized, and the polarity of the power supply does matter. BUT... the better LED fixtures address this by building in a bridge rectifier, so no matter what the power source's polaity, it's correct when it reaches the LED.


It was said that LEDs are inherently directional. Granted, the LEDs we chose for our Gosling flexible LED light fixtures have a 20 degree beam angle. However, our primary supplier has LEDs ranging from a very tight 10 degrees to a very wide 130 degree angle. The LEDs used in our ProLight-200 fixtures cover nearly 180 degrees.

--

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is absolutely the best way to reliably dim an LED in most situations, but there are exceptions where varying the voltage (and ultimately the current) is the only choice. Great care must be taken to make sure that you are not using switch mode, regulated or constant current power supplies when connecting LEDs to FireFly, Chameleon and miniFLICKER controllers from Lights Alive. The same rules hold true for sequenced lighting systems, such as Light-O-Rama. Lights that do not contain linear power supplies designed specifically for the flashing, flickering and dimming from these controllers will not perform satisfactorily and they may fail altogether.

--

It is true that most any power supply can work for small LEDs, but keep in mind that just because a power supply says 12vdc, doesn’t mean that it will output 12 volts. That rating is generally when the power supply is fully loaded. We have tested some 12-volt power supplies that exceed 20 volts until they have a full load applied. This is not true with regulated power supplies, but it is an absolute with non-regulated supplies. The higher voltage causes a higher forward current through the LED, which can dramatically shorten its life. For this reason, we would recommend that you not buy the largest power supply (wall wart) you can find. It is much better to buy one that is rated just slightly higher than your load. Again, this is true only for linear power supplies and does not apply to regulated supplies.

We’ve heard a lot of talk about LEDs not lasting the 50,000 to 100,000 hours that many manufacturers specify. The fact is that very few LEDs fail unless too much current is applied. However, many cheap (department or home store type) LED light strings fail because connections within the strings corrode due to moisture and oxidation, just like your old Christmas light strings. When it comes to LED light fixtures or replacement PAR style bulbs, it is generally the internal power supplies that fail, not the LEDs.

Since there is no filament to burn out, that 50,000 to 100,000 hour lifespan does not mean that the LED will cease to emit light. Depending on the manufacturer, it means that the LED will be emitting somewhere between 50% and 70% or its original intensity. If the fixture ceases to function, it’s almost certainly the internal power supply or the connections rather than an LED. That said, a tiny (very tiny) percentage could fail.

Regarding polarity, it is very true that LEDs will light only with the proper polarity. However, most quality fixtures use internal diode bridges to alleviate this issue. When the diode bridge is used, the fixtures will light in either polarity and even with low voltage AC supplies, such as landscape lighting transformers.

When choosing LED replacement bulbs from overseas, keep in mind that they were likely designed for 220 volts AC, 50 Hertz. Of course the standard here in the United States is 120 volt, 60 Hertz. Due to the limited space and a desire to keep the bulbs cost effective, manufacturers often use capacitors to drop the voltage inside these bulbs. Those manufacturing “cheap” bulbs often cut the 220 volt circuit in the middle and parallel the resulting circuits to make a 110 volt bulb, but that can be quite problematic. First, it is very poor design practice to parallel groups of LEDs unless they each have their own current limiting resistors. This method can cause early and catastrophic failure. Then there is a significant difference in capacitive reactance from the 50Hz used overseas versus our 60Hz. And, then we supply 120 volts to a system designed for 110 volts. The combination of these three issues causes unreliable operation and premature failure in many PAR style replacement bulbs due to overdriving the LEDs.

--

BRIGHTNESS – When customers call us about LEDs, the first two questions are “how many watts?” and “how bright?”. This may be the toughest of all questions to answer. We all understand watts when talking about incandescent bulbs, but the amount of current utilized by an LED doesn’t necessarily translate into brightness. The typical unit of measure for brightness for small LEDs is millicandela or MCD. For instance, a small 5mm (T1-3/4) LED may be rated 25 MCD when used for indicators in electronic circuitry or you may find one rated at 15,000 MCD, both of which are typical 20 milliamp (mA) LEDs. When considering brightness, forget the current forward current rating and concentrate on MCD. The higher the number, the brighter the LED.

