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Rope Lights

Rope lights are a series of small incandescent bulbs packaged in flexible plastic tubing. Rope lights can be used to mark walkways, add a warm glow around corners, and to create designs and writing in lights. Here are a few tips to consider when buying rope lights:

  • Newer designs use long lasting LED's instead of bulbs; LED's dramatically reduces the electricity needed to operate them and the heat that the rope lights generate, but LED rope lights are much more expensive to buy.
  • Rope lights come in a variety of colors (usually by putting white bulbs in colored tubing). Mixed color rope lights use different colored bulbs and are more expensive. White lights are fine for general lighting, but the color rope lights can add a decorative sizzle to your layout.
  • Rope lights come in a variety of diameters and lengths, generally up to 150 feet. Look for rope lights that can be cut and spliced, as this gives you the added flexibility of using only the length you need. Smaller diameter ropes are generally easier to bend around tight corners.
  • If you are planning to use the rope lights outdoors, make sure they are designed for this (for example, the tubing should be sealed to keep out moisture).
  • If you want something more than just an "always on" lighting pattern, consider buying 3 wire or higher rope lights (the more wires the more the flexibility in your patterns) and a controller. Controllers can cause the lights to flash, to flash in sequence ("chase"), alternate, or to flash in a random pattern. Some controllers even cause the lights to flash based on sound. When buying a controller, make sure it matches the voltage (usually 120v) and has the capacity to power the length of your rope lights.

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