Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

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EmilyD
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Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:58 pm

Hi People,

This is a project our camp has struggled with for a long time and still no easy solution seems to present itself. So I thought I'd toss it out to the larger community and see if any of you have ideas. We need a way to light our Mused Car Lot auto display. If the lights are on strands they need to be on poles tall enough for 15 foot tall Mutant Vehicles to pass under. It would be great to use solar power for this but that might not produce enough wattage for our needs. The space we need to light up is probably 200 feet long. Obviously the structures need to be able to stand up to powerful winds. Ideas???
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by danibel » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:33 pm

What about something like this: https://www.etsy.com/listing/158173515/ ... a-5050-led (I do not have any thing to do with this etsy account, I just found it in a search) That seems like a lot of lights for $40 and strips seem easier to handle than strings. More light too.

You could run the lights in shapes of letters stapled to wood or something.

I am no expert, but I have been thinking about my own lighting set up and these are something I am considering.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:27 pm

danibel wrote:What about something like this: https://www.etsy.com/listing/158173515/ ... a-5050-led (I do not have any thing to do with this etsy account, I just found it in a search) That seems like a lot of lights for $40 and strips seem easier to handle than strings. More light too.

You could run the lights in shapes of letters stapled to wood or something.

I am no expert, but I have been thinking about my own lighting set up and these are something I am considering.
That's an interesting product danibel. I have been looking at this as a possible solution for spotlights:


or this one which runs on batteries:
http://www.smarthome.com/mr-beams-mb360 ... light.html

If we mounted one or two on rebar posts for each car on display it might make a bright enough light. Some of that strip stuff may be good for ambient light sort of simulating a car lot's. We'd need to make some tall posts though.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by trilobyte » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:09 pm

Solar's awesome, but will cost you. Not only for the panel, but for the batteries to hold the charge in the time between when the sun's shining and when it's dark and you need to use the stored energy.

Remember, multiply the number of watts times the number of hours you'd like to be using it, and the general rule when it comes to deep cycle batteries is they shouldn't ever be fully drained (or something to that effect - I'm not an expert on the battery side).

My camp uses a generator to cover our needs - that includes back-of-house lighting and charging of personal gear, as well as front of house stuff. If you have something along those lines, or you have a campmate who brings a generator and would be willing to let the camp have use of it for such purposes, my recommendation is to go that route. Throw the kind soul some money for gas (or bring a couple extra full gas cans to contribute), bring a nice long extension cord, and then look at the options you have within your budget. My guess is that anything designed to be powered by batteries is designed more for personal lighting or smaller room stuff, and wouldn't be the kind of bright or long-lasting light that you'd want or need for camp frontage.

I've had some great success with fluorescent paint on stuff and then hitting the area with a UV flood, and I've also been really pleased with LED rope light (uses only 1 watt per foot, compared with 5-6 watts for older style) and other LED lighting gear. Hope that helps!

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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by some seeing eye » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:12 pm

LED Christmas lights are very power efficient. The consumer solar spotlights might not be bright enough. But you can often find dimable or even DMX LED lighting on Craigslist from music or staging people getting out of the business that run off a regular 120v plug, like the Christmas lights

You can calculate the power of all your lights and you might find a deep cycle battery will run them through an inverter. You can take your battery to Snow Koan Solar for recharging. Free of course!

The battery and inverter can be your emergency power rest of year and you can use the LED lights around the house. You can add solar panel(s) to your system in future years. The Snow Koan people can explain they are solar installers the rest of the year.

Maybe you could "sell" used MV's at the end of the event!
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by VultureChow » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:21 am

Those Mr. Beams battery powered lights are awesome and very powerful. I used one as my security light for my monkey hut. And while it only caught one intruder, it was useful for stumbling home. The motion sensor is perfect too. Sensitive enough to pick up people, but not generally things rustling in the wind. The batteries lasted the whole week.

If you like, I might have an extra around here somewhere to send you if you want to see it in action.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by VultureChow » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:09 am

I should also say, the lights I have don't have a "stay on switch"

So what I might to is have two or three on each car. One that stays on and the others are triggered by movement. Also, what about ground rope lighting instead of aerial lighting. Like what goes around the Man to keep away MV's. With the right sheathing, it would be protected from people driving over it, and you could even map out a "curb cut" to guide people into your camp.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:29 pm

VultureChow wrote:I should also say, the lights I have don't have a "stay on switch"

So what I might to is have two or three on each car. One that stays on and the others are triggered by movement. Also, what about ground rope lighting instead of aerial lighting. Like what goes around the Man to keep away MV's. With the right sheathing, it would be protected from people driving over it, and you could even map out a "curb cut" to guide people into your camp.
Hmmm a curb cut, that's a very interesting concept. It would certainly be easier than poles but we'd have to be sure when the big vehicles drove over it, it won't break. What do you suggest for sheathing?
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:32 pm

some seeing eye wrote:LED Christmas lights are very power efficient. The consumer solar spotlights might not be bright enough. But you can often find dimable or even DMX LED lighting on Craigslist from music or staging people getting out of the business that run off a regular 120v plug, like the Christmas lights

You can calculate the power of all your lights and you might find a deep cycle battery will run them through an inverter. You can take your battery to Snow Koan Solar for recharging. Free of course!

