View Poll Results: What is an acceptable defect rate for new pixels, and an acceptable level of support?

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  • 100% correct on delivery regardless of quantity

    7 17.07%
  • some small (e.g. 0.05%) defect rate - I'll eat the replacement cost

    31 75.61%
  • I expect any defective pixel to be replaced

    2 4.88%
  • I expect any strand with even one defective pixel to be entirely replaced

    5 12.20%
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Thread: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

  1. #1
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    Default What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    When purchasing pixel strands/strings from a vendor or manufacturer, what are your expectations regarding quality and reliability? Do you expect them all to function properly when first used? How about in the first week, or month? If there is a problem, what do you expect from the vendor? If one pixel from a strand is bad upon receipt, or within a week, would you expect a replacement strand, or just a pixel(s) that you would splice in yourself as a repair?

    The answer may be different based on the number of pixels purchased, or not. For example, if purchasing a few strands of 50 pixels, 100% functional may be expected (or not) - but if 5,000 or 10,000 pixels arrived, would 0.05% failure rate be acceptable?

    I ask this to gauge the current prevailing expectations that vendors are, or should be (if they wish to remain in business) meeting in this segment. There is an intersection (that moves over time) of customer expectations and what vendors and their competitors will provide. What is OK today may not be tomorrow, as the market segment matures, customer expectations increase, and/or competition steps up to raise the bar for the industry (vendors).

    I purchased thousands of pixels this year directly from China, and am looking for real data on what others have experienced and/or expected. I did not receive 100% functional pixels at delivery (and several "infant mortality" failures in the first few hours) despite a claim of 100% burn-in before shipping.
    Last edited by ags0000; 01-08-2019 at 02:42 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I'm probably a little more understanding than a lot of people in this hobby. In the rare occasion I do have a bad pixel on a new string of lights I just replace it. I added over 10,000 pixels in 2018 and I had ONE of the new pixels fail. 30,000 pixels for the display and I had TWO pixels fail in 2018. Some of these have been in my display since 2015. If I have issues with product they are resolved in the next order. I usually place at least 6 orders a year from China

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Quote Originally Posted by ags0000 View Post
    When purchasing pixel strands/strings from a vendor or manufacturer, what are your expectations regarding quality and reliability? Do you expect them all to function properly when first used? How about in the first week, or month? If there is a problem, what do you expect from the vendor? If one pixel from a strand is bad upon receipt, or within a week, would you expect a replacement strand, or just a pixel(s) that you would splice in yourself as a repair?

    The answer may be different based on the number of pixels purchased, or not. For example, if purchasing a few strands of 50 pixels, 100% functional may be expected (or not) - but if 5,000 or 10,000 pixels arrived, would 0.05% failure be acceptable?

    I ask this to gauge the current prevailing expectations that vendors are, or should be (if they wish to remain in business) meeting in this segment. There is an intersection (that moves over time) of customer expectations and what vendors and their competitors will provide. What is OK today may not be tomorrow, as the market segment matures, customer expectations increase, and/or competition steps up to raise the bar for the industry (vendors).

    I purchased thousands of pixels this year directly from China, and am looking for real data on what others have experienced and/or expected. I did not receive 100% functional pixels at delivery (and several "infant mortality" failures in the first few hours) despite a claim of 100% burn-in before shipping.
    Well here is my take on reasonable expectations of a vendor. Keep in mind I'm just getting back into Christmas lights after a 15 year break and so have not worked with any pixels yet - this will be the first year, and I'm presently putting together my list of things to buy for this year, and have casually started investigating vendors for pixels.

    Regarding quality and reliability, I would expect that the product received would meet the specifications that the vendor advertises (or the specifications that are negotiated and agreed upon, if custom).
    Regarding expectation that they all function when first used: Yes, of course - why would I buy them if I didn't think they'd work - in the case of pixels, they don't seem to be easily serviceable by users, given they've been filled with resin.
    I would also expect that each pixel would continue to function to the life expectancy advertised by the vendor, or until the vendor's warranty period expires - which ever is later.
    If there is a problem either upon arrival or sometime during/after use - then yes I would expect that the Vendor will replace the entire strand, at their expense. Provided that the strand is intact and has not been altered by the user. If the strand has been altered, but still used pursuant to the vendors guidelines (ie. not subject to an overvoltage condition), then I would expect that the vendor replace the pixel(s), or provide for a credit for those pixels for future orders.

    Regarding 'acceptable' DOA, I would say 0% is acceptable, and damaged or DOA units should be returned to the vendor at the vendor's expense and replaced. It is incumbent upon the vendor to ensure they are shipping working products.

    Regarding burn-in. This, I find, to be somewhat more difficult to quantify. I suppose best case scenario is that you end up using Factory Grade A LEDs from a manufacturer like CREE - this would likely be quite expensive. However, even in that case, the LED will still change colour over time, although likely a much longer period of time than say something from EPISTAR. Cree is well known to use far superior fluorescent powder in their LED's, and EPISAR using a much lower quality powder. This is likely why a majority of Pixel manufacturers, at least those that I've come across so far, do not publish photometric data for the LEDs they use. If they did publish or provide photometric data I would expect that the Pixel perform to those specifications, and should it negatively deviate within the warranty period, I would expect the vendor to cure with replacement or refund.

