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Flameless LED Candle Questions & Answers

Question: What is a “moving flame” flameless LED candle, and how is it different than a “non-moving flame” flameless LED candle?

Answer:The basic difference between “moving flame” and “non-moving flame” flameless LED candles is the “moving flame” candles have an actual candle flame-like element that physically moves from side-to-side. “Non-moving flame” flameless LED candles do not have anything that physically moves, but rather they have one or more LEDs that vary in brightness in an attempt to simulate the action of a real candle flame. Since real candle flames physically move and vary in brightness, “moving flame” flameless LED candles produce the most realistic effect. For more details on how “moving flame” flameless LED candles work, see our “ CANDLE EDUCATION” section.





Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of flameless LED candles vs. real candles?

Answer:The advantages of flameless LED candles over real candles are numerous, and there are very few disadvantages. Below is a long list of advantages and a very short list of disadvantages.


Advantages of Flameless LED Candles

  • There is no fear of catching anything on fire.
  • They don’t generate heat.
  • They don’t melt the candle wax, so the candle will last a “lifetime”.
  • There is no melting wax that drips all over the place.
  • They don’t burn out.
  • They can tolerate windy conditions.
  • You can turn them on and off with either a hand-held remote control (if remote capable) or a timer.
  • They can be used around pets.
  • They can be used around elderly folks and children.
  • They can be decorated (cuff, sleeves, wraps, adornments, coatings, decals, impressions, etc.).
  • They can be placed virtually anywhere without the worry or risks associated with real candles.
  • They are great for plays, musicals, stage sets, parties, weddings, etc. without the worry or risks associated with real candles.
  • They don’t emit smoke or fumes.
  • They can be used over and over.
  • A one-time investment that will last many years.
  • They are a great conversation piece.
  • They make great gifts.

Disadvantages of Flameless LED Candles

  • They use batteries (but they don’t melt and can be used over and over!).
  • They don’t have real flames (but real flames can catch things on fire!).


Question: Why does the LED color seem to vary from candle to candle?

Answer: Different manufacturers of flameless LED candles may use different types of LEDs. The color temperature of a light source is rated by something referred to as the “color temperature”. The diagram below illustrates the different color temperatures for light sources. Most LEDs used in flameless LED applications have color temperatures that are on the “warmer” side (left side) of the diagram such as 2,500K or lower. In addition to LED differences from manufacturer to manufacturer, there may also be slight differences in color temperature between different production batches of the same LED. For example, a manufacturer of the LED, which is supplied to the flameless candle manufacturer, may run a production batch of 1,000,000 LEDs, and they will all have almost exactly the same color temperature due to very minor differences in the production process; however, the next batch of 1,000,000 LEDs run a month or so later may have a more noticeable difference in color temperature than the previous batch which can result in visually noticeable differences in color temperature. Flameless candle manufacturers and LED manufacturers attempt to try and keep these color temperature variations to a minimum, but nothing is perfect.


Question: How long will the LED last in a flameless LED candle?

Answer: The LEDs used in flameless LED candles consume very little power when compared to the LEDs used in light bulbs for general illumination. LEDs are unlike traditional filament bulbs in the sense that they have a semiconductor die (see below) instead of a wire filament. Heat is typically the mechanism behind both wire filament bulb failure and LED failure. Since the LEDs used in flameless candles don’t get very hot, they typically don’t suddenly fail due to heat, but instead, their brightness will slowly decline over time. The useful life of an LED is typically defined as the time it takes for the brightness to decline by 70% from its initial brightness. The useful life of an LED used in a flameless candle can exceed 100,000 hours which would equate to over 11 years if the LED were left on 24 hours per day. Even then, the brightness would only decline by approximately 70%. For this reason, the LEDs used in flameless candles are specified to last a “lifetime” for all practical purposes.


Question: I believe Luminara makes the best flameless LED candles because they have the best moving flame action, but I am considering purchasing a non-Luminara flameless LED candle. Is the moving flame action just as g ood on some of these non-Luminara flameless LED candles?

Answer: The video below allows you to compare the moving flame action of our TLV series of rechargeable votives with the Luminara moving flame votives. The TLV series of rechargeable votives are made exclusively for LightsandBatteries.com. Notice that the moving flame actions are very similar. The TLV votive has a unique translucent glow to it while the Luminara votive is opaque. Also, the LED lighting on the actual flame of the TLV votive is more diffused than it is for the Luminara votive. There is no question that Luminara is the most recognized brand name of moving flame LED candles on the market, but other brand names such as Avalon, Torchier, Liown and Mystique all have very similar moving flame actions. In fact, Avalon, Torchier and Liown have almost identical moving flame actions when compared to Luminara, and you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. The Mystique brand name is slightly different in the sense that the moving flame action randomly flickers from a very calm flame to a more active flame, so you will see some differences with this brand name when compared to Luminara. Which one is the "best" is simply a matter of opinion. See our discussion in the "CANDLE EDUCATION" section for more details on the differences between the various brand names and how they are related.



