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My Chronology of Color LED’s

June 21, 2012

An old list I printed, before the days I began putting my interests online. OCR scanned it, and filled in the more recent stuff.

early ’80’s: become interested in subway trains. Envision possibility of full color digital route signs to replace roll curtains. Consider LED’s, but figure they could only be one color at a time.

mid ’80’s: see tri-color (red, yellow, green) for sale in Radio Shack. Wonder when other colors would be added.

Late ’80’s: begin seeing small tri-color signs in places like Tower Records and a hospital waiting room

early 90’s: larger tri-color display appears on Bowery @ Delancey St.

Fall. 1992: R-110A test train arrives; displayed at Transit Museum. End route sign uses tri-color LED’s; displays route # in proper color (red for 7th Av.; green for Lex. Could also display yellow. R-110-B, for the BMT/IND, which includes blue routes, stuck with a roller curtain in the front).

This really kicks off my interest in LED‘s; begin seeking development of blue LED’s for full color capability

mid-90’s: large tri-color Bloomberg graphic signs appear on Bway @ 47th and 48th St. [still there edit. at press time; gone by late 10’s] and many signs of different sizes appear various places, including new message boards in subway stations.
Bright monochromatic amber LED signs begin appearing as message marquees, clocks and emergency road signs [this would become the choice of color for many signs, including Transit vehicles]

Gallium-nitride (GaN) chosen as best compound for blue LED’s. Production begins.
Shorter wavelength “pure” green (525-535 nm as opposed to older 565 nm Gallium Phosphide “yellow-green” or “lime”) also produced. Full color test signs appear in Japan.

Jan. ’98: discover single blue LED’s for sale in Radio Shack

Mar. ’98: blue LED’s appear on DVD players and some CD changers. Discover huge Budweiser ad on 1 Times Square, featuring full color triangular panels and display screen (Upper “Astrovision” behind beer bottle. Lower screen still Fluorescent Discharge Tubes (FDTs), the predecessor to RGB LEDS’s, but eventually replaced with LED screen. [Beer bottle display since replaced with newer RGB display])
All of Queens’ red traffic signals replaced with LED’s

[Edit: I used to hear that the old pre-LED jumbotrons (including the old Diamond Vision and Astrovision, etc.) were “CRT‘s” which of course were the old TV tubes, where beams of electrons were fired at RGB subpixels at the front of the single tube. These flat signs obviously weren’t like this. So I figured I either was told wrong or heard wrong, and then found the term FDT somewhere. But trying to look this up, I find that the jumbotrons were in fact a kind of CRT; the “flood beam” CRT:
The difference is explained:
“The flood beam CRT differs from a normal CRT in that the electron gun within does not produce a focused controllable beam. Instead, electrons are sprayed in a wide cone across the entire front of the phosphor screen, effectively turning an image display device into a simple light bulb.” Each one is coated with a red, green or blue phosphor, and then simply arranged as pixels on panels. I imagine the term “FDT” could technically still apply. Perhaps that’s an alternate term. Or maybe I heard “FBT?”
Always wondered why they were never used in smaller signs. In fact, you could have had color changing bulbs, way back then! Must have been way expensive. The smallest and also lowest to the ground sign I ever saw was on the NW corner of 42nd and 7th, in the marquee of the old Playland arcade where the Chase is now, before the new building was built. This was right before the LED’s started taking over].

Flood Beam CRT’s, introduced 1980, were the
predecessor to RGB LED’s in large displays

Fall, ’98: Full color display appears on 1500 Bway (part of “Lion King” ad)
New Year’s Eve: full color sign on ground as part of MTV set (may have been same one on 1500, which had been removed by then)

May. 1999: discover new NBC Store in Rockefeller Center, with interior 2 story hemispherical Panasonic HDTV theater covered on the outside with full color LED display (Each pixel is an inch or two apart, and consists of 2 reds, and a blue and new 525 nm “pure” green). Advertises NBC and its shows. [Still going strong!]

July. 1999: discover green LED traffic lights in New Jersey. See one being installed near Freehold.

Sept. ’99: New Good Morning America Times Square studio opens (the 13th). Full color display tested weeks before. Consisted of 9 marquees, the top 7 of which could form large display, as well as individual scrolling words. Bottom two had red and GaN green only and were used for scrolling news (top set to pale orange; bottom, to green) (large FDT or FBCRT screen apart of display also).
[Got into someone’s picture of budding new tennis star Serena Williams. On the outside of the window, standing right behind her, with her back to the window inside.]

Late Fall. 1999: full color and white LED’s developed. (previous RGB displays used “SRGB” pixels, which used separate LED units for each primary color. Now, single LED’s with the three primary dies in one envelope —true “RGB” would appear).

TV and magazine articles proclaim white LED’s as future replacement of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
See white LED’s as part of red laser rear bumper light on display at technology show.

See various web sites selling full color units ($10 apiece), or panels ($80) or white LED’s (including keychains, flashlights & replacement bulbs, penlights, hexagonal vehicle type panels and 120VAC bulbs consisting of several LED’s; ranges from two or three in standard screw base, or up to 36 enclosed in compact fluorescent style plastic cover ($200)
Blue appears on many new CD & DVD players (usually power indicators, backlighting for dials, etc). GaN green used also on a Sony CD player

12-30-99: discover that entire NW corner of new CondeNast building (Bway @ 43rd) is a giant full color display (The NASDAQ sign). Much better colors than other displays at the time.

1-00: discover Loews sign at new E- Walk theater on 42nd near 8th. (Letters consist of LED fill in white neon trim). Displays full spectrum, including bright white. [Since changed to “REGAL”]
Delta airlines display diagonally across on Port Authority building (screen and skyline).

2-25-00: discover small full color sign in Fresh Pond Rd. Supermarket (columns of red, dim older SiC blue & 565nm green, about 1cm apart. Would following year see a similar one in the 207th St. car barn)

5-00: Blue LED’s featured in game: Notice “Bar Code” arcade in Times Square.
Includes “Zap” ticket dispensing game with bands of red, amber & green (565), and 1 row of blue in the middle. If you hit the button while blue is lit, you win the most tickets. Possible full color LED’s in wall strips at bottom of escalator in entrance (displayed orange, peach, magenta, dim blue, blue-green, and a warm white. Appear that single units display all colors, and colors too rich to be incandescent).

Aiwa CD player has blue/orange/lavender backlighting
See GaN green LED on antenna of cellphone

Purchase white LED penlight [Streamlight Stylus; my first ever online purchase!]

[original typed section ends; handwritten additions begin]

In coming years, many more full color signs fill Times Sq.

2001: Green LED traffic lights arrive in Queens, accompanied by white LED walk symbol. In 2 years, whole city replaced. [But the yellows would wait a few more years, in gradual replacements. They at first didn’t like the color, I was told, since it was more reddish then the old incandescent filtered yellows]

Full color (3-chip LED) sign appears in ESPN Zone in CondeNast building, and CBS Morning Show studio next to FAO Schwartz. Shortly after, one would also appear in the Virgin Megastore.

First blue LED subway “emergency alarm/extinguisher/telephone” light appears at north end of 42nd St. 8th Av. express track. (more below on this!)

Red, amber and green signal aspects begin being tested (first one at Jay St southbound platform), and eventually spread to the system. All of this, mind you, as I enter the system as a motorman!

“New Tech trains” (R-142 and above) begin arriving, but they stick with single-color red or reddish orange end route signs, and amber LED or yellow LCD side route signs.

Find out about Foreverbright LED strings with blue lights, but these are only available at Harrows, in Long Island. Didn’t find them then, but this started a tradition of travelling through that area to see all the decorations on the homes. (And it’s fun to find homes and even whole yards increasingly done in LED lighting!)
Instead, that year, I bought a battery operated redorangeamberyellow green string from K-Mart, my first LED Christmas string (even used this for lighting in the ’03 blackout!), and my rentry into Christmas light decorating since the old childhood incandescents on the tree.

RGB LED’s arrive on the scene!
Will MTA ever use them on
buses and train signs as I
originally hoped for LED’s?

2002: purchase LED Christmas lights (Forever Bright faceted C6; Red, amber, old yellow-green, blue string; and 6000K white string)
Purchase Full Color (“RGB White”) Keychain light (the Rav Light or something like that) that flashes and breaks down into individual RGB rainbow effect when moved.
Seven-color C7 Night light.
First RGB Clear Channel sign appears on 23rd St. (Bway) subway exit. These soon spread around Manhattan, but are eventually replaced by LCD’s, due to the wide pitch problem of RGB’s (poor resolution)

[end of old document; here are the key updates, more details on main site]

2003: New Forever Bright improved (brighter, C7) strings arrive, with 525nm “pure” green. I get the frosted in both color and white, and give the older ones away to friends.

2004: See full color route sign on Chicago bus. Grey Line, Springfield, MA (PVTA) and many other agencies eventually follow.

Discover Color Kinetics (eventually sold to Philips) I Color Flex; a string of 50 fully addressable LED’s. But these are really display pixels and not marketed as consumer strings, so it is $500, plus more hundreds or the hardware and software. These eventually line the ceiling of FAO Schwartz.

Buy six Carpenter Decorating Intellishine RGB faceted C7 bulbs (that few, to save cost). Get a six-light socket “railroad village” string from my mother to use for them. Had to get a transformer from Radio Shack, as these bulbs are only 6V.
Add the old RGB nightlight (plus another one I had gotten eventually) to them, in the window.

Join Candlepowerforums to discuss LED development. Also follow the LED Museum, by one of the members of the site.

2005: find cheaper alternative to iColorFlex; the LED Effects DingDotz; which are basically the same thing, at the same price, but also offers a 10 light “Demo Kit” for $100 (though the program is set). Becomes the centerpiece of my growing LED window displays! (These could be found on the sign in the lower level of the Times Sq. Toys R Us).

When going to look at it at their Manhattan showroom; I see the first 3500K “warm white” and even 2700K “soft white” (i.e. incandescent) color LED’s!
It would take a few more years for these (especially the latter) to be seen more.

A single string of Foreverbright style lights (faceted C6) appears on huge EAB/RXR Plaza tree in Long Island. (Mixed in with the incandescents, near bottom of tree).

2006: Triklits RGB string introduced, (Which has a selection of color patterns) but then suddenly pulled right as I was about to buy one, due to some fire hazard. Never returned to market.

2007: Purchase RGB “name” belt buckle (but it eats the battery in a half-hour).

Around same time, get first OLED screen device, a small jeweled MP3 player.

Cosmo Lighting RGB strings appear, but colors are poor.

Test conversion of a NYC bus interior lighting to LED

Brooklyn Bridge announced to get LED bulbs. New white LED panels appear on underpasses

Attend preview of Radio City Christmas Spectacular, with its 3D CGI animation sequence of Santa flying in from the north pole, shown on a huge RGB display that forms the back wall of the stage.

Rockefeller Center tree goes LED (for its 75th anniversary), along with many other decorations in the area. RXR follows a year later. (Rockefeller uses 35-4000K warm white, while RXR uses 6000K cool white).

If the tree weren’t enough; New Year’s Eve ball also goes LED!

Gradually add more solid color strings to my Christmas collection, including with smaller bulbs (often bare LED’s) for the window to replace the larger C7’s, which are hard to hold up because of the weight. Eventually use these for outdoor bushes when we move in 2008 to a 2 family rowhouse with a small yard.

Good Morning America marquees eventually replaced with newer SRGB’s with much finer resolution, and FDT or FBCRT screen replaced with RGB LED’s. I was never sure when exactly this occurred. I just noticed it one day, and don’t even remember when I first noticed it. At press time, Wikipedia article on Times Square Studios reports a “2007 refurbishment”, under a picture of the new one, so that is most likely when it was. (There’s also a 2004 picture of the old one, so you can compare).

Replaced already: 1999 SRGB/SRG/FBCRT display compared with 2007 [current] full RGB, at GMA studios

11-09: first small RGB sign, and first time seeing one that uses yellow green! Betabrite Prisms begin appearing on LOTTO machines in corner stores. Only a limited amount of colors are displayed, however.

With 3500K warm white rapidly increasing, [Edison-based] LED bulbs (including spotlights) really begin taking off.

7-Color cycling LED’s used on large tree on top of Macy’s marquee on 34thSt. (But these would be replaced by 2700’s, in the following years)

Number in year in Times Sq. goes LED (2700K bulbs; looks identical to incandescent sign).

Newer bigger New Years’s balls; begins staying on all year.

Holy Grail, Batman!
2010: Finally get an individually addressable string marketed for consumers: the Engineering Solutions (“Response-box”) RGB Nodes.

First purple LED’s in a multicolor string I get for a little tabletop tree. First incandescent white (2700K) for the window.

At the same time, GE introduces Color Effects RGB C9 string (or sculture shapes), which has a selection of color changing patterns. Hold off on getting it, since we just got the RGB Nodes.

So many strings now, we begin decorating an artificial tree (my first time having a tree since childhood) with the extra strings. Follow a theme, such as red and white. Looking to get more Engineering Solution nodes for the tree (since the controller can hold four strings).

LED’s continue to take over cars, including headlights (some consist of lines of individual white LED’s).

2011: begin getting LED bulbs for the home, from Home Depot as finally the brightness goes up, and the prices come down.

All new NYC buses delivered with interior LED lighting. (Noticeable with the 6000K “daylight” color behind a diffused cover).

2-12: Find Betabrite Prism on Amazon for $69 (it really costs $300 or more!); quickly snatch it up!

Get Samsung Galaxy S2, with AMOLED screen.

3-12: discover that Sony had introduced something called “Crystal LED” at the CES in January. This is a REAL “LED TV”, using actual tiny LED dies as pixels, rather than simply an LCD only backlit with LED’s, which is what has become misleadingly marketed as “LED TVs”.

See that many SRGB signs in Times Square are being replaced by RGB’s.

After several years of testing different bulbs, MTA goes with Dialight blue and white (ranging from 4000-5000K) bulbs for the tunnels. They have huge heat-sink bases, and are the kind where only the “dome” of the bulb is lit. These replace both incandescents, and even some of the CFL’s, especially during the new “Fastrack” nighttime shutdowns.

The original 2001 blue bulb (which is the same shape as a CFL), is STILL ON; though greatly dimmed, especially compared to the brand new Dialight accompanying it in the neighboring socket.

So yes, these things do stay on 11 years straight, as once claimed!

From → Interests

  1. 2012/11/29 at 1:17 pm

    11-26-12: Empire State Building goes LED!

    Our first pink LED’s (Philips string) because our goddaughter wanted pink for the “theme” on the bigger tree this year. (Was going to get 3 more Response Box nodes sets, to fill out the controller, and hopefully be enough to fill the tree, but money ran out). Wondering whether these were really pink, or just white filtered through pink colored “2.5 v flame tip” plastic envelope, I see in the store display one where the plastic was broken off and the bare LED was a pale almost flesh colored pink! On the tree, they have the sparkle like 6000K whites, and that’s what made them look like they could have been filtered white.

    Still don’t own any 3500’s after all this time, but have been looking for years to replace the incandescents we got as “icicle” strings, that we use to outline a table; but it’s hard to find the icicles in that color. Most are 6000K, and in “warm white” LED’s, 2700K is rapidly becoming universal.

    In the same aforementioned Philips display, I see that the 3500 is being termed “PURE white”, as opposed to “warm” white. (Other brands call it “BRIGHT white”).
    3500K was the original “warm white”, with early CFL’s such as Philips’ “Earth Light” using the color to try to mimic 2700K, which from incandescent days was known as “SOFT white”. By the time 2700K became more common, the “warm” designation had taken it over. For a time, an attempt was made to label 3500K CFL’s as “daylight” (since it was a bit more “bluer” than 2700’s, which by that time dominated CFL’s), but this is more accurate for 6000K and up, which it traditionally denoted. (I imagine this might have been simply lumped in with “cool white”, but it was hard to find those at this point, anyway). But this was soon dropped, thankfully.

  2. 2012/12/06 at 10:04 pm

    Got the GE Energy Smart “Warm White” icicles tonight. They looked like 3500K’s, though for some reason, they don’t look that different next to the 2700’s; just brighter and a bit whiter; not as yellow, and thus not the “golden” effect of those. Sometimes they just look like 2700’s with more lumens, and the faceting also making them look lighter.
    For some reason, lights look whiter when I try them out in the box in the store. When I got the 2700’s for the window, in the store I was worried that they were too whitish looking in the box.
    They look more or less whitish each time I look at them. (We use the icicles to line the dining room table, amidst the rest of our decorations).
    If these are 3500, I’m probably right that the whites on the Rockefeller Center tree are 4000K, since these aren’t as close to pure white as those. These seem to be the closest to that that can be found now. The only other place could look would be the Lighting District (Chinatown area) stores, but the CFL’s I used to get in those places often weren’t good (burned out quickly).
    Thinking more on it; I believe both these, as well as the ones atop the Macy’s marquee on 34th and the ones in the trees across 6th Ave. from Rockefeller Center (all of these always did seem to look a bit different), plus many other “brighter” ones you see are 3000K. An inbetween color, that looks whitish (like 3500) and yellowish (like 2700), and even a bit greenish, depending on the setting.

