r/mildlyinteresting Jan 21 '22 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Tree Hug 1

Purple Street Lights in St. Paul (caused by a failure of the yellow phosphor in the LED chips)

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1.1k Upvotes

89

u/Optimus_RE Jan 21 '22

People here in Baltimore at first thought they were for the Ravens a few months ago, but the news filled us in. That bubble bursted much like our playoff hopes

81

u/MachReverb Jan 21 '22 Gold

The LED formerly known as white

8

u/Pumpkito Jan 22 '22

I hope this is either a Prince or a Risk of Rain reference 🥺

0

u/i_Praseru Jan 22 '22

Or a Macedonia reference.

17

u/ComicallySolemn Jan 22 '22

Just saw this two days ago in a small town in eastern Washington. There was a great deal of fog, which only made the purple light more pronounced. Thought it bizarre, and it’s definitely mildly interesting to see the same thing occurring across the country.

6

u/lainlives Jan 22 '22

Google 'purple street lights' you will find its a global thing. Any city that decides to buy the cheapest leds possible ends up in this boat.

15

u/jdaniels934 Jan 22 '22 Wholesome

Dying light vibes lol

38

u/UnhingedBlonde Jan 22 '22

We have them in NC. I love them, but some people really hate them. The local energy company, Duke Energy, said they were faulty bulbs and if you see them, to alert them so they can replace them. My neighborhood road has alot of them and it's like having Halloween lighting down the street all year round. :D

9

u/franktheguy Jan 22 '22

Yeah there are a bunch of them here in the midwest as well, and they have been for years. Take that part about replacing the bulbs with a big grain of salt, you'll be seeing them for a while.

3

u/ErusTenebre Jan 22 '22

I mean, if people don't say anything then the people that replace them won't right? Like we had a street light that was off and it stayed that way, until I called it in. Fixed in like two weeks?

But I'm sure it depends on the town/county/companies involved.

4

u/longbathlover Jan 22 '22

Yeah I live in NC and love em. Much less glare and light pollution while still being useful.

3

u/Mr_Slugworth Jan 22 '22

I’ve been wondering about that the last few times I’ve been to Durham (only place I’ve noticed them).

12

u/Panic-Current Jan 22 '22

All you need now are keep on trucking blacklight posters

37

u/PuzzledRun7584 Jan 21 '22

Purple rain, Purple rain.

8

u/Team_Braniel Jan 22 '22

My drive home from work each night goes right through one of the Crack parts of town, there is a school there right in the middle, all the street lights and lights on property are blue.

Stops the junkies from shooting up on school grounds and leaving needles for the kids.

3

u/coffeeINJECTION Jan 22 '22

Well thank you I thought the purple was on purpose.

3

u/smearing Jan 22 '22

As soon as I saw this I thought “all them ‘sotans gonna think their neighbor is honoring Mr. Nelson”

10

u/ConradSchu Jan 22 '22

It's all over the country. Most utilities will change it if you call them but I think most people like them.

2

u/monsantobreath Jan 22 '22

I've seen a few of these in my city. My first thought was it was meant to deter loitering by being so annoying to stand under.

2

u/lucerndia Jan 22 '22

Tons of these in Milwaukee area too

2

u/slurpyslurpa Jan 22 '22

Theyre preparing for the haran virus

2

u/TheCanabalisticBambi Jan 22 '22

Man the neighborhood must be excited for dying light 2.

2

u/smearing Jan 22 '22

Be honest OP did u think it was a tribute to His Royal Badness when u first saw it

2

u/OneWorldMouse Jan 22 '22

It's a yellow coating on LED that makes it white... or not.

2

u/Cultural-Tackle-178 Jan 22 '22

this should be done on purpose more often. orange street lights are boring. this explanation makes me think that these lights are naturally purple

2

u/AnthoZero Jan 22 '22

don’t ruin the vibes by making it white

3

u/OutVoided Jan 22 '22

4 months late for Halloween, what a shame

4

u/LivingGhost371 Jan 22 '22

Not a tribute to Prince or the Vikings but a manufacturing defect. LEDs can fundamentally only emit one color; "White" LEDs are actually blue LEDs with yellow and red phosphors to convert some of the blue light. The net result looks white to us

Normal failure modes for LEDs are for the emitter to get weak, resulting in a very dim white light, or the driver or one or more of the emitters to just fail. Or over a long time for the red phosphor to degrade, resulting in a greenish hue from the blue emitters and yellow phosphors.