When comparing high power LEDs, such as those used in our ProLight-200 LED fixture for FireFly lightning simulators, the unit of measure is lumens. Incandescent bulbs typically emit about 11 lumens per watt, so a 100-watt bulb would average around 1,100 lumens. We use two (2) 18 watt LEDs with a total output of up to 2,500 lumens or more than a typical 200 watt incandescent bulb.

The efficiency of the power supplies used to supply low voltage to LEDs varies widely and the efficiency of the LEDs themselves can be quite different at different current levels and even from batch to batch. In other words, lumens are the only true way to compare LEDs among themselves or to other types of lights.

With both owners of Lights Alive having spent much of their lives as professional photographers, we have many suggestions on proper lighting, which we will address in a future posting.

Twin Locusts
03-22-2011, 10:46 AM
Dark Light & Lights Alive -

Thanks for putting well planned and illuminating info out there both in your booths and on here. You guys are nearly peerless in your willingness to get into the details and applicable functioning of your products - From one geek to another grazi. Allen, this is by no means calling you a Geek as well, though if the slide rule fits...;)

lonewolfmage
03-22-2011, 10:47 AM
Steve(Lights Alive) and Darklight~

Thank you both for your very informnative posts .. I have been trying to talk the boss of the place I work at (cave) to switch to LED lighting.. (Floods and spots) .

Unfortunately .. he( and I do have to agree) they are still quite "cost prohibitave" considering the ammount of lights we would have to replace. (close to 100 Incadecent lights of various colors) BUT considering the saving we would have LONG RUN .. it kind of works out ... its just the INITAL cost to switch that is worrying. Which im sure is on others minds as well considering the encomy and such as it is no matter what the setting/situation happens to be.


And I'm NOT IN ANY WAY knocking down the advantages of having LED lighting, but, I do have to say .. with the setting that I work in (cave again) in some areas they seem to give off somewhat of a "harsh" light .. yes I know there are "difffusers" you can get ..but those can only do so much especially in certain settings..

Now for Haunters I can DEFINATELY see a marked advantage or Using LEDS vs. Incandecent bulbs.

First and foremost MUCH LESS of a "fire hazzard" As has been mentioned LEDS put off little to any heat. Thereby, alleviating the fact if you have an LED "buried" on or in say a pile of leaves or mulch or something that MAY ignite... theres much les of chance of that happening vs. usinf a Incadecent or "squiggly" florescent( yeas the latter DOES produce quite a bit of heat especially in an enclosed space such as a "light globe" or some such".

Second they are compact .. and EASILY transportable .. meaning .. MUCH LESS risk of breakage if say you are moving them around from one place to another or puttng them in storage.

Third and lastly .. SAFETY which goes along with the above (breakage and such) .. not much more to say on that especially in a Haunt setting.( or any setting for that matter)


Mind you these are just my thoughts on this matter . Thank you both again for (so to speak) "Shedding more light" on this subject.

~LoneWolf

thrilltainment
03-22-2011, 11:00 AM
Thrilltainment~

You mention " Polarity matters: if you reverse the polarity on an LED, it just won't light up".

What about the venors that say " you can plug in any way and it will light up, no matter the polarity" (or something to that extent)

Given the above between what you said and the others have said .. thats a bit of a contradiction isn't it ??


Just curious.
~LoneWolf

Hi LoneWolf,

That's an excellent question. You may have actually heard that "you can plug it any way" quote from me at the show =)
In our Darklight line of products we add an additional diode bridge with corrects the polarity reversal. LEDs by themselves are inherently directional (as with almost any consumer electronics), but usually the product will add additional circuitry to correct the problem to make it easier for the consumer to use.

Below are two pictures from Wikipedia that demonstrate the diode bridge (red line is positive voltage, blue line is negative voltage):
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Diode_bridge_alt_1.svg/557px-Diode_bridge_alt_1.svg.png
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Diode_bridge_alt_2.svg/557px-Diode_bridge_alt_2.svg.png

As you can see above, no matter which way the positive line comes in, it always ends up being rectified to the correct polarity that the LED can handle. Although the addition of this circuit adds costs to our products, it makes them much easier to install for the consumer.

Another implication of adding this diode bridge is that you can even power the lights using 12V AC power (since AC is basically switching polarities at 50-60Hz). I know of some haunts who don't use 12V DC wall warts but simply steps down their 110V AC with a transformer down to 12V AC... this will work with our lights (and any other vendor's light that has a diode bridge). If you happened to try 12V AC power on a standard diode circuit like in the original post, you may notice the diode will strobe/flicker very quickly as it will only light up approximately 50% of the time (when the polarity is correct).