Question: What kind of wax is used to make flameless LED candles? Is it the same kind of wax used to make traditional flame candles?

Answer: Most of our indoor flameless LED candles are made of real paraffin wax, and yes, it is the same kind of wax that is used in real, traditional flame candles. Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or oil shale. It’s solid at room temperatures and begins to melt above approximately 115 -degrees Fahrenheit (its boiling point), and it contracts quite a bit as it gets cooler (below room temperature) . For these reasons, indoor flameless LED candles made of paraffin wax should not be exposed to high temperatures, direct sunlight or freezing temperatures. If they are exposed to freezing temperatures, the candle may actually develop small hairline cracks due to contraction of the paraffin wax . Common applications for paraffin wax include lubrications, electrical insulation and candles. Some of the smaller tealight and votive candles in addition to our outdoor candles are made of an ABS plastic material instead of paraffin wax. We carry a wide selection of paraffin wax indoor candles that are available in various scents like vanilla, cinnamon, pine, etc. Some of our indoor paraffin wax candles are unscented for those who have allergies, are sensitive to odors, or those who simply prefer not to have scented candles.



Question: What kind of water should I use in my flameless LED candle fountain (for example, the aquaflames)?

Answer: We recommend using distilled water or water purified from a reverse osmosis purification system since it will not contain any phosphates, nitrates, chemicals or heavy metals which can cause an undesirable buildup of “gunk” and/or algae growth in the candle and pump mechanism resulting in reduced water flow. If left unchecked, the water may become cloudy and disgustingly dirty, and the pump may completely stop pumping water. If regular tap water is used, we recommend adding a few drops of liquid bleach to the water to prevent algae growth. If algae growth does occur in the candle, then we recommend filling the candle up with fairly hot water and shaking it around until the inner surfaces of the candle are clean and free of algae and “gunk”. Also, to reduce the chances of algae growth, keep the candle out of direct sunlight.



Question:My flameless LED candle fountain (for example, the aquaflames) has stopped pumping water. What might be the problem?

Answer:This problem might occur for several reasons. First, is the candle plugged in, or are the batteries dead (if using batteries)? Second, make sure there is enough water in the candle since most candle fountains will automatically turn the pump off to prevent dry running of the pump which might result in damage. And, the last problem might be caused by using regular tap water in the candle. We recommend using distilled water or water purified from a reverse osmosis purification system since it will not contain any phosphates, nitrates, chemicals or heavy metals which can cause an undesirable buildup of “gunk” and/or algae growth in the candle and pump mechanism resulting in reduced water flow. If left unchecked, the water may become cloudy and disgustingly dirty, and the pump may completely stop pumping water. If regular tap water is used, we recommend adding a few drops of liquid bleach to the water to prevent algae growth. If algae growth does occur in the candle, then we recommend filling the candle up with fairly hot water and shaking it around until the inner surfaces of the candle are clean and free of algae and “gunk”. Also, to reduce the chances of algae growth, keep the candle out of direct sunlight.



Question: The water in my flameless candle fountain is really loud (for example, the aquaflames). What can I do?

Answer: This can be caused by a low water level in the candle fountain which means you basically have a tall waterfall in the candle, so the water that is pumped to the top of the candle has a longer distance to fall before hitting the pool of water in the bottom of the candle. Running the candle at higher water levels will result in quieter operation. This is basically a personal preference, so experiment with water levels until you find a level that is comfortable for you.





Question: How long will rechargeable candles last since they run on internal rechargeable batteries which have limited life spans?

Answer: All of our rechargeable candles have lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries, so they will have a limited useful service, life just like all rechargeable batteries, due to chemical changes in the electrode which results in reduced storage capacity. The advantages of Li-Ion batteries over other battery chemistries such as Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) is they have very low self-discharge rates, high energy densities and no required charge/discharge cycling to reduce the effects of memory. The useful service life of a Li-Ion battery is specified as “Battery Charge/Discharge Cycles”. A battery’s capacity decreases over time due to chemical changes in the battery’s electrode as a result of the number of full charge/discharge cycles, and the capacity loss is usually specified as a percentage of its initial capacity. A Li-Ion battery’s useful service life is typically specified as a 30% loss of initial capacity after a specified number of full charge/discharge cycles since this is the primary contributor to a battery’s capacity loss. For example, if the Li-Ion battery in a candle is specified to have a useful service life of approximately 500 charge/discharge cycles, then one can expect the candle burn time to decrease by 30% of its initial value after the candle has been fully charged and discharged 500 times. So, if a candle has an initial burn time of 10-hours, then this burn time can be expected to decrease to approximately 7-hours after being fully discharged and discharged 500 times. As one might expect, this useful service life if far more complicated than just the number of full charge/discharge cycles and also depends on other factors such as the age of the battery, exposure to elevated temperatures, and the depth of each discharge (was the battery completely discharged after being fully charged). The Li-Ion battery in a rechargeable candle usually doesn’t just stop working, but rather the burn time of the candle will simply decrease to the point where it is no longer acceptable to the end user. If a candle is fully charged and discharged once per day, and Li-Ion battery is specified to have a useful service life of approximately 500 charge/discharge cycles, then one can expect to get approximately 3 or more years of service out of the candle before the battery’s capacity has degraded to the point where it is no longer considered acceptable for use in a typical application.



