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rjchu
05-07-2014, 07:52 PM
First let me say that I've made purchases from CDI, Radiant Holidays, DIYLEDExpress, Holiday Coro and others and generally had good to great experiences with all of them. This year due to missing out on some pre-sales as well as the desire to get better pricing, fully realizing the risk of having a poor customer experience, I decided to start doing business with Ray Wu. I know a number of folks have had positive experiences and others have not which is what prompted me to post my experience here in hopes that it will help others on the fence decide to give it a try or stay with US-based vendors.

My initial scratch and sniff order to try things out with Ray consisted of 10 reels of 5m WS2811 12v flex strips and 20 of the *tiny* DM-103 3 channel DMX decoders and their associated programmer. The DMX decoders, in addition to being a lot smaller than I expected, which is nice, all tested out fine. Of the 10 flex reels, on the other hand, I had issues with 3 of them including bad red channels on two of them and power but not data being propagated to the last foot or so of the strip on the third one - all fairly minor in the scheme of things. I believe all of these are solder issues that should/will be straightforward repairs but when I contacted Ray he immediately offered to send replacements. Since another package would be coming my way, I also asked if he'd mind including a couple samples of some other form factors which he did without hesitation - all at zero cost to me as I'd expect in this situation. In both cases, the original order and the replacements that Ray sent out, the orders came within 3-4 days of being shipped via DHL and I had tracking numbers when they shipped.

In my opinion, the above reflects a positive buying experience. I'd had issues with pixel products from some of the other vendors above including strings that didn't work at their rated voltage, strings with bad pixels ( just like in the case of the strips I got from Ray) and in both cases those vendors "made good" and shipped me replacements and sent prepaid shipping labels for me to send the defects back so those obviously were positive buying experiences as well given my criteria but given that Ray's prices are still a little better, he has products the US-based vendors don't (like the DMX decoders), shipping costs are reasonable, and he let me keep the defective reels to use for any future repair needs, I'll certainly buy from Ray again in the future.

Again, this is just my personal experience and opinions. I'm sure some will agree with me and many more will not. That's ok, my intent here was to post some feedback for others that are considering purchasing from Ray. Will I continue to buy from the other vendors? Absolutely. They carry other products I need and as others have pointed out there are difficulties in getting things in a timely manner from China during certain times of the year. But, if you can plan your needs in advance, it's definitely a viable option.

Thanks for reading,

-joni-

intwoit2002
05-07-2014, 08:02 PM
I just received a bunch of cables and cable ends. All were perfect and I share the same good luck with Ray.

tucsonlights
05-07-2014, 09:02 PM
I really like ordering from diyledexpress, holidaycoro, and ray. Never had any problem from any of them.

Keebler
11-10-2014, 04:39 AM
I used to really love buying from Ray Wu. but recently, it has really gone to the bottom of the bird cage.

HE had promised to ship the last of my 2014 order(s) by LAST THURSDAY, they still haven't shipped. AND he is not answering emails or the pop-up chat window anymore.

this has been ANOTHER VERY negative experience. guess for next year I will need to find another cheap supplier. (any ideas?) (Key word CHEAP)
I dont mind having to wait (I will order in May or June), but heck keep your word.

I know this is a reoccurring issue with Ray Wu. extremely poor communication and never keeping word on shipping. He always promises he has the "production" issues fixed.


oh, has anyone ever recived (that orders from Ray Wu) a import duty bill from DHL? I have never seen anything like this before. I got this in the mail a few days ago.

thank you


Merry CHRISTmas and Happy Blinky Flashy!

nutz4lights
11-10-2014, 09:40 AM
It has been said many times in the past, don't expect much if you order this time of the year. What date did your payment get to him? Last year, I was in your shoes. I placed one order 9/01 and another order 10/01 figuring "the two orders I placed in the spring and summer, which both had custom strings, were delivered in a month"... needless to say, my 9/01 & 10/01 orders showed up 12/01... after many, many promises similar to what you inevitably received... lesson learned is not to order stuff this time of year that you expect to use this season. I didn't have a choice last year, it took me that long to figure the whole pixel thing it. I think if you are like me (I really hope you're not!) I like things far too custom to use the other vendors (Seasonal, Coro, etc). I also really like getting the connectors soldered on by Ray's crew for $1.50 per string. I learned my lesson last year and didn't make the same mistake this year... and all was smooth sailing.

Louie

Keebler
11-10-2014, 10:21 AM
Oh i know, the problem is, the order was placed around September 20, been hem hawing with him now for a month and half.
i ordered the bulk of my stuff in February, still took 3 months... AND there were issues with quality and i had about 10% failure right out of the box. Still waiting for the replacements.

i acknowledge that every persons experience is unique, but for me using this vendor is not worth the added stress that he causes me. I will need a new vendor for 2015.

nutz4lights
11-10-2014, 11:47 AM
I think we're all right there with you on initial failure rate. That 10% number is so well documented that I think it exists in the AussieLights guide to pixels and RGB. I over order everything by 10% because of it. Ray always replaces stuff (again, it will be tough this time of year), he even replaced $1k of those Technicolor pixels for me and others last year that had major quality issues.

