i think waterproofing the strings yourself is probably the only way to ensure they last a bit longer. as sources for cheaper lights are found there is going to be some drawbacks with them due to the price we are willing or want to pay - one of those drawbacks will be the IP rating and UV rating of the strings. with Kaxled i could have paid more to get a higher water proof and UV rating with proper rubber coated cable etc. but at quite a large increase in price per string. i took the risk because all mine were going under my verandah out of the elements. but next year i'll be putting some in the garden so i'll definately be waterprooing those myself. and with more and more people going the RGB route, you'd definately want to add extra waterproofing as each pixel node is too pricey to only last one or two years. there is another thread going about some relatively inexpensive waterproofing techniques (Selleys All Clear Brushable) so keep an eye on that for the results. i've yet to find any toluene for thinning out the 'All Clear' so that it has good penetration into the lights so i haven't actually tried it yet. phil was on the hunt for some too but i'm not sure how he has gone.