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

    8 17.39%
  • some small (e.g. 0.05%) defect rate - I'll eat the replacement cost

    33 71.74%
  • I expect any defective pixel to be replaced

    3 6.52%
  • I expect any strand with even one defective pixel to be entirely replaced

    6 13.04%
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Thread: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Life/death
    Life/death
    Entertainment hobby

    See the difference?

    Sometimes I buy a bag of apples. And occasionally one is bruised. Somehow, I manage.

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  3. #12
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I think that manufacturers develop their warranties based on a cost expectancy of failed products. I think that mass produced products are modeled or tested or monitored for failure rate. I think that failure data rolls back into changes in the manufacturing process or the pricing or the warranty until some acceptable middle ground is found. It may be doubtful based on sample size but it seems this poll could be a data point in that calculation as well.

    The cost of a warranty to the manufacturer only applies if consumers make use of it. At what price point is an item considered disposable and not worth the effort to replace under warranty thus making the warranty zero cost for the manufacturer?

    I expect that any string I buy that has any problem (bad pixel, shorted connector, etc.) after 1 week burn-in will be replaced, refunded, or made right in some other way. I also realize that it likely to be more hassle for me to follow through on that expectation than it is worth for me to just fix it myself.

    The first 800 pixels I bought had 1 bad pixel. I contacted the (US based) supplier and arranged a replacement. The next 800 pixels I bought the next year from the same supplier had 2 bad pixels. I contacted the supplier and arranged replacement but I never followed through because I judged it to be not worth the effort. I am not mad at the supplier, he was wiling to make it right. If I have the math right, that makes my index of replacement very roughly around .2% with consideration given to the circumstance.

    I also expect that all outlets and breakers in my new house work during final inspection.
    I also expect that I will get some sort of price reduction for blemished goods sold as new.
    I also expect that basically any new item I buy will be fully functional as advertised and documented.
    Finally, I expect that what is a nobrainer to one person may be a point worthy for discussion for another.

  4. #13
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Title of thread uses word "expect". Title of poll uses word "acceptable".
    I voted the last option, replace a string with a failed pixel. That would be my "expectation". What would be "acceptable" is a replacement pixel. They should probably include at least one replacement pixel (with enough wire to patch) with each string of 50, much like incandescent strings. That would save a lot of trouble and extra shipping costs.
    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.

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  6. #14
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I look at pixels more like a raw material, or "parts", not as a product. You can't do anything useful with it without other stuff. If I buy a car, I can get right in and drive it. If I buy a bed, I can lay on it. They have everything they need to function. As soon as you transition from an out of the box product to something that's in more raw form, the expectation changes. As does the burden. You're now the manufacturer, not the consumer. You should expect that not every piece is perfect. If I buy a box of screws, and one has a head that wasn't fully stamped, I'm just going to toss it and move on.

    If you go to the store and buy a prelit Christmas tree, or any retail string light product for that matter, do you expect that every bulb works out of the box? The manufacturer certainly doesn't. They send you spare bulbs because they expect that you're going to need them.

    Scale also factors into it. If I ordered a cheeseburger, and it came out burnt, I'd be sending it back. If there's a burnt French fry in the bag of fries, I'm not sending the fries back. But if there's more than a few burnt fries, I'd probably be complaining and asking for a new bag. So I guess it depends on how you look at pixels. Do you look at a string with a bad pixel as a bad string? or a string with a bad pixel?

    Another thing to think about is that most of the pixel products we buy have no warranty whatsoever. In other words, they're not even promising it's going to work when you get it. A warranty costs money for the manufacturer in the form of executing exchanges and returns. This is a big deal with direct international commerce where the cost of moving the product is greater than the value of the product itself. They're not offering it because not offering it obviously isn't hurting their business. So anything you do get from them in the form of replacements is actually pure good will on their part.

    Things are a bit different when working with a domestic distributor. They have more motivation to keep you happy since their whole business is centered around maintaining relationships. It's generally more reasonable to have higher expectations of a domestic distributor than a foreign parts manufacturer.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. #15
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    MAN. You guys are tough. 3 years ago I bought 2000 Pixels and in testing I had 3 bad. I NEVER DREAMED of asking for the vendor to make them Good.
    Just part of doing business, I Thought. I Would NOT be concerned about a few .20 cent Bad Ones.