The battery and inverter can be your emergency power rest of year and you can use the LED lights around the house. You can add solar panel(s) to your system in future years. The Snow Koan people can explain they are solar installers the rest of the year.

Maybe you could "sell" used MV's at the end of the event!
HAH! Some artists may want to sell their MVs at the end! It depends on how problematic they become. Thanks for all this great info. I think we probably already have enough string lights as we've been collecting them for several years now. It's really the spots that we need to consider getting.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:48 pm

I guess my main question is how could we make/build/assemble sturdy, light posts? From these posts we could hang both string lights and attach spots. The posts would have to be at least 10 feet tall (maybe more) so that the MVs could pass under them. Now you see why this has been so difficult to solve.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by danibel » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:23 pm

Ah! I would look at the design of the lampposts. They seem quite secure. Perhaps someone has some dimensions and hints.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by Popeye » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:29 pm

Burning Man Lamppost, Looks like rebar stakes. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt ... CIQMygAMAA

Lantern Tree by Boy Scout Girl viewtopic.php?f=3&t=67709&start=30

I think you will need to keep the base fairly heavy and put as little as possible on top that will catch the wind.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:50 pm

Ulisse wrote:Burning Man Lamppost, Looks like rebar stakes. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt ... CIQMygAMAA

Lantern Tree by Boy Scout Girl viewtopic.php?f=3&t=67709&start=30

I think you will need to keep the base fairly heavy and put as little as possible on top that will catch the wind.
Thanks Ulisse! Both of these are really useful ideas. Of course I should look at the Lamp Lighter's posts...those are a proven design, obviously! As is often the case here in ePlaya, most things have been answered or explored already. You just have to know where/how to find them.

THANKS EVERYONE! I'll keep researching this and report back when I get a concrete plan nailed down. I guess this is my project for 2015. :-)
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:23 pm

VultureChow wrote:Those Mr. Beams battery powered lights are awesome and very powerful. I used one as my security light for my monkey hut. And while it only caught one intruder, it was useful for stumbling home. The motion sensor is perfect too. Sensitive enough to pick up people, but not generally things rustling in the wind. The batteries lasted the whole week.

If you like, I might have an extra around here somewhere to send you if you want to see it in action.
Thanks so much VC. I think I'll buy one anyone and test it. I can always use it in the yard. I think we'll need ours to stay on the entire time. I will have to see how long the batteries last per day.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:18 am

I'm a bit late, but this does explain why my ears were burning.

First things first: I am contractually obliged to tease anyone about choosing the convenience and "simplicity" of LEDs over the primal beauty and nasal-cavity-devastation of kerosene. ...Feel properly scolded yet? You should, because you're "doing it wrong."

On to the good stuff:
It's funny - the Lamplighters aren't actually directly involved with the construction (or placement) of the spires; that's all handled by a branch of the DPW known as the Spire Crew. We Lamplighters are very grateful they work so hard doing construction in the sun so we can bring light to the city.

Image

Looking at the image Ulisse linked (shown above, from here: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/84/241134 ... ebb9_z.jpg), the main upright has four fins on the ground, one in each cardinal direction. The fins are held in place by screws that go into metal rods. The rods are hammered into the ground like rebar. Unlike rebar, the rods have holes in them so you can drill through the rod into the wood of the fin with a long screw. I don't know how long the rods are for the public spires, but I believe the rods on our (shorter) in-camp spires are at least 2.5 feet. Use more than one screw per fin and rod. I've heard that the spires are built anew every year from scratch and suspect that - if that's even true - it's because of the stress on the point where the screws enter the fins. I sincerely hope they're reusable, at least for the sake of the environment. We re-use our in-camp spires, which are smaller, and though they show wear-and-tear they have held up for at least a few years.

The key when placing the rods is to make sure that they don't allow the spire to twist, no matter the direction of a gust of wind. To do this, bracket a rod on either side of opposing fins. This makes it a bit of a mind puzzle for how to place the rods in the ground and fit fins in place as well. This john Curley article has a few photos of Spire Crew doing their thing, including so close shots of spires in the making: http://blog.burningman.com/2010/08/buil ... o-the-sky/. It looks like the fins are all attached to the main upright before the spires are hauled out to the promenades, but I've never seen them put in the ground so I'm not certain on the procedure.

That's about all the detail I can offer, unless anyone would like a further description on the hooks at the top of the spires, which is closer to my business as a lamp-lifting lamplighter. If you'd like measurements on the cuts of lumber used for the spires (they come in two sizes/designs) and any ideas for reinforcing the upright, I suggest direction those questions to the DPW, specifically the Spire Crew.