    Also got some plastic Schluter Strips to straighten the LED’s in the window. These look like corrugated girders (as you find on old elevated station canopies), but are made to form the edges of floor tiling. I stick the LED nodes through the corrugation web holes, and it makes the lights look much nicer. Before, using only hooks to hold them up, they maintained the zigzag shape of the cord folding for packing the box (and I pack them back in the box like that every year), and overall, it looks like a formless cluster around the edges of the window. Now, they are in line, as they were supposed to be. I didn’t know how to straighten them before, and didn’t want to be pulling the strings that tight

    On the newly LED lit Empire State, they’ve had it mostly on white (typical “earthy” LED warm look), and one day on red, and tonight, finally on green. Can’t wait until they do red and green together.

    Here, I should also post this nice white LED color chart I found awhile ago, to show the differences I’m talking about:

    Since there’s also a 3000K, that’s probably what I have.
    And here’s a good LED facts site that shows spectrum wavelengths (nm) and a Kelvin scale:

  3. 2012/12/10 at 11:02 pm

    Last night, with the J not running from Jamaica, I decided to fan the Sutphin-Aqueduct Casino shuttle, which brings me to where I could get the A.
    They are those typical mini-buses built on truck chassis, with the dim little ceiling lights about the size of car side lights, using the same kind of bulbs (like what school buses have).
    Well, this was a nice new one, with LED’s in those same small fixtures, instead of the incandescents. I always wondered what that would be like, since white LED’s are generally the color of flourescents. it was much brighter. Cool!

    Since this article wasn’t up last year, I didn’t report my first trip to the casino almost exactly a year ago, when it first opened. I don’t play gambling machines, but wanted to see what a casino was like.
    It was an amazing display of LED color, since most of the machines now use LED’s, many of them RGB. And this not counting electronic signs, room and exterior lighting, etc. Outside, the parking lots are lit by 6000K LED panels in the square moldcast light poles.

  4. 2012/12/22 at 11:30 pm

    This seems to be the first time they decided to display part of the New Year number (in the Times Square Visitor’s Center) before it was installed for the new year.
    So I got a close up of the LED bulbs (basically, PAR38 spotlights with solid white plastic domes. Right, closeup of the base of one). Don’t know who makes the bulbs, but the side of the sign says “Philips”. Color is still 2700-3000K (came out really good in this phone pic. Wish more saturated colors would be that good!)

  5. 2012/12/25 at 10:59 am

    Christmas Eve we decided to do our gather at the house a friend who moved to the north Bronx. Saw for the first time, LED street decorations; Gun Hill Rd. from Webster probably to Jerome. The ‘entrance’ on Webster has a red “Welcome To” followed by a 3500K “GUN HILL JEROME”, and the street spanning decorations afterward are 6000K triple ropelight ribbons (with a star or something in the middle). An LED version of the incandescents they’re still using on Myrtle and many other places.
    I see now a lot of places overseas are using LED’s, but it seems this has been slow to catch on here in the city. Cant wait until the other type of NYC decoration (like what I grew up with on Flatbush Ave), using a garland of bells with regular edison bulbs inside each; goes LED.

    Also finally caught my first glimpse of the Empire State in LED red and green. It had been other colors, and even still white some nights, up until just a few days before.

  6. 2013/07/22 at 11:10 pm

    Ran Across this today: at the Guitar Center store at Atlantic Terminal. Made for DJ’s, but could also be used as a Christmas light “net”. Can be used with DMX, but also has its own 30 program controller. Just $299!

    Also decided to swing by Macy’s, (Sort of “Christmas in July” as I looked around to see the remodeling coming along), and just inside what looks like it will be a reopened marquee entrance (where the LED Chrstmas trees mentioned above are placed on top) is a Chanel display sign using tiny square 1mm RGBs! Probably these:

    4th of July, the Empire State had a color changing display (saw it on TV only!)

  7. 2013/09/02 at 9:39 am

    Closeups of the Chanel pixels:


  8. 2013/10/25 at 11:32 am

    Well, not color, but great news:

    My mother, who sent me the link says she’ll miss the “yellow” of the current lights. Funny; 40 years ago, when they were replacing the old white mercuries with the yellow sodiums, she had said the yellow was bad, and would not be as good for the trees. A godmother in Harlem was the one who was happy about the sodiums, because they were brighter and thus safer, because of crime.

    So now, this is being reversed.
    While I liked the sodiums too, since it was something new, I soon came to miss the white, because it did look nicer in the green leaves (they still had a few of the white in places that were never changed for years afterward), and hoped some sort of new light would be developed in which white would be able to be more efficient.
    Well, now here it is! (Who ever knew it would be LED. They were nothing but dim little red indicators back then!)

    • 2016/05/14 at 8:12 pm
      So now my area has finally gotten the LED street lights, both the retro drop fixtures in the “Flatbush poles”, and also the regular cobraheads on other blocks. They are continuing to rapidly replace the lights on this side of Brooklyn. Looks so much nicer, and brighter.

      I see in this article some people are complaining about them, both the brightness and the color. “The new LEDs may be environmentally sensitive, but they are also optically harsh.”
      “To some residents, the new lights make it feel as though a construction or film crew is working outside all night. Others liken the lights to a prison yard, or joke about alien abductions.”

      •One lady is quoted as saying “It feels like I’m in a strip mall in outer space”. She claims to have to cover the window in order to sleep. “I don’t want to come off as melodramatic, but it really is horrible,” she said.
      •One guy says “The old lights made everybody look bad, but these are so cold and blue, it’s like ‘Night of the Living Dead’ out there.”.
      •Another guy said that the lights “were glaring not only outside his favorite bar but also outside his home”.
      •A lighting designer (who had illuminated Studio 54 and other landmarks) said “People are right to complain about what we call ‘light trespass.’ Even though the yellow light of the sodium lamps didn’t render colors well, there was a warmth about them that’s missing from the new lights. And because of the way the LEDs are designed, it’s a much more directed light, with more glare.”

      Here’s a derived article full of comments saying the same things:

      Now most of them are cobrahead replacements, which are in the “cutout” form, with no glass dome, so that the light goes mostly down to the street. I don’t see why this is happening to these people, though the article did mention an adjustment to the angle of the lights was being done, and this was over a year ago, on the other side of Brooklyn where the first ones were going in. From what I see, the buildings look less illuminated now, while the street is brighter. When passing by on the elevated train, it looks like there are no lights on, on the street, until you see that the street itself is illuminated. Even on my block, with the retro drop domes, the buildings look less illuminated, though my wife says they look brighter from the living room. But this is just when looking directly at them.

      To me, the sodiums were just drab and hard to make things out in, especially when color was involved. (Blues and greens would be dulled, and reds and yellows which reflect most of the light, would be more washed out). Doing the garbage now, and getting the mail (right under a lamp), it’s much easier to see, and nicer looking. And again, looks nicer in the tree leaves. This is what creates a more “peaceful” “atmosphere” (as the mercuries did), while the sodiums look more “gritty”.

      Another article I saw mentioned the point that the light is closer to the color of daylight, which hinders sleep. (The first article points out that it’s close to the color of electronic screens we all use, which are said elsewhere to hinder sleep, with all the blue light).
      The second article has commenters talking about the greenish hue of the mercuries. Though most of them were more bluish, and some a more pure white color. It seemed some older ones go greenish.

      The LED’s actually are not as bluish as mercuries, but are more like the halides the city had installed in some places in the 90’s, like midtown and Eastern Pkwy retro poles. They actually have a tinge of yellow, and are probably around 5000K, with the domes ones being a bit yellower, at 4000K. Way back when I heard the sodiums were chosen for the color being more effiicient over the “glare” of the bluish/greenish mercuries, I imagined a “compromise” of exactly this color, and here it is three decades later!

  9. 2013/11/03 at 4:32 pm

    Apparently, they’re finally testing a full RGB on one bus, seen one day:

    Then, the next day:

    Since it’s for SBS, I wondered if it could possibly be one of those blue+amber only signs like you see in store windows (that make a whitish pink when both colors are lit, and I guess the colors could be dimmed to make purple). Even though in the picture it looks like the same monochrome amber as the other signs, the person taking the photo said it was really more yellow, and looked different from the one behind it.
    So it is probably yellow made with red+green rather than 590nm amber.

    (Also at first thought it was a practical joke, because people on the the boards had been doing that with some sort of photo editing program, where they can change the color of the sign, to white, or even another color. Here’s a new one they just did:
    But others confirmed the SBS one was real.
    Thought my having to chase one bus down was over when I finally got the BYD electric!)

    Purple is the new color chosen for SBS (replacing blue, which conflicted with NYPD). Amber of course is the color used on all the other signs. You would think they would at least have the route as the color on the map (in this case, blue), but perhaps the limitation of the computers (which is the reason I was given that they couldn’t use RGB) is still a problem, limiting it to only one solid color at a time.

  10. 2013/11/11 at 11:47 pm

    The big new thing this year in Christmas lights, across the board, is multicolor sets that change to all 2700K white. (Color Switch Plus “Dual Color”). First saw the trees in K-Mart Sept. when looking to see if they carried Drake’s when they came back under Little Debbie production ( Now, all the big box stores carry them, and I’m finally seeing them sold by themselves. Also see the trees in Home Depot.

    In Target, Philips has an RGB strip tape string (like you see in many store windows, basically replacing neons), and Lowe’s has one by Gemmy’s. Home Depot has multicolor (several lights in a row the same color) strips.

    I’m also seeing on Asia trading sites fully addressable nodes that look like the Engineering Solutions set I got, but are a fraction of the cost. Don’t know if they’re compatible.

  11. 2013/11/12 at 11:00 pm

    Wife decides to use money on the Target card to get our lights. Our Christmas tree theme this year is blue and white. Already have white, so got an all blue string.
    But I also finally got the new commercial RGB C9’s I’ve been waiting to get for three years now, but instead of the GE Color Effect, it’s the Philips version, 25ct, 16 Lighting Effects.

    1 steady white
    2 steady multi (which is red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta)
    3 steady blue
    4 chasing multi (single color chases down the string)
    5 chasing multi pattern (multi colors chase down the string)
    6 bidirectional chasing: red & white
    7 bidirectional chasing: blue & white
    8 bidirectional chasing: multi
    9 white chases through the other colors one after the other (i.e. strobe effect)
    10 other colors chase individually through white
    11 twinking white
    12 twinking multi
    13 single color fades in and out to the next
    14 alternating fade between solid white and multi
    15 Halloween mix (yellow, orange and magenta)
    16 cycles through 4-15

    Lot of other color combinations I would like, but this is a start and looks nice. If we can get another one, I could try one of the other brands, which might have different patterns I know the ones I see in Home Depot, which are the Light Show (Gemmy’s) have 12 effects (illustrated on the remote, but the four multicolor patterns are hard to understand from that):
    each of the seven RGB colors solid,
    “Light Show” (Mixed effects; various fades, chases, etc.)
    “Rainbow Wave” (a chasing fade-in/out of each color
    “Rainbow Morph” (fades through stationary solid colors)
    “Rainbow Chase” (each bulb different color)
    red, white & blue. (starts out stationary, then begins chasing)

    The “Light Show” thus includes mixes of red and green, which you don’t see on the Philips set, along with other two and three color combinations such as a flashing rows of red and white, and two colors and white chasing, and colors strobing within a color (not just white and a color).

    Another company, Brite Star “Symphony of Lights”, (J Kinderman & Sons Inc) has two color changing 15 pc sets, both titled “Choose Your Color; Choose Your Pattern”, but the boxes look different, and one is cheaper than the other. Can’t figure out what exactly either of them do. Home Depot is supposed to have one, while K-Mart would have the other, but the Home Depots I’ve been to only have Light Show, and K-Mart only seems to have Dual Color. K-Mart says they’re online only. The ol’ GE Color Effects also lists 14 colors, and from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty similar to Philips.

    I was also looking at the Philips RGB strip, but what I forgot was that they only do one color at a time. (The Gemmy’s FlexTech Everchanging one at Lowe’s did individually changing colors; basically like extended Dotz demo. They were sold out for good, so I could not see on the box what if anything else could be done with them).

    Also grabbed two variations of white I’ve been trying to get for years. Finally, my first 3500-4000K LED’s, the Philips “Pure White” icicle style, which is what I was looking for for the table, but it looked like that color was being discontinued a couple of years ago, and thought I found one, but ended up with a GE 2700-3000K faceted set (again, these things look brighter in the box).
    This latter color I determined last year would be better for the window than the old dimmer, yellower (“golden”) 2700K set I was using, so now, I got that brighter hue by Philips, and some of them also twinkle. (This reminds me of an incandescent set I had 40 years ago as a child, and had them in the window one year. Sometimes there’s just something about plain, bright sparkling incandescent, from the inside, in the darkness of the night, between the window and the blinds. That’s why I’ve been trying to emulate that with LED in one of the windows. The more golden ones nicely emulate dimmer incandescents).

    The inbetween white will add a touch of brightness to the living/dining room, which uses 2700K LED ceiling lights, giving a gloomy yellow air. So it will be a unique color, and does look almost “pure” white compared to the lower K’s, but is not bluish like the higher K’s

    Only thing left now is the deeper purple, and of course, more controllable strings.

    On the way, I stopped at the Blackbody OLED lamp gallery off of Canal St. and saw OLED lighting for the very first time (Been reading about it in the OLED-info Newsletter for years). They were roughly an inbetween 30-3500K color, ultra thin, arranged in different decorative patterns and there were a few color bars on the wall as well.

    On the way to that, at the Canal Lighting store, they had a nice incandescent colored LED A19 with three “filaments” consisting of little metal bars with three rectangular LED dies a piece, and on each side of each bar!

  12. 2013/11/13 at 10:37 am

    Wow, the morning after stopping there, the Blackbody showroom is featured on OLED-info (or at least the article is posted to Facebook):

    I had forgotten to mention that animated chandelier. It stays off until you walk under it, so I didn’t even see it, and was getting ready to start leaving, and the guy pointed me to it.

  13. 2013/12/02 at 12:52 pm

    Street Christmas decorations update.

    Trying out the new B44SBS on the second day, I see the Christmas decorations of the Junction have gone LED.
    There are basically two kinds of street spanning decoration bands in the city. The ones I noticed on Flatbush (Generally, Linden or Church to Cortelyou) in the late 70’s and 80’s consist of a rope of garland, generally alternating, red, white and green. Hanging from this garland are a row of about 12 bells, the same color of the garland, containing the incandescent bulbs. This is divided in the middle by two peaks surrounding a smaller dip in the rope, nestling a garland sculpture, like a star, snowflake or other figure.

    In recent years, that stretch switched to a setup of three “rope lights” replacing the garland. It’s actually two sets of three, right and left, with a round “necklace”-like circle in the middle containing the figure. This also is what Myrtle Ave. Ridgewood has.
    Meanwhile, an all white version of the garland/bells version goes up every year on Graham Avenue, Williamsburg.

    So the ones I saw on the Junction were the ropelight version, but now, alternating, green, white, red or amber LED’s. (Recall, last year, Gun Hill Rd. —see comment above, had this, in white with some of the side decorations in red). Riding the SBS back toward Williamsburg, down Rogers, I could see in the distance that Church @ Flatbush seems to have the same thing.
    On Myrtle now, on the western entrance to the shopping area at Wyckoff, only the word “MYRTLE AVENUE” is in white LED; most everything else (including the rest of that first band) remains incandescent. One exception I can see from the distance (looking from the train), is at Cypress Ave. where the snowflake in the middle of the band is white LED.

    But the most dazzling LED street decorations of all now are a whole new pattern kind on Fulton and Livingston Streets, downtown Brooklyn:
    The one shown has green, orange and white only, but other bands have blue and red as well. Seeing all of them down the street is like a rainbow wonderland. And all the patterns are are half circles and squares.

    I saw them on TV, recognized them as LED’s, and then, being that an LCD screen still does not do LED’s justice, knew I had to get down there to see them with my own eyes.

    Otherwise, the Macy’s down there is still depressingly drab, but the flagship on 34th is basically finished all the major makeover. Ground floor was basically modernized too much for me, but it still looks nice; the mezzanine (They actually call it 1½ Floor, as I would have when young!) is fancy with the Starbucks moved to the 34th St. side, and with windows, and finally has both sides connected, and escalators to the ground floor, and the Christmas decorations on the ceiling of the central grand aisle and the 7th Ave. side are basically green pine branches with the same color lights I got for the table (3500-4000K; I’m seeing this color can look either whitish or more yellowish depending on the surrounding light. In the brightness of the store, it looks almost like “pure white” as Philips now calls it. Go outside into the dark and look at whiter lights like in the window display, and then come back inside, they now look more “off-white” with a touch of tan). The LED’s are in these thick clusters, so the decorations look really glittering, like glowing snow or something.