Here the yellow phosphor degraded almost immediately due to the manufacturer getting a defective batch of LED chips., leaving the blue emitters and red phosphors. This is covered under warranty by the manufacturer and the lights should be reported to the responsible agency for replacement.

1

u/Ispiniallday Jan 22 '22

Would it not be RGB? Meaning the green has gone?

I’ve only worked with stage lights and LED strips, but they’ve either been RGB or CMY.

3

u/LivingGhost371 Jan 22 '22

High powered LEDs like for street lights or household lamp replacement where you don't care about being able to get colors other than white it's cheaper to use blue emitters and shift some of the color with phosphors rather than having three emitters and blending the colors.

3

u/lainlives Jan 22 '22

"Monowhite" leds use phosphor. RGB leds use way more power and cant get the same clean whites especially in a specific pricepoint.

2

u/Semanticss Jan 22 '22

We have a LOT of them in my area. I kinda thought it was one of those drug-prevention things where they keep you from finding a vein. Also one of them was right outside a restaurant called Plum, lol. I think that one must have been intentional.

1

u/syntax_heir Jan 22 '22

Cities all over the country bought thousands upon thousands of these faulty LEDs because they are more environmentally friendly... Except they don't work and make it harder to see while driving at night and will need to be completely replaced by a new batch

0

u/wabashcanonball Jan 22 '22

Thanks China. I highly suspect these were made there. Its manufacturing QC sucks and has gotten worse.

3

u/Treadcc Jan 22 '22

South Korea makes a ton of LEDs too. It's not all China.

2

u/wabashcanonball Jan 22 '22

I bet the purple ones are from China.

1

u/symiriscool Jan 22 '22

so many horror stories abt to start

1

u/nickmjones Jan 22 '22

In other news every YouTuber for 50 miles wants to shoot their videos on this street. They’re all going to get their racing seat desk chairs.

1

u/moonmusiq Jan 22 '22

Some of the street lights around the neighborhoods near Lake Harriet are vibrant green. It's quite a sight

1

u/thelalilulelomkii Jan 22 '22

I thought this was Dying Light for a sec.

1

u/MalWinchester Jan 22 '22

We had this same issue in Milwaukee. All of our freeways glowed purple for a while before the company sent new bulbs. It was actually really pretty.

1

u/AffectionateTomato9 Jan 22 '22

SKOL …(I guess)

1

u/exsuprhro Jan 22 '22

I assumed that it was so junkies couldn’t find a vein 😬

1

u/Hiilisielu Jan 22 '22

I wonder if they emit UV-light, in which case they could be slightly hazardous.

1

u/Imrustyokay Jan 22 '22

Something about Minnesota and Purple just seem to go together.

Just not in sports.

1

u/synzor Jan 22 '22

Nice, definitely will keep the Volatiles away.

1

u/Synth_Ham Jan 22 '22

Same in Milwaukee.

1

u/[deleted] Jan 22 '22

Yeah, that's what they want you to think. It's really the ghost of Prince walking the streets of St. Paul.

Probably.

1

u/olbeamber 2d ago

I just visited Florida and saw these everywhere, my friend said they were newly installed. Still see them in St. Paul too. Not buying the malfunction narrative.

-1

u/impulsiveminimalist Jan 22 '22

Here in central Virginia they have been around for a while now. I first noticed them when helping out a poor college student and thought maybe they were some special lighting for helping combat depression but after googling realized this cool color was a hapless little accident.

0

u/[deleted] Jan 22 '22

[deleted]

1

u/Imrustyokay Jan 22 '22

Don't worry, I got Jon Lovitz on speed dial.

0

u/ScumbagsRme Jan 22 '22

That's crazy, I left St Paul a few days ago and drove way across the country. I sporadically saw bluish purple street lights which is odd cause I have made the same trip for the last 10 years.

I'm thankful you explained it because I was really confused.