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Thread: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

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    Newbie Extraordinaire... scottmcl's Avatar
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    Default C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    Time for the next week's "random" newbie question...

    What are your experiences using the various light types? C9s are bigger, C7s a little smaller, and minis are the "smallest". (Let's lump 5mm, minis, and other "small" lights together - or can we do that?)

    Why would you use one in a certain situation and not a different one? Some thought provokers:

    Bethlehem star - why use C9s and not minis?
    Arches - why use minis and not something else?
    mini-trees - why use C9s and not minis?
    Mega-trees - why do you use what you use?

    Thanks for the help!!! Looking forward to everyone's answers!
    - Scott M.
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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    Hi Scott. I am glad to see these questions coming up. It reminds me of me (last year) ... !

    When I had static lights on my house I used C9 around all the windows and all across the roof. To save a little power I switched out the roof to C7s and it didn't seem to make any difference. Although I still really like my windows surrounded with big glowing C9s. It's just the classic look to me.

    Lots of guys use Minis around windows too. I have seen a lot on the Internet where they make a picture-frame that hangs above the window - it's painted the same color as the window trim, and then perfectly spaced holes at about 2" apart with mini in them. One guy had four colors (4 channels) for each window with very closely spaced minis (approx 1" or even 3/4") to get them to fit with approx 4" spacing. You would need to make sure your minis have enough spacing for this. I am considering two channels per window this year with my C9s but have not made the frames yet. I really want to make the frames this year because I am getting sick of stapling every year !

    As for the mini trees and the mega trees, you can do what you want. As you've seen with the LED discussion, some of the guys are using slightly larger LED bulbs (although they are still just one LED per bulb). The minis have more "spots" of light so I think that;s why they have been the choice for mini trees, mega trees, Vue Meter lights, pinwheels and arches. Minis just seem to lend themselves to being easily customized into whatever picture you have in your head . . . This is particularly true with using minis on coroplast (FM signs, moving stars, lightning bolts, etc).

    But there are no set rules. In the end you just need to be happy with your "effect" and also make sure you have all your power nicely balanced across your main panel (or sub panel) .. and of course not overloaded.

    I know you are using Walters Bethlehem Star his year .. All 1300 Watts of it (over 10 amps), yipes. So next year you'll be wanting to make one for yourself. I think it would look just fine with C7s instead of C9s. You could also consider the LED replacement C9 or C7 bulbs, for a major power diet on yours. Heck, you could do that now. Just buy 180 C9 LED replacement bulbs to fit the sockets and plug em in !

    Be aware, there is a HUGE selection of different LED replacement bulbs out there. Some have 3 LEDs and some as many as 5. And until recently most of them did not have full wave rectifiers in them. So be careful to buy reputable ... If you find a price that's really awesome, they are probably (most likely) be the older half wave rectified type that you don't want...

    My 3 cents worth ..
    Last edited by kidcole; 07-09-2010 at 03:23 PM.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Newbie Extraordinaire... scottmcl's Avatar
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    Default Re: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    Yea, I know these are kinda "Basic" questions. I'm just trying to take advantage of the knowledge base here to understand why everyone in lights seems to do things certain ways.

    Again, thanks in advance for the helpful understanding!!!
    - Scott M.
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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    Scott -

    Up front - it's all personal choice.

    Al in Raleigh likes C9's on his Bethlehem star to make it show up; it's bright. I'm planning mini's on mine, partially due to power requirements; I'm going to be running mine with a 4 channel SSR4 which can handle at most 2 amps per channel.

    As to what to use on mini-trees, my personal preference is minis, due to size/eveneess of lights.

    For surrounding windows, I tripped across this this morning; Denny makes reference to do this:

    http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...ad.php?t=11659

    And if you don't have an account on that site, and can't see it, it links to

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4815342_wind...as-lights.html
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Chri...ghting-frames/
    http://www.pacificalights.info/index...Lynx-MR16.html

    a step-by-step how-to with pictures

    http://www.dirknerkle.clubdata.com/h...ow_frames.html

    After reading that post, I'll probably do the pre-made frames. My last couple of attempts trying clips directly to the window frames ended up looking very saggy after a while, after wind/rain/etc tugged on the wires a bit.

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    Newbie Extraordinaire... scottmcl's Avatar
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    Default Re: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    This may be a combination question from the other thread and this one, but I thought I'd ask it here.

    For LED lights, if there is usually just one LED light in each fixture, why are there differences in the 5mm, M6, C7, and C9 light covers? Is it about the look of the bulbs closer up? Or is it about the spread of the lights from the various facets on the bulb covers? Are the 5mm better for pointing in a single direction? Is it kind of like the difference in a spotlight and a floodlight?
    - Scott M.
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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    I'll add a few additional thoughts, but as has already been mentioned, it's all personal choice and look.