    They put a new marquee on the old entrance they just opened up, but it doesn’t have the big LED tree anymore, now it has smaller trees with white incandescents.

    The entrance to the passageway for the line leading to Santaland has Color Switch, to show how widespread these things have become in the few months they’ve been out. (If I had more money, I would probably get one, and use it on the bush outside).

  14. 2013/12/21 at 10:55 pm

    RXR tree has added some “pure whites” (the 3500 or so K lights like Rockefeller Ctr and my new table lights). RXR almost got squeezed out this year because of time and money (As my RDO’s switched from Sun/Mon to Fri/Sat, I had a 10 day stretch of work when the pick changed last weekend, so it seems like I worked nonstop the whole month).
    But my counselor is now using an office in Rockville Center, so I figured I might as well do a joint session and RXR trip. I was going to skip the whole thing until I saw this picture:
    The tree now looks like its Rockefeller Center cousin in the photo colors. While photos do not capture the saturation of LED’s, you can still get a sense of the dominant hue. The five colors plus 6000K white had made it cast an overall purple hue, while the Rockefeller Center tree, which uses 3500’s always looked less blue. The green is what seems to stand out, and it is similar to the old incandescent trees.

    Here, we see the RXR tree looks very non-bluish, so I knew something had changed, and they probably moved to the less bluish white, which has really become a bit more available, with Philips selling them and Macy’s using them. When I was planning to skip it, something kept telling me they might change this year. (Again, because the color has become more common). I would hate to go next year, see it look different, and wonder what it was like this year.

    So they’ve added 3500K’s, and the 6000K’s are still there. There is also a big sparsity of blues (so really heavy on red, amber and green), and this is probably to make up for the 6000’s, and make the overall color match Rockefeller more (they’re probably not trying to copy Rockefeller, but both are probably trying to emulate the old “Classic” incandescent look). It doesn’t look as green-heavy as Rockefeller, but rather leans toward the amber or orange.

    Back at Rockefeller, I should report, the trees around the plaza had gotten 6000’s years ago, but it looks like some of them are yellowing, or that some of the old 3500’s were put back. Overall, the trees look like a subtle “silver and gold”. The bigger bulbs on the elevators have yellowed too. They never had 3500’s; before the 6000’s came, they still had incandescents. Some of the original 2007 3500 “raspberries” remain in the bushes across 50th st.

    Grand Central has a lot of dazzling LED colors in its side windows.

    Empire State top was done in red and green with the spire as a “candy cane” red and white that is moving upward slowly. First time I’ve ever seen any motion on that with my own eyes. I keep missing it when they do more animated displays, which I would then see on TV.

  15. 2014/01/02 at 9:14 pm

    Post Christmas reports; Bryant Park tree was done up in red and cool white. Used to be blue and white and ornaments are still blue.

    New Year’s Eve, Empire state was flashing different colors I think, but it looked very dim from over by Metropolitan. Early in the morning, before dawn, I see it on TV flashing bright colors, and go to look down the avenues (which in this area point right to it), but it looked like a solid soft white.

    Right after the ball dropped, the “14” shown on TV looked more yellow than the “20”, and then it turned to pink and I think some other colors. I then felt like kicking myself for not going to see it in the Visitor Center before it was set up. (But of course, how would I have known. A picture of it in the center looked normal).
    But then when I got there the evening after, the whole number is the same normal soft white 2700K. Wonder if it could have been some effect added by the broadcasters.

    Snow storm starting tonight, and they said the wind would be very bad, so I brought in everything from outside a few days early. (The Philips lights from the awning; and also the older C7’s and C9’s from the bush, which would probably get buried. Already, two blues had gone out).

    Well, another year for them to develop who knows what for next Christmas.

  16. 2014/03/13 at 9:55 pm

    One bulb it looked like there was no LED replacement for was the 118mm halogen R7S “T3” (tubular with contacts on both ends) flood light for one of the two work lights I found. I used to get a new halogen for it, but they don’t last long, and the ceramic even breaks, and it’s not meant for home use, since it’s so hot. So I became determined to find an LED replacement.

    They don’t have any in stores, yet I found them online, including Amazon. They are called “corncob” bulbs, because instead of a glass tube, it’s a hexagonal prism shape, with the rows of LED’s on one side, and the other side is the metal heat sink surface. It’s so thick, it rests against the reflector at the back of the fixture, but this is OK, since unlike the halogen, it doesn’t generate much heat.

    So I decided to order one (From the Chinese manufacturer Factop), and wasn’t sure it would fit, but it makes contact, though I think I might have to get a flatter head screw for the reflector, since it keeps the bulb from resting completely flat and snapping in on both sides.

    I got the cool white, and it looks like I have a mercury in the fixture! (I’m seeing more floodlights using LED similar to this). I might get a soft white one for the 78mm worklight, but the cord had been cut, and I have to figure out how to replace it.

  17. 2014/06/23 at 11:07 pm

    Shopping at Trader Joe’s, and cutting over to Whole Foods to get some Zevias for vacation week, I see the LG OLED TV in the window of PC Richard. It’s the “WRGB” version, where all the pixels are white, but they filter three out of four of them as RG&B, and leave the others white. Any device that adds white pixels to the colors is “RGBW”. This LG technology, originally called “WOLED-CF”, was shortened to “WRGB” (Like the callsign of an Albany TV station).

    Looking online, I saw they also had the Samsung one (which stuck with regular RGB. At one point, they were talking about copying the LG design). So I wanted to go back to compare. I end up seeing the Samsung first at the B&H store I went to to see the electric conveyor system they have on the ceiling (See “Alexanders Hanging Goods Monorail” article). They didn’t have the LG, so I still went back to PC Richards to see both. The Samsung was way on the back wall.

    I say the Samsung is better! At B&H, it was showing a demo (, and a scene with pines looked so real (watching the video now, looks like regular TV image on the LCD monitor). A fireworks display looked almost as good as seeing them live, both the crispness and the color. They even showed some old incandescent filament bulbs, and the colors looked accurate (they look yellow on the monitor)! And also vivid images of flowers of several colors. (I liked the purple one. In PC Richard, it was showing a demo for the sound system it was hooked up to, and the video quality for that was not as good),

    The LG was nice, but did not look quite as sharp and vivid. After all, it’s not real emitted colors, but filtered, pretty much like LCD. What was better looking were the whites, with the pure white pixels. Blacks are as good as other OLEDs too, since it’s not made by filtering out all the colors, like it is for LCD.

    Both were curved, taking advantage of the new “FOLED” feature (though they are set in the shape manufactured in. I also saw curved LCD’s as well).
    The LG was as thin as a cord, really, and the Samsung was slightly thicker.

  18. 2014/08/15 at 11:51 am

    An RGB sign on the first of a new order of buses (New Flyer Excelsior).

    These are Luminator Spectrums:

    Don’t know if this is a test sign with this pilot unit, or they are going with them on the whole order. Sure hope so.

    I wonder if these things come with their own computers, or are they simply plugged into existing MTA computers or something. When I sent in the employee suggestion for RGB signs (for buses and trains) years ago, the buses part of it was rejected for lack of computer capacity. I wonder how this has been resolved. (Interestingly enough, they never did reject the trains part of it, but there has been no sign of them ever adopting anything but the current red or amber only signs).

  19. 2014/10/07 at 9:16 am

    From Facebook, a message you might not expect from Brian Greene, of string theory fame:

    “Hi Everyone,
    The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has just been announced:
    It goes to Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University, Japan and Shuji Nakamuraat of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
    They won for work that is technologically subtle but readily appreciated and of significant impact for the world:
    The invention of energy efficient LEDs — light emitting diodes — that produce blue light.
    Until the cited work, LEDs had been able to emit red light and green light. But as Isaac Newton knew, to produce white light, you need to combine red, green and blue. Yet, it proved technologically challenging to create blue LEDs.
    This year’s Nobel prize, goes to three scientists who surmounted the obstacles and invented blue LEDs.
    If you have a smart phone with a flashlight app, when you turn it on — and see a bright white light — you are making use of this year’s Nobel-prize winning work. And the brightness you see is one of the reasons the work is so important. Electrical lighting accounts for a significant part of the world’s electrical consumption. LEDs are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs and environmentally safer than fluorescent lights that use mercury.
    So, compared with the prize-winning work of earlier years, this year’s prize focuses on an invention of great importance to the world as opposed to an abstract/foundational discovery. The Nobel-prize committee emphasized that this is very much in the spirit of Alfred Nobel’s original vision for the prize.
    Congratulations to the three new Nobel Laureates.”

    And I add, thanks, for giving us such a cool invention, that has totally revolutionized places like Times Square.

    Edit: OK, I can see now why he announced this. In a post last night, when the Nobel award was still 8 hours away, he surmised it would go to “the wonderful work in quantum entanglement and quantum teleportation. Another possibility is that the discovery of neutrino oscillations is awarded.” That’s more his forte than LED’s. (And he admitted he was bad at predicting things like this).

    And here’s the report from Huffpost:
    Nobel Prize For Physics 2014: Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano And Shuji Nakamura Honored For Blue LED Invention

    (and I kept seeing those rows of blue LED’s in the preview, but it looked like any of the numerous ads on the wall, so I just gloosed past it).

    Evening edit: he’s added an explanation of “What is it about the color BLUE that was particularly challenging?”:
    Explaining The Science Behind The Nobel Prize In Physics

    “One point that has been asked a number of times today:
    Well, blue light is at the more energetic end of the visible spectrum, so you need a material that allows electrons to jump across a relatively wide energy gap. (Electrons relinquish energy in such transitions, which generates photons–particles of light.)
    It was known that Gallium nitride should do the trick, but growing sufficiently large crystals to accomplish the job was tough. That’s where the three new Nobel laureates succeeded, whereas others got hung up.”

    In other LED news, a couple weekends ago, when someone reported bus #7090 runnung o the B12, and then I realized the new Bus Time app includes the actual fleet number (called “vehicle” number), then I was able to actually see where it was on the route. So when it had left Flatbush (Parkside), and was heading back toward ENY (And was passing my Kings County Hospital), I decide to run and head it off at ENY Ave near the station. It was only about 10 minutes to get there, so I know I didn’t miss it. (Even if it did, this was only one stop away from the terminus). But it never showed up. Don’t know what happened.

    It seems they have been keeping the sign on yellow now, from other’s more recent pics. Of course, the RGB yellow is different from the monchrome amber of other signs. When looking down ENY Ave. I would see something that looks like a more greenish yellow, and think that was it. (It apparently was a green traffic light reflecting off of something).

  20. 2014/10/12 at 8:53 pm

    Got an early peak at this year’s new lights at Home Depot:

    Both G40 and C9, in addition to the standard ROYGBCMP[both “pink” and “purple”] and [cool]White is now SOFT White. (First time seen in an RGB string aside from my own mixture on the Engineering Solutions nodes and the old Dotz). In the box, the whites and yellow look like they have a bluish cast in the faceting of the bulb, but the light of the new color is correct!
    Doesn’t have much in terms of color combinations (I think just the rainbow fast chasing effect). There’s even a video there showing some of the colors and patterns.

    Standard high-ish price for new fancy set ($44), but the Gemmy “Light Show” set (that included USA colors RW&B) I was looking at last year (and trying to find at a discount all year round, but only found similar sets that dd not have all the effects), is now $27!

    • Russ Schadd permalink

      I have several sets of these and need replacement LED’s. Where can I find them? I can’t seem to find them and the 2 that are provided per set have been used.
      Please and Thanks,

      • Did you try to contact the manufacturer? When one light wasn’t working on the Philips set I got (below), they mailed a replacement bulb.

  21. 2014/10/18 at 10:40 pm

    Finally; a commercial apparently completely controllable LED string!

    Philips ILLUMINATE (at Target)

    • Choose a color from color wheel [on your phone app] or select preset buttons for warm white, cool white or multi lights.
    • Make colors brighter or dimmer
    • Choose from 21 pre made functions for a variety of effects, or create your own functions/colors*
    • Choose the speed of the function
    • Select music from your own device and the lights automatically flash and change colors.
    Network your light sets:
    • Using your home WiFi router, network several starter kits together to create a whole house light show.
    • Each starter kit can be set for a different effect, or set your entire light display to one function.
    • Continuous Motion™ technology synchronizes colors and functions throughout all connected light strings.

    *(I take it this means full addressability. Manual diagrams show a 4×4 color box screen where you arrange the custom function, but I’m not sure how that translates onto a 25 light set. You can only have four different colors at a time? —Assuming you are limited by the rows and columns. Or is the whole table really supposed to be just one big “line” meaning you can have up to 16 colors at a time?)

    Starter kit, $109, “Add-On” strings [left, background], $44.
    Both C9’s and icicles (meaning actual plastic icicle bulbs).

    The remaining major outlets (K-Mart, Lowes); it’s pretty much the same as last year. The big thing being those warm white/multicolor swap strings (now it looks like everyone is making them).

  22. 2014/10/25 at 9:00 pm

    OK, trying this out. It’s not completely controllable, but you can mix your own colors from the color wheel, and the whole string will display the color at a time, and you can “fade” or “jump” from color to color and change the speed.
    The 4×4 box allows you to add more colors to the sequence. Like the diagram shows the top four, red, green, blue and white. These will cycle, and colors added to the boxes afterward are added to the cycle. Clicking on each colored box opens the color wheel where you can change it to anything.

    You can’t seem to have stationary colors, other than the preset warm white, cool white and multi in the “color” menu.
    The warm white seems to be a standalone 2700K die, rather than RGB (recall, I had figured out how to mix the color using RGB on the Vixen program). Cool white is clearly RGB.
    “Orange” looks more like yellow, while yellow is a bit greenish. You can make a true orange with the color wheel, though.

    The 21 preset functions are (only part of the menu is shown on the site):

    1 Chasing multi pattern from center to ends
    2 Chasing warm white sections
    3 chasing blue to warm white
    4 chasing red, green, warm white
    5 chasing red and green
    6 chasing multi sold colors [several bulbs the same color]
    7 chasing multi pattern colors [one single bulb per color]
    8 bi-directional red and warm chasing
    9 bi-directional blue and warm white chasing
    10 bi-directional multi chasing colors
    11 chasing warm white through multi
    12 chasing multi through warm white
    13 twinking warm white
    14 twinkling multi
    15 slow twinkle [warm white]
    16 fade in/out multi solid colors
    17 fade in/out warm white to multi [like those non-RGB strings]
    18 fade in/or orange to purple
    19 chasing orange and purple
    20 chasing red, warm white, blue
    21 Cycles through functions 1-17

    [Don’t know why they don’t use cool white for some of these. Especially with blue or red, white & blue].

    All they have to do is expand this software to all the functionality of programs like Vixen. Shouldn’t be hard to do. Hope it can be done through software patches, and still work with the same controller.

    In other news, finally saw some LED street lights, on the entrance ramp to the BQE from the Williamsburg Bridge. Look like really flat “cobraheads”, with LED style heat sink grooves on top. Happen to notice these in the daytime, and then at night saw the sliver of cool white light coming from under them. Since they don’t have the glass globes the old HID cobraheads use, it was easy to not notice them. They also have them on the Manhattan Bridge walkways.

    Also, the old Williamsburg Bridge bank building and dome which was recently refurbished is bathed in different LED colors. For a while, it was orange, then lavender, then blue one night, and last night, it was white (which has a lavenderish tint).

  23. 2014/11/07 at 12:15 pm

    Had to get a replacement LED, as on one of the bulbs, only the white and green worked (and sometimes the red would flicker on). I at first didn’t know how to open it, as the plastic C9 cover doesn’t screw off as it did on the similar looking Lighting Effects set from last year. They sent a set of instructions that made it look like it screwed off, and then had to send a link to a video showing how you just pop it off (I was afraid to try that, as it might break if it wasn’t made to be opened that way).

    It doesn’t use a jumbo LED like similar looking the Lighting Effects; it’s an almost flat dome shaped module having both the warm white and RGB 5mm surface mount LED’s, that snaps in with three pins on one side and one on the other (so it can’t be used with bare LED’s serving as smaller “bulbs” as I can do with the LE. My wife doesn’t like the large C9’s on the tree. This nearly flat design also makes the angle very limited, so the bulbs look dimmer than the ones with the jumbo LED’s sticking up into them).

    (The warm white provides too much glare to see the individual LED).

    In writing to them, I sent some suggestions they said they would forward to the tech department.
    I gave them the RGB formula I use on the Response Box nodes with Vixen, for warm white: 255, 140, 26 (FF8C1A). On a monitor, this yields this deep orange, but it seems the colors are so potent (like with FF0001 you can see the blue influence in the red, but 01 should be almost invisible), the values are totally different. I don’t know if that’s the LED’s, or the Vixen program.

    If you’re using a “custom color” editor (in any program, like Paint or even Word), moving the luminosity slider for this orange hue (#20, with saturation, 240) toward white (from 132 to 240) gives you a good approximation of soft/warm white (at the same hue and sat.) at around FFF0E0 (255, 140, 224) .
    If they did this, they could of course make the soft white on the same RGB unit as the other colors, and thus elminate the second LED, and also use common jumbo (10mm) units like LE or Response Box. This would make it simpler and cheaper.

