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Being a Christmas Décor, Christmas Decorator, since 2001 I have gone thru many different generations of Christmas lights. When we first started decorating, years ago, our incandescent bulbs were the standard Christmas light bulb of the industry. The incandescent lights provided a nice warm feeling and have really been around a long time. They have actually been used since Thomas Edison first created the light bulb. The biggest issue with these bulbs was that they were not energy efficient. We used to do displays which only allowed us to run about 100’ feet in either direction and place about 2,000 or maybe 3,000 mini lights onto “one” 15amp breaker.
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So on large displays we were doing subpanels with 15 or 20 different breakers. Now this was the same case for using our red, green, blue and multi-colored lights. Over the years, say six or seven, light bulbs have been evolving rapidly. Remember when President George Bush signed a law into effect, it was a law which basically outlawed incandescent lights and mandated the use of energy efficient bulbs instead. That law has pushed the technology to develop bulbs that are becoming better and better. Your big incandescent flood lights are very hard to find these days and eventually there will be no incandescent bulbs left.
With the new LED technology, they only use about 10% of the power that we used to use. We can now put 10x the amount of lights on a single plug and no longer need all the subpanels which used to be required. Back in the day you really almost had to have a professional Christmas decorator because it was hard to make all the light displays work without having to address the electricity issues. Many homeowners would spend hours putting up and attaching stands of lights to find out that they either wouldn’t come on or would pop the breakers because they pulled a lot of electricity when they were turned on. LED’s have greatly simplified the installation of Christmas lights. We never seem to overburden the power supply with Christmas lights alone.
Christmas lights come in a variety of shapes as well. We have the popular mini lights and they are the ones you often see on Christmas trees, but are used in a variety of ways. They can be used around trunks of trees, shrubs and as a canopy effect. Those are all great effects with mini-lights, but we personally use a 5 mm concave LED dimmable. It’s more expensive to have a Christmas light of that quality, but as a service provider, we buy the best lights we can to have the most dependable lights and thus reduce labor involved in service calls. The other type is a C-7 bulb which is also very popular. The C-7 bulb is a little smaller bulb. We use a few of these in Christmas light displays, but we usually choose to use the larger C-9 bulb and cost a few cents more per bulb. It seems to give more light and is more brilliant overall. We also use color spotlights which change colors. They are part of the RGB technology. An example we can set a spotlight to change into a rainbow or other patterned color as well as attach into it and control it with a controller. These techniques are what we use when doing a customized Christmas light show.
As technology marches onward, we move into the next generation of LEDs which are the RGB (red, green and blue) light bulbs. The beauty of RGB lights is that these 3 colors can create 256 different colors simply by determining by how much green, how much blue or how much red is put into a bulb. With the RGB technology we can do different chase patterns and colors simply by switching the controller. There are simple RGB lights and those just switch colors and simple patterns, but you can get very complicated ones as well. To give you an example, if you had enough RGB close enough together you could create a huge TV screen and put a football game on it. Just in case you were ever wondering, RGB lights are also what are used inside an LED television set. LED technology is continuing to expand and it is interesting to watch as new products are being developed with the added bonus of being energy efficient.
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