    I use C7's in my Bethlehem star, which was made out of wood, and I bought from a guy in Winston Salem that was moving and selling his display. They were incandescent last year. I was part of the group that built Walter's star this year, but haven't decided what I'm doing this year. For the size of the item, C7 or C9 work better. I'm seriously considering converting to C7 LEDs, mostly for power, but at the cost of about .75-$1 per bulb.

    As for arches, wrapping mini's in segments or sections is the way to go. Anything larger than minis doesn't give the same look as fluid.

    Now, for my larger arches that came as part of the surplus buy that will probably go over my driveway, I may consider staying with C6 (LED) or C7s.

    The differences in C7's vs. C9's is primarily in brightness/size of bulb. If LED, the C9 equivalents have a few more LEDs in each "bulb". For incandescents, the filament and bulb is larger, and obviously, consumes more power. In the dark, there probably isn't that much difference able to be noticed, unless you're looking.

    I don't put lights around my windows, although it's something I've considered. I do use rope light in several colors that "outlines" the edges of the front of the house, and have built frames that hang from the eaves that this rope light is already attached to. Similar to the window frames, it makes getting the lights up much quicker.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    Trying to behave here-NOT John's Avatar
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    Default Re: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    Quote Originally Posted by scottmcl View Post
    For LED lights, if there is usually just one LED light in each fixture, why are there differences in the 5mm, M6, C7, and C9 light covers? Is it about the look of the bulbs closer up? Or is it about the spread of the lights from the various facets on the bulb covers? Some of the better C7 and C9 LED strings have 3 to 5 LEDs under the cover as Mark mentioned. (as well as the quality C7 / C9 retro bulbs) But I have never seen them at a big box store. In my opinion, the big box store C9 strings are very dim since they still only have one LED in them. (If you haven't noticed, especially from the other thread, I have no use for big box store LED strings, in my opinion, they are a waste of money, when you can buy the quality LEDs from CDI for about the same money on the January presale)

    Are the 5mm better for pointing in a single direction?
    Actually, ALL LEDs are the brightest when viewed "head on". the 5mm, M5 and M6 only refer to the "style" and size of the cover. M5 and M6 look more like regular mini lights. C6 look more like [sorta] a C7 incadescent light. The 5mm look more like the eraser end of a pencil.


    The different style covers do help to difuse the light and your eye may preceive a size difference. Therefore I use C6 on my megatree, M6 on wireframes, M5 and/or 5mm for arches. It all depends on how you want the display item to look. In my opinion, the LEDs give much more flexiblity to the look of the display because of the wider variety of cover sizes and styles

    Is it kind of like the difference in a spotlight and a floodlight? no
    my comments above in blue, and as usual are just my biased opinions
    John (The Mascot)
    www.tennholidays.com

    480 LOR Channels + 2 CCR + 8 Mighty Minis + 10 Rainbow Floods+ 1 vdrive and vflood, Lynx Express and over 40,000 LEDs

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: C9s vs C7s vs minis - the next phase of the battle

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Stevens View Post

    For surrounding windows, I tripped across this this morning; Denny makes reference to do this:

    http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...ad.php?t=11659

    And if you don't have an account on that site, and can't see it, it links to

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4815342_wind...as-lights.html
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Chri...ghting-frames/
    http://www.pacificalights.info/index...Lynx-MR16.html

    a step-by-step how-to with pictures

    http://www.dirknerkle.clubdata.com/h...ow_frames.html

    After reading that post, I'll probably do the pre-made frames. My last couple of attempts trying clips directly to the window frames ended up looking very saggy after a while, after wind/rain/etc tugged on the wires a bit.
    Regarding the window frames, I use cedar wood strips with the C7s stapled on top, for lining my roof. I like working with the cedar because its easy to cut, drill, staple, etc. So for the window frames, I have a design of my own that I hope to accomplish this year. I will first make the frame and cut the corners with 45 degree cuts. Then I will route a 3/4" wide slot on the underside of each of the four boards. The slot will be for the wires and the 45 degree corners will make the slots line up all the way around the frame. Then I will drill holes just big enough for each C9 socket to push through from the bottom. The wires can be stapled from the underside in the slot and the excess wire also buried in the slot. This will protect the wires and the sockets. I will paint each frame with my house trim color before installing the lights. I am not sure how nice and straight the light sockets will stand, so if they are crooked, I will use the rope putty mastic window caulk around each socket to seal it in place in each hole. It's gonna be a real pain to store all the darned frames, but it will be worth it when next year all I do is hang them back up and screw in the bulbs.

    BTW - I always remove all my C7 and C9 bulbs every year. I used to break a ton of them during storage, so a couple years ago I started pulling them out and they survive much better...
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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