I hope this sufficiently answers your question.

- Quan

thrilltainment
03-22-2011, 11:35 AM
Unfortunately .. he( and I do have to agree) they are still quite "cost prohibitave" considering the ammount of lights we would have to replace. (close to 100 Incadecent lights of various colors) BUT considering the saving we would have LONG RUN .. it kind of works out ... its just the INITAL cost to switch that is worrying. Which im sure is on others minds as well considering the encomy and such as it is no matter what the setting/situation happens to be.

LoneWolf,
The high cost of LEDs is usually associated with incandescent replacement bulbs (home consumer lights) because one is comparing the cost of a traditional bulb (~$1) with an LED equivalent output bulb (currently ~$30-50), this cost will SURELY go down in the next few years --- do you remember when the compact fluorescent lights first came out years ago? They were also very expensive at the time, but as production quantity rose and more companies were competing for price, the market will drive down the price of these consumer items. This will happen with LED replacement bulbs as well.



... And I'm NOT IN ANY WAY knocking down the advantages of having LED lighting, but, I do have to say .. with the setting that I work in (cave again) in some areas they seem to give off somewhat of a "harsh" light .. yes I know there are "difffusers" you can get ..but those can only do so much especially in certain settings..

There is ALMOST an LED solution to every traditionally cast light. You just have to find the right product with the right optics. Because LEDs are created on a flat substrate, they inherently cannot output light greater than 180 degrees (that's why it's easier to make LED spotlights than floods). However, this problem can be solved (to an adequate extent) with multifaceted LED fixtures, with multiple LEDs pointed in different directions to cover more angle. Here's a technical article of someone taking apart a Philips LED bulb that has good spread, it was pretty "enlightening" to say the least =) http://www.sevengens.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/independent_ambientled_analysis020111.pdf


In addition, the optics to the LEDs are VERY important (when I say optics, I mean both the shape of the individual LED itself and any lenses that go may over it) --- using the correct optics will give you the desired spread without sacrificing light output --- we do this in many of our products with different angled lenses.

And one last thing that "brightens" the future of LEDs is that this year it is expected that LEDs will surpass CFL (compact fluorescent lights) in Lumens/Watt (read this in a Digi-Key magazine article)

please excuse my use of puns above :cool:

RJ Productions
03-22-2011, 01:46 PM
Awesome posts!! Thanks!!! Maybe you need to expand the info into an article for Hauntworld????

This is a post not only worth reading, but saving. I copied it and reformated into Word and attached.

Seriously think about an article...

Thanks again,

Rich

thrilltainment
03-22-2011, 01:58 PM
Awesome posts!! Thanks!!! Maybe you need to expand the info into an article for Hauntworld????

This is a post not only worth reading, but saving. I copied it and reformated into Word and attached.

Seriously think about an article...

Thanks again,

Rich

Thanks for putting that together Rich, I'm very glad you and others find this post useful.

I'd be happy to offer up material for an upcoming HauntWorld magazine --- Larry? ;-)

I will also be teaching a class on LED lighting at the upcoming Midwest Haunters Convention. If there is anything both Steve and I haven't addressed, keep asking away and we'll answer it. - Quan

lonewolfmage
03-22-2011, 02:35 PM
Thrilltainment(Darklight) ~

First off again i want to preface this reply that i am IN NO WAY KNOCKING the use LED lighting AT ALL it may come across that way .. but its not meant to .. my apologies if it comes across that way .

You mentioned: "may have heard at a show" acctualy no I have NEVER been to a show or convention unfortunately :( Would like to go and see these things (LED's) in action .. I have just been reading about them here on the HW fourms.

And was just confused by the "polarity matters" but yet by reading things some are saying it "doesn't matter how you plug it in it will just work" (or to that extent) and both you and Steve did a realy good job of explaing things "2 ( maybe 4... I think I'm a bit mutated from all the Haunt stuff from the past 20+years LOL ) thumbs up .. or as I belive JJ from RFR would say(might be wrong sorry if im refering to the wrong person) "2 Bloody stumps up" for you explanation.

