(Topic ID: 93830)

LED Bulbs. Cut out the middle man, buy from China for $0.07 each????


By barakandl

4 years ago



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  • 49 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Leeb18509
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    #1 4 years ago

    With all these LED re sellers popping up, you have to wonder how much competition there is, and geeze, how much profit is there to be made.

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/6-3V-pinball-led-bulb_752017171.html

    Anyone gone right to the source? Looks like if i want qty 100 or more, i can get it right from China. Lots of LED bulbs all over alibaba.

    #2 4 years ago

    Couple of issues, quality control, customs, import taxes, did I mention quality control

    Not to say this is bad, but there is cheap and there is quality in China too. 100 LED's for $7 plus shipping, you have to bank wire the money, or provide financials, hope the supplier is reputable. Beware, many of them are not, just my thoughts.

    #3 4 years ago

    Unless you're a giant cheap ass and willing to put up with the headaches and problems just buy from Comet and know you're getting a good product for a reasonable price.

    #4 4 years ago

    Not to mention the guys that do provide these bulbs to us bust there ass and really invest time to make sure we get the best bulbs and latest products . The customer service alone makes it worth doing business with the guys like Comet pinball and Cointaker . I also feel that after you add shipping , sorting , taxes , time and other minor things I don't think these guys are crushing the profits . Just my 2 cents

    #5 4 years ago

    I buy components in bulk from alibaba, it really is no hassle with customs or anything. This is exactly what the LED resellers are selling you. They are just playing middle man. If you are doing 10-20 games, it may be worth your time to go to the source.

    Or maybe i should start my own LED bulb website. There is money to be made.

    Just throwing it out there. Competition is good for the entire group. I felt like ruffling some feathers today too.

    #6 4 years ago

    7 cents a bulb isnt getting you a bulb you can really use in a pinball machine. Youre buying a minimum of 100 per base per color and paying shipping on top of that. All for a product that you cant be sure of the quality.

    You can buy from numerous companies that advertise here and get the customer service that is there if you need it.

    You could also deal with China and hope you dont run in to any problems..

    #7 4 years ago

    I buy components all the time from China.

    Every time you buy 500 blue LEDs, or 1000 resistors off of eBay, they come directly from China.

    I've never had any duty, taxes or customs problems.

    All that being said, the LED pinball bulbs I bought directly from China were really dim and crappy.

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    All that being said, the LED pinball bulbs I bought directly from China were really dim and crappy.

    That's the risk I was talking about, you will eventually find a good supplier, but it takes time. I don't want to sell LEDs I just want to buy some for my game

    #9 4 years ago

    Your also paying for the selection. Could you imagine what it's like having 1000 bulbs in 10 dif. colors in just one style then multiply that by as many styles as Art at Comet has and then taking orders of 2 of this style and color and 5 of that color and style etc. Then coming up with new styles like Comets 6.3v, 7 led strips and dealing with all the crap that goes along with that. Doing all that with a company half way around the world so you have to be up at 3 or 4am to do business with them during their business hours. The long distance phone bills would kill ya and your email in box would be over flowing. That's not to mention all the business trips to China. Drive me crazy it would.

    #10 4 years ago

    Not to mention the work that Art puts in to develop new things for us. I've got one of his ice blue bulbs here to test, I just haven't had a chance to put it in a machine yet to report back. But no one is carrying this color, and he took the risk to bring it to us.

    #11 4 years ago

    I am sure Art has a pile of really shitty bulbs he would sell you cheap.
    As many products has he tested to bring us the best; I bet the crap bulbs pile up.

    Just not worth it unless you are going to get into the business and I think it would be hard to beat the great LED sellers we already have.

    #12 4 years ago

    If only the bulbs we bought were .07 cents each I could make some decent money on this

    I have a massive box of maybe thousands of these that are just waiting to go in the garbage. Some are still in the sealed packs cause I never bothered to open more than one pack to realize they were dim and crap.

    There are also at least 2 kings of 5050 SMD qualites (the 5050 is the big square LED). The lower quality can be dimmer and burns out faster it seems.

    P.s - China just sent us 1800 of an incorrect bulb and we ate $1200 on that. It was their bad, but not a whole lot could be done

    #13 4 years ago
    Quoted from PinballBulbs:

    I have a massive box of maybe thousands of these that are just waiting to go in the garbage. Some are still in the sealed packs cause I never bothered to open more than one pack to realize they were dim and crap.