As for my EMT shephard's crook styled lampposts I used for a regional (much love to Ulisse for the shout-out!): they are cheap and dead simple to make and store fairly flat, but I haven't tested them in windy conditions. They're only anchored in one place, but being slotted onto one piece of rebar, so I would worry about wind for sure. This is why my "Lantern Tree" project-in-the-dreaming has multiple roots splayed wide to serve as a wider base and attachment points for multiple anchors . Also, 10' EMT, after being curled over, is not tall enough for EmilyD's purposes.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:15 am

Soooooo grateful for all this information BoyScoutGirl! I will report back on how this turns out.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:15 am

Just a quick update on my experiments for lighting the display along the frontage of our theme camp (Art Car Camp's Mused Car Lot.) I purchased several solar lights to test and this one turns out to be quite good:



It's bright (100 lumen), and has a pretty wide beam for a spotlight. Next step is to rig up the poles for them.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by Roundabout » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:21 am

EmilyD wrote:It's bright (100 lumen)
100 lumen is the equivalent of a 15 or 20 watt 120v bulb. In other words, not much. Don't judge the brightness by looking into the light; judge it under actual conditions and see how much light is actually thrown onto the structure that you want to light up.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by maladroit » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:06 pm

It's true that 100 lumens isn't much, but Burning Man is pretty dark in lots of places. A little light can go a long way!

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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:07 pm

You are both correct and yes I've tested it shining on objects. It's plenty bright. I think two per regular size vehicle will be a reasonable amount of light, not too expensive for the artists to purchase and it's 100% more light than we have for the Mused Car Lot right now. :-)

Now I've got to adapt the Lamplighter's post design (thanks to BoyScoutGirl) to work for holding these things. It doesn't need to be as pretty.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by maladroit » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:48 am

Resurrecting this thread to show a neat little self contained light pole the folks at my local recycling center knocked together with some lumber and solar spotlights:

Image

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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by Roundabout » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:24 am

Nice! How many lumens are those lights? Are the batteries contained in the fixture housing?
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by maladroit » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:31 am

I didn't talk to anyone there, you now have all the same info I do :) It's a concept, which could be expanded with different types of solar lights or even wired light poles.

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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:40 am

It looks like there are motion detectors on them.

The lights are great for security, but running all night would require a bigger set up.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by The CO » Thu Jul 30, 2015 12:09 pm

404:/village not found uses a simple solution.

6 foot t-stake driven into the ground till the ears are buried.
2 ubolts attach a 2x4.
Row of these every 10-15 feet with construction string lights between.

Seen here in use:

Image
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by Roundabout » Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:43 pm

Is a t-stake the same as one of those metal fence posts that you typically find at a farmers' supply store?
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by SageV » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:26 pm

trilobyte wrote:Solar's awesome, but will cost you. Not only for the panel, but for the batteries to hold the charge in the time between when the sun's shining and when it's dark and you need to use the stored energy.

Remember, multiply the number of watts times the number of hours you'd like to be using it, and the general rule when it comes to deep cycle batteries is they shouldn't ever be fully drained (or something to that effect - I'm not an expert on the battery side).
Yes, solar is a commitment to both Mother Earth and to credit card interest, you really have to believe in solar to do solar at a high level. I try to not run batteries down past 50%, I even have switches on my rigs that will cut the power at that level.

EL Wire is another alternative, they sip power and you can run them hot and they will be much brighter, but your wire life goes from thousands to hundreds of hours. Whether you run the wire hot or cold they still can provide continuous light for a negligible charge. They also come in a lot of formats, from thick plastic to lumiwire, which is el wire stranded into steel cable, so it can be used structurally as well as a light source.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:23 pm

This post is just about the durability of some LED lights.

5 years ago I got 4 sets of newray solar 50 bulb string lights.

I've used them to outline my shade every year.

Playafied, blown in the wind where the panel was hanging from the wire, and still they last from dusk till dawn.

I hung a set around my front porch 5 years ago and they have been in constant use.

Had to change the battery twice cause they wore out, but the lights just kept doing fine.

5 years of constant exposure to Arizona heat and monsoons, and finally they quite the other day.

Not bad for a set of lights that were under $20!!! 8)
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by EmilyD » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:31 pm

I know it took me awhile, sorry, but here are some images of the solution we finally worked out for lighting the M-Used Car Lot at Art Car Camp. We'll be stringing LED lights between these EMT posts. Thanks to everyone here who helped me figure this out. There will be ten of these along our frontage, each one shining on an Art Car. The solar lights give out 120 lumins. This is the first time in 20 years that Art Car Camp will have decent night lighting for it's unlicensed display cars (embarrassing yes!)

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by EmilyD on Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestions for Lighting Our Camp Frontage Display

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:33 pm

Glad you found a solution you like! How will you keep the EMT in place and upright?
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