    They could also then make smaller bulbs (C7, C6, bare LED “domes”), which was my other suggestion. I notice how all these RGB sets are coming out as C9 or other large shapes, such as the icicles. But at least with the Lighting Effects, I can take the covers off and display the bare LED’s.

    In any case, some more good news, is that when I asked, they said there would be updates to the software allowing more functionality. The one they are going to add soon, is something regarding the music synchronization feature (something else it has, which I hadn’t even mentioned, because that was what I was most interested in).

  24. 2015/01/23 at 10:33 am

    A lot of new programmable [single] bulbs, including even “tunable white” (that ranged from 2700-6500K)

    Also, I’ve been trying to get some info on the new bus sign, the “Luminator Spectrum”, which I had heard is now the only thing being offered from Luminator, and hence why MTA would adopt the RGB model, which they seemed forever uninterested in.

    However, while the first few busfan pictures of the new 7000 series clearly showed the less saturated [R+G] yellow and other colors, the latest pictures of the new units coming in look like regular monochrome amber signs, and the Spectrum site mentions something about single color capability, and when I asked about this, someone told me it’s actually RGB with an additional amber die. I still have yet to see one of these, but the first nearly 20 are now running out of ENY Depot, but I haven’t really been crossing any ENY routes, and every time I swing over by the garage, they’re all out.

    So this is new LED news awaiting further verification.

  25. 2015/01/25 at 8:40 pm

    Finally saw 2 of the new buses, over in front of the ENY garage. These do use multicolor signs set to yellow made with red and green. 7104 looks like a “sun yellow”, and then 7108 when approaching, you could see looked like the colors were separating, sort of like what red and blue do when mixed. This is the one that more closely simulates the monochrome amber hue, but it clearly looks different from the monochrome (the color separating effect plus it not being as saturated, of course). I guess you really can’t tell from the camera quality, so it looked like earlier ones were a different yellow, and then they went with the monochrome sign.

    So, great, that we’re getting color changing signs. The 7000 series (Flyer XD40’s) are going to all the Brooklyn depots (including the ones by me) except for Gleason (on the other side of the boro, because it gets CNG models only) and MTA Bus’ Spring Creek (former Command Bus, which only has two local routes); and also going to MTAB’s LaGuardia (former Triboro Coach) in Queens. There’s also the 8000’s, which are Nova LFS’s, which are going to Queens, Staten Island, and two Bronx depots.

    Hopefully, when these are in, and there are enough of them spread around the city to be more consistent, then they’ll start using the colors.

    Edit: found this video showing the sign switching from amberish yellow to greenish yellow:

  26. 2015/06/28 at 8:16 pm

    Attending the museum train rides for the BMT 100th anniversary, I see that the whole area around the Brighton line in Midwood and Sheepshead Bay have the new LED lights on many of the streets (seems to be the “Avenues” more than the “streets”). I had only been seeing these on the highways so far, and a different perhaps experimental version on 3rd at 14th in Manhattan. So it looks like these are catching on.
    A throwback to 40+ years ago, when the sodiums were going in everywhere (“avenues” first), but in that same area, you still had a lot of the old mercuries in the dome-less version of the old “cobrahead” fixtures on the “streets”. My block having just gotten sodiums, and going on walks with my mother through Midwood, the white light looked nice in the green tree leaves, and I missed it already.

    Also, awhile ago, saw a one of the new bus signs on the fritz, bathing half of the text in green:

    Some of the articulateds in the Flatbush depot are being retrofitted with them, and as these are used on the B44SBS, it looks like they are preparing to start using the color at least for that service.

  27. 2015/11/26 at 7:43 pm

    So several weeks ago, among the automatic app updates I get on the phone, I get one for Philips Illuminate, with some of the added flexibility I was hoping for.

    So now, it will also make RGB soft white when mixing colors for the color “Function” pattern. If you just move the pointer to the color on the wheel, you’ll get a sort of “wintergreen” in the facets of the bulb, but the bright part of the light will be a good 3000K facimile (the same as I had seen on a new string last year). But now, you can move the pointer toward the middle in the outer color ring, making it paler. So for a somewhat less green “soft white”, you just put it on a pale (inner) orange.
    But you still can’t make the colors paler on the single color wheel.

    It took me a bit to figure out, but there is finally a screen where you can choose the color combination, in five color boxes you can change. So to get red and green only, just make them only red and green.

    Also seen awhile ago when I first checked, the new addition for Philips this year is “color wave” using cool white, instead of soft white.

    Also, increasingly in store windows, three-LED modules ( replacing neons, and now, I’m seeing more that are individually addressable (these are called “digital” or “smart“, where the ones that can only be one color at a time are called “analog” or “dumb“. Going to check one out, I see this controller:–073-502 (And notice, it’s only $32!)
    While these aren’t fully programmable, they do a lot of great colorful patterns! (You also continue to see plenty of regular strips, with evenly spaced single LEDs. but dumb and smart).

    There are also plenty of “RGB Node” strings nearly identical to the Response Box one I got. But now, instead of the $105 I paid five years ago, they’re as low as $18, on various sites including Amazon (they’re still from China).

    And now, learning the chip numbers that identify the strings. Like the Response Box nodes are WS2801, and most of the other things I’m seeing are WS2811 (I take it the one linked above is TM1809, which I thought was the model number of the controller itself). Another variation of this is WS2812.
    A common “dumb” string is SMD5050, and the three-LED modules in some of those strings are said to be 5050’s (the three LED’s on the module are always the same color). But then I see you can add a chip or something to 5050 strings to make them “smart” as well.
    [Edit: SMD-5050 is the chip size (5.0 x 5.0, Surface Mount Device), while 28xx is the driver (by the World Semi company, see

    What’s I’m trying to do now is make sure a 2811 will be compatible with a controller like the Lavolta. They seem to use four pin connectors (one for each color, and grounding), but I heard some of them might use slightly different connectors.

    [Edit: just realized this set is a whole kit including a controller:
    Wow; the whole thing for just $24? (and 100 lights at that!)
    contacting the seller ShenZhen Kapata, they said it can’t e programmed, and only has 20 “models” the translation in the e-mail was bad). I take it that means only 20 preset programs. And there’s only one shipment option, that would take weeks, should I be able to squeeze it intot he budget.

    However, this string and programmable controller are compatible: ]

    Also, checking the lighting district (centered around Bowery @ Broome), some of the stores have the strips (both dumb and smart; but they don’t have the nodes), but the most interesting thing I saw was LED bulbs with the dies arranged as filaments! The store ont he NW corner is full of them; both soft and even cool white!

    led filament cutaway
    As you can see, it’s really a row of small dies on a strip board, inside a substrate. There’s even a vido showing how flexible (bendable) these things are.

  28. 2015/12/12 at 10:46 pm

    We in passing discover that Philips has in fact come out with a “mini” version of Illuminate! I guess when I swung by Target earlier, it was too early for the new products of this year!

    So heading back there to see, there was a little “housetop” display with a tablet sized LCD screen to control, but the lights were off, but there were some add on sets left, and I could see that they actually still use separate soft white and RGB dies; now simply squeezed into a bulb slightly larger than a standard LED or incandescent*:

    When I first saw them, I figured these were made to take advantage of the new RGB soft white option added (see above), and that I should have figured this was coming, to accompany the new update, and perhaps it was directly an answer to my idea that I sent in last year!
    So I don’t know why they’re still squeezing in a separate soft white die. Or, why they just didn’t release this last year, then. (Then I could work on getting add-ons. Not sure if I said it already, but my wife doesn’t like big bulbs in the tree).
    They do overall look brighter, since there’s less space for the “throw” of the light to get dispersed in, compared to the bigger bulbs. (But again, it would be even brighter if they used one die, with the little plastic facet that sticks up into the bulb to emulate an incandescent filament, like single color LED mini’s use).

    So figuring I had have to try another target somewhere, this week, to see them lit (and nice that they have a display, even if they ran out), I pass by a pre-lit tree that uses them:

    *I also recently found out how to address the mini bulbs. The larger bulbs are known as the simple “C9”, “C7” or “C6”, while mini bulbs don’t have their size number on the package. I used to think they were addressed as “2.5w” and a slightly larger “3.5w” (but now I see those are not even the true wattages).

    But the class numbers of a standard incandescent “mini” bulb is “T1¾”. (I see some sites round it off to a simple “T2”, but those are usually other types of bulbs, including the nearly identical neon version). These are considered part of the “tubular” (T) family, and I also found that the number is the actual measurements, in 8ths of an inch; IIRC. The original LED imitation (which ends up slightly different shaped, and with the faceted design), in addition to these new RGB “minis”* they actually designate “M5”. “M” for “mini”, instead of “tubular”. Go figure! (Of course, those were the first LED “mini’s”, made to emulate T1¾’s, but they’ve since produced the true T1¾ LED, which by now has pretty much replaced M5, except for the “faceted” and Philips RGB variation).
    *(I think I’ve seen the Illuminate minis designated “T5” as well, though that is really a fluorescent tube class).

    In other news, Myrtle Ave. street decoration is now using LED for red and green festoons, and this will be accompanied by a white LED jabot (the side drop piece), but the center pendant (with the deer, snowflake, etc.) is still incandescent, as are the entire white festoons. (I doubt these are soft white LEDs, as those still have a “golden sparkle” to them, rather than looking old and archaic like these do).

    [Edit: somewhere in the last few weeks before Christmas, they actually replaced most of the white incandescents with white LED’s! Most of them, the pendant as well, but for some, the pendant is still incandescent (and still incandescent on the other colors). The only complete incandescent [white] festoons left are a couple on the side streets. First time I’ve seen them upgrade the Christmas decorations while they were already up for the season!]

  29. 2016/07/20 at 7:14 pm

    Finally, definite plans for RGB’s on a subway route sign (my original hope for them!)

    Rendering of new R211 digital sign:

    LED signs now have high enough resolution to mimic the old rollsigns. Also rendered were full color FINDS (showing the stations on the line) and the air conditioner sign.

  30. 2016/09/30 at 9:42 pm
    I♥NY Finally, these RGB signs being put to good use!

    Also, time of the year to start looking for new RGB lights for Christmas (basically ended up passing on it last year. It was like the “un-Christmas”, and with the middle window now having the big permanent air conditioner, even the Response-Box nodes ended up just getting draped over the bookcase, and we got a blue and white LED snowflake to take its place).

    Looking at these; only $10.90 each!

    Still have to make sure it’s compatible with that standard controller I see. Also, this one doesn’t come with the power supply.
    The lighting district stores (basically centered on Bowery@Broome, including Bulbs World on Chrystie) now all have the three LED module strings (dumb and smart), and for pretty cheap! Some offer a complete package(16 foot string, controller and power supply) for around &120!

    But since these are used in so many stores now, I thought it was too “gaudy” for the windows. I might eventually get two to use on the stair railing (if not just the standard evenly spaced strings).

  31. 2016/10/17 at 11:07 pm

    Expected to begin seeing fresh new subway tunnels to come lit with fresh new, pure white LED’s. But now, upon getting a first hand look at the 90 years in waiting Second Avenue Subway, in the “route familiarization” we are required to take (and which I jumped on, on the first day), following the 7 Javits extension, the new tunnel has stuck with CFLs (including the blues, which are even being replaced with LED’s in places using CFL’s. In this new tunnel, they must have contracted it years before, before they started installing LED’s), while the existing tunnel between Lexington and 57th now has these new kinds of bright LED fixtures that shine the light downward only (they also have them south of Broad leading to Montague). The blue ones are this deep saturated color.

    Edit: And here’s the video southbound:

    I actually got to operate (not this video, but to compare), from the starting point, to about 3:20, which is the tower (picking some staff up there), and then someone else wanted to operate, and I let him. You can see the yellowish CFL’s, and the LED fixtures toward the end (with the blue ones looking almost purple). I forgot to check and see if the lights in the stations were LED, and you can’t really tell, but I know LEX-63rd is still fluorescents.

    In other news, looking soon to try to get some new RGB’s for the window for Christmas.

  32. 2016/10/23 at 12:11 pm

    Like a total DUH! I completely pass up the new Illuminate mini’s last year, and just this week, as we decide to get the whole starter kit (but as always, worried about money), I suddenly realize that since the string separates from the controller, that a new add-on set of minis might plug right into the existing controller we got before, with the C9 starter kit. So I go to the store, and try it out, and it works!
    So I could have had these last year; the “un-Christmas” when we got nothing new, and we lost almost half of the middle [“showcase”] window to a permanent air conditioner, so I stopped putting the Response Box nodes there.

    So I got two add-on sets, which we plan to use in the tree, with the Response Box nodes; which should all together be able to fill the tree, and we can set it to the color combo of the year (and I can have them all flashing all the colors when no one’s around).

    So now, to get new RGB’s for the other two windows (so that it’s symmetrical, and also, being the same kind of modules as the old DingDotz, these can be flat on the windows unlike bulbs), I’ve ordered these:
    (just got the notification yesterday that it shipped; coming from China, should arrive by around the time I usually put the lights up) with this controller: (like a fancier version of that one all the store windows use) which if I’m reading right can handle more than one string, and also has an SD card you can store programs on.

    Still have to get a power supply, but want to look again hands-on at the ones in the Chinatown lighting district, since it’s hard to tell from online what is what. This is what “people who bought” the controller “also bought”; i.e. “frequently bought together”, but like where’s the wall plug on that thing?

    Edit: looking at the ones in Chinatown, I see you have to wire the power cord (sold separately) in yourself, along with the connectors to the controller. They are more costly than online, but you can at least see what you’re getting.

    Afterward, I see at Home Depot that the LED filament bulbs I saw before on the Bowery, have now gone mainstream, being carried by Philips and Feit. Also, Philips has something called “Scene Switch” which is a three way bulb using a regular wall switch so that upon turning on, it alternates between dim and brght versions of soft white, and then a bright cool white. There’s also a remote controlled version called “Hue White”. There are a lot of small A15 sized LED bulbs now.

  33. 2016/11/23 at 11:52 pm

    Myrtle Ave. decoration lights came on tonight, and now they’re all LED (Alternating white, red and green. Some of the figurines in the pendants, and other accessory fixtures are still incandescent. Also, they’re finally doing the drop fixtures of the retro poles on that street, and recently did the Bishop Crooks on Wyckoff).

    New R179 is also testing now, but looks like it’s sticking with red in the front (actually a more orange-red, like the R142A’s and 143’s).

  34. 2016/12/22 at 2:02 pm

    Had these things since October, and waiting until now to post about them, because it looked like I’d never figure out how to get them working:

    AngelicaAP Pixel Module String Lights

    Got two, for a total of 100 lights; 50 in each window.
    For the controller, I got the TS1000 (link in above comment), which has the four red buttons and the SD card drive.

    The confusion began when trying to figure how to power the setup. For some reason, I thought the controller needed 12V, while the lights are 5V. At first, I thought the 12V was to power the controller, and that it stepped the voltage down for the lights. On the left of the controller, there is both a 12V and 5V port, but I thought the 5V port was output for the lights, or some other use. Not getting those big “bricks” (link in above comment) with the perforated metal shell and needing a separate wall plug cord, I wanted to pick one out myself rather than order it, and in Chinatown (which I checked in every store in the lighting district, then settled for Bulbs World), found a regular wall adapter; 12v 48w (the lights need at least 25w, and so I wanted to get more than 25w, which is the next lowest common power). It has the connector with the red and black wires. I then had to figure which wire was for what. The red is the power (marked as the voltage, and the black is the ground (GND). The controller is clearly marked as to which is which. On the lights, there was also a green wire, which I later found was the data (DAT).

    I also need connectors for the light and the controller, and these use little black plastic connectors called JST. There’s also the issue of how many wires. The lights use three wires, but most use four wires. There is also just two wires. No one has these. I call around and find a store out in a shopping strip build into Bush Terminal along the BQE called “Micro Computers”, and they had three wire cords for CPU fan power extension cables with black connectors that the sales person was “sure” would fit JST. The cords were red, yellow and back rather than the red green and white the lights use, so not the colors won’t match. I get one for the connections, and then about 10 to hook together to connect the two windows. The connectors do not fit, and trying to force it, plugging the setup in for the first time, I get no light. I eventually take the cords back.

    l Joining both an LED DIY group on FB, and starting a thread on Candlepowerforums, I find that the controller does not power the lights, so someone said I needed a separate one. I then find out about a site called “Tinkersphere”, which has a little store in the East Village near Cooper Union. So then I get a 5V transformer. And not only do they have that, but they had the right connector pieces (short clips of r/g/w wire with the male or female connectors), connectors to the round plug the power supply uses, and more (below!) However, no cord of any length with connectors, but you could cut a spool of wire. But at that point, I wasn’t going to bother with that, as getting it all to work was the pressing issue.

