Proxima Direct LED review

I recently bough a string of 300 warm white LED fairy lights from Proxima Direct. These lights were given great reviews on amazon and are pretty cheap at around £20.

I won’t go in to a full review (what pictures I have are ‘borrowed’ from the amazon site) but here are a few things to note should you be considering buying these:

Good points:

  • They are full wave rectified
  • The ‘warmness’ of the LEDs is nice, about the same as a warm CFL
  • They have eight settings for flashing and dimming, I especially like the ‘twinkling effect

Bad points:

  • Despite the full wave rectification the though there is a 100Hz flicker even when fully on
  • A set bought by my collegue had every fourth LED dead, so there are obviously some quality control issues
  • There is not memory for which setting you had selected before switching them off and constant-on (my preferred setting) is last in the list
  • The water proofing at each LED is dubious – no doubt they’d last outside for a while but I suspect after a month or two you’ll have problems

All things considered I think they’re great value for money. My plan is to fix the 100Hz flicker (It’s noticable, but only when they move across my line of vision) and probably improve the water proofing so that I can put these lights outside permanently.

Stay tuned for the next post which will include a teardown, analysis of the flicker (I’ll try and deduce the duty cycle) and some investigation of the driving circuit.

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3 thoughts on “Proxima Direct LED review”

  1. Also have this identical item (Ebay £6) with every fourth LED dim (they are wired in chains of 4 which are commoned at the very end of the chain). I first suspected a driver SCR so swapped two of them to prove it. It wasn’t that, so I swapped 2 of the LED chain wires from the PCB. It wasn’t that either so it proved the PCB module and SCRs were not the problem – it must be the one chain of LEDs which is faulty.

    Faulting a whole chain to test every LED is fairly destructive and time consuming so I haven’t done that as yet.

    HOWEVER – another word of warning- although these lights may be sold as suitable for outdoors (Definitely NOT the controller module because it isn’t sealed at all) I would recommend that they are not used outdoors or premature failure or worse, electric shock might result.

    I noticed that after a few days or so working outdoors, and through rain, there were two effects:

    (1) at least a third of all the LEDs had signs of water getting in and starting to corrode the connection. The transparent insulation was becoming filled with a brown deposit through water conduction across the LEDs.

    (2) the faulty chain of LEDs started working! – but only while still outside (and probably damp…)

    Now the lights are back indoors and possibly dried out, the one chain of LEDs is faulty again. I checked for loose connections etc and this did not show up a fault. All I can assume at the moment is that the LEDS or wiring is susceptible or sensitive to damp or temperature?

    Bearing in mind that any break or disconnection in these non-isolated chains could potentially be at 240v (DC 340V peak after rectification) I would not recommend handling or even using these lights outdoors.

    1. Hello thank you for your information. My controller module is completely broken. I now have a mains socket plug with two wires, and 500 LEDs on 3-4 strands. Any idea of anything that I could buy to replace the controller module? I understand it would have to rectify the AC, but what DC voltage is then put across the LED strands? I have 500 in my case. Thanks for any help.
      Dan

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