    No fun throwing inventory away like that.
    But if they suck you an do nothing but trash them and move on or you will end up on hoarders.

    #14 4 years ago

    Look, my wife made wall art of all the crappy bulbs i got from china during testing phases. CAM01001.jpg

    CAM01000.jpg
    14
    #15 4 years ago
    Quoted from Homertv:

    I am sure Art has a pile of really shitty bulbs he would sell you cheap.

    Thousands actually that dont work...you can ask for some free with any order, you can take them apart, maybe fix them....about 80 factories sampled. Hundreds and hundreds that are just bad production. I have had staff at 3 shows, and 4 countries tested too!

    James is right on, as is our friends at Nifty and CT....07 are rejects,,,they do exist.

    Some info under TMI....

    I can only share the following.
    Each new bulb to stock is a minimum of 10K.

    Customer service is 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. 120-150 email questions a day...you'll need 6 hours or more just for that. Employees, 4, salaries, insurance, rent.
    Whether one is the largest or smallest company. it is more work and cost then most people realize.

    Ill also add honestly, the variety of quality.....do you think the big players are buying at $.07 and selling for over $1.00?
    Zizzle vs Stern. Rectified? Virgin resin? etc....

    Many bulbs, with feet on the ground in China, have a 20%-50% markup here after import, so after all expenses and taxes, (6% shipping, 2.75% CC. Free shipping 3.3%, Cost of inventory, 10%, Labor cost 8%-12%, Operating costs, and taxes....About $.03 a bulb left for profit on the low end bulbs.

    So, indeed OP, you can likely buy a few thousand, and save some money,,,about $50, for a thousand of one color one base, but turning ideas into a business is often misunderstood.

    But you are right, more competition does bring better things, but ultimately, there has to be some return to function as a business.

    After 38 years in my regular field of jewelry manufacturing, for TV, Department Stores, and retail stores,
    I can share that price only..... kills an industry faster then anything.

    So no discouragement here, please do try...just be prepared, ,....be ready for
    100-120 work weeks!

    Art

    #16 4 years ago

    I love the Wall Art, James!!!

    #17 4 years ago

    Seems like a lot of don't do its coming in. Although I do wonder why there are a half dozen companies selling LED bulbs for pinball machines. Seems like a lot for such a seemingly small market. There must be "some" money to be made... right?

    #18 4 years ago

    Some....but in standard business models and ROI...., not really.
    Lets see, I make about $7.00 an hour....and 8% pre tax...
    hmmm. I should listen to my Doctors and Accountant....

    Pinheads are lucky....Our LED bulbs average $.50 in the hobby...($.26-$.75)

    Here is how the world makes money on LEDs.

    1 Bulb, Home Depot....$9.87 each

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Nite-Ize-C-D-Cell-L-E-D-Upgrade-Kit-LRB-07-PR/203002218

    1 Bulb, $12.99 Autozone:

    http://www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/Sylvania-LED-Daytime-Running-Light-Mini-Bulb/_/N-9cjds?itemIdentifier=449375_0_0_

    I can go on, but Nike sneakers can be under $3 in S Korea factory,
    A plate of pasta, flour, egg and water is $.33, and sold for $10.

    So you can see what storefronts charge.

    All vendors, I believe are fellow pinheads...we do it for pinball and a bit.

    Personally...not at all for the "money", but yes there is some...losing money is easy, making a little
    with hard work is a hobby or passion.

    10
    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from PinballBulbs:

    Look, my wife made wall art of all the crappy bulbs i got from china during testing phases.

    Don't be fooled, everyone. That is merely the LED kit for Cactus Jack:

    CJ LED Kit.jpg

    CJ playfield.jpg

    #20 4 years ago
    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

    Thousands actually that dont work...you can ask for some free with any order, you can take them apart, maybe fix them....about 80 factories sampled. Hundreds and hundreds that are just bad production. I have had staff at 3 shows, and 4 countries tested too!

    Great Idea
    Like to old Woot Bag of Crap.
    Free bag of LED crap with any order
    I will be making a order tomorrow

    #21 4 years ago

    As someone who is very well versed with using Alibaba, I'd just like to state for the record, it's a crap (Pun intended) shoot. My experience in dealing with them was with Hot Tubs, ATV's, JetSki's, Christmas trees and yes, before they were even popular, LED's. (Products I bet the LED companies on here don't even know about. Check out the LED snowing tube lights snowing Christmas trees. Also check out regular LED lit trees along with LED lit faucets. Those were some of the items I was talking to companies about carrying here in the US.

