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%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    ChiefWarrant Great Post.
    David Pitts
    PixelController, LLC
    PixelController.com

  2. #22
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Do we even have a warranty agreement with the pixels (along with the rest of the Christmas light stuff) that we buy from any one of the Us suppliers, or with the manufacturers from China? If you think about it, even Costco with their extremely generous return policy, simply takes the item back and ships it back to the manufacturer for credit.

    Personally, I voted for the option saying some small failure/defect rate -- yes, some of us here have invested thousands of dollars into this "hobby" and/or lifestyle, and expect things to simply work, each and every time. But, I don't think many of us here have any knowledge of how much testing is done to ensure the product does work. I'm sure our vendors have the ear of the manufacturers and work with them to resolve issues.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    My vote is more based on what I probably should expect from vendors - reality is that when I've run into pixel issues I've just gone and spliced in from extra parts, never really thinking about if there was a warranty case or something I should get back to the vendor on. That said, as I add more pixels to my show (currently I have two pixel trees with 16 strands of 50 pixels each, and a matrix) i'll definitely be 'hoping' for less need for splicing and fixing. I voted for 'some small defect rate and I'll eat the replacement cost'. I've been having to splice in replacement pixels it feels like since day 1 (my first dabble into pixels was about 5 years ago), but I've always thought my problems had more to do with the elements (ie, gigantic texas rain drops) than the reliability of the pixels I have.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I had 1 string of 2811 pixels from DIYledExpress that had several bad pixels. I cut the first bad pixel out but found other bad pixels. I asked to have a new string sent out. They obliged my request.
    Kevin

    2017 - Pi3 w/FPP controlling 8 ESPixelsticks driving 1250pixels and 3 Arduino MEGAS communicating with ESP-01s driving 96 channels
    2016 - 184 channels of Blinking/Flashing using 4 Arduino MEGAs and cheap home-made props.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Last edited by kev; 01-08-2019 at 10:44 PM.
    Kevin

    2017 - Pi3 w/FPP controlling 8 ESPixelsticks driving 1250pixels and 3 Arduino MEGAS communicating with ESP-01s driving 96 channels
    2016 - 184 channels of Blinking/Flashing using 4 Arduino MEGAs and cheap home-made props.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I am always amazed at folks in this hobby. They want fine wine on a beer budget. Seriously, if you want commercial grade pixels with a warranty (i.e. stellascapes, colorkinetics, minleon, GECE, etc) then be prepared to pay dollars per pixel, not pennies per pixel. The low cost pixels that everyone loves are cheap for a reason: they are mass produced, use low cost leds, clone ics, cheap wire and receive minimal testing / inspection. This is a DIY hobby, not a off the shelf hobby. UL approved controllers and pixels are $$$ The commercial displays you see are not using cheap chinese pixels.

    Folks that are new to pixels don't know the pain early exprementers felt back in 2010 - 2013. The quality of the low cost pixels has jumped significantly since the early days when there was close to 100% pixel failure rate with the silicone encapsulated pixels. I do believe that the various vendors have done a lot to make thing better and send replacement pixels (not strings) when appropriate. If you want them to also factor in a return rate for entire strings for any bad pixel, expect them to also raise their prices to reflect this cost. Those vendors that did this would go out of business, the hobbyists would not pay the price and would still go with the low cost vendors. Quality/support/cost are all related in the real world.

    Vendors also have to factor that people also abuse their pixels, hook them up to the wrong voltage, hang them by their wires, esd damage, store them in their attics that are 150+ in the summer, water damage from poorly sealed connections, failed power supplies, lightning strikes, etc, etc. There are a lot of ways that pixels can fail and if you want everything covered by a warranty, prepare to pay $$ for that. These low cost pixels are not products you buy from a big box store.

    I just finished our 8th year with pixels. The GECE, the off the shelf retail pixels I bought back in 2011 for $1 per pixel, continue to have a similar failure rate as the cheap pixels we all love. And since I cut the controllers all off right away, there is/ was no real warranty, this is a DIY hobby. You need to factor in that there always will be failures and that is the nature of the hobby. Design you display factoring that in and the impact is minimal. Can you do your entire roofline on one output with power injection, sure, but when one pixel fails, and they will, do you really want to climb up in the snow and try to repair it? Did I mention that animals also love to chew wires? Failures happen.

    Buy extra pixels, learn how to solder and get waterproof heat shrink tubing and enjoy your display.
    Last edited by jklingert; 01-09-2019 at 11:15 AM. Reason: typos
    2012 Second Animated Christmas
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  8. #27
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    There was some feedback that the poll, as presented, is confusing. I attempted to be brief and clear, but perhaps favored brevity too much. I don't see a way to edit/amend the poll itself, so here is further clarification:

    The poll allows multiple answers, but some don't make sense together (e.g. "expect individual pixel(s) to be replaced" and "expect entire strand(s) to be replaced"). The multiple choice was to accommodate answers to two different, but overlapping questions: 1) what defect rate is acceptable, and 2) when beyond that acceptable rate, do you expect replacement pixels or entire strands?