    My 2 cents.
    Rayhjr I Love This Stuff!

  8. #16
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Why shouldn’t I expect 100% on delivery. Aren’t they tested by manufacturers prior to shipment. After initial testing, maybe 1 in 1000 in service failure would be acceptable...of those I would repair.

    I have several thousand pixels (mostly Diyledexpress 80% plus) and have no initial test failures, nor any failures once in service. That’s a combination of good product and good luck.
    In Lights Therapy

  9. #17
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    Hi, let me firstly say that I have only purchased pixels from China directly from whom rightly or wrongly I believe to be the manufacturers.

    The expectation of the product I receive is that it will have come straight off the production line and be packed into a box with my name and address on it. It will not have been checked by a human; it is unlikely to even have been powered up and comes with no or little guarantee, which is all reflected in the price paid. I order about 5% more than needed to rework any faults when I test/burn in the the strings before deploying them in my display.

    I may be incorrect but that is my understanding of the service that the manufacturers offer regardless of how it is generally perceived by our community.

    Now when third parties purchase from the manufacturers and them sell on that becomes a whole different issue.

  10. #18
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    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?”
    .
    Although the Facility Executive website is speaking to LED lamp fixtures, the concept can be applied to Christmas pixels. "Some manufacturers fully test completed LED lamps before shipping. For up to 10 days at a time, some manufacturers will place LED lamps and fixtures in a specially designed room and test them by repeatedly turning them on and off, and by leaving them on for extended periods of time. If a lamp is going to fail, it is likely to do so during this time. By properly testing LEDs before shipping, failures can be caught before lamps are shipped out" (Cloud, 2016).
    .
    Simple economics dictates that the cost of such intensive testing must be passed on to the customer; otherwise, the manufacturer will not stay in business long. If you desire the level of service that Cree provides, with days of LED testing and replacing an entire fixture if one LED goes out, you will have to pay for it. a set of "China" LEDs may not have been tested as extensively, so the cost is lower.
    .
    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.
    .
    To use the car analogy: If you bought a “certified” used BMW, there is a level of service expected. A slow air leak in the tire may be covered as part of the certification process. If you buy a BMW “as is” from the lot, you cannot expect the same level of service. You learn how to replace a tire if needed. Me personally, I know how to repair pixel strings (and change tires). If I bought an $8.00 pixel string and one arrives non-functional, I will troubleshoot it and repair as necessary.
    .
    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.

    Works Cited
    Cloud, J. (2016, Apr 25). 4 Ways To Avoid LED Lighting Failure. Retrieved from Facility Executive: facilityexecutive.com/2016/04/4-ways-to-avoid-led-lighting-failure/
    Tony
    Live since 2007
    Back after a break.
    Putting the Yule back into Yuletide.

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  12. #19
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I was not aware i could get pixels replaced! How long does the warranty continue? I lost 12 pixels this year alone from strings that have been in service for a couple years. I do not have a lot in our show (maybe 1500-1800) compared to many postings. I would like to see a couple spares added to the order to cover failures, like mentioned above 1-2 per 50 would be nice. I know, order an extra string or two, but that's also another $12-24 to sit in the drawer. I will admit, I have not did any burn in on any of the lights, i need to look into that i guess.

    In short, adding 1-2 spares of each type ordered would go along way for most people i believe - just incase vendors are reading!

  13. #20
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    Default Re: What do you expect from pixel vendors?

    I'll guess I'll chime in here as well. Personally, I expect to have to replace a few pixels each season, but I do have some general "reliability guidelines" in my mind. I think a failure rate of 0.1% over the course of a season isn't too bad (1 pixel per 1000). If the rate begins to get much higher than that, I may contact the vendor. As an example, this season I added 5000 pixels to my show - one batch of 2000 and one batch of 3000. For the batch of 3000, I had 4 fail over the season which I considered in-line with my expectations. In the batch of 2000, I had 26 failures which was unacceptable high to me (over 1% failure rate). I have worked with the vendor and am getting that batch replaced.

    I always order a little more than I need to have spares on hand. Personally, I would prefer the vendors not add in extra pixels (and increase the cost of the strands) and let me manage my spare inventory as I see the need.
    Keith

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