    Let me tell ya, dealing with China is a major PITA to put it as nicely as possible. If you know what you're doing, and have some reputable American and Chinese contacts, you can make some money. But it takes a TON of research and hard work. You DON'T just simply find a manufacturer and place an order. And when it comes to something like LED's, LOL you'll really be pulling your hair out!

    It takes MONTHS to find reputable Chinese companies and weeks to receive produt. And don't trust what Alibaba says is a reputable site either, that's a joke.

    The time and work that Art has invested into LED's is beyond comprehension. I swear I think he sleeps with LED's under his pillow (hoping the LED fairy will visit him at night with new ideas) the same way a kid will sleep with his baseball glove. That's how committed he is to our hobby. That's a guy you want to support and buy from.

    Chris (AKA Rock914 here on Pinside) over at Rock Custom Pinball is another guy who has put an incredible amount of time into LED research and development. He's a real innovator and has come out with some AMAZING products! Can't go wrong dealing with him either.

    All that said, forget about hoping to save a couple bucks and support great guys within our hobby who work their tails off bringing us high end quality products and making the hobby better. They deserve your business and the few extra pennies you might save from buying elsewhere.

    #22 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinfidel:

    I swear I think he sleeps with LED's under his pillow

    I'm not sure he sleeps at all.

    #23 4 years ago

    A take from a guy who just placed his first LED order and doesn't really belong in this conversation:

    If I needed a lot of bulbs getting 100 bulbs for $7.00 would be worth sorting through even if 20% didn't work.

    But I have 2 machines... I don't need 100 bulbs of 1 color.

    I've heard the pinball podcast guys push Nifty LED... (I'm a marketing guy) I like admitting that their advertising worked... I went to Nifty to place my order. I was intrigued by the "Free Shipping over $100" and the "$10 flat rate for under $100."

    Unfortunately, I live in Canada... where we regularly get screwed on shipping. Once I filled out an order I realized those offers don't apply... never finalized my order as shipping was too much. (And don't tell me the shipping costs to Canada are legit cause they aren't. I've shipped stuff to the states and it isn't $20 for an envelope,sorry... can't imagine it being THAT much different coming the other way especially since our mail system has one foot in the ground here.

    Then I saw the chap posting on here with Titan LED. I decided to price it out after some communication I had with him about Canadian shipping and was pleased. I purchased around 80 LEDs (Exact number slips my mind) and 3 bottles of Novus and my shipping to Canada was $20. I'd bet $10 of that shipping was the Novus. Can't speak to the quality as I haven't received them yet, but if they're good, I'll support him again. Cut out the price of the Novus and Novus shipping and I'm probably getting my LED's for about .60 each shipped.

    That's a far cry from .7 a bulb (Plus whatever the shipping is) but I'm pleased with my communication and everything so far. And for a guy who only has 2 machines I can live with that price if the quality is there.

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pauz21:

    Unfortunately, I live in Canada... where we regularly get screwed on shipping. Once I filled out an order I realized those offers don't apply... never finalized my order as shipping was too much. (And don't tell me the shipping costs to Canada are legit cause they aren't. I've shipped stuff to the states and it isn't $20 for an envelope,sorry... can't imagine it being THAT much different coming the other way especially since our mail system has one foot in the ground here.

    You'd be surprised how much international shipping can be. I had to raise my international prices on my translites to cover the shipping, and I still often pay more to ship than the increase I'm charging. I'm talking raw postage costs, not my time, not the price for the box and tape etc. I only ship Priority International though.

    #25 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pauz21:

    A take from a guy who just placed his first LED order and doesn't really belong in this conversation:
    If I needed a lot of bulbs getting 100 bulbs for $7.00 would be worth sorting through even if 20% didn't work.
    But I have 2 machines... I don't need 100 bulbs of 1 color.
    I've heard the pinball podcast guys push Nifty LED... (I'm a marketing guy) I like admitting that their advertising worked... I went to Nifty to place my order. I was intrigued by the "Free Shipping over $100" and the "$10 flat rate for under $100."
    Unfortunately, I live in Canada... where we regularly get screwed on shipping. Once I filled out an order I realized those offers don't apply... never finalized my order as shipping was too much. (And don't tell me the shipping costs to Canada are legit cause they aren't. I've shipped stuff to the states and it isn't $20 for an envelope,sorry... can't imagine it being THAT much different coming the other way especially since our mail system has one foot in the ground here.
    Then I saw the chap posting on here with Titan LED. I decided to price it out after some communication I had with him about Canadian shipping and was pleased. I purchased around 80 LEDs (Exact number slips my mind) and 3 bottles of Novus and my shipping to Canada was $20. I'd bet $10 of that shipping was the Novus. Can't speak to the quality as I haven't received them yet, but if they're good, I'll support him again. Cut out the price of the Novus and Novus shipping and I'm probably getting my LED's for about .60 each shipped.
    That's a far cry from .7 a bulb (Plus whatever the shipping is) but I'm pleased with my communication and everything so far. And for a guy who only has 2 machines I can live with that price if the quality is there.