    So I hook it all up and at first, I could feel the string of lights get warm, but that was it (And hoped they weren’t being overheated from something being wrong), and otherwise, the most I got was the first light on the string to flicker red on one try (finally something, at least), and that was it. Sometimes the controller lights up, and sometimes it didn’t.
    Continuing to play around with it, I soon could get either the indicator lights on the controller to come on, OR a handful of LED’s, which each would stay one fixed color.
    afterwards, nothing.

    So then, I contacted the Amazon seller of the controller, and he referred me to someone else, and the person says I’m not supposed to mix 5V and 12V. If the LED’s are 5V, then the power supplied to the controller should be 5V as well. He said the controller does not take up any more amps, so the 5V 10A I have hooked up to the LED’s should power the whole thing. He thought I may had burned the LED’s out with the 12V, and claimed the voltage does go through the controller to the LED’s. Though I only had the LED power wire (red) hooked up to the 5V and the only GND and DAT hooked to the controller. When I told him this, then he wasn’t sure. (I wasn’t even sure the 12V come back out through the GND or something? With the string having gotten warm in the beginning, it didn’t look good!)
    By now, it was a week into December, by when I usually have all my lights up, and it seemed I Was getting nowhere.

    With just the 5V now, I looking at multiple videos and images, and find that most of them are dealing with four wire lights, that have an additional blue wire, that goes into the CLK port on the controller. (This is the difference between 2801 —like the Response Box nodes, and 2811-12). But then at least one video said there was a way to hook the three wire strings, yet he was using basically a three wire version of the Response Box-like strings, but there are still four wires leading to the first node, and so it didn’t help me. I found a diagram showing the hookup of three wires, and it seemed the most likely correct arrangement and the others seemed to agree…Xq6xXFXXXj.jpg

    I also had a hard time finding a simple wire to connect the two GND ports together. The nearest hardware store had a regular clear house plug section of cord, which I had to split, and use one wire. It’s thicker than these low voltage wires, making it difficult to insert in the ports with the other wires. They all kept coming out of the little screw shutter ports, and I had to wonder if poor contact was the problem. I eventually find a thinner wire with a single solid (and stiff) copper strand to use.

    But at it was like the whole thing was completely dead. Soon, the whole string briefly flickered upon plugging it in, but still nothing, including neither of the lights on the controller, though. So then I began hearing it doesn’t work without a program on the card? I had thought that there were some preset programs, and in other help forums, some said theirs did.
    But at one point when I took the [blank; never programmed] SD card out, then some sections of about 4 or so lights on both strings came on (green, cyan and a couple yellow, static). Then, put the SD card back in, and now another group of clusters of static lights (most blue).

    So obviously, it had something to do with the controller and had to wonder if was simply lack of program, or (since not even the error light comes on), if the controller was bad.

    When I replaced the GND to GND wire, then it looked like the controller was working right; only the power light would stay on (the error light flashed when I press a button). If I had the card out, then the error light keeps flashing. So it’s apparently recognizing a correct hookup.
    So then I looked into the program. Becoming familiar with the LED Edit (2013, which is the one the manual said to use) software, I chose 6803 controller, which is what the manual says. I followed the instructions and exported the .led file to the SD card (reformatted as FAT), with a simple pattern I chose. I took it out of the folder, as I saw people instruct. (One issue was that the antivirus software picks up all the download sites for the program as dangerous, but then people said this was only because the program was “unidentified”).

    Still nothing, except the few lights sometimes coming on (sometimes, one would change back and forth between a nice bright white and a nice lemon yellow. Couldn’t wait to get them all working some way!) So then, realizing that “6803” was not a model number, but rather a different chip [more accurately, driver integrated circuit] number (I believe associated with strip lights), I had to wonder if this is a chip issue; that it can’t handle 2812. Again, I see people use it with 2812, but it seems like there are several sub-models of this controller, that look all completely identical. Taking a closer look at the manual, it did say something about not being compatible with any WS28__ but then I see everyone using them with it, and sites selling the controller mentions 2811 (Which someone told me 2812 was just a slight variation of. This site says “The WS2812 is a WS2811 placed inside a 5050 LED package”. Or the other way around, “A WS2812 is the same [5050] package but with an additional WS2811 LED driver IC on board.”).

    I call the Amazon seller, and he says I can send the controller back to see if it’s working properly. With only a week until Christmas by this time, I obviously would not get that resolved in time. For awhile, I figured I’d just have to figure it all out after Christmas, and look forward to having them working for next year.
    But I then begin eyeing the similar HC008 (with the black buttons, and can come with or without and SD card; I was willing to give up making my own programs, just to get something out of these lights this year) I first saw in store windows (and which the Chinatown stores used to power some of their light displays, though none of them sold it) Now that I knew about Tinkersphere, I decided to swing by and see if they had it, or maybe a similar one. I find that they had a simple small (only about 2 inches) controller that is basically a wire with buttons. Right voltage, made for 2812. And it says 300 patterns! (but there’s no manual or anything telling you what they are). One end connects to the power supply plug, and the other end is the JST to the light. Just $17! So simple. No splicing, sticking into ports, etc. Like a total DUH!
    With so much failure, it seemed to hard to believe that it would ever work. Perhaps the lights or power supply were damaged in all that rial and error.

    However, I was yet horrified to find that the JST connector on this controller was male, and the end of the LED string I was using was also male, to fit the female connector to the controller and power supply. (I meant to check that in the store, but was so excited, and had to run to meet my wife so we could go to Rockefeller Center). That’s what I thought I saw in all the pictures and videos. Looking again, I can see where it was the other way around, but the video I chose to go by, because it was the clearest, clearly showed the male of the string.
    So being desperate, I figured wait; there’s the other end of the string, which will have the female connector. I might as well then just try that. And and voila; it worked!!! (It I imagined began running all the programs in sequence, as it does so many different combinations).

    So I had them backwards the whole time? I feel lucky this didn’t damage the lights, as I’ve always heard running LEDs backwards is not good for them.

    So now, for the wire to separate the two strings in the side windows. As soon as I got it working, I put one string in the left window, and had the other, directly connected string draped over the bookcase next to it (provided a nice show in the house. But was worried since the pixels have bare soldered wires on the back of the PCB. I didn’t realize this, from that picture of them. I thought they would be identical to the old DingDotz). I wondered if them touching was why they got warm in the beginning, when the lights were still bundled).

    Tinkersphere had the wires and also the male or female connectors by themselves. But they wanted $3 per foot ad I needed about 14 feet. I thought I had remembered them being a dollar or so, but that was a Bulb World, so I had to swing by there first. (Both stores had the four stand r/g/k/b wire only, so I would just leave the blue out, and the black would connect to the white. But it was extremely difficult to get the wires to stay in the little metal pins that go in the connector, and then clamp the tiny metal flaps onto the wire. I had to have my wife help me (as she had done with splicing and inserting the wires int he TS1000. I didn’t think she was be able to do any such technical task, but the S/N difference really comes into play here. I’m terrible at such a sensory task requiring such small scale precision). We had to keep reopening the flaps, as they got more and more warped, and we feared them breaking off. When thinking they were right, and then inserting them into the slots of the black connecting piece, they would either not fit right, or still come out. But we eventually managed to get them all in, and I hooked it all up, and both strings worked, and I put the other one in the right window, today. (They are so much easier to put in the window. They’re light, and only need to be hooked at the top, and then I tape them in a couple of places to keep then facing outward).

    In the process of figuring out the difference between “power” and “ground”, I learned that “ground” was simply the reverse path the electricity flows represented by the larger prong on the plug. I knew “ground” was associated with the third round prong on many plugs, but didn’t know it as the reverse path itself.
    The reason why there’s a third prong, is because if a metal appliance has a wire touch the case, it can shock an unknowing person, so the third prong grounds the case. It eventually leads to the same place as the wide prong. The reason it has to be separate from the wide prong is in case the outlet is wired wrong. The ground prong will bypass that, and bring the reverse current safely to ground, preventing a short circuit.

    I feel like like I should really know all this stuff (having tinkered with wires and lights when young), but HS technical electronics shop jumped straight into the math (Ohm’s Law, etc.) and pretty much became just a second algebra class, without taking enough time to really explain how circuits worked. I didn’t even know what all the units and formulas were measuring.

    I got a 10A power supply to run 100 .06A lights (it has to be at least a total of 6 amps, with some overhead, to not overwork the controller), but was worried about sending too many amps through the LED’s, if I lit only one string (50 LED’s) and took the other off (before I got the connecting wire to the other window). The lights draw the current and only take what they need. It’s the voltage that will burn them out.

    I wish the shop had started off with a nice analogy of electricity, that would have provided a framework to understand what we were calculating.
    To use a medium that’s sort of “opposite” of electricity, if you have a pool of water:
    •how much you have is your “amps” [A] (when it flows, it too is called “current” [I]).
    •If you suck it up with a pump and shoot it (the stream can be weak or strong), that’s your “voltage” [V] (pressure).
    •You can use a large hose that makes the flow easy, or a smaller one that makes it harder. That’s your “ohms” [Ω] (Resistance [R]. It’s inverse is “Conductance” [G], measured in siemans).
    •Those three factors will give you a stream that can exert more or less energy in moving something, putting out a fire, etc. and that’s your “wattage” [W] (power [P]).

    Tinkersphere has a lot of cool LED stuff, including square RGB panels, and even a set of the (now apparently standard) round “nodes” (which are common now) that comes with its own controller! So I can now get more of those for the tree, instead of more Response Box strings, and having to wait for a mail order and then hook them up to a computer. (We had also decided to get a new tree; a smaller white one, which was just the right size for the two Illuminate Mini strings, which look great in it).

    New controllable Angelica AP 2812 strings on sides, with 11 year old DingDotz in the middle

    Also, yesterday, in my midtown jaunt, I see on the first floor of Macy’s, a Brookstone RGB message fan: (there’s also one that’s a clock. Saw that in Brookstone itself, in Rockefeller Center).

  35. 2017/02/04 at 2:21 pm

    The Dark Side of LED Lightbulbs

    Kind of overblown, the way it mentions lead, nickel or copper in LED’s, and saying “If any LEDs break at home, Ogunseitan recommends sweeping them up while wearing gloves and a mask, and disposing of the debris — and even the broom — as hazardous waste. Furthermore, crews dispatched to clean up car crashes or broken traffic lights (LEDs are used extensively for automotive and traffic lighting) should wear protective clothing and handle material as hazardous waste.” (emphasis added).
    I feel like I’m back at the OSHA mandated annual “hazardous waste” modules from my job a couple of weeks ago.

    For one, how often do LED’s “break”? (This is, if they’re talking about the diode itself, and not the circuitry connected to it. “while breaking open a single LED and breathing in its fumes wouldn’t likely cause cancer, our bodies hardly need more toxic substances floating around, as the combined effects could be a disease trigger”). They consist of a tiny die, containing the semiconductor material, at the center of a solid epoxy resin that’s hard to break.

    I wonder if this article might be commissioned by the CFL or incandescent industry. If so, they are really grasping at straws!

    Also just discover that of last year, Sony’s CLED is actually still, or back in the game!

    “The image is so powerful because each pixel is only 0.003 mm” “Sony developed ultrafine LEDs, measuring about half the thickness of a human hair.”

    First mentioned five years ago, I had eventually written them off (as “vaporware”) when I just stopped hearing about them for good. But last summer, they started being talked about again.

    There’s also “MicroLED” (or mLED; μLED), which is probably just the generic technology of the proprietary Sony product. Apple is trying to put out a mLED watch this year, but the article says it is probably 2-4 years out into the future for the consumer market. Then, there’s also QLED, where Samsung adds quantum dots to this (on top, instead of a color filter) to expand the color space of the display.

    (According to this: these are being used on standard LED-backlit LCD, but “Samsung is actually working on a version of QLED that does use emissive technology, much like OLED and plasma”.
    Quantum dots, which I’ve followed for years but never wrote on, work sort of like phosphor added to the surface of an LED, but emit pure wavelength colors instead of shades of white. So you can change the color of an LED, but I had been looking for something controllable; i.e. you can change the color back and forth, and thus have a monochromatic replacement of RGB and get colors like 590nm amber on a color changing LED, but these don’t seem to be able to be made changeable).

  36. 2017/06/07 at 10:51 pm

    Kept seeing on the FB wall these “suggested posts” by this company called “Energy Focus” on “TLEDs” (leading to this “whitepaper” you have to sign up to read), and at first, I’m thinking “transparent OLED’s”. But that’s “TOLEDs”!

    So I look up TLED’s. It’s “tubular” LED bulbs made to fit in fluorescent fixtures. I had been seeing these for awhile; first in a couple of big supermarkets in my area; then in vape/candy stores here and there.

    These are cool, as they produce a white light that is as shrill as bright clear incandescents. The row of them together, where the contrast between the hearts of the light and the dimmer epoxy “domes” combine to produce a silvery effect. There are also diffused ones that look a bit more like regular fluorescents.

  37. 2017/11/07 at 10:22 pm

    Really nice prelit RGB trees with 137 functions:

    Edit; right as I’m writing this comment, we suddenly decide to order it. It came in only a few days, but a wire was damaged, so we sent it back, and it crossed paths with the replacement, which came only a few days after that.

    Pretty similar to the Illuminate Minis, but they have the little cylindrical LED’s inside the same T2 bulb, so the colors look richer. I thought at least the soft white would be RGB, but apparently, it’s still a separate die. It does look more yellow compared to the Illuminate, but the LED’s are diffused, giving them a more deeper look. The red is a bit weak, and so the cool white looks sky bluish and the orange is pale (almost like it was an RGB attempt at soft white, though the purple is more on the red side; basically magenta).

    In rainbow patterns, the purple we find ill fitting (it’s after all, not a classic Christmas color), and I notice the blue has a very dim red die glow, making it less pure. Don’t know why this is done.

    It’s controlled by a remote, and the 12 “colors” are
    1) warm white
    2) cool white, and the standard
    3) R,
    4) G,
    5) B,
    6) Purple, and the combinations of
    7) Blue/cool white (looks more like a two tone blue),
    8) red/warmwhite/green (“♪Buo-on Natale…♫“),
    9) Red/coolwhite/blue,
    10) red/green,
    11) Multi (red/orange/green/blue/purple), and
    12) “Multi by layer”, which creates bands of solid color (R/G/B/P/O/R/G/B)

    The functions are
    1) steady
    2) Jump Twinkling by layer
    3) Random blink
    4) Cascading Chase
    5) Firefly
    6) Slow Twinkle
    7) Up and Down Chase
    8) Fireworks Per Layer
    9) Fireworks Per Panel
    10) Color Change Up & Down
    11) Color Change Spiral up & down
    12) Color morph
    13) Color change sequence
    14) Rainbow
    15) Cycle Favorite (you can save five favorites)
    16) Light Show (cycles through all 135 functions)

    We got the 5 foot, which comes in two parts. The branches consist of closed metal hooked rods that automatically fold in or out by gravity, and the center trunk contains the wires to connect the other pieces, which plug right in. (“EZ-POWER™ technology”). When you plug in the bottom part, it comes on, and when you plug in the top, it automatically comes on as well.

    I also a few weeks ago got my first pair of retro “filament” LED bulbs; but now carried by mainstream brands like Philips at Home Depot. For now, figure one would go in a clear ceiling globe when the old three part Philips bulb began blinking.

    Also, the iPhone X finally came out, so Apple finally went with an OLED phone. Saw it at T-Mobile, and it looks pretty nice.

  38. 2017/11/21 at 4:35 pm

    THIS now appears to be what I was really waiting for all these years; an app controlled string that can apparently (from what it looks/sounds like here) do everything I can do with the Engineering Solutions nodes (“control each individual LED”):

    Edit: this is its own site, and apparently, it’s been out since last winter. Don’t know how I missed it. (Checking again, it was out at least in certain places, like Italy, where it’s from, and the UK. It seems to have been made available in US and Amazon [US] this month. So maybe that’s why I’m just finding it). You can even draw your patterns on the app screen! However, there do seem to be a lot of negative reviews, where it stops working right, especially regarding the wifi hookup. That may have been earlier versions, though.
    It consists of the small cylindrical flat topped LED’s at the end of little fixture rods.

    • 2017/12/18 at 9:23 pm

      Found out that I could cash in six sick days (previously, it used to be just one or two; and it was already past the Nov. deadline, and I hadn’t received the letter I usually get, so I called, and was able to print and scan and send the form by email; got over a week’s additional pay the next paycheck), and finally got this thing!

      (I really did not want to wait a whole year; going through the cycle of heading first into the dead of winter past the holiday season, and counting the days as March and spring arrives and it gets warmer, and then reach the middle of the year when I’m closer to the next holiday season, and the next lights, as I did the years when getting the DingDotz, and then the Response Box nodes).
      So now, we have TWO trees (I put these on the smaller white tree from last year. Again, RGB rainbow colors really resound in it).

      As soon as you plug it in, it cycles a red, white and green (very bright, and while the white has a blue tinge, it’s still still good enough), and pressing the button on the cord makes it do some other preset functions, like a nice rainbow effect. I already had the app from the time of the above comment, but had found then you couldn’t see anything in the app until it was connected to a light set. There are no instructions on the box, except “get the app, place the lights, explore… etc”. So I had to find out online that you have to have the mobile device connect to the set’s own wifi hotspot, before the app will find the set.

