SH Sean Harding/blog
Philips LED Icicle lights are evil
Saturday, December 8th, 2007

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’m an early adopter. I like to try out new products and technology, and I’m used to products having some rough edges. But sometimes, the edges are so annoyingly rough that I just have to share my frustration. You, dear reader, are the lucky recipient.

About this time two years ago, I was at Target shopping for some new outdoor Christmas lights, and I saw some really cool looking blue LED icicle lights from Philips. They cost far more than the old fashioned kind of lights, but they looked neat and I’m a sucker for new products. Also, the box claimed that they offer “up to 88% energy savings” and “25,000 hour average bulb life,” so I figured they’d last a long time. I bought three sets, put them up, and I liked them so much that I bought another set last year.

This year when I tested them before hanging them (a crucial step), I discovered that three of the four sets were malfunctioning. Including the new set purchased just last year. On two sets, only half of the lights worked, and on the third, none worked at all. After some testing and inspection, I discovered what you see in the photo below.

That’s right. Rust! Apparently, the wires on the LEDs are steel, so they rust when they get wet. Really great design for lights that are meant to be used outdoors, huh? All four strings have severe rusting. It’s worst on the lights at the bottom of the “icicles,” presumably because that’s where the water runs to when it rains. It turns out, this is a known problem. But it wasn’t known to me when I bought the lights, and it may very well not be known to you. Until now, of course. You’re welcome.

This year, I’ll be using good old incandescent Christmas lights outside.

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