    We ship to Canada all the time and it is usually $9-$20 (depending on size of order). Shipping 2 kits might be $20, but that is $400 worth of LEDs and a standard order with some random LEDs usually is around $9-12$. Not too bad at all. We charge whatever USPS charges plus a very small percentage for shipping supplies.

    Also, the LEDs from Titan Pinball will be dim. Not to make anything of it, just letting you know based on the pics they look to be the ones in the boxes and "Wall art" I posted above. They may be fantastic for your needs, but just a heads up they are the really dim LED bulbs.

    If you wanted to place a larger order and shipping cost was an issue for you then you can always email me, I'm happy work with you on shipping and on declared value too

    #26 4 years ago

    Looking for recommendation on an LED qty/deal/package kit.

    I have 5 machines and would like to have some LED's around for all of them to replace the old bulbs as they blow. i would also love to pimp out my space invaders with brighter bubs but i am not crazy about all the different colors I see people go nuts with on these led mods. I'd like to stick with the plain white with maybe a red OR blue accent here OR there.

    The other 4 machines are:
    Blackout
    Meteor
    F-14
    Black Rose

    I am a big fan of older machines so any advice will be appreciated and taken.

    Thanks!

    RB

    #27 4 years ago

    Games like Meteor will need a new driver board (or a lot of resistor soldering) to use LED in the inserts.

    http://www.allteksystems.com/products-mpu-replacements.html#lamp

    #28 4 years ago

    Thanks Vid1900. I see a 300 piece kit on comet for 78 bucks and it's 99 for the new lamp driver board. Stll cheaper than the prefab kits for specific machines that dictate the colors you get or am I mistaken? I am new to all of theis and you guys have been a TREMENDOUS help so far.

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pauz21:

    I've heard the pinball podcast guys push Nifty LED... (I'm a marketing guy) I like admitting that their advertising worked... I went to Nifty to place my order. I was intrigued by the "Free Shipping over $100" and the "$10 flat rate for under $100."
    Unfortunately, I live in Canada... where we regularly get screwed on shipping. Once I filled out an order I realized those offers don't apply... never finalized my order as shipping was too much. (And don't tell me the shipping costs to Canada are legit cause they aren't. I've shipped stuff to the states and it isn't $20 for an envelope,sorry... can't imagine it being THAT much different coming the other way especially since our mail system has one foot in the ground here.

    We are sorry you didnt order from us. We charge a flat rate of $25 to ship internationally whether it be Australia, UK, Canada, etc.. We ship using Flat Rate priority boxes - which has a few great advantages

    We dont charge for shipping supplies, we dont have to weigh your stuff to get you a quote on shipping, You get your stuff in a few days Vs. a week + with standard shipping, No matter how much you order its still just $25 for shipping to you.

    We also never ever ship in an envelope - our boxes sometimes dont make it through the postal system - Envelopes have a far higher failure rate

    #30 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Games like Meteor will need a new driver board (or a lot of resistor soldering) to use LED in the inserts.
    http://www.allteksystems.com/products-mpu-replacements.html#lamp

    Its really not that bad. I soldered SMT resistors for my older Ballys in the course of a few hours time, but then I am a professional.

    #31 4 years ago

    I used to fix tv's in the late 80's through 1999 so I can solder with the best of 'em but I have no idea what resistors need to be changed and changed to what value.

    Quoted from wayout440:Its really not that bad. I soldered SMT resistors for my older Ballys in the course of a few hours time, but then I am a professional.

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from rcbrown316:

    Thanks Vid1900. I see a 300 piece kit on comet for 78 bucks and it's 99 for the new lamp driver board. Stll cheaper than the prefab kits for specific machines that dictate the colors you get or am I mistaken? I am new to all of theis and you guys have been a TREMENDOUS help so far.

