power grid/generator Q...

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Postby Token » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:07 pm

How long are the strands? How many lights per foot of length.

We can wild-assed-guess it but I tell you, does not look good.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:13 pm

If they are not LED, they will suck it down fast. I did a test early on with what I mistakenly thought was LED rope lighting. It was not and drained the battery within a very short time. Could have been a couple of hours, but certainly was not enough for all week, which was the intent of my setup.

There's cheap LEDs to be had. Do a search on this site here.

Car batteries are not really made to give power like this either. Deep Cycle work better... I know you don't want to hear that. If you can, do a test at home and see how long it'll last. Be warned though. Keep an eye on your battery and don't let it get too low. Draining automobile batteries down is a sure fire way to kill them forever.
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Postby bluemoon541 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:17 pm

im not at home right now to physically check that...but my memory says that they are 15'' lengths...and i think its 1 lights per foot...idk...ill check and correct myself if needed when i get off work...they are non LED 120VAC
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Postby bluemoon541 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:22 pm

or...maybe just getting new sets of solar powered rope lights/strand lights would work?
or...maybe getting an small solar panal for each light strand so each one has its own power...
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Postby Token » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:45 pm

OK, let's do this another way.

Old style Xmas lights are 1 ~ 2 Watt each. Any more and the tree catches fire.

Rope light on 120V AC is about 10W per foot.

Clearly your old stuff will not work with your desires.

I recommend some self contained solutions.

This is an example I found after a quick google search. Probably not the lowest price either.

http://www.google.com/m/products/desc?o ... 8573201978

A few of these will get the job done and not break the bank.
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Postby bluemoon541 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:25 pm

thanks token....i think getting some solar strings/lights will be my best bet...some of them might not be as bright as i may want...but hey, its better than nothing...
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Postby bluemoon541 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:41 pm

heres an odd thought....car alternators generate electricity...what if...i put blades on it and basically made it a wind generator?...
better than an onion i suppose...lol...
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Postby gyre » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:56 pm

You don't need solar strings.
Just get more efficient lighting or a heavier power source.

Go to walmart etc and check the wattage ratings on identical or similar lights.
Then we can figure current draw,

Dealextreme has cheap battery powered LED strings.

The advantage to LEDs is that they don't run at 120 V or 12 V, but less.
Match the batteries and you're solid, esp with a regulator.
Most higher end are regulated (slightly).
A pwm can run the LEDs until there is no voltage left at all.
And dim them at will.

I would get the battery powered strings and run D packs in duracell industrial alkaline or AA nimh.
Or spend that crazy solar money on a better lithium phosphate or nimh battery pack.
Or an industrial deep cycle.
A blem can be had for $150 up.

I've used commercial exide truck batteries for float and high output discharge, in lieu of deep cycle.
($100 for a rebadged new exide w/warranty)

Never move or bang a discharged lead battery.
That's what usually kills them.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:07 pm

bluemoon541 wrote:thanks token....i think getting some solar strings/lights will be my best bet...some of them might not be as bright as i may want...but hey, its better than nothing...


The playa is dark dark dark at night. Even the ambient light from other sources isn't all that much. It takes less light than you'd think to see.
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Postby Token » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:46 pm

Gyre is a font of cool know how on this kind of stuff. His level of geek is only excelled by Yoda himself. ;)

But, for most folks without advanced degrees in engineering, the self contained units are the best bet.

I always like to recommend solutions that can be fixed with a bit of duckt tape, some chewing gum, and a coat hanger.
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Postby Eric » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:51 pm

Token wrote:But, for most folks without advanced degrees in engineering, the self contained units are the best bet.


If it isn't set up to the point where I just add the batteries, it's useless to me. I can figure out how to blowtorch and hammer silver into submission fine, but you put me down with some electronics & I'm screwed.

Go with your level of experience, because you'll discover when things start failing due to the extreme conditions you want something you can actually fix.
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Postby Token » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:53 pm

With a full moon Aug 24th, last quarter Sep 1st, and pitch black Sept 8th, lighting will be important this year.

Fun factoid: The human eye in low light conditions is much more receptive and sensitive to the blue/green portion of the spectrum. Receptors for red are least sensitive.

Pick the right colors.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:36 pm

I use a lot of rope light and my meters show it closer to 3 or 4 watts per foot, and I run it through a dimmer when I want to lower my power draw.

AEZ does have a lot of cool ideas and technology... but honestly, AEZ is a pretty dark place.
Major lighting effects pretty much require real power, amounts that solar and batteries just don't make unless you spend sums of $$ that make generators look cheap by comparison.

There are very quiet generators available... some people think ANY sound at all from a generator is the end of the world and apparently go to Burning Man because they want silence... ???... but if it's just not in the budget, big lighting effects probably just aren't in the budget.

In your shoes I think I'd go with the lanterns idea.

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Postby AntiM » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:48 pm

The real world Costco has solar powered mushroom-shaped lights right now. I'm trying not to spend on extraneous stuff, but I am sorely tempted to scoop up that set of three glass topped mushrooms. I'm just afraid they'll get broken or swiped.
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Postby gyre » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:56 pm

Low Pressure Sodium Output Lumens

18 watts = 1800 lumens
35 watts = 4600
55 watts = 7650
90 watts = 12,750 lumens
135 watts = 22,000 lumens

Light is a pure single frequency amber.

500 watts quartz = 10,000 lumens and a short life


For strong colors, nothing is more cost effective than the colored metal halide bulbs for standard fixtures.
Green and blues are especially effective.

Re LEDs, remember that efficiency varies with color, and the tri-color luxeons can be used for infinite color variation, or white.

Also lumens rating are color weighted, in a misleading way.
This can skew ratings on colored sources.

Single frequency sources seem much brighter than a wider spectrum source. (LEDs)
But vision under a single color (as in low pressure amber) is black and white, and fairly comfortable.
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Postby gyre » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:58 pm

For general lighting, 12 vdc compact fluorescents are available.
Initially a cheap approach.
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Postby capjbadger » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:10 am

bluemoon541 wrote:heres an odd thought....car alternators generate electricity...what if...i put blades on it and basically made it a wind generator?...
better than an onion i suppose...lol...

Car alternators don't make for good wind generators.

Cold Cathode florescent lights (CCFLs) are GREAT for area lighting. Good price, low amps, 12v. I light my whole house with them.

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