      Playing with it a bit, I was able to see some of the other patterns (including an Italian flag, and “vintage”, which is a pale wintergreen that I imagine is supposed to be soft white (like the older Santa’s Best trees from Home Depot). It seems none of these companies know how to create it with RGB, and hence why Philips and Santa’s Best just add a separate 2700K die.
      I also found the customization feature, where I could turn on individual lights from the app, and color them, but so far, the color palette is just a linear spectrum, and not full RGB mixing. Sliding up this spectrum, you get a somewhat off-white, but then it turns lemon yellow, and into the more saturated range. I thought I saw a color wheel like Philips has, in one of the videos or something, but will have to keep looking.
      As said in many reviews, the app is buggy, but I still think the hardware is quite worth it, and hole they will continue to improve the software.

      Also found out that GE apparently had something like this last year called “iTwinkle”. It seemed to have been pulled from GE’s site, but is still up under it’s own address: There’s both strings and pre-lit trees, but they only seem to come in C9 size, and my wife doesn’t like C bulbs for some reason. GE being a familiar brand; I wonder why I haven’t seen them in stores. Lowes; IIRC is the one who carries GE, and not only did I not see much there this year (at least, not in the new 6th Ave. store that opened last year, saving me a hike down to Gowanus), but the nice 7 color LED tree was gone, and from what I was told, did not sell. (The site says they’re sold at Costco and Home Depot; and there was no sign of anything like that at the two Home Depots I had been to recently). I see they use the color wheel; and maybe that was the one I saw on the one I got.

      Anyway; hope this works out.

  39. 2017/12/23 at 4:25 pm

    Great last minute surprise from the Illuminate, as I decided to hang the minis over a picture over the holiday table. On the color wheel, they’ve finally allowed you to adjust it more, so I can make a good facsimile soft white. (Albeit dimmer than the phosphor soft white. The color shown on the color preview screen is greenish, and when it’s beige, the actual light is a reddish “flesh” color. Now, if I can only do that with the Twinkly lights, or maybe find out if it can already be done!

  40. 2017/12/27 at 5:57 pm

    Christmas is past again, and we have now entered the “Twelve Days”, in which we usually keep up our lights.

    Becoming more familiar with the Twinkly Lights (showing them off to everyone), the color mixer, as stated, is just a linear spectrum. It consists of 19 colors, and the actual light output doesn’t match what’s on the spectrum.
    1) It starts with white, which is the full FFFFFF, which like most other RGB’s, has a blue tint (but not as much as the Santa’s Best tree),
    2)It then moves into the yellows, but the next actual color is a slightly greenish white,
    3) and after that is an even more greenish color (basically wintergreen, but brighter than the so-called “vintage” color).
    4) Then, you have a nice lemon yellow, matching what’s on the line,
    5) and the next color, which is supposed to be amber, is really a slightly duller version of the lemon yellow.
    6) Orange is actually a really yellowish amber or perhaps “traffic yellow”
    7) Red is the primary hue (which is really orangey, as on most RGB’s)
    8) Fucshsia
    9) Magenta
    10) A cross betwen Magenta and “sky blue pink”
    11) pretty much lavender.
    12 Primary 470nm blue; almost azure
    13, 14, 15, 16) Shades of cyan or increasingly brighter azures
    17) a more greenish cyan or “copper” green
    18, 19 Shown as a brighter and dimmer green, but are both identical pure green.

    So you have a lot of redundancy, and no way to get various colors.

    One time and one time only for some reason, on I believe #6, orange; I actually got a nice tangerine orange! I was using my phone, but had just set up my wife’s iPad with the app, then switched back to my own (on both her tablet, and my tablet, there are more preset patterns. So I don;t know if that had anything to do with it).
    So having started creating different static color combinations, I began making one I call “Howard Johnson’s” (orange and azure or cyan, as a sort of “color wheel opposites” spin on Christmas red and green), but then, one of the major bugs I’ve encountered; whenever you rotate the device, it cancels all your work (and often crashes the app, or at least renders it unresponsive to your touch on the screen, and you have to go back out to the main menu and start over)

    Now, when the app is closed (or the device goes to sleep) it defaults to a “five standard color” display I created (#3, 6, 7, 12, 19) but then deleted! (Replaced with one having the colors distributed better, but it still shows the deleted one).

    • In an e-mail dialogue with Support, where I ask how to adjust the colors and get that nice orange again, they reply “You can adjust the color on your palette and customize it when you modify the existing effects. You have to choose an effect, click on the pencil icon, click on ‘+’ at the right of the colors. A screen will open and you’ll be able to chose your favorite color.”

      I found the colors with the + to the right only on the following effects:

      Snow (defaults to a cascading white)
      Snake (defaults to chasing blue and white)
      Bright Twinkle (defaults to a randomly blinking red and white)
      Fireworks (an ascending color that then turns into white and then fading white glitter)
      Collision (just an ascending color that turns into fading white; defaults to yellow)
      Vertigo (one of those moving diagonal stripe patterns you see in the videos; defaults to red/white)
      Horizontal Flag (red yellow descending horizontal stripes)
      Vertical Flag (red/white/green vertical stripes. This is the “buon natale” effect of this set!)
      Waves (descending stripes; defaults to yellow to green fade)
      UpDown (red/magenta blue stripes)
      Diagonal (another dazzling one from the videos; defaults to blue/white)
      Sunset (twirls around like psychedelic sunrays. Supposed to be yellow/orange/red, actually green/yellow/red)
      Glow (individual lights slightly fading repeatedly; defaults to magenta/green/white)
      Moving Blend (endless single color at a time cycle; defaults to red/white/blue)
      Fixed (solid bright wintergreen)
      Halloween (orange/purple)

      With most of the others you can only adjust the speed and intensity:

      Rainbow (all the colors washing through[ so are they saying the “Fixed” one is the real “Vintage”?])
      Vintage (the solid dull wintergreen),
      Fountain (ascending horizontal bands of red, flesh, white)
      Color Fountain (ascending horizontal bands of color and white)

      There’s also “Night”, which is simply off (black).

      So on the ones with the colors and “+”, this leads to the same sort of square palette with the colors horizontal, and saturation vertical like you see on Paint. I was able to mix the nice orange, and several shades of warm white; though it’s difficult to adjust by a little (since I’m using my fingers on the mobile screen, and not a desktop mouse), and there’s no + marker showing you what you’ve selected, so that if you want to move it over a little, like to make the yellow more reddish, you can’t tell where you were. You have to jump around, and then the lights usually stop responding to the app, and need to be reset, and then is still difficult to get it to respond again). It’s also not saving the colors I create. When the app crashes, the added colors are gone.
      So when you have the color you want, it will show in the little circle, and you hit “create”, and it then adds it to the row of colored circles already tere (These of course don;t match the actual color the LED’s are displaying). To create a combination of colors, you make a color, and then hit another “+” next to the circle you’re working on, and it then divides the circle into the colors you’ve added to it.

      I did briefly get the orange in the create new pattern feature, and saved the “Howard Johnson’s” combo; but once again can’t get it again in the create effect screen.

      This is basically the “holy grail” of Christmas lighting, but I do hope they work out these bugs.

  41. In the new BAM area Apple Store, someone finally knew who made the large LED screen with the finest pixels I’ve seen so far. It was custom made by Sony!
    Not “MicroLED” yet (which is being shown this week, I believe, at CES), but is 6K.

  42. As I’ve long dreamed, now with the light and easy to set up Twinkly, the holiday lights are not just for Christmas

    [red heart in window for Valentine’s Day]

  43. Oct 20, 2018·

    For this year, decided to get two 16 ft. smart “chain-letter” strings, like the ones in the window of the Party Glitters store on Debevoise St. @ Broadway (most of these things in store windows; basically replacing neon tubes, are “dumb” strings that are only one color at a time), for the outside stair railings.

    So they had them on Amazon, and we decided to get them now.

    What I find is that they actually have diffused lenses (so you see single colored bars, instead of the three individual LED’s inside each module that would have a clear lens), so they won’t be as glittery as the ones in the store window showing individual LED’s. (They to me look like color-changing “ladyfingers”).
    I wanted the glitter, but also worried that it might be too flashy, for a residential stoop. (Now, looking at this image again, while you can see individual LED’s, the discoloration of the “heart” of the light is showing that these are supposed to be diffused, but it looked at first glance like they weren’t)

    Have to play with the controller, and see if I can get the same kind of color patterns I saw in the store window.

    Also, they actually have LED headlamps in some of the remodeled R160 subway cars in Jamaica (but not the ones from ENY on the M, and not on the brand new R179’s coming in).
    In the tunnels, they’ve gone with a new 45 LED 4000K square, clear bulb (It has eight [octamerously arrayed] columns of five LEDs on the side, and five LED’s in a pentagon on the blunt end of the bulb pointing downward). These are by Revolution Lighting, and appear to be the “High Power Omni 360” bulb. (The one shown has more LED’s per column, and in pairs of dies, but the ones in the tunnel have one die each).
    Edit: 141101-013 E26 1900 Lumens 4000K, 15W 100-277v 50-60 Hz 166 mA UL E327983 1808 Can’t find this model on the site, but it looks like the one below.

    These are really bright (compared to the increasingly dull and yellowed Dialights), looking from behind the visor, like the mercuries they had installed briefly in the early 90’s. They also have no glass, so are totally plastic.

    [Edit: I much later find that a crisp pure white smaller LED bulb they have in a few places, that’s identical in size/shape to a regular A19, including the heat sink, is the Topaz bulb. Don’t know why they didn’t use more of these, in places where the earlier Dialights were too big abnd stick out of the fixture].

    On the newest buses, they’ve been tinkering with the color, made to emulate the monochrome amber of the previous non-color changing signs, and so now many of them appear a pure yellow (or slightly “lemon” yellow when viewed at certain angles). Someone said it might be another model of sign they are trying out.

    On the consumer front, at Home Depot, both EcoSmart and Philips now have 5000K “filament” bulbs (that I used to only see in Chinatown, and now in addition to the 2700K “antique” versions), and I got the Philips one because it was two in a pack (where EcoSmart was four, and I didn’t need that many). I put one in a new lamp we got for the bedroom that has both a larger ceiling-faced part, and a smaller side “reading” lamp; now the bedroom is all 5000 or higher LED’s, to go with the new blue and white paint scheme we just did the bedroom in, replacing the pink. The pink-toned visored lamp I had a bunch of old pink tinted 2700K CFL’s in we gave away, and now all but two regularly used lights in the house are LED!)
    The other one I for now placed in the clear ceiling globe mentioned above, to make the dining room brighter. The 2700K I had there left it looking too gloomy, still, and now both of those bulbs [the other one never are just put aside as “reserve”.

    EcoSmart also has 2700 and 6000K A-19 bulbs with no visible heat sink at all, and the solid diffused glass envelope is identical to an incandescent! (It’s called “Classic Glass” and “Frosted Filament Bulb”). Apparently, they too have filaments inside (even though you can’t see them), and this would further emulate incandescents in distributing the light across the envelope. Don’t know how they address the heat problem the other bulbs use heat sinks for.
    Again, with four in a pack, I held off getting that (as we had gained several extra 6000K bulbs from a friend’s move), but do want to get them eventually.

    This is what I so wanted 36 years ago, when I last decided to do my bedroom in a blue scheme! With nothing but incandescents back then (not even CFL’s out yet, and either regular fluorescents, and mercuries [which weren’t commercial anyway], requiring special fixtures with ballasts), it never looked the way it was supposed to!

    We still have yet to get any sort of Philips Hue product, after several years (keeps getting squeezed out).

    Also have seen awhile ago, that the new LED street lights the Bronx got are these 5×5 or so panels of what must be 3000K’s, or at least 3500; they’re almost incandescent colored. Now, these are finally spreading in Manhattan as well. This is probably to address the complaints about the too bluish lights they started with earlier.
    (According to Google Street View, Staten Island hasn’t even been started yet, outside of the highways).

  44. Lots of news, entering December.

    The chain letter string say they’re waterproof, but are now fritzing out (many stuck on white) after some heavy rains and cold (“Can’t remember, a wetter December; just watch those short circuits form…“). Will likely return.

    Might replace with smart strips from Gemmy’s “Orchestra of Lights” (at Lowe’s) or the “Showtree” version (at some Home Depots), which also has lot of nice “smart”, strings (icicles, etc) for the outside.

    [Edit: they begin working right when dried out. I placed styrofoam pipe insulation tubes over the wires to keep the water out, so I”ll keep the chain letter strings.

    The newest version of GE’s “Color Effects” now makes the soft white with RGB, includes C6 and M5 bulbs, and has more nice looking effects, such as cool white strobe effects in the other colors. They also have a tree called “Just Cut” using the lights, which is similar to the Santa’s Best we got, but is brighter, and includes a nice lemon yellow in addition to a slightly reddish yellow (but doesn’t seem to have orange, though).

    Rockefeller has now replaced its 11 year old 3500’s with new, bright 5000’s (the true “pure white”)! When I first saw the tree lit, on TV, I noted the overall color resembled the old incandescent, being very reddish; like if you see an old postcard of the incandescent tree. What they’ve done is add tons of oranges and ambers, which balances out the less yellowish whites, and it actually from a distance looks like a much brighter version of the old incandescent tree, but when you move closer, you see it’s full of pure white.

    [12-21 Edit: the RXR tree, which I had stopped getting to see in recent years, has followed suit with the same overall bright orange appearance with the pure whites, but has much less blue.
    Finally was able to get together a long put off driving tour of LI decorations, but there didn’t seem to be as many really large scenes, such as whole cul-de-sacs filled with decorations as I remembered. Even Valley Stream’s Sylvan Place seemed a bit scaled down. Numerous houses do have RGB “icicles” (the plastic literal renditions) along the rooflines. Still, a LOT of incandescents, though. (But that keeps the LED’s special!) Next year, we’re looking at Dyker Heights, which we have been hearing so much about for years, but never have gotten over to. That seems to be “where it’s at” now].

    Seeing a cousin post a story about the lighting of the sizeable RGB tree at the new MGM Grand of Springfield made we again wonder when we’ll ever go RGB; especially now with these brand new monochrome bulbs.

  45. This year’s lights:

    Twinkly pre-lit trees are appearing in Home Depot!
    Regular Twinkly’s are offered for sale on the Lowe’s site, but I haven’t seen them in the stores. (And last year, they closed the two Manhattan Stores just before the season).

    Twinkly itself has it’s “Generation II”, which includes now, an “icicle” set (strands, not bulbs), a “Gold” set changing from cool white to soft/warm white to amber, and RGB+W (warm white) like the Santa’s best tree and Philips lights I already have. Don’t know why they would need to do that, when they already now know how to make soft white with RGB; especially with Twinkly using totally diffused LED’s.

    Home Depot also has Willis Corporation’s “Holiday Show Home” products, including a C7 prelit tree with 16 colors!
    slightly reddish yellow
    greenish yellow
    [lemon] yellow
    violet (purple)
    cool white
    cool white (slightly cyanish)
    soft white

    And then, 13 “multi”:


    This seems to be what replaces the GE “Just Cut” tree I saw last year (above), which I have not seen anywhere this year.
    There’s also an eight color M5 version, using the standard RyGcBm, soft white and multicolor. (There’s no cool white).

    Lowe’s has Gemmy’s “Orchestra of Lights”. Both Orchestra of Lights and Show Home now have Twinkly-like app-based programs for total programmability.
    Lowe’s also still has the GE Color Effect strings, whose 7 colors are RyGBm, soft and cool white (no cyan).
    100 M5’s or 50 C9’s, both for $40. Show Home 24 C9’s is $54, and Orchestra of Lights 24 C9’s is $40, but you have to buy the wifi “hub” separately, which is about &20.

    Trying to decide what to get among that stuff. But what I’ve already gotten now, is
    YUNBO RGB WS2811 LED Module Lights (which are clear modules), to replace the diffused set I got last year for the stoop rails. I may run the old ones on the bottom rails, if I don’t give them to a neighbor who showed interest last year. We also got these strands of those super thin wired tiny LED’s (cool white), which are hung with the curtains (but this isn’t specifically for the holidays).

  46. Well, went to Home Depot looking to get either the Show Home tree, or at least a string or something, and walked out with the Twinkly tree! This is the “holy grail of Christmas trees; what I wanted something like since childhood, when I used to switch around the old incandescent C7’s, and would then see trees with other color paterns, and wished it could be easily switched to those. (The only thing I don’t like about it is that is only comes in the 7.5ft version, where the Santa’s Best ⦅which is now going to our close friend, replacing an incandescent tree⦆ was 5 ft. Still 3 pieces that plug into each others and fold umbrella style like the previous one, but the pieces are very heavy, and the whole box is too heavy to lift up where I stored the other one).
    This was a few weeks ago, already. Had set it up the first night, to make sure it worked, and then packed it up again, and planned to set it up last night so everyone could see it when they came over today (and can be set to Thanksgiving colors, of course), but for some reason, we decided to set it up at the beginning of the week instead. (Trees and decorations have already been going in in people’s houses, for a couple of weeks now).