    I prefer to buy in bulk this way. I have bought kits and wasn't that happy with the colour choices others had made for me.

    I have also bought Comet LEDs. From my experience, you couldn't deal with a nicer guy than Art. I have had a few LEDs fail but we are talking a failure rate of maybe 2 or 3% if that. I have found this to be the case with every LED supplier I have tried, it just seems to be the nature of LEDs.

    Personally I would recommend the bulk deals like Comet has. I don't know what the other guys have on offer but in fairness I guess it would be worth checking them out as well.

    If you haven't dealt with Alibaba and the Chinese before, don't waste your time. Just support the guys that have done all the testing for you.

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from rcbrown316:

    I used to fix tv's in the late 80's through 1999 so I can solder with the best of 'em but I have no idea what resistors need to be changed and changed to what value.

    470 ohm. I use a fine tweezers and a magnifying lamp. Painstaking, but put some good music on and go to town. I soldered them right to the top of the pinball LED module bulb in parallel with the actual LED. This is the original post I referenced:

    "Once upon a time there was a led that flickered when it was installed
    in an older Bally or Stern pinball machine. The LEDS flickered on any
    machine that used a Bally As2518-14, AS2518-23, or Stern LDB-100. These
    lamp driver modules were used from 1977 thru 1989. These boards use SCRs
    to switch # 44 Lamps on and off in pinball machines. This has worked
    well for many years, until someone tried to use a led instead of a #44
    lamp. The LED flickered. I discovered that the reason the led flickered
    was that the LED drew no current below it’s forward bias point that it
    would not hold an scr latched. If a resistor is added in parallel with
    the led, it would draw enough current to keep the scr latched and there
    was no flicker. (Life is Good). Through testing I found that a 470 olhm
    resistor was more than enough to keep any of the scrs that I tested
    latched. The 470 ohm resistor can be added in the socket of the led,
    soldered across the lamp socket, or soldered on the lamp driver module.
    The electrons don’t know or care where the resistor lives, as long as it
    will cause a 1ma load to the anode of the scr. All 3 ways have been done
    and they all work well." - text by Ron Googe.

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from NiftyLED:

    We are sorry you didnt order from us. We charge a flat rate of $25 to ship internationally whether it be Australia, UK, Canada, etc.. We ship using Flat Rate priority boxes - which has a few great advantages
    We dont charge for shipping supplies, we dont have to weigh your stuff to get you a quote on shipping, You get your stuff in a few days Vs. a week + with standard shipping, No matter how much you order its still just $25 for shipping to you.
    We also never ever ship in an envelope - our boxes sometimes dont make it through the postal system - Envelopes have a far higher failure rate

    No problem boys. Wasn't trying to rip on ya... Just used it as an example of the issues people in canada need to deal with. I've heard great things about your LED's. Just didn't want to pay that much on the shipping. Was just pointing out that in Canada... for big jobs... I'd be tempted to go the china route due to costs. But for my small stuff... I'm fine paying a LITTLE more.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from herg:

    I'm not sure he sleeps at all.

    Whats Sleep?

    Just to jump in on shipping....We average $11-$14....our cost we pass on which includes insurance, to Canada...
    Not too bad I hope....

    I hate to leave the insurance out for $1.00.....

    #36 4 years ago
    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

    Many bulbs, with feet on the ground in China, have a 20%-50% markup here after import, so after all expenses and taxes, (6% shipping, 2.75% CC. Free shipping 3.3%, Cost of inventory, 10%, Labor cost 8%-12%, Operating costs, and taxes....About $.03 a bulb left for profit on the low end bulbs.
    Art

    Just to add to this...stated shipping is off by a factor of 10x. Shipping typically adds about 60%. Then there's brokerage fees for large freight orders -- even duty free stuff requires a broker to 'push' the shipment through customs by providing proper commodity codes, etc.

    #37 4 years ago

    I bought my NGG from a Pinsider who bought bulk bulbs from China and used them in my game. I found his positive comments about them on the website advertising the bulbs. I have had the game for about 3 months with zero bulb failures and they are too bright for my taste.

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from herg:

    I'm not sure he sleeps at all.

    I've known Art for years and I'm still not sure when he ever sleeps. You would be amazed at all he accomplishes during a day. Makes me look like a total slacker on my best days.