    My expectations above, as mentioned, are based on a fresh, green, no jaded take on Pixels - perhaps my expectations are too high?! However I've begun sourcing a manufacturer to provide about 100,000 pixels. The couple that I have corresponded with so far seem quite willing to commit to these sorts of expectations - perhaps due to the order size? On the other hand it can be fairly easy for an off shore manufacturer to 'commit' to certain things, and warranty periods in order to get the sale, but internally have every expectation not to honour it, as they know enforcement of that sort of thing would be prohibitively expensive.
    Last edited by najetset; 01-07-2019 at 03:28 PM.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I look at it this way: how long will it take me to simply repair a pixel or two (5 minutes). How long will it take me to work with the vendor, return the defective strand and wait for a replacement?

    Iíve only had a handful of dead-on-arrival pixels (not a large quantity).

    To me, itís a no-brainer.

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Looking at the poll options, it's pretty hard to vote (3 of the 4 choices seem to say the same thing). And for me, I'd be okay with even a 1% failure rate.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    How well would you receive a new car that has 1 flat tire upon arrival? A house that 1 electrical socket doesn't work. A bed with a bad spring or small rip in the material? A television with a remote that the keypad #1 doesn't work? A computer with a bad power LED indicator (everything works, but you don't know if it's on or off).

    Now, what do you do if you receive a bad pixel? This is a touchy subject especially in this DIY custom environment. Seems like most people here buy direct from China. It's not like buying a string of lights at Walmart and if they don't work, drive back to the store and return/replace them. Even still, with the bajillion lights China sells, there are going to be faulty pixels with custom-made strings - manufacturing errors, shipment was dropped jolting a wire loose, or a plethora of other controllable or uncontrollable issues.

    As najetset said, 0% should be the only acceptable DOA rate. If I buy 500 pixels, then 500 pixels should work - not 499. It would be like me giving you 500 worn out and outdated $20 bills for 500 new, crisp, bills with the latest security tags, but I ended up with 1 old one in the new mix. I have the quantity of what I ordered, but not what was stated I should receive. Now, what kind of headache will that 1 pixel cause me and is my time worth going after a replacement? I can still probably use the pixel by either attempting to fix it (re-solder the wires), or I may be able to use the WS2811 board as a null pixel. We are all creative and resourceful in these forums and many ideas can surface with a simple "Hey, what do you do with bad pixels?" post.

    Bwinter's statement is where each person decides on waiting weeks for a replacement to come in the mail then send the bad one back (or you may have to send it first so they can check it, then send you the replacement doubling the time it takes to get), or thinking I only needed 495 for the prop(s) so the other 4 will be spares and the 1 bad pixel isn't needed anyway. If you plan on buying from the seller again, request a replacement on the next order. If they are reputable and want yours (and others) business in the future, they will comply. A warranty helps, but there are many loopholes they can use to get out of replacing an item.

    So, your question truly holds water, but each person has to decide how that water is contained. I'm sure it will depend on one's technical knowledge, ability to repair electronics, state of mind (I can handle this vs Those f'ers ripped me off), etc.

  9. #7
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJR214 View Post
    How well would you receive a new car that has 1 flat tire upon arrival? A house that 1 electrical socket doesn't work. A bed with a bad spring or small rip in the material? A television with a remote that the keypad #1 doesn't work? A computer with a bad power LED indicator (everything works, but you don't know if it's on or off).
    You're comparing apples to elephants. Not even worth discussing.

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Do you know how much a pixel would cost if is was required to be 100%.

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwinter View Post
    You're comparing apples to elephants. Not even worth discussing.
    Actually, the question is "regarding expectations of quality and reliability". Doesn't matter if it's pixels, power supplies, paintballs, or penis pumps. Each individual handles these sorts of conflicts in different ways. Just look at your response vs najetset's and the extreme opposite responses. My first paragraph was not comparing pixels to a house or a bed (and was in fact rhetorical and no discussion is necessary), but put there to make you think "What would you do if..." in other scenarios, then answer the question about pixel quality and reliability. If you would expect a replacement/working item in the first 4 or 5, why wouldn't you with pixels. Or... what is YOUR gray area of what's acceptable or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by K-State Fan View Post
    Do you know how much a pixel would cost if is was required to be 100%.
    Probably the same? In today's market, price does not equal quality (it used to, but not anymore). I can find the same item in 10 different stores and it has 10 different prices with a swing of up to 50%. For example, are the 12mm 12V pixels that cost $14 a string of 50 any better than those that cost $25 a string of 50 unless there is a specific name brand that is known to use better quality of LED's (CREE) or better IC boards known to last longer? Even then, the market drives the price and that $25 string can be found for $20 if you look hard enough. If it carries that same brand name, the warranty from that brand should be identical. But most of these $14-$25 strings are all Chinese concoctions being sold by many distributors. They rely on the consumers that buy these to not have high expectations of quality and/or reliability. In the real world, there is an acceptable failure rate, but that falls on the manufacturer, not the consumer.
    Last edited by AJR214; 01-07-2019 at 05:22 PM.

  14. #10
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    In the real world, there is an acceptable failure rate, but that falls on the manufacturer, not the consumer.
    I could not agree more on this statement. I expect what I purchase to work as intended, as advertised.


    In a different context, apply the same acceptable failure rate to vehicles or your prescription medication.
    Cheers!
    Steve

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