Mind you im not an electrician at all .. hell im lucky sometimes if i dont get zapped by pluging in a coffee maker sometimes LOL ( yes exterme example but you get my drift I'm sure)

Regarding price wise .. YES i do remeber when the CFC's first came out the prices for some of them were ASTRONOMICAL :( now you can buy ( at least im my area) by a 2 or 4 pack of them .. for 10$ -20 $ ( repsectively.. of course depending on wattage and brands, etc) and case In point when I moved into the place where I am at .. ( 4 years ago) I switched ALL the lights from Incadecents to the CFC's( squiggly type) Bulbs ... and the cost per month on my electric bill has DROPPED DRASTIALLY.. I can just imagine whatit would be like if I swtiched to LED's (savings wise)

Originally, when I bought the bulbs (4 years ago ) it cost for 7 bulbs .. if memory servs correctly (prolly not totally ) it cost me CLOSE TO 80$ to replace all the lightbulbs ... now it would cost ABOUT 40$ to do the same thing the only thing dont like ahout the CFC's is the "warm up time" to get to full birghtness ....Where as with LED's they are an "instant brightness" situation.


So yes I can see where once things become more main stream .. and more people are using them (either LED's or CFC) and not just in a Haunt setting or in landscaping aspect there for MAY create more companies more comapnies that will produce them .. there for more competiton and "price matching" and shuch what .. and more competive ( lower and lower) prices. But to what extent .. substandrad product ??? just to push products out the door and the unit fails within months and you have to buy another one .. or.. you get a good product that the company stands behind and wil replace or repair what the problem is and will say "yeah we messed up and well fix it" .


Kind of a case in point .. and a bit off the LED topic but as far as warranties are concerned .. Pelican lights (warrantry info found here (http://www.pelican.com/support/guarantee.php) there used to be an interesting "quip" in there about "not vaild for dammage due to Shark Bite,Bear attack or 5 year olds ) they have Limited Lifetime Warranty on all of thier lights or products .. and all you have ot do is either call them for an RMA or send an email to thme and you will get an RMA # ..
Granted yes you have to pay shipping both ways .. but when you paying ( which I have, i have one of ther RALS lights ) close to 200-300$ for a light... AND I have a good 2000$ worth of lights ... (some as free samples, other paid out of my own pocket, that I have had gifted to me from my Cave boss for 13 years) you cant really go wrong there.

Again NOT IN ANY WAY "knocking" using LEDS its more the cost wise aspect ..

Would i like to switch to all LED's .. either in a haunt setting or other wise .. HELL YES .. as far as operating costs and such ..its just the intial price that "bites the pocket book" and if the company will stand behind thier product .. thats what counts for me .. as I'm sure most will say/think as well ..

Just my thoughts and possible bit of rambleing there (sorry for that ) .
~LoneWolf

thrilltainment
03-22-2011, 05:24 PM
Thrilltainment(Darklight) ~

First off again i want to preface this reply that i am IN NO WAY KNOCKING the use LED lighting AT ALL it may come across that way .. but its not meant to .. my apologies if it comes across that way .

You mentioned: "may have heard at a show" acctualy no I have NEVER been to a show or convention unfortunately :( Would like to go and see these things (LED's) in action .. I have just been reading about them here on the HW fourms.

And was just confused by the "polarity matters" but yet by reading things some are saying it "doesn't matter how you plug it in it will just work" (or to that extent) and both you and Steve did a realy good job of explaing things "2 ( maybe 4... I think I'm a bit mutated from all the Haunt stuff from the past 20+years LOL ) thumbs up .. or as I belive JJ from RFR would say(might be wrong sorry if im refering to the wrong person) "2 Bloody stumps up" for you explanation.

Mind you im not an electrician at all .. hell im lucky sometimes if i dont get zapped by pluging in a coffee maker sometimes LOL ( yes exterme example but you get my drift I'm sure)

Regarding price wise .. YES i do remeber when the CFC's first came out the prices for some of them were ASTRONOMICAL :( now you can buy ( at least im my area) by a 2 or 4 pack of them .. for 10$ -20 $ ( repsectively.. of course depending on wattage and brands, etc) and case In point when I moved into the place where I am at .. ( 4 years ago) I switched ALL the lights from Incadecents to the CFC's( squiggly type) Bulbs ... and the cost per month on my electric bill has DROPPED DRASTIALLY.. I can just imagine whatit would be like if I swtiched to LED's (savings wise)

Originally, when I bought the bulbs (4 years ago ) it cost for 7 bulbs .. if memory servs correctly (prolly not totally ) it cost me CLOSE TO 80$ to replace all the lightbulbs ... now it would cost ABOUT 40$ to do the same thing the only thing dont like ahout the CFC's is the "warm up time" to get to full birghtness ....Where as with LED's they are an "instant brightness" situation.