    #39 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pauz21:

    A take from a guy who just placed his first LED order and doesn't really belong in this conversation:
    If I needed a lot of bulbs getting 100 bulbs for $7.00 would be worth sorting through even if 20% didn't work.
    But I have 2 machines... I don't need 100 bulbs of 1 color.
    I've heard the pinball podcast guys push Nifty LED... (I'm a marketing guy) I like admitting that their advertising worked... I went to Nifty to place my order. I was intrigued by the "Free Shipping over $100" and the "$10 flat rate for under $100."
    Unfortunately, I live in Canada... where we regularly get screwed on shipping. Once I filled out an order I realized those offers don't apply... never finalized my order as shipping was too much. (And don't tell me the shipping costs to Canada are legit cause they aren't. I've shipped stuff to the states and it isn't $20 for an envelope,sorry... can't imagine it being THAT much different coming the other way especially since our mail system has one foot in the ground here.
    Then I saw the chap posting on here with Titan LED. I decided to price it out after some communication I had with him about Canadian shipping and was pleased. I purchased around 80 LEDs (Exact number slips my mind) and 3 bottles of Novus and my shipping to Canada was $20. I'd bet $10 of that shipping was the Novus. Can't speak to the quality as I haven't received them yet, but if they're good, I'll support him again. Cut out the price of the Novus and Novus shipping and I'm probably getting my LED's for about .60 each shipped.
    That's a far cry from .7 a bulb (Plus whatever the shipping is) but I'm pleased with my communication and everything so far. And for a guy who only has 2 machines I can live with that price if the quality is there.

    I order from PinballBulbs a lot and my shipping to Canada is always about $11, and it comes in a small box too, I love them for their shipping price. I do agree with you though a lot of companies overcharge for shipping and turn a profit on it. One of the worst is Bay Area Amusements (BAA), I always pay $40 - $50 in shipping from them and most times the box is the same size PinballBulbs ships me for $11. This shipping rip off really pees me off, so I get where you are coming from.

    #40 4 years ago

    I have been trying to get my shipping smoothed out at SpeakerLightKits.com. I have the small US orders under control. My next goal is to address slightly larger orders and foreign orders. I want to get some more orders in to grab data from before I jump into that.

    What I have been doing in the mean time is refunding any amounts charged for shipping that are over by a large amount. The PayPal shipping setting that I use are pretty limited. Each state must be in a certain group (even though some states have 2 separate shipping zones and costs) and then each group only has 5 weight / cost tiers. If I had 10 tiers to work with it would be much easier.

    My target is to have shipping charged like this: If someone orders a package and I would take it to the post office and the price would be $6 to ship it...I have PayPal set to charge $6 shipping...BUT since I pay the postage on-line I get a shipping discount ($.46 off). This varies on the order size. The larger the shipment the larger the discount. I keep that discount (usually around $.50 on a small order). So what I am charging is actual shipping charges, but I am keeping the saving that I get by doing my post office work on-line. Boxes, supplies, time to pack the order....I consider all of that getting taken care of by purchasing my product.

    1 year later
    11
    #41 3 years ago

    Hi - My name is Mike and I'm a bulbaholic.

    Can you buy cheap bulbs from China - obviously you can - but it really is a crap shoot whether or not what you receive will be worth the money (more importantly the time) you spend finding the right ones!

    I worked in construction years ago and learned something that I'll share with my fellow bulbaholics.

    We were remodeling an upscale home and I was shocked to discover that the owners (each who drove a high-end Porsche) had NO TOOLS! Seriously - nothing. No screwdrivers, no hammers, no shovels, no lawnmower - NOTHING. I was dumbfounded wondering how anyone could go through life without any tools. I asked the owner about this one day when he came home from work and learned something that I have actually applied in my own life.

    He told me "I have no tools because I hire the experts to do what they do. I hired your company to remodel our home for example. When I get home from work - I spend my free time with friends and family enjoying my life. We have parties, have friends over for cookouts, swim, go out to dinner, hang out and relax. My time is spent more productively earning money doing what I am an expert at. It is cheaper for me to pay you to do what you are best at and the added bonus is - I really get to enjoy my life."

    Since then I have also adopted his policy and have found it to work extremely well.

    I pay a lawn service to maintain my yard because I don't particularly enjoy yard work. I pay a mechanic to repair my cars although I am competent to do it myself. I pay a dry cleaner to clean my clothing. Finally - and to bring this conversation back full circle - I pay Art to focus his expertise on finding and developing the best LED technology for me to enjoy in my games. I honestly don't mind paying his overhead because he offers this service - and I don't have the time or inclination to become an LED expert - I leave that to him.