    I found that it’s still very buggy with my two Androids (very slow, and always crashing), and I thought this was a problem with the app, but then found it works perfectly with my wife’s “i”-devices. The FB page in a message, admitted they are still working on fixing problems with Android.

    The color palette now consists of a continuous RYGBVR spectrum, and brightness, and so now you truly can choose any degree of color, like to get the true orange I could previously only get by accident. (Pure white is setting the lightness of any color to full, on the far left). Soft white, is easy, by setting it to amber, and then lightening it, and it easily adjusts (and is even easier to move the sliders slightly, with the iPad pen). With Generation II going the “cheater” route and adding RGBW to some sets, I created a meme to show how to set the RGB palette to soft white.

    I see in the gallery, something called “Vintage” that appeared to be an attempt to create the incandescent look, but it’s way too green, and looks like an old pale yellow-green incandescent, but not like white. So I take it, they must have given up on creating the incandescent look with RGB, and just added the 2700K phosphor LED? But to slide it more toward the red, it’s perfect!

    Also connected it to the home network for the first time (had never tried that with the string for some reason), and now can control it from the mobile devices without having to connect directly to the Twinkly device.
    Also did the “mapping” feature on the iPad, where you point the camera at the tree, so it can see where exactly each light is. Makes it easier to find individual lights, but I found deleted all the effects in the gallery I had created, and replaced only the ones that came with it. Lucky I liked creating them so much, having to do them over.

  47. Got to tour Dyker Heights, for the first time ever. A lot of nice colorful LED’s, but also still a surprising number of incandescents (and whole houses using all or mostly them) still around. No Twinkly’s or anything like that (wonder where the houses they show on their videos are), but you do of course have some RGB icicles, snowflakes, etc.

    On SAKS, the RGB globes have been replaced with standard 10mm 2812 node units, and the ones on the ground are arrayed like trees, with the branches usually brown, and with bluish white ice/snow hanging from them. When the display is dormant, the brown will fluctuate to a lighter color, actually blending in with the static 2700K’s. The “show” (themed on Disney’s “Frozen”) then has the trees change to shades of blue or lavender and white, and even shades of red toward the end, along with the long literal “icicles” covering the 2nd and 3rd floors, and the rest of the 2812’s further up.

    (Don’t know if I mentioned the light “columns” further up, which usually stay fixed on the 2700 “soft/warm” whites, also have cool whites, along with red, blue, magenta and green single color LED’s that come on during the show).

    Being Saks has probably thousands of LED’s (many of them RGB) in its display, it then makes you rethink the notion that it’s probably too expensive for the tree it is facing to have them. The 28xx nodes, recall, have clear rubber holders that also glow, and the whole unit is about the size of a C6, which is just a little smaller than the C7’s used on the tree. Whenever the tree goes 2812, you will be able to have the same sort of display right on it!

    So I finally got new smart chain letter strings without diffused covers, for the rails. However, another pre-winter battery of wet and then freezing weather persisted until one of them is now fritzing out on one end. I had to play with the first failing module, where tha problem seems to be originating, to get the rest of it to work. I guess these lights aren’t really made for metal railings (some stores do have them outside on the metal signs, though), and I may next jumt find a smart rope light for the railings.
    Of last year’s diffused strings, one I can’t get to work beyond an initial flash of white when current is applied, and the other I use on another railing in the yard, and seems to be holding out OK. I decided to put the Illuminate minis in the bush next to this railing. On the wall picture inside, where I used to use the minis, we have one of those “firefly” lights, with the bare looking wire. This is actually an app-based RGB version, but is “dumb“. We have two more, remote-controlled RGB’s, plus two soft white and cool white, stuffed in jars. (One each of the whites seen in the image above, showing the contrast with the RGB soft white of the tree. The firefly jars were an idea my wife got from decorations in church. We also got curtain lights, using the same bare thin wire design, in cool white, and considered getting Twinkly’s curtain lights, anothar new product they have added, but are using the original string from 2 years ago instead. Even to me, putting them in the little tree seemed a bit of “overkill” with the big tree now!)

    On my wife’s iPad, I find that colors I make, such as my soft/warm white emulations, or pastels, once saved appear deeper than when being mixed. So I have to make them lighter to get the shade I want.
    They’ve recently updated the mixing palette, so that you make and add a new color first, before actually drawing it on the tree. This is good if I then begin drawing another color and then decide to add more of the mixed one; I don’t have to mix and try to find the same exact color again.You can’t edit patterns you’ve made anymore, and the preset patterns can only have certain edits made, such as speed or maybe combinations of color.

    More and more new buses have their signs displaying lemon yellow, rather than the simulated amber. Occasionally, I’ll still see a sign set to amber, but part of it displaying green.

  48. On a FB Twinkly group I joined, when asking about a new product that was mentioned (they call it “cluster lights”, and someone said it was sort of like garland), I was wondering if it might be like what I would like to see from them: a pixel model string, basically like the old DingDotz or iColorFlex. This is what the Angelica string was to serve as. So it would be nice to replace the fragile, bare chipped string with something lore solid, and that I could control along with the rest of the growing Twinkly group.

    So someone pointed me to a company I’ve never heard of, Minleon, who has a string somewhat like that called the “Pebbles” (the single sided pixel has two LED’s close together in the module, and I imagine it might still be like a single light, as it’s not as far apart as on the chain letter strings. The person said it’s compatible with Twinkly! I never knew Twinkly was compatible with anything else.

    Exploring the site, I run across something we thought we’d never see again, the old “TrikLits”, which recall (above in the OP) was a very early consumer RGB set that was quickly pulled, and seemed to be gone for good. It’s now a line of this company (along with Pebbles, standard “bullet pixels” —what the clear “nodes” are being called; and others), and being globes, comes in G28, G42 & G100 sizes, and also now individually addressable (“smart”).
    Also see that the old iColorFlex is still around, and now owned by Wiedamark, an RGB seller I had looked at years ago. (The string had been bought by Philips at one point, which was the last I had heard of it; I guess until that company started coming out with their own RGB strings). It’s the Dotz that seemed to have completely disappeared. The only thing I can find with that name are a brand of stage lights and wash lights by American DJ. Don’t know if they’re related. (Original owners, “LED Effects”, had been taken over by “Lighting Science” in Oct.’07 [right as it was producing the first LED New Year’s ball!], which still exists, and probably stopped making the products shortly afterward.
    Been a long time, and we’ve come a long way from those early days of RGB!)

    So now, I can for the first time really plan, almost a year in advance, next year’s show.

    •Two sets of Pebbles for the side windows (replaces Angelica strings)
    •Twinkly wreath for the middle window (replaces plastic RG/RB LED star)
    •Twinkly icicles on awning (replaces GE Color Effects)
    •Original Twinkly string, and a new one on railings (replaces chain letter strings)
    •Philips Illuminate* will return to the bush
    •Twinkly curtain lights in the bedroom (all year; replaces original Twinkly string and white curtain set)

    This would be my permanent light display arrangement. (No more searching in the summer and fall, just saving for it, now!) I would then begin doing stuff like “color [combo] of the day”, “color of the hour” shows, etc. I had originally envisioned, and all the lights could do the same things (and with the tree still in the background in the window. Only the Illuminates would have to be separately programmed in its own app; everything else would be controlled simultaneously by the Twinkly app).

    •The old GE good set I’ll probably give away, and not sure what to do with the bad set that only half works.
    •The old diffused chain letter string I might see if I could give to a business like the laundromat (but it already has white LED’s in the windows) or the restaurant on the corner (which has RG/RB lights inside, so it may go along with that), since you don’t see diffused chain letters anywhere else.
    •The new clear ones I’ll probably keep and have to think of other uses, indoors. (Every time I pass over the party store on Debevoise St. that had the smart string with the HC008 controller, it looks so good, so I may try to get that controller for them).
    •The Angelica strings, I’m not sure. A store could use them as well, but I might keep them just in case.
    •Then there’s the old Response Box set. I would like to find a way to hook the string up to something else, if possible, but it uses proprietary connectors, I think.
    *(For the Illuminates, I plan to see if I can run the original C9 starter string and both M5 mini sets together; I only used the M5’s this past season).

    Already put aside some of the old single color LED sets to give away next year, and eventually will replace the ones my wife wanted to keep (such as the blue sets) for other decorations around the house, or “just in case”, by getting more Twinkly’s, which of course can be any color


    Bright (and thin) new LED cab rooftop signs, by this company called Halo. (Actually owned by Lyft, but used by yellow cabs. There are also LCD screens, still, and the difference, especialy at an angle, really stands out.

    Plan to start ordering this year’s Christmas lights (see above) soon.

  50. We’ve been getting our new Twinkly sets!

    Awhile ago, when we tallied the cost of the plan I made above, it added up to almost $500. So when I look at lengths of the strings, and saw that the original 105 light string was actually way too long for the railing, I then got the idea of seeing if it could cover more than just the railing. It could do both railings, if there was a way to run it across the stairs. I took it out, and looked at having it go up from the top of the railing, across the front of the awning, and back down the other railing, but it would only reach half way on the second railing, and I didn’t like having the string in just midair between the rails and the awning. So then I figured I’d see if it could do one rail and tha awning itself. So I ran it on the railing to the wall, then up the wall, and around the awning. It almost covers it, and if I fix it so that the side that is only half covered is the one adjacent to the neighbors’ door and awning, it wouldn’t matter so much that it wasn’t complete.

    So then, I figured I could just get the shorter string (56 LED) to cover the other rail. That would eliminate the need for a separate icicle string for the awning, in addition to still needing two strings for the rails. (Still plan to get that next year).

    For the windows, I asked on the Facebook group, and they said Minleon products wouldn’t work with Twinkly; only the Kurt Adler products. So I’ll yet again have to look for some way to try to make the Angelica strings easier (want to encase them in something so they would be like a strip, but was not able to find anything like that). I also plan to run them separately, since that connector I had so much trouble putting together four years ago, came loose. I’ll look to see if I can get a fully programmable RGB controller that will plug into that kind of plug. If I can do those to things, encase the strings, and get a standalone controller that is something like Twinkly, then those lights will remain for the windows.

    As for the wreath, everyone had run out, and all we could find was a 9 foot garland. I figured we could make a wreath out of it (and then make other shapes with it, as needed). So that just came today, and then we find a wreath back in stock on Amazon! (Though it’s $160, and the garland was $109). Luckily, it came folded to fit in the box, and so just connecting the two ends makes a wreath about the size as the one they sold.

    Then, we got the wall curtain, but the only Generation 1 one was the old one they called “icicles”, which were really equal length shorter strings (this confused me when we first looked at icicles last year). We decided we wanted full length, and the only ones we saw are Generation II RGBW.
    So that came yesterday, and I’ve been trying it out (it goes inside the curtains of the bedroom window). This is my first Gen. II and RGBW product from Twinkly.

    On the color palette, they added a slider for the soft white, so now there are three sliders. The hue, the luminosity leading to cool white, and the warm white, which now can be added to/mixed with any color, unlike the Philips Illuminate. It seems it never goes completely off, when mixing. Like the Santa’s Best tree, the soft white is slightly on, in what is supposed to be pure blue (one thing I didn’t like about that set). [Edit: Seeing this only with the blue, and looking at it closely, I think it’s actually the blue causing the warm white phosphor to fluoresce! All white LED’s are really blue, with the yellowish phosphor fluorescing to create the white, after all. Still, it looks like it’s glowing, and adds this yellowish/tannish color to the blue, with no way to get rid of it completely!]
    And you can’t really seem to get a purer looking cool white. I have it set to it now, and it looks like the “powder” pink, baby blue and wintergreen combo I used to make. For one, the sides of the LEDs are now clear. The blunt tips are still translucent, but the sides are clear, so you always see color. That is, unless, of course, you have only the soft white on. One thing, is it makes it easier for me to try to mix my own soft white, because I can draw some phosphor soft whites, and then mix my own next to it. But it now looks less like soft white, because you can see the colors more on the side. So I’ll have to hold the LED I’m coloring head on, so I can only see the top; then I can compare better. But when on display, you’ll see the colors.

    Also, in the effects gallery for this, patterns that previously used cool white now use the soft white. Even “snow”! (Also, “Bright twinkle”, “fireworks”, candy cane, the blue and white mix, the Italian color “veritcal flag”, etc.). “Sparkles” uses a dim soft white with cool white sparkles. “Vintage” of course now just uses the plain soft white, instead of the poor greenish mix used for the RGBs. “Clypsydra”, (the deepening snow), and “color snow” (where the deepening snow cycles through the spectrum colors) uses the cool white.

    Generation I and II RGB and RGBW are not compatible, in that you can’t link them together in “groups”. (I won’t need to for the bedroom set). On my phone, where I can see the color patterns I made before, still in the gallery, when in the Gen II string, it has completely changed them (into some pale rainbow colors or something). In the new Gen I set (the garland), the colors I made before are the same in the app, but they don’t run on the new string, for some reason. So I’ll have to find out about that.

    Might put the lights out earlier, since there was actually an idea to put lights out back in the spring, to cheer up the atmosphere in light of COVID. Some people reportedly did this, though I don’t think I’ve seen any.

    Also this weekend, we saw that QVC has finally started selling Twinkly trees! And in addition to the 7ft, they also have 9ft, 6.5 ft and 5 ft. I had also recently seen the 5ft tree on Amazon, for only around $200, and that was actually what I was looking for last year (and didn’t seem like it existed. So it might be new this year, as Twinkly is obviously increasing in popularity), as it’s easier to set up, put away, and not as heavy, but this one only has 125 lights (where just one foot taller is 600 lights), so it is not as densely lit.

    In a bit of other news, bright new Revolution blue bulbs are appearing in the tunnel, between Roosevelt and Elmhurst Aves. (I also added to a comment above, that I found out that the smaller A19 shaped bulbs thay had in a few places, were by a company called Topaz. There was one on the string of lights on the walkway between the yard and the terminal. (I determined what what I thought were 2700K Dialights were probably just yellowed 4000K’s). Now, they just recently replaced the whole string with the bright new Topaz’s!)

  51. So I finally did what I planned above, and now for the first time have a 100% RGB outside display! (Did put them out a bit earlier; before Thanksgiving).

    Original 105 light Twinkly on right rail, wall and awning; new 56 light string on left rail; linked all three Illuminate sets (1 C9 and 2 M5’s) for the bush, the garland made into a wreath for the middle window, and kept the Angelica strings for the side windows. What I did with them was something I had looked into last year, but couldn’t find anything, but this year found something, and that was to encase them in thick mounting tape I found at Home Depot:

    I tried two different ones, for each string: Gorilla Tough & Clear, which is thicker and crystal clear, and Nashua Stretch & Seal which is thinner, stretchier and looks a bit cloudier in comparison. Both were two sided, but I only needed one sided, but for the front and back of the lights, so they would stick to each other with the lights in the middle, but not be sticky on the outside. That way, I would turn it essentially into a “tape light” strip (like the one we got for under the cabinet over the kitchen sink), but with the pixels spaced far apart.
    So I figured I’d just keep the backing on, so it can be rolled up without sticking to itself. Problem is, the Nashua uses flimsy wider backing that comes off easy, and the Gorilla backing is sturdier and will stay on, but often has a clear “Gorilla” watermark spaced throughout. So for the Nashua, we just took the backing off and replaced it with 1 inch wide Scotch clear tape. For the Gorilla, we just had to try to get the watermark to miss falling on the front of a light, and occaionally made cuts to jump over the pixel. This actually helped on the window, as I had already planned to cut it for what would be the corners on the window so it could bend.

    So it makes it much easier to keep straight (even with the window open), makes it much easier to roll up, and inhibits the bare solder chip-wire connections from bending too much (I was afraid a couple of them looked almost ready to break). Neither of the films alter the light, though the crystal clear one ends up ironically being more visible, in glowing more.

    The other RGB’s are all just reserve now. Still thinking of looking for some store to give the diffused chan letter strings to. Don’t have any of the non color changing lights out, though she got a small soft white LED branch tree for inside.

    The Illuminates are rather dim in comparison to the bright new Twinkly’s, and it seems the red dies in a couple of the C9’s aren’t working, so you can only get blues and greens. (Another C9 only shows a very dim blue). So next year, the plan is to get the icicles for the awning, and the 105 light Twinkly will move to the bush, and of course be replaced on the railing by another 56 light string.
    Twinkly also has something called a “Spritzer”, which someone in a video showed makes a great [totally ‘smart’ RGB] star for the tree, so we plan to get that next year too.

