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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] 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: http://www.decadecounter.com/vta/articleview.php?item=947
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 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 http://www.erictb.info/leds.html]


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 appears on huge EAB/RXR Plaza tree in Long Island. (Mixed in with the incandescents).

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 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).

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!

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40 Comments
  1. 11-26-12: Empire State Building goes LED!
    http://www.usnews.com/news/technology/articles/2012/11/29/empire-state-building-surprises-ny-with-new-lights

    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. 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: http://autolumination.com/colors.htm

  3. 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. 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. 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. Ran Across this today: http://www.chauvetlighting.com/motionset-led.html 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: http://www.mouser.com/new/lumex/lumexrgb0404

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

  7. Closeups of the Chanel pixels:

    20130827_184318
    20130827_184334

  8. Well, not color, but great news:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/25/nyregion/city-to-fit-all-streetlights-with-energy-saving-led-bulbs.html

    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!)

    • 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 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/nyregion/new-led-streetlights-shine-too-brightly-for-some-in-brooklyn.html 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: http://gothamist.com/2015/03/23/led_lights_ugly_efficiency.php

      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. 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. 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. 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! http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/1398325067/UL_ETL_3w_6W_9W_e26/showimage.html

  12. Wow, the morning after stopping there, the Blackbody showroom is featured on OLED-info (or at least the article is posted to Facebook): http://www.oled-info.com/blackbodys-animated-irain-chandelier-video

    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. 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. Right under 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:

    http://www.downtownbrooklyn.com/posts/community/new-design-to-light-downtown-for-the-holidays
    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. 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. 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. 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. 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 (http://www.samsung.com/uk/ut/uk/demo/pdp-wow/index1.html), 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. 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. 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
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/07/nobel-prize-physics_n_5943578.html

    (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
    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/10/07/physics-nobel-greene

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

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Home-Accents-Holiday-25-Light-LED-G40-72-Function-Multi-Color-Light-Set-with-Remote-TY1197-1415/205092213

    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,
      Russ

      • 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. HOLD IT; STOP THE PRESSES!
    Finally; a commercial apparently completely controllable LED string!

    Philips ILLUMINATE (at Target)
    http://www.seasonalspecialties.com/Illuminate_Lights.html
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Zengge.LEDWifiPHILIPS&hl=en

    • 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. 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. 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. A lot of new programmable [single] bulbs, including even “tunable white” (that ranged from 2700-6500K)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/garden/the-rise-of-the-smartbulb.html

    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. 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. 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. 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 (http://www.adafruit.com/products/1548) 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: http://www.parts-express.com/lavolta-pro-lpc1-intelligent-rgb-led-controller-with-rf-mini-remote-for-tm1809-led-strip–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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMD_LED_Module https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adafruit_Industries http://www.world-semi.com)%5D

    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: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016ELRPSI
    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:
    http://www.amazon.com/WS2811-Pixels-digital-Addressable-String/dp/B00OH05D3I
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RRT4PR6 ]

    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. We in passing discover that Philips has in fact come out with a “mini” version of Illuminate! http://www.target.com/p/philips-illuminate-mini-lights-25ct-starter-kit/-/A-17433561 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:

    http://www.target.com/p/7-5-ft-pre-lit-philips-balsam-fir-artificial-christmas-tree-illuminate-technology-multi-color-lights/-/A-18854098

    *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) 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, which remains as just a nice “faceted” variation).

    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. 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 mimick the old rollsigns. Also rendered were full color FINDS (showing the stations on the line) and the air conditioner sign.

  30. 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!

    https://www.amazon.com/AngelicaAP-Module-String-WS2812B-Pre-wired/dp/B01LAJ9212/

    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. 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. 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:
    https://www.amazon.com/AngelicaAP-Module-String-WS2812B-Pre-wired/dp/B01LAJ9212
    (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:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LHTJHZM (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”, https://www.amazon.com/eTopxizu-Universal-Regulated-Switching-Computer/dp/B00D7CWSCG/ 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” http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-60W-Equivalent-Daylight-Soft-White-Warm-Glow-SceneSwitch-A19-LED-Light-Bulb/207053953 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. 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).

  34. 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 https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1CbHNJ…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 http://www.tweaking4all.com/hardware/arduino/arduino-ws2812-led 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 12 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:
    http://www.brookstone.com/pd/message-fan-with-floating-led-display/939770p.html (there’s also one that’s a clock. Saw that in Brookstone itself, in Rockefeller Center).

  35. The Dark Side of LED Lightbulbs
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/led-lightbulb-concerns/

    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!

    https://blog.sony.com/press/sony-redefines-high-end-visual-display-technology-with-a-new-canvas-for-creativity/
    https://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-monitors/resource.latest.bbsccms-assets-cat-mondisp-latest-CLEDISLargeDisplaySolutionWide.shtml

    “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) http://www.flatpanelshd.com/focus.php?subaction=showfull&id=1477048275), 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: https://www.cnet.com/replay/news/qled-vs-oled-samsungs-tv-tech-and-lgs-tv-tech-are-not-the-same/ 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. 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.

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