    Thanks Art - I'll continue to focus on what I do in my day job and continue to patronize your (and other) pinball businesses doing what they do best.

    #43 3 years ago

    I gladly pay the middle man if it means getting exactly what I want for a decent price. I hate wasting time and money on junk even if it's only a few bucks.

    #44 3 years ago

    While it was years ago I did the China direct thing, and most of them didn't even make it to my games. There is fit issues, flicker issues, color issues, and overall quality issues. These "middle men" spend months weeding out manufacturers to find the good ones, then many more months going back and forth on individual bulbs to make sure they are made properly, and then work with the manufacturers for more specialty bulb options. Believe me, the service provided is more than worth the perceived markup, which they will all confess isn't very much.

    #45 3 years ago
    Quoted from Pinterest:

    I pay a lawn service to maintain my yard because I don't particularly enjoy yard work. I pay a mechanic to repair my cars although I am competent to do it myself. I pay a dry cleaner to clean my clothing. Finally - and to bring this conversation back full circle - I pay Art to focus his expertise on finding and developing the best LED technology for me to enjoy in my games. I honestly don't mind paying his overhead because he offers this service - and I don't have the time or inclination to become an LED expert - I leave that to him.
    Thanks Art - I'll continue to focus on what I do in my day job and continue to patronize your (and other) pinball businesses doing what they do best.

    If that's what you enjoy, more power to ya.

    Most people enjoy the challenge of doing things for themselves. If a pinball enthusiast wants to save some money and have the challenge of sourcing parts to avoid the middle man, more power to them.

    ...personally I'm the kind of person that doesn't hand off every little thing to somebody else. So I'd recommend people try and buy from many different sources (including the LED vendors), find what works best for them and go from there.

    "pinball led" advertisements are showing up for a reason on alibaba/aliexpress.

    I think it might be time to start a dedicated thread testing some of these chinese sources and comparing them to fair offered by US resellers.

    #46 3 years ago
    Quoted from QuarterGrabber:

    I order from PinballBulbs a lot and my shipping to Canada is always about $11, and it comes in a small box too, I love them for their shipping price. I do agree with you though a lot of companies overcharge for shipping and turn a profit on it. One of the worst is Bay Area Amusements (BAA), I always pay $40 - $50 in shipping from them and most times the box is the same size PinballBulbs ships me for $11. This shipping rip off really pees me off, so I get where you are coming from.

    Thanks for the words! I wrote a specific algorithm using usps hooks to get automatic shipping quotes and then all of our product has a weight entered for it on the site when we add it so it's a fairly accurate quote of what we actually pay. In fact, to Australia I always lose money on shipping because usps api isn't perfect for that country it seems. Oh well though!

    Ps - if anyone finds the same bulbs we sell for 7 cents, or heck even 14 cents let me know I am 100% in for a 50k order. Thatd be a steal!!

    #47 3 years ago

    Unless you want to do a minimum of 10 machines it is not worth it and I speak from experience.

    #48 3 years ago
    Quoted from BioBa:

    Unless you want to do a minimum of 10 machines it is not worth it and I speak from experience.

    Yes it is (to me), and I speak from experience too....

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/im-a-bulbaholicwho-else-wants-to-admit-it#post-2587360

    The capless bulbs I am getting from that link are well worth the money. They are excellent quality. I have gone through thousands of them, and have only had two bad bulbs out of the bunch (minus purple just flat out sucking)......

    I like to color match my inserts, but the warm white and cool white bulbs can cover a spectrum of colors pretty well if you dont want to buy multiple packs.

    I have had multiple people contact me about buying direct form that seller and their experience has been the same as mine. A lot of them are from other countries, so the bulbs are even cheaper for them than they are for me (since I can get free shipping with the standard lef vendors here in the USA)...

    #49 3 years ago
    Quoted from QuarterGrabber:

    One of the worst is Bay Area Amusements (BAA), I always pay $40 - $50 in shipping from them and most times the box is the same size PinballBulbs ships me for $11. This shipping rip off really pees me off, so I get where you are coming from.

    That's a shame because for the U.S. BAA has great prices and I get their stuff quick just off the west coast. Keep in mind, I'd be happy to re-ship for you to save you some money.

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