Question: What is the best type of battery to use in my flameless LED candles?

Answer: Alkaline or Lithium batteries are recommended for use in all of our flameless LED candles. We sell both types, and Lithium batteries will last longer than alkaline batteries, but they are slightly more expensive. Other types of batteries such as the older Carbon Zinc (Zn/MnO 2), rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd), and rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) can be used, but the burn times may be severely reduced from the burn-times specified on our website when using alkaline batteries. If other battery types are used, the flameless LED candles may not be as bright and may begin to flicker after a short period of use. Also, do not mix different battery chemistries like Alkaline, Carbon Zinc and Nickel-Cadmium. For example, mixing Alkaline batteries with Carbon Zinc batteries can cause the Carbon Zinc batteries to heat up more in operation causing them to leak chemicals faster, and it can also drag down the Alkaline batteries causing them to die faster.


Question: Is it okay to operate or store my flameless LED candles in extreme temperatures?

Answer: There are several reasons to prevent exposing flameless LED candles to extreme temperatures as summarized below. For these reasons, it is recommended to operate and store flameless LED candles between temperatures ranging from 45-degrees to 90-degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The paraffin wax used in the construction of indoor flameless LED candles melts above approximately 115-degrees Fahrenheit (its boiling point).
  • The paraffin wax used in the construction of indoor flameless LED candles contracts as it gets cooler (below room temperature) and may actually crack if exposed to freezing temperatures.
  • When non-rechargeable batteries (e.g., alkaline, carbon zinc, etc.) are exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time, they can begin leaking chemicals which can cause corrosion damage in the candle’s battery compartment. We always recommend using good quality alkaline batteries to reduce the risk of chemical leakage in general.
  • When Li-Ion rechargeable batteries, such as those in rechargeable flameless LED tealights and votives, are exposed to extremely high temperatures, they can catch fire or even explode.
  • Batteries tend to self-discharge slowly which is why they don’t last forever when just sitting around not powering anything, and they will self-discharge at higher rates at higher temperatures.
  • Batteries tend not to work as well at lower temperatures, so the LEDs in flameless LED candles may not be as bright, the flames may not move around as much, and the battery run times may be reduced.


Question: What is the difference between a “tealight” and a “votive” flameless LED candle?

Answer: The differences are basically a matter of opinion when considering flameless LED candles, but tealight candles are generally shorter in height than votive candles. Tealights are typically less than 2-inches in height, and votives typically range from 2.5-inches to 3.5-inches. Tealights will fit nicely in the smaller candle holders where the votives might be too tall resulting in the flame protruding past the top of the holder. Always measure the candle holder you wish to use, so you can select the appropriate candle height (and diameter).




Question:
Why are some of your flameless LED candles not remote capable?
Answer:
Remote capable candles contain additional electronic receiver circuitry that adds cost to the candle, so we offer candles that are no remote capable for those who do not require this function or for people who prefer a lower price point. We recommend remote capable candles for people who have a large number of candles they wish to control or for candles that are in hard to reach locations. The pictures below illustrate the additional electronic electronic receiver circuitry in a rechargeable tealight that is remote capable.




Question: What is the difference between “indoor” and “outdoor” flameless LED candles?

Answer: Most of our indoor flameless LED candles are made or real paraffin wax (with the exception of the smaller tealights and votives which are made of ABS plastic) and run the risk of melting if exposed to excessive heat or direct sunlight since the typical melting point of paraffin wax is between about 115 and 154 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also possible for them to crack if exposed to freezing temperatures since paraffin wax contracts quite a bit as it gets colder. Outdoor flameless LED candles are made of ABS plastic which prevents them from melting or cracking when exposed to temperature extremes. Outdoor candles are also waterproof and have drain/slit holes in the bottom to prevent them from filling up with water when exposed to rain.


Question: What will happen if I subject my flameless LED candle to moisture or direct contact with water (rain)?

Answer: We carry both indoor and outdoor flameless LED candle. Most of our indoor candles are made of real paraffin wax (with the exception of our smaller tealights and votives which are made of ABS plastic), and our outdoor candles are also made of ABS plastic. Outdoor candles are constructed to be waterproof and have drain holes in the bottom to prevent the candle from filling up with water when subjected to rain. Indoor candles are not constructed to be waterproof and may fill up with water when subjected to rain. Since indoor candles are not waterproof, they may fail if subjected to rain or high levels of moisture that might be found outside, in steam rooms, bathrooms, saunas, indoor pools, etc.



Our staff here at LightsandBatteries.com are flameless LED candle experts! Our founder and president is a professionally licensed electrical engineer, so if you ever have a technical question, give us a shout, and we will get you an answer!
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