    So likely keeping the Angelica strings since there is no Twinkly replacement (yet, at least), I had planned to see if I could get a controller as similar to Twinkly as possible for them, and I think Tinkerspshere does have one ( not sure if it uses the same connectors and if 2801 can run 2812 though, and they don’t seem to have a public store anymore for me to see and test it out), but it’s $99, and again, we had spent enough money already this year. So I ended up fixing the connector on the connecting wires, and still run them together with the cheap preset controller I have to scroll through everything to find something. I did take down all the ones I got, from the three sticky pads I had jotted them on on years ago:

    Tinkersphere $5 controller (used with Angelica strings) patterns:

    1 All patterns
    2 M 3 C 4 W
    5 G 6 R 7 B 8 Y 9 C 10 W
    11 G/O 12 B/G 13 Y/G 14 M/G 15 C(P)/G 16 W/G
    17 R/G 18 B/R 19 GY/R 20 M/R 21 C/R 22 W/R
    23 G(aqua)/B 24 R(cerise)/B 25 Y(sw)/B 26 M(P)/B 27 C/B 28 W/B
    chasing through background
    29 O/G 30 B/G 31 Y/G 32 W(pinkish)/G 33 C/G 34 W/G 35 R/G
    36 B/R 37 Y/R 38 M/R 39 C/R 40 W/R
    41 G/B 42 R/B 43 Y/B 44 M/B 45 C/B 46 W/B
    7 color discrete chase through background
    47 black 48 G 49R 50 B
    Discrete solo color chase
    51 G 52 R 53 B 54 Y 55 M 56 C 57 W
    through G
    58 O 59 B 60 Y 61 M 62 C 63 W
    through R
    64 G 65 B 66 Y 67 M 68 C 69 W
    through B
    70 G 71 R 72 Y 73 M 74 C 75 W
    Two 7 color streak chase
    77 through G
    78 through R
    79 through B
    2 color streak chase
    80 black 81 R 82 B 83 Y 84 M 85 C 86 W
    2 Or. streak chase
    87 black 88 B 89 Y 90 M 91 C 92 W
    2 streak through background chase
    93 G 94 B 95 Y 96 M 97 C 98 W
    99 G 100 R 101 Y 102 M 103 C 104 W
    105 Multi color 106 B thr G
    107 G thr R 108 R thr B 109 C thr R 110 Y thr B
    STACKS on end and middle
    111 112 G 113 114 R 1115 116 B 117 118 Y 119 120 M 121 122 C
    WHITE stacks through bkg
    123 G 124 B 125 R
    126 7 color wash
    127 7 color [?]
    128 7 color rev/[?]
    129 white stack
    130 white stack to end
    131 fast 7 color
    132 7 color chase, fade out
    133 fade in/out
    134 W Y G O C
    135 C Y M W — R
    136 7 color — B
    137 several colors — G
    138 several colors — R
    138 several colors — B
    140 G 141 R 142 B 143 Y 144 M 145 C 146 W
    147 G 148 R 149 B 150 Y 151 M 152 C 153 W
    154 O/G 155 B/G 156 Y/G 157 M(P)/G 158 C 159 W

  52. Another Christmas quickly come and gone! (seeming llike there hardly was a Christmas season, because I didn’t go out as much, due to COVID. Only saw the Rockefeller tree once, but luckily, there wasn;t the block long line and five minute limit I had heard about, at the less busy time I went.

    At House of Holidays, I saw an imitation Twinkly set; the “holiday Home” brand (which you can’t really find much info on).

    The encased Angelica string setup worked out well, though I’m still looking for something better. The garland also worked well as a wreath.
    The Illuminates right around Christmas began fritzing out, where only one “mini” string would work right, and now the C9’s dimmed (even even took them down early, right after Christmas), and by the time I packed them up, seem to be all but dead. Even the original Twinkly 105 light string had seven lights go out, and one, the blue doesn’t work.

    But now, Twinkly is announcing (for CES, where they’ll be displaying), three new products:

    “Line” (a standard LED strip)
    “Flex” (basically a diffused “neon” rope tube)
    “Squares” (a square wall panel)

    Of course, I wanted a pixel string like Angelica or Minleon Pebbles, for the windows. But since Twinkly products are all “smart” (individually addressable), I can use the Line, and simply space out the lit lights, to the same pitch as the pixel strings. I can even create a “chasing” pattern spaced that way, using the other lights. I also plan to line each window sash individually, instead of one square around the whole window. That looks better. One guy across the street did this with old pale green incandescents. Have to work out how to open the window over the top square.

    So for next year, the new purchases are planned to be:

    “Spritzer” (tree topper)
    “Icicles” (awning)
    “Line” ×2 (side windows)
    “Strings” (56, for one stoop railing)

    This to be added to:
    105 string, (bush. Defective lights won’t matter as much then. Hoe I can find a way to fix them)
    56 string (other stoop railing)
    Garland/wreath (middle window)

    So the entire outside display will be Twinkly! (plus the tree, of course, for a total of eight. The “Curtain” in the bedroom is staying up).

    The Illuminates can now be retired (still a shame, though), and the Angelica strings perhaps give to some one else (I still have all the chain letter module strings, which I had planned to offer to area stores, but kept putting it off, and figured I’d hold on to them for another year). There’s still the olf GE Color Effects (one working and the other half working), while I’ll probably also give away.

    The app works better than originally (on both IOS and Android), but runs into problems when switching between devices to control the lights.

    In other LED news, not hearing much about MLED, I decided to ask Samsung about the Wall, and was told they had one on display at the Samsung Experience store in Roosevelt Feidl (And I had just been past there, to see the RXR tree and the old Harrows, which had the Twinkly 7ft tree with less lights [255], for $125). Upon calling the store, he didn’t seem sure of what I was talking about, but said there was some kind of display on the outside of the store.
    Continuing to look, I see one is actually being SOLD now, by B&H!

    Model number is IW012J. $10,946.00 I didn’t even know this thing was out; let alone being sold by a retail outfit. When I called them, they said they didn’t have any in the store. I also saw where I think they said you could go to two of the three offices (CA, DC, but not NJ) to see it. That might have prompted a trip to DC (also, to see that new light rail that opened), but this is in around Eastern Market area, in the shadow of (and neighborhood called) Capitol Hill, so with all that’s going on there now, that’s definitely out.
    So I have to keep investigating on this, and maybe take a chance of heading back out to Garden City.

    In the meantime, the new Moynihan Station has a large departure sign (right against the cafe) using the really small LED’s. (Recall, the two smallest I had seen were the Apple stores in Wlliamsburg and near BAM; the latter [by Sony], the smallest ever. Not seeing either in awhile, I wasn’t sure which size it matched. It might be like the BAM one, but is not in a smooth substrate like that one).

  53. FINALLY, we come full circle back to my original hope for LED’s. From the holy grail of Christmas lighting, to the holy grail of train signage! New R211’s being produced right now in Nebraska! They actually appear to be using familiar 5mm units, rather than the increasingly smaller ones that have been out for a few years. (Plus likely LCD “FIND”. This is practically possible with LED now).

    • OK, now here it is, in video, of the first whole train that has now been delivered, now in Pitkin Yard.
      (I already got to climb aboard when it was first displayed in Coney Island Yard, and it was signed up as “Q”)

      (The above comment had images of it still in the plant, and signed up as “W”, “G” and “M”, that apparently weren’t supposed to be out, so I was asked to remove them. Need to find a picture of the inside sign on the air conditioning unit, which also uses the RGB line bullet and white text like the window sign!)

  54. 12-23-21

    AND HERE IT IS; finally, after almost 10 years:

    click to enlarge

    I swung by Roosevelt Field on the way out from RXR to see this new “Samsung Experience” Store, but the main thing they had there was QLED TV’s. They suggested it was at the flagship store, by now called “837” (its address at 837 Washington St., by the High Line), which I had tried a few years before. So I went there last night, and sure enough, they had it! You can even start to see it right as you turn the corner from 14th St. (It’s on the next corner on 13th), and it looks like a super bright LED screen in the background in the store. That’s the small version, which is little bigger than a really big wall TV. To the left, in the background facing Washington St. is the big two story version.

    If that weren’t all, they said they had them “ever since COVID”; meaning not just a year ago when I had to mull returning to LI after the holidays to see it and figured it wasn’t worth it, but from toward the beginning of that year; almost two years ago now! (The runaround they give you on the phone when they don’t know anything!)

    I had been wondering if the big Sony display in the newest Apple store was close to MLED, but the pixels on this one are just like those of a typical LCD! In fact, except for the brightness and color (and the small panels it consists of), it looks and feels just like an LCD! The same “matte” surface (it’s not glossy like the OLED TVs and the Sony BAM store sign), and you expect it to discolor when you touch it, but it doesn’t. The colors are pretty much like the original Samsung RGB OLED, but much brighter, and the resolution much crisper like nothing seen on any kind of TV. The stars in the sky clearly vary in size, with the smallest being a single pixel! The pictures I took, above even seem to make the LCD screen I’m viewing it on do what it can’t normally do! (There are some wavy patterns which are from the dissonance of pixels between the display, camera and viewing screen, and not on the actual display itself).
    (The same “new technology night”, throw in an Uber ride that was a Tesla! Only other electric cars I had ridden in were at the auto show! Though I have had three rides on electric buses!)

    As for this year’s decorations, the biggest roadblock to the original plans occured way back in March, when the landlord removed the bush, because the rats overrunning the neighborhood were nesting in its roots. The whole garden was then paved with cement tiles. So now, I decided to put the original 105 light string planned for the bush this year on the stoop railing closest to it (it covers the top and bottom rails), and the 56 light short version on the other railing.
    So we got the icicles for the awning, the Spritzer for the tree, and the makeshift wreath returned to the middle window. The next problem was the Lines can only have one extension each. I had gotten one starter kit, and aimed to attach one to it, and via an extension (which are actually provided in the extension kit boxes), two more extensions on the other window. So now, we had to scrap linking them together, and get a second starter kit for the other window, link one to it, and we’re now left with an extra extension strip that we have no use for. As planned, I connect them in the middle on the top of the window, and run them down the sides, and have not lined the bottom of the window at all. (We got new command strip hooks that allow us to open the bottom window without moving the light strip, the hook’s loop just slides up the strip!) So perhaps next year, I can just get two more starter kits, so that each of the four window panes would be completely lined with its own starter kit and extension, using the extra one, and adding another one. I would still rather they come out with pixel strings, as it’s hard to light individual lights on the strip as I wanted.

    So we were initially, finally 100% Twinkly. But then, we decided to get an RGB 4 foot spiral tree (Kringle Express via QVC) to place where the bush was, and chain it to the garden/lower steps railing. It has the standard 7 colors, and various patterns, but I can’t do as much as with the Twinklys, of course. With this, came a Kasa RGB smart bulb (on the app, using a wheel palette for color, and color temperature scale (K) for shades of white. So after all of these years since the Philips Hue came out; we finally got around to getting our first RGB smart bulb!)
    As luck would have it, as soon as we ordered it, I suddenly see Twinkly now has their own version; called a “flagpole tree” (but with rings of lights instead of a spiral)! So I want to get that one next year, and give the spiral one away. Thing is, it’s RGBW, and won’t be able to run in a group with the other outdoor lights. (The only RGBW we have is still the curtain in the bedroom). I hadn’t run anything in sync this year, because it’s been clunky getting them to stay connected to the wifi. The ones I synced last year I had to undo, and in fact reset all of the devices to get them to pick up the wifi.

    In other news, working on Broad St. they have a huge tree, rivaling Rockefeller center (I could have been there when they turned it on, but was tired and felt like going home that day).

    They redid the trees surrounding Rockefeller Center, and they got new 3000K’s, just like the ones across 6th ave. (Like going backwards!) You can’t go in front of the tree (at the entrance of the building) anymore; the whole plaza between streets is closed off.

    And across 6th Ave., someone set fire to one of the FOX News trees (I believe one of the red-amber-blue lit ones). But by the time I got back out there, they had apparenty taken it down. I see one still out there, so I’m not sure if it was replaced already.

    EDIT (1-5; from postseason articles on upcoming CES product display):
    They did it again! Come out with what I really want, after me buying something else:

    Twinkly DOTS:

    Basically, their own counterpart to products like the old DingDotz, a flat pixel string with the lights a couple inches or so apart. Just what I was looking for starting last year, and there was no sign of them even thinking of them. (Wonder if it could even be from my suggestion to them!)
    The first site says they will only come in 33 and 66 feet. Those are too long. With the 2 × [2×2] ft window sashes, I would probably only need 16 [give a few] feet for each window to line each sash like I wanted to. Hope they come out with smaller ones, or you can cut and separate them.

    So next year; this, and perhaps the flagpole tree, and then, that’s it. The Lines we can use in the house.

  55. Got the Twinkly flagpole tree for the outside (to complete my totally controllable RGB collection), but upon opening it found it was designed to be staked into the ground (both the central pole, and these metal stakes you have to take a ribbon and triangulate where they are placed, to hold the vertical laces shaping the tree in place). Where the cheap 7 color flagpole I got last year was a spiral configuration on a stand, this one has the lights run on three different coil forms, (with their own separate connection to the power line), which form concentric (completely horizontal and separate) circles and held in form vertically by what are basically thick shoelaces that have to be anchored to the ground individually. Like the really big “lights only” cone tree in public displays.

    But since the garden was paved over with cement pavers, I had to look around for another way to hold its form (they don’t sell poles with big enough stands by themselves), and found that tying it to a fire pit grate and using a regular tree stand would work instead. (It was really hard to find anything circular that was big enough! Someone on the FB Twinkly group briefly offered my the perfectly sized frame from some old defective flagpole tree he once had, but that feel through for some reason).
    So using a 36in. grate (the intended diameter was 39in). works. (It even folds, so will be easy to store!) Need to tighten the laces so you can see the horizontal lines better.

    I got the first “Dots” set in the spring, and used it in one window for the 4th of July weekend, and then since got the other one for the holidays, so we’re all set! They’re pitched smaller than I wished, but I guess good enough, as it they don’t look like a continuous line.
    I figure now my Twinkly collection is finally complete (again, not interested in the new hotshot products, of Squares and Flex). I wondered if they would now come out with a branch tree, which is the only other thing I would want (and may have gotten instead of a flagpole tree), but there seems to be no sign of any, even though parent company Kurt S Adler has been selling single color branch trees for years. (But then, with the Dots, it was after the holiday season I find out about their new products, but with the flagpole tree, it was before; right after ordering the cheap tree. So I would think if this was being planned anytime soon, I would be able to find something about it when looking for it. So I hope if they do come out with it; it’s next year or after. I would then have two trees outside!)

    Getting another look at the MLED screens at the Samsung store, I noticed the “Wall” really does use larger pixels than the smaller one, and so may be closer to the Sony screen at BAM after all. Seeing more displays using really tiny LED’s like that, including the train boards at Grand Central!

    On the OLED front, had my tablet screen develop a crack, and upon seeking to replace it (which is what drew me back to the Samsung store again), find they’re not making OLED mini-tabs like the s6 anymore. Now, most of them are 12 inches! (the size of a laptop screen). So in Best Buy, I see Samsung’s new OLED laptop [Edit: and which I decided to grab, with the big discount that ends today! It actually comes out in a couple weeks]. And even got to play the OLED Switch a bit (three sample levels on Super Mario 3D World. Beautiful on OLED!)
    The FOLED-based Galaxy “Fold” (starts out like a regular phone and opened into a square half-tablet basically) and “Flip” (like a regular phone when open, and then folds into a small square) have been out, and I see several people at work with the Fold. Costs $1800 (which was the same price as a huge wall OLED TV in Best Buy, when I first saw it), though, while the Flip is about $1100. I’m now at the 6 year mark with my J7, and will probably have to replace it soon. will probably go with the S22.

  56. Finally; my outside and window display is complete! But as soon as this occcurs, the first string, the five year old 105 unit “String” is rapidly dying! When I first placed it, chunks of lights were out, and now, almost the whole bottom railing is out, and chunks of the top. It’s also very hard to get it to connect to the network.
    So now, rather than getting any new items, it looks like in the future I’ll have to start replacing the old ones. It doesn’t make sense to put this one up any more (and my previous Philips Illuminate string had fritzed completely out as well.

    Since it’s not the LED’s that burn out, but rather the circuitry, I wish there were a way to repair it; even if I had to get some kind of Arduino kit or something. But then it likely won’t be recognized as a Twinkly unit!

    In the newly refurbished Rockefeller Center rink area, we see the bright RGB LED “stadium” style lights displaying among other things, simulations of soft white:

    (With some penguins for young skaters to hold on to; wish they had those 52 years ago when I was taken skating there!)
    And even high pressure sodium-style “peach”:

    (So glad they didn’t do this on the new LED street lights, to try to match the old sodiums. On that front, new LED’s continuing to go in in different places are now all 2700K, so you see more and more streets looking like they are illuminated by incandescents!
    Also, as of last year, the barrier to going in the actual Plaza directly in front of the tree, and the up escalator from the concourse is permanent, due to the burning down of the FOX tree; and a guard [whom I asked if there was a terror threat or something] even said the person was reportedly heading for the Rockefeller tree as well! [Edit; the path between the tree and the building was opened up sometime after Christmas. It ran until the 14th this year!])

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