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LED FIREFLIES



LED Fireflies, retail $149.95 (www.fireflies.tv)
Manufactured by Creativations (www.fireflies.tv)
Last updated 06-12-06





These are LED "fireflies" that supposedly look and behave like the real thing. Since we don't have firebugs in Seattle WA. USA, I cannot compare them with the real thing and tell you how they compare. I grew up in Juneau AK., live in Seattle WA., and have been to several cities in California and Oregon during the summer, but fireflies do not live on the west coast, so I've never seen them.

LED Fireflies consist of a long wire with six receptacles along its length; small boxer fans that plug into these receptacles, and thin wires with yellow-green LEDs on the ends of them are attached to each of the six fans. When set up correctly, these LEDs are supposed to fly and waver about, simulating the natural movements of fireflies.

I have not gotten them to work yet (the LEDs light up, but they do not "fly"), so I have probably not used them correctly.
(Edit, a short while later)
I see now; I need to hang the unit from the ceiling - not an easy task for somebody that uses an electric wheelchair.
I don't have a garden or balcony to put them in, so my bedroom is the most likely candidate; the area above my computer installation is the next most likely place to hang these.
(Edit, a while later again)
I hung the Fireflies above my computer installation. The wires leading to the fans are longer than expected (later measured at three feet or 36"), so the one that happened to end up directly over my chair was shortened by bringing it up into a loop and twisting the junction several times. Because it was shortened, it does not move around the way the others do. I had to shorten one of the others the same way, so I wouldn't boink my head on it when I moved from the computer installation to the kitchen or front door. For some reason, it still bobs around; the one above my computer chair does not bob around nearly as much.

(Edit, 07-10-04) The Firefly above my computer chair now moves around more than the one in the walkway does - the opposite of how it was behaving last night. So I guess a factor of randomness really does exist.



The Fireflies come with a user manual, which you will no doubt want to read and hang onto for future use.

In the box, you should find six fan assemblies with 36" long wires terminated in male quick-connect connectors, a long feeder wire (estimated 15' to 20' in length) with six female quick-connect receptacles, hooks, and spring-loaded clips along its length, and an AC transformer with at least five feet of wire on each end.

Basically, you remove all the components from the box (being careful with the fan assemblies because the wires are thin), and remove the plastic wire-tie discs from the six fan assemblies.

Choose a location that provides a dark backdrop, and allows for at least three feet (the length of the fan wires) between any potential obstruction and the fan assembly plug. This prevents the fan from hitting that object, or the LED attached below it from becoming entangled in that object. Trees, shrubs, tall plants, fences, etc.

Using the supplied clips, clip the feeder wire to a tree, fence, hanging cable, branches, sticks, etc. Stretch the feeder cable to its full length; allowing it to dip slightly in the center. Be sure the end of the feeder wire with the plug on it is nearest to where you have an outlet. Be sure the feeder wire is horizontal (side-to-side), not vertical (up-and-down).

Take one of the fan assemblies, and be sure there are no kinks in its thin connecting wire. Grasp the end of the wire so you're holding the connector, and plug it into one of the receptacles on the feeder cable for it. It should snap into place. The plug is polarised (it only fits the receptacle one way), so if it doesn't click into place, turn it around and try plugging it in again, until it snaps into place.

Repeat this process for the other five fan assemblies.

The wire hanging from the bottom of each fan assembly contains an LED; it is recommended you bend the bottom of this wire to aim the LED up if the LED isn't already facing up.

Plug the plug on the end of the AC adapter into the receptacle for it on the end of the feeder wire, and plug the transformer into a 110-120 volts AC receptacle.

The instructional materials advise you to wait 5 minutes after plugging Fireflies in for them to "warm up" and exhibit their full motion.



Since this product uses a transformer-type power supply to change 110-120 volts AC to 4.5 volts DC, this section can and will be skipped.



Because Fireflies are designed to be hung up and then not {vulgar term for having had intercourse} with, not a flashlight that you carry around and abuse, I will not beat them against a steel rod, stomp on them, try to drown them in the toilet, run over them, or bestow upon them other misfortunes that may be bestowed upon flashlights, so this section of their web page will be relatively bare.

Fireflies are not bright; but they aren't meant to be. They're supposed to mimic the natural illumination patterns of real fireflies. A small yellow-green LED on a wire on the bottom of each fan assembly accomplishes this.

It is advised to install Fireflies in a VERY dark area; light is not their friend. Even indirect light can diminish the effect.

The fans that make the Fireflies "fly" emit a very soft, unobjectionable whirring sound. I don't think it would be very, if at all audible outdoors; and it's very soft indoors. In my opinion, this sound is very faint and not at all bothersome.
Even when used indoors, I have not found the sound nearly objectionable enough to make me want to unplug the Fireflies.