So yes I can see where once things become more main stream .. and more people are using them (either LED's or CFC) and not just in a Haunt setting or in landscaping aspect there for MAY create more companies more comapnies that will produce them .. there for more competiton and "price matching" and shuch what .. and more competive ( lower and lower) prices. But to what extent .. substandrad product ??? just to push products out the door and the unit fails within months and you have to buy another one .. or.. you get a good product that the company stands behind and wil replace or repair what the problem is and will say "yeah we messed up and well fix it" .


Kind of a case in point .. and a bit off the LED topic but as far as warranties are concerned .. Pelican lights (warrantry info found here (http://www.pelican.com/support/guarantee.php) there used to be an interesting "quip" in there about "not vaild for dammage due to Shark Bite,Bear attack or 5 year olds ) they have Limited Lifetime Warranty on all of thier lights or products .. and all you have ot do is either call them for an RMA or send an email to thme and you will get an RMA # ..
Granted yes you have to pay shipping both ways .. but when you paying ( which I have, i have one of ther RALS lights ) close to 200-300$ for a light... AND I have a good 2000$ worth of lights ... (some as free samples, other paid out of my own pocket, that I have had gifted to me from my Cave boss for 13 years) you cant really go wrong there.

Again NOT IN ANY WAY "knocking" using LEDS its more the cost wise aspect ..

Would i like to switch to all LED's .. either in a haunt setting or other wise .. HELL YES .. as far as operating costs and such ..its just the intial price that "bites the pocket book" and if the company will stand behind thier product .. thats what counts for me .. as I'm sure most will say/think as well ..

Just my thoughts and possible bit of rambleing there (sorry for that ) .
~LoneWolf

LoneWolf, no offense is taken of any kind for either of your posts, in fact you bring up a very good point about quality in the products. The market is constantly driving companies to makes products cheaper and more competitive, and sometimes this sacrifices in the quality --- it may not be noticeable when you first buy a product, but often times the quality in the material allows the product to withstand the test of time.

As a society, we're very much "I want it NOW" types with how fast the pace of our lives have picked up, this type of conditioning tends to make most consumers sensitive to the initial cost of a product and less sensitive the long term ---- that's one reason why most phone/cable/car payments make it easy for you to enter a contract with very little money upfront, they can always make the services incrementally more expensive and the consumer doesn't feel it as much as the initial sting. Now back to quality --- you may see two similar products:

Product A: name brand company, product has good reputation, but relatively expensive.
Product B: no name company, knocks off Product A, looks the same, sells for much cheaper --- usually from the same mold but different materials

Many may be tempted by Product B because initially the look and function may be compatible to Product A... but if you use it for several years, you'll eventually realize the difference. The same can be said about LED vendors. Cheap LED light bulbs are dime-a-dozen (or eventually will be), but many of them are out to simply take your money the first time and don't rely on returning customers (because the low quality products will break, as Steve has mentioned), and for those who ultimately did spend more money on a name brand item, the company will be around for any future support and replacement needed. Sure, the name brand is more expensive, but the added cost goes into a lot of "non-fluff" factors as well, such as: better quality control, better quality materials, better customer service, and of course some goes into advertising and branding --- but then again, if the product was inferior to begin with, no amount of marketing will help.

From my own company's standpoint --- although we are a new vendor in the haunt industry, my partner and I both have very strong engineering backgrounds and stand fully behind all of our products. My partner, who is in charge of manufacturing our products, has worked in the LED industry for over 10 years and used to be an employee of CREE (name brand in high power LED chips). We really appreciate the warm welcome this industry has given us and we're definitely here to stay. So even if switching to LEDs isn't in your immediate plan, we'll still be here when it is =)

We'd like to become the company that sells Product A
- Quan

thrilltainment
04-04-2011, 09:39 AM
I taught this class at HauntCon last year --- here's the download for it: http://www.e5design.com/Safe_Lighting_for_Haunts.pdf