FIREFLY MAGIC LIGHTS



Firefly Magic Lights, retail from $57.95 (www.fireflymagic.com)
Manufactured by Sigma Two Industries (www.fireflymagic.com)
Last updated 05-10-05





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.

Firefly Magic Lights consist of a series of long wires with yellow-green LEDs on their ends. When set up correctly, these LEDs are supposed to fly and waver about, simulating the natural movements of fireflies. Each LED is also connected to a microcontroller, so the LED on the end of each and every wire will blink and fade like the light on the end of an actual firefly's butt.


 SIZE



(Lifted directly from the installation guide}

INSTALLING THE FIREFLY MAGIC LIGHTS

1) Before attaching the Firefly Magic™ Lights to the landscape lighting system wires, be sure the power to the supply transformer is turned off and the transformer is unplugged from its power source.

2) You can connect the Firefly Magic™ Lights microprocessor module (or modules) anywhere along the low voltage landscape lighting output wiring that runs from the transformer to the low voltage landscape lights. Ideally, select locations in your garden where you can run the individual firefly wires that are attached to the microprocessor module into nearby foliage.

3) After deciding where to place the Firefly Magic™ microprocessor module, locate the nearby 12 Volt landscape lighting distribution wire. Using a connector block or waterproof wire nuts (not included) to connect the Firefly Magic™ Microprocessor module wire to the 12 Volt landscape lighting system wires.

4) You can now plug in the low voltage landscape lighting transformer and manually turn it on. Check to verify your landscape lights have come on. If they have, now go to the Firefly Magic™ Lights module and look at the end where the wires come out. There is a small power-on light that should be glowing. This means you correctly attached the Firefly Magic™ Lights to your landscape lighting system and it is working correctly.

5) Next, turn off the landscape lighting transformer and set the timer for your preferred start time, and length of time you want your landscape lights to be on. If your transformer is equipped with the photo-electric cell, the start time setting will not be necessary as the lights will automatically come on at dusk.

6) Now you can carefully place each Firefly Magic™ electronic firefly where you want it. NOTE: DO NOT step on the small firefly lights or they will be damaged and not operate correctly.

PLACEMENT OF THE ELECTRONIC FIREFLIES

Most real fireflies tend to remain near the ground, and by installing your fireflies the same way, it will be an easy task.

Run each firefly wire along the ground, up branches and out the stems of plants to reduce their visibility. Be sure each firefly light sticks out slightly so leaves do not cover it. NOTE: If the firefly light is placed near the end of a flexible stem or branch, any slight breeze will cause the firefly light to move, creating the added effect of fireflies dancing in the night

ADJUSTING BRIGHTNESS OF THE ELECTRONIC FIREFLIES

Aim each firefly light approximately 90º from where people will be viewing. This ensures the firefly does not appear to be too bright by looking directly into the end of the light. However, if your firefly lights are farther away, or you just prefer them to be brighter, then aim the tip of the firefly light toward the viewers.



The Fireflies (model FMT-12) I'm testing today do not require batteries, so this section can and will be skipped.

This unit connects to a 12 volts AC transformer that you already have. If the secondary (12 volt) side is terminated in wires, connect the ends of the wires to the ends of the wires on the black cord on the Fireflies. Solder/tape or use wire nuts. If there are screw terminals on your transformer, screw the ends of the Fireflies' wires into these terminals, screwing in one wire for each of the two screws on the transformer.

Be absolutely, positively, 100% certain that you are connecting the Fireflies to the low voltage transformer secondary, not the 110-130 volt primary.

Use a DMM (digital multimeter) set to the 200 volt or 400 volts AC scale and measure that voltage if you aren't certain.



This product is meant to be used as a decorative fixture, not a flashlight meant to be thrashed and abused, so I won't try to drown them in a toilet, bash them against a steel rod, let my housemate's cat tinkle on them, run over them with a 400lb Rascal, or perform other indecencies on the Firefly Magic Lights that a regular flashlight might have to go through. So this section of the web page will appear more bare than this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

In the product description, it clearly indicates: Connects to an existing 12 volt UL approved landscape lighting transformer (transformer not included - see T60W on the Firefly Magic website if required), as most customers already have a landscape lighting system in-place and just splice the Firefly Magic Lights into that system.

There is a bridge rectifier in the microcontroller module,so you can connect the Firebugs - er - I mean - Fireflies to any source of power who's output is 5 to 20 volts, AC or DC.

This is the configuration of the 12-LED set of Firefly Magic Lights:
  • Two Fireflies - each on separate 12 foot wires
  • Two Fireflies - each on separate 10 foot wires
  • Two Fireflies - each on separate 8 foot wires
  • Two Fireflies - each on separate 6 foot wires
  • Two Fireflies - each on separate 4 foot wires
  • Two Fireflies - each on separate 3 foot wires
  • Total 86 feet of wire
  • Maximum span - 24 feet
  • One 3 foot long 16 gauge outdoor wire for connection to low voltage 12VAC UL approved landscape lighting transformer output wires

I have not yet found a place to mount the test unit, so my Firefly Magic Lights are still coiled up on a box to the right of my computer installation, happily blinking away.



Photograph of the end of one of the Fireflies.



Photograph of a Firefly in foliage.
Used with permission of the photographer
The foliage in this example appears to be from a ficus tree.



TEST NOTES:
Test unit was received on the morning of 04-22-05.

The inventor of the Fireflies was mentioned right here if you're interested.

Firefly Magic Lights are made in the United States. A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.


UPDATE: 05-10-05
I have decided to rate this product two stars.


PROS:
Weatherproof
Simulates the natural blinking pattern of firebugs - er - fireflies
Low voltage operation makes them electrically safe
Easy to put up and take back down
Low power consumption makes them easy on your electric bill



CONS:
If the wires going to the fireflies themselves are flexed too much, they can become broken
This is because the wire is solid, not stranded
This is what derated them so much


    MANUFACTURER: Sigma Two Industries
    PRODUCT TYPE: Simulated fireflies
    LAMP TYPE: 3mm LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 7 or 12
    BEAM TYPE: N/A
    SWITCH TYPE: N/A
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: One model uses 3xAA cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION:
    WATER RESISTANT: Yes
    SUBMERSIBLE: No
    ACCESSORIES: None that I'm aware of
    WARRANTY: 2 years

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating





Firefly Magic Lights * www.fireflymagic.com







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