    * 100% correct on delivery regardless of quantity - (Failure rate question) Based upon functionality at time of receipt (or within a small "infant mortality" window, say 10 hours of operation - not over a long time period, such as a season or more). Proper functionality means that *all* pixels must function properly. Any failure at all requires accommodation by the vendor, but the expectation for the level of accommodation is not stated (i.e. it could be replacement of the individual pixel(s), the entire strand(s), or potentially financial refund).

    * some small (e.g. 0.05%) defect rate - I'll eat the replacement cost - (Failure rate question) Within the acceptable failure rate, no action by the vendor is expected (so by adding "I'll eat the replacement cost" I intended to distinguish from the other question of "when above the acceptable failure rate, what do you expect from the vendor?"). Admittedly there is a problem of small numbers here. Unless something like 1% or 5% failure rate is expected and accepted, it does have implications based on the size of the purchase. Buying a strand of 50 pixels with an acceptable failure rate of 0.5% would mean that the strand has to be perfect, otherwise it exceeds the threshold. That complicates things a bit.

    * I expect any defective pixel to be replaced - (Failure response question) Beyond the acceptable limit (0%, 0.05% or other value that you yourself set), I will ask and expect the vendor to provide an equivalent number of individual pixels that I will splice into the strand for repair.

    * I expect any strand with even one defective pixel to be entirely replaced - (Failure response question) Beyond the acceptable limit (0%, 0.05% or other value that you yourself set), I will ask and expect the vendor to provide a complete replacement strand for any/all strands that have one or more failed pixels. This could also be extended to mean that beyond a certain number/percentage of bad pixels per strand, the entire strand would be expected to be replaced.

    I hope that helps clarify. This is intended to survey and share a summary of the expectations among the community, not to find "the right answer". The premise of the poll itself is that this is a judgement call that each individual makes on his/her own.

    There is yet another complexity: what claims or assurances did the vendor make? If none, then one may interpret that as a purchase "as-is". The lack of testing, and associated (likely) increase in failure rate, is part of the transaction and built into a (presumably) lower purchase price. However, some vendors claim 100% burn-in for 24-48 hours. While not an explicit guarantee (which may also given separately) that could lead one to expect 100% functionality upon delivery.

    Thanks for the participation and (constructive) comments so far.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefWarrant View Post
    LEDs in general have a high infanticide rate, meaning that even coming straight off the production line they may not work. “As solid-state electronic devices, LEDs are similar to TVs or other consumer electronics: They tend to fail early if they’re going to fail at all” (Cloud, 2016). It is typical to see about 3% failing early. This is where you ask the question, “Why would I spend $25.00 on a pixel string if I can buy one for $8.00?”
    I feel the question is why would I spend $8 on 3% failures when I normally get 0% defects @ $11 - not the price, but where you buy them....you could be getting the same $8 pixels for $25 if buying wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefWarrant View Post
    Even if you pay for such testing, there will still be a certain percentage that arrives failed. Factors such as vibration from shipping or even you improperly unpacking the box may introduce damage. If you bought the “Cree” level of support, then you should work with the vendor for a replacement. If you paid for the “China” level of support, you learn to work on your LED strings.
    Depends on your China level of support. If you are buying from the manufacturer, then you are likely getting a certain level of testing and higher quality, with a little premium $$, however if you are using AliExpress, eBay or Amazon for example, you should expect 3% or greater. These are secondary channel that normally do not provide 1st level quality, and you pay a middleman mark-up. Manufacturer direct, the middleman mark-up goes into quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefWarrant View Post
    Bottom line, if you want Cree level of support, then there is a cost associated with it. If you are willing and able to repair a couple of things as needed, then using the money you saved by purchasing $8.00 strings to purchase spares, would make more sense.
    I'm ok with repairs, prior to or during setup, but I will pay a lot not to repair during showtime. Water is my only enemy at showtime.
    .
    .
    Tony, you have a lot of good points....just adding another view.
    In Lights Therapy

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  11. #29
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I agree whole heartedly with your assessment, MrGrumpy. Ideally there should be five-nines (99.999%) service from a manufacturer. In any business, you don't stay profitable if you are not producing the accepted level of quality. I am glad this survey was here and all the points great points made. It gave me a reason to research failures and the information to develop a test plan, so that I can avoid pixel failures at show time.
    Last edited by ChiefWarrant; 01-08-2019 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Typo
    Tony
    Live since 2007
    Back after a break.
    Putting the Yule back into Yuletide.

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