Important: Although Fireflies are advertised as being durable, they are not indestructible, and should be kept away from small children and pets, as they could become broken. You should also avoid hanging or using them in stormy weather. While I don't think a light sprinkle will hurt them, a more intense rainfall could be damaging to the Fireflies, especially to the little electric fans. It'll take less than five minutes to take the Fireflies down and put them away. Away, from potentially damaging weather. And when you want to use them again, setting them back up is easy. The only potential slowdown I can see is that the fan wires could become tangled. Storing each fan in a plastic sandwich bag (with the zip-lock top) should totally eliminate this possibility.

A couple of people who have seen real fireflies think this product moves too fast, but since I have never seen fireflies, I cannot verify this firsthand.

When the Fireflies are in rapid motion, you can sometimes see the LEDs strobing (blinking or winking) on and off at a 30Hz rate. This behaviour is perfectly normal, and does not in any way indicate a problem with the Firebugs - er - Fireflies.

I thought of something I wanted to add to this page while I was in bed, but I cannot remember what it was anymore.

I'll have to live with the Fireflies for awhile before I can form an opinion about them and rate them. They are installed above my computer installation, which is where they'll be living from here on out.



Picture of one of the Fireflies above my computer installation.
In this photograph, the electric fan and LED wire is showing.
At the lower left of this photo is where the yellow-green LED is.



TEST NOTES:
Test unit was purchased on 07-04-04 for $98.00, and was received today (07-09-04).

The AC power unit outputs 4.5 volts DC at 1 amp; center of plug is (+) positive, barrel is (-) negative.


UPDATE: 09-06-04
One of the Fireflies has pooped out. The fan seems "stuck" for some reason. The LED on it still works, and the fan body is slightly warm, indicating power is still present, but for whatever reason, the fan blades do not turn.


UPDATE: 09-07-04
I wrote to the inventor of the Fireflies a short time ago regarding this failure, and he responded very promptly and courteously. So this failure will have no effect on my rating. :-)


UPDATE: 09-09-04
Last night, I removed the defective Firefly from the set, energized the remaining five Fireflies, and encountered no problems whatsoever. I deenergized them a few minutes ago (about 8:26am PDT), and will reenergize them tonight.
I like the Fireflies, so having all six working would definitely be beneficial. When I receive the replacement and connect it to the set, I'll post an update to this page.


UPDATE: 10-09-04
I placed the five Firebugs - er - Fireflies, the feeder wire, and the PSU back in their original box a couple of nights ago for a move tomorrow evening (10-10-04).
The replacement Firefly is to be sent today, to my new address, so I should have it sometime this coming week. Then I'll install the Fireflies in my new location; with photographs if necessary or possible. The new location has a back yard, so I may be able to hang them up outside next summer. With photographs if possible.


UPDATE: 10-15-04
I received the replacement Firefly at my new address this afternoon; I'll have the rest of the Fireflies tomorrow - afternoon or evening I don't yet know. But I'll be ready to rock when I do get them hung up.


UPDATE: 10-23-04
As promised, I did get the box of Fireflies a few days ago, and put the replacement inside, so when I do actually get them hung up, I'll be ready to roll.

(Phew!!! Was that a comma-spliced sentence or what?!?
My English teacher in Jr. High would just go ape{vulgar term for feces} if he saw that!!!)


UPDATE: 06-12-06
I found the box of Firebugs - er - uh - Fireflies today while unpacking my stuff here in Sacramento. My stepsister (whom I share this apartment home with) has given me the green light for installing them in the outdoor patio (open on two sides; but protected from insect entry by fine mesh). This installation may be permanent or very temporary (one day) depending on how she feels about them.


PROS:
Very unique - nothing like them exist - not that I know of anyway
Low voltage operation makes them electrically safe
Simulates the natural behaviour of firebugs - er - I mean - fireflies
Easy to put up and take back down
Low power consumption makes them easy on your electric bill


CONS:
Not all that water-resistant - especially those electric fans
Could become damaged by children and pets
Cords could become tangled up when stored - see above for one possible solution
Some have reported their motion is faster than that of real fireflies


    MANUFACTURER: Creativations
    PRODUCT TYPE: LED "Fireflies"
    LAMP TYPE: Dim yellow-green LED (to simulate a firefly's butt)
    No. OF LAMPS: 6
    BEAM TYPE: N/A
    SWITCH TYPE: None
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: None
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER RESISTANT: Light weather-resistance only
    SUBMERSIBLE: No
    ACCESSORIES: AC adapter, all cords and wiring
    WARRANTY: 90 days

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating





LED Fireflies * www.fireflies.tv







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