LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...

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OK..  After doing testing with 1-4 strings of LEDs and the X10 mods I
had on hand (modified and unmodifed) here's what I did... (none of the
modules would turn off the Leds all the way

- Home Depot - gray plastic box, outlet cover, and outlet - ~$2
- 2' power cord (salvaged from junk box)
- 110v AC relay (ratshack - $8, but I'm sure they can be found cheaper -
10amp contactsis what I got)  Just make sure it will fit in the outlet
box, with the outlet

Basically, wired so that when power is a applied, relay closes and power
is applied to the outlet..  Using a std X10 appliance module all works!
  I plug the relay into the module, the LED lights into the relay.  It's
less visible than adding a incandescent light to the mix..  2' cord is
enough to set the outlet box on the floor (containing the relay).

The relay is DPDT, but only switching hot, so I can easily use the other
side for dry contact at a later time. (3 screw terminals on the outside
of the box and wire to the relay is all it takes...)

Re: LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...
Alternatives: An X10 Socket Rocket, or add a "ballest bulb" (7W night light
woorks good) in parallel with the LED strings. Either way, the LEDs will
extinguish. Your relay method works just as well, but a little harder to

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Re: LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...
The relay is a solution that is easier to hide were needed however!

D&SW wrote:
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Re: LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...

Hey just an idea to add to that setup...

Since you're using X10 to trigger the relay, then have you considered
scheduling the lights using X10 also?  For example, an MT10 Mini Timer
Kit ( www.nextevolution.com.au/productsinfo.asp?productcode=MT10 ) can
be configured to turn X10 devices on & off at programmed times...
cheaper solution than setting up a PC to do the controlling (unless you
already have a PC setup for home automation) - for under 100 bucks you
won't have to remember to switch on the Xmas tree lights :-)    I use
an MT10 at my bedside table to manually control some lights close by,
but setting it up to control the Xmas lights would be funky.



Vincent B

Re: LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...
Already done (and has been for years)..  A bit more than a MT10.  I got
a Linux box that interfaces with a 1-Wire USB adapter and a X10 CM15a,
with a custom app and scripting! (no script downloaded to the Cm15a, as
the X10 SW really was bad!). ("If date >Thanksgiving and date < Jan 02,
turn on Xmas lights at sunset", and then, "if Xmas lights are on, turn
them off +/- minutes of 11:00 PM" )

It controls my house year round (i.e. "turn of the attic fan if the temp
in the attic is over 110", and logs the number of times the AC comes on,
and the total time it's on each day).

vincentb wrote:
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Re: LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...
I ran across the LED glow issue last year. I'm slowly changing outside
decorations to LEDs where possible. The $0 solution is to connect at least 1
miniature light set to each LED branch power feed.  This not a problem since
I have an intermix of LED and miniature lights.  This needs to done at the
controller end or before the LED strings.  The pass-through power
(string-a-long) on the LED string is rectified voltage (about 100 volts DC).

My decoration theme is candy cane so most of the lighting is red and white
(clear or frosted).  For years I'm made on own color schemes by
interchanging bulbs. However, this is not possible with LEDs.  For one
decoration I interwove the red and white LED sets using tiewraps.  My next
task is red/white LED icicles (sometimes called curtain lights).  There are
a few on the market but are way, way, way too expensive.  No easy solution
other than cut, splice, heat shrink, and keeping the polarity straight.

The colored LEDs are very bold in color.  However, the white LEDs have a
slight cold blue color when viewed outside in the dark.


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Re: LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...
Actually not quite $0, as a string of the mini-lights take more power
than something like 10 strings of LEDS.

Outside, I have a few mini-light strings in use - but then again, I have
a blow-up snowman too!

Inside, however, it's all LED - had a chuck of mini-lights go out on my
"pre-lit" tree, and I now have it pre-lit with LEDS.  The color is so
much better, and I don't want mini-lights in the mix..  Therefore the relay.

The LED strings I got do allow you to interchange lights (from Target -
made by phillips), and while you can get the white (kind of blue)
strings, to get a string of all red, you need to get about 5 strings and
use the reds all in one..  You'll wind up with a string of orange
(Halloween) and green (St Patty's Day)!  The ones I got look (in shape)
like mini lights.

Steven Downin wrote:
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Re: LED Xmas lights and X10.. the final solution...
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Based on that, the only 0$ solution would be  no lights <grin>.

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It would be great if they started making the lights interchangeable among
sets and selling sets with all one color (other than the orange for

It is amazing how fast the price has come down and how much better the
lights look compared with a few years ago.  I got ones that are labeled as
"C-6".  The colored plastic diffusers are smaller than C7 lights but bigger
than the plain mini lights and have prism shapes molded into the surface to
add a little sparkle.

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