Posted on 25th Aug 2020
When I first got into the Holiday Lighting and display industry in 1988 rope lighting was just started to make in-roads in the US. My first use of rope lighting was to mount it on ceiling light grids used for florescent lighting. Since then rope lighting has evolved from 120 volt incandescent strands that can in 3/8 or ½ inch diameter and has a silver ring around the rope lighting with a miniature pair of scissors indicating where you could cut the rope lighting. UL made the manufacturers take the ring and scissors off the rope lighting because some of us forgot to unplug the rope lighting before cutting it. There are still marks on the various rope lighting indicating where you can cut it but in most brands it is a small hash mark.
Rope lighting grew in popularity and people began to think of various ways to use the rope lighting. It was inexpensive when comparing it to other specialty lighting and it put in place and left alone, the rope lighting would last for a long time. One aspect of the incandescent rope lighting and many people had to learn about the hard way was that it generated heat. It was always good for a chuckle to hear how someone had purchased a spool of rope lighting and plugged it in and left it on. Unfortunately the rope started to generate the heat and with nowhere for the rope on the spool to disperse its heat, it melted. I made sure when someone purchased a spool of incandescent rope lighting I informed them NOT to plug it in and leave it on while still on the spool.
One of the biggest issues with incandescent rope lighting being used on displays or where it is subjected to contact is that the bulbs inside that rope of glass incandescent bulbs and can be broken, thus creating sections that go out.
Incandescent rope lighting is still available but most users have moved on to LED rope lighting that uses about ¼ the power and last for an average of 15,000 hours if it doesn’t discolor. The LED rope lighting is brighter stronger and as mentioned last longer. The biggest problem with LED rope lighting is that the cut ratios on LED rope lighting are much longer than incandescent and even varies by colors. Pricing is not that much greater than incandescent rope lighting. LED rope lighting is great for linear lighting.
With controllers you can have rope lighting chasing, changing colors, fading and even keeping beat to music. The amount of various settings a controller can do is dependent on the ability of the rope lighting to handle the various actions. With each additional feature you are going to have more electrical wire connections within the rope.
Rope Lighting has evolved into hybrids that are flat, RGB an even brighter. The polar neon when lit looks like neon tubing. It is a wonderful light strand and it also can be RGB. It is perfect to line the roof tops on a busy business section with buildings with one or two floors.
I hope you found this information helpful and please feel free to call us with any questions you may have.
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