Good luck finding another vendor, i know others have tried, some have been successful for their needs and you may be successful too. Like you said, everybody's experience week be different, just as are everybody's needs.

Louie

dmoore
11-12-2014, 06:50 PM
I think we're all right there with you on initial failure rate. That 10% number is so well documented that I think it exists in the AussieLights guide to pixels and RGB. I over order everything by 10% because of it.

David from HolidayCoro here... We move a lot of lights and controllers and we also go to China every year to visit our factories "on the ground" and what I know is that a 10% "failure rate" is a vendor that made a choice to select poor quality components (customer induced damages also sometimes get lumped in here too). Just because a lighting item is sourced from China does not mean that it inherently has a 10% failure rate - heck, if that was the case, we'd be out of business in just the return and replacement costs alone. When you work closely with a factory, you make choices at every point along the way - Epistar or Sanan LEDs, pure copper or copper clad, full post-assembly testing or not, cheap grey market chips or not, UV inhibitors or not.... So when a vendor is selling something with a 10% rate (if that is real) it is because that vendor either made the choice or there was a serious error outside the control of the vendor (fake components, upstream supplier issue, etc). People who have experienced cheap over quality know that it isn't worth it when you are out on your roof fixing something in mid-December and the vendors (should) know that it eats up their labor, shipping and good will costs and it only works in platforms where quality isn't enforced and the customer has limited options for service or returns.

nutz4lights
11-12-2014, 11:26 PM
Hi David. I don't think anybody is knocking Chinese quality in this thread, just Ray. The point of my post was that

- 10% failure rate from Ray seems to be well-documented
- Don't try to buy lights from him this time of year

and most importantly

- for some of us, Ray is the only vendor that can provide the product we need (those of us that want custom spacings and pigtails attached).

I have never bought lights from your site and it is not because of quality concerns or pricing (your pricing @ $19 per 50 pixel ws2811 5V string is probably spot on with Ray's price of $13 for the same specs by the time shipping is factored in). What Ray provides me is the ability to order 4" spacing, 6" spacing, 8" spacing, 10" spacing, all of which I have ordered in the past year. That being said, if I start to look at pricing with the pigtail attached, Ray's price does start to break-away ($15 per string, about $2 per string, with pigtail attached compared to $28 at your site). Quick math suggests that, if I buy 10 strings from Ray and get 9 that work (10% failure), I just paid $150 + shipping (which in my experience would be around $30 for an order that size) so $180. The 9 strings from your site with pigtails is $252 + shipping, so call it $260.

I know that, being a DIY Christmas site, I am probably in the minority in not wanting to attach my own pigtails... but last year I bought around 200 strings, very late in the season, and this year another 80-ish, and I really did not want to have to solder that many connectors on... not when I can get my strings with the connectors for $2 a string. Doesn't make any sense not to IMHO. Last year I simply wouldn't have even been able to plug the strings in if I had to attach pigtails.

The failures typically have occurred up front for me (that is where my 10% comes in) so I do burn-in on the pixels. Year-over-year, I've had < 5 strings go bad and that is out of ~ 200 strings in the display.

-Louie

Livermore-Dad
11-13-2014, 01:11 AM
SNIPPED
oh, has anyone ever recived (that orders from Ray Wu) a import duty bill from DHL? I have never seen anything like this before. I got this in the mail a few days ago.


I have and starting to get more and more of them as I'm ordering more stuff and not just Xmas stuff from China. My entire security video system for the house is Hikvision and Dahua, bought from china. It sucks when you think you are all in and get another bill from DHL :) Maybe if you ship china post and wait the 14-30 days no import duty, but if you ship via dhl (which I do most of the time), they make sure they get there money


BTW Ordered too large of an order on the 11th, DHL not Chinese post, will see what happens. Worked fine last year.

Tory

dmoore
11-13-2014, 08:46 PM
The failures typically have occurred up front for me (that is where my 10% comes in) so I do burn-in on the pixels. Year-over-year, I've had < 5 strings go bad and that is out of ~ 200 strings in the display.
-Louie

Your financial argument brings up good points that you may be able to still come out ahead financially on a 10% failure rate but that also misses a bigger issue - if a product has a 10% failure rate and these happen after burn-in, it can be really frustrating out there on a ladder, in the middle of the dark and cold on December 15th with viewers asking "what'ca doing there?". A few years back I did a display that had RGB modules and I'd guess a bit more than 10% failed (after extensive burn in) and I had to spend a huge amount of time, pulling the elements up, dragging them into the garage, repairing them and putting them back out.

It's great that there are so many options for customers at every price range and quality level.

nutz4lights
11-13-2014, 11:23 PM
I agree wholeheartedly on the quality impact. I was part of the preorder from CDI and LED Holiday Lighting in the years with high failure rates and had to deal with flickering lights, etc. I, like many, was burned by the Technicolor lights last year, which were replaced luckily.