Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

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merkury
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Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by merkury » Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:51 pm

Hey everyone, I'd love to build a sign for my camp this year but have a few questions about implementation I was hoping you could help with. I want to go Vegas bulb sign style like the following:

Image

1. The bulbs that are featured look great, but are typically high-wattage bulbs. Clearly LEDs are the way to go for power savings, but I'm having difficulty finding LEDs that have the same classy bulb style. Any leads on where I could find something similar that is still low power?

2. I'm pretty naive about powering these. Would I want a deep cycle marine battery for this, or could I get by with something else (e.g. a car battery)?

3. How about charging? This may depend on the battery type that's chosen, but should I hook it up to a car for a while to charge? Are there more suitable solar power solutions?

Thanks for any help! 22 days! :D

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FIGJAM
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by FIGJAM » Sat Aug 08, 2015 5:04 pm

There are solar LEDs with a round crystal like cover for $10 to $20, 20 to 50 lights per string.
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Aug 08, 2015 5:45 pm

To give you usable answers, we'll need to know a few things.
Do you want full regular size household type bulbs?
How many bulbs will your sign need? That example sign looks like about 8 or 9 bulbs per letter.
Common "40 watt equivalent" LED bulbs draw about 8 watts each, so that's roughly 70 watts per letter.
If you made a five letter sign, you'd need 350 watts. You'd need a power inverter to run off a 12 volt battery.
At that power level, you'd be drawing about 30 amps from the battery. A fully charged deep-cycle marine battery would probably give you about two hours running time.

This is really generator territory..
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drop_bear
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by drop_bear » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:48 am

merkury wrote: 1. The bulbs that are featured look great, but are typically high-wattage bulbs. Clearly LEDs are the way to go for power savings, but I'm having difficulty finding LEDs that have the same classy bulb style. Any leads on where I could find something similar that is still low power?
Those probably aren't particularly high-wattage - they're probably ~20W or less (an outdoor C9 Christmas light bulb is 7-10W). Still might be a bit much for a battery though.

When you say you want the same bulb style, do you mean the clear globe with visible filament? That used to be non-existent but they've just become available in the last year or so - they're called LED filament bulbs. I don't know where to get them in North America and they'd probably be very expensive so the best place to get them is probably directly from China through a site like Dealextreme or Aliexpress. I can't really tell what size those bulbs are. If you can figure out what size you want to use you can search for "<size> led filament bulb" to get an idea of what's available and the power consumption.

caffeineslinger
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by caffeineslinger » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:50 pm

merkury wrote: 1. The bulbs that are featured look great, but are typically high-wattage bulbs. Clearly LEDs are the way to go for power savings, but I'm having difficulty finding LEDs that have the same classy bulb style. Any leads on where I could find something similar that is still low power?
Something like these.

merkury
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by merkury » Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:23 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:To give you usable answers, we'll need to know a few things.
Do you want full regular size household type bulbs?
How many bulbs will your sign need? That example sign looks like about 8 or 9 bulbs per letter.
Common "40 watt equivalent" LED bulbs draw about 8 watts each, so that's roughly 70 watts per letter.
If you made a five letter sign, you'd need 350 watts. You'd need a power inverter to run off a 12 volt battery.
At that power level, you'd be drawing about 30 amps from the battery. A fully charged deep-cycle marine battery would probably give you about two hours running time.

This is really generator territory..
Yeah, it's a bit of a slippery slope. I'll have two words, three letters each, so ~22 bulbs/word * 2 words = 44 bulbs.

@ 8 watts/bulb => 352W
caffeineslinger wrote: Something like these.
@ 4 watts/bulb = 176W

Assuming a 12V battery, ~15A then, putting it around 4 hours. Does that sound feasible? What would my options be for deep cycle marine battery charging?

drop_bear wrote: Those probably aren't particularly high-wattage - they're probably ~20W or less (an outdoor C9 Christmas light bulb is 7-10W). Still might be a bit much for a battery though.

When you say you want the same bulb style, do you mean the clear globe with visible filament? That used to be non-existent but they've just become available in the last year or so - they're called LED filament bulbs. I don't know where to get them in North America and they'd probably be very expensive so the best place to get them is probably directly from China through a site like Dealextreme or Aliexpress. I can't really tell what size those bulbs are. If you can figure out what size you want to use you can search for "<size> led filament bulb" to get an idea of what's available and the power consumption.
I love the look of the filament, but if the above calcs are too much for a battery, then I'd be fine going with less power hungry LEDs.

Looks like these guys are only 2W, but at a pretty penny (would work out to ~$400 in just bulbs):
https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/anti ... obe-bulbs/

If that's the ballpark price for any of those, looks like I'll have to sacrifice on style.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:51 pm

Two batteries, connected in parallel (both negatives together, both positives together) should give you decent running time if you're down under 200 watts.
As for charging... you can connect them to a running car if you have no other option. It'll use gas, so bring a bunch.
If you go this route, the size of the jumper cables makes all the difference in the world. The thicker the cables, the more current will travel to your batteries and the less time the car will have to run.
Back in the '80s I was a AAA tow truck driver; sometimes when you went to jump start a really dead battery, you'd have to wait quite a while for the dead car to charge up enough to crank the starter even with the truck's cables connected. You might have experienced this yourself a time or two.
The quick trick was to connect two sets of jumper cables at the same time. The car always cranked right up. More current was getting to it.
You can do this to charge your batteries. Connect as many cables as you can, three sets is better than two.

About jumper cables themselves: everything is china cheap ass junk these days. Most jumper cables look fat and beefy, but they are really skinny wimpy wire with really thick plastic coating on them. You have to read the gauge size.
2-gauge is the smallest you should use. The lower the gauge number, the bigger the wire. 6-gauge jumper cables are crap.
Lowes has some halfway decent 2-gauge sets for a good price.
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merkury
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by merkury » Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:04 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Two batteries, connected in parallel (both negatives together, both positives together) should give you decent running time if you're down under 200 watts.
Okay great, easy enough. Any suggestions on which batteries I should get: deep cycle marine vs. regular car? Should I hit a certain price point? Is there a specific model that hits the price/performance/reliability sweet spot?
Captain Goddammit wrote:As for charging... you can connect them to a running car if you have no other option. It'll use gas, so bring a bunch.
If you go this route, the size of the jumper cables makes all the difference in the world. The thicker the cables, the more current will travel to your batteries and the less time the car will have to run.
Back in the '80s I was a AAA tow truck driver; sometimes when you went to jump start a really dead battery, you'd have to wait quite a while for the dead car to charge up enough to crank the starter even with the truck's cables connected. You might have experienced this yourself a time or two.
The quick trick was to connect two sets of jumper cables at the same time. The car always cranked right up. More current was getting to it.
You can do this to charge your batteries. Connect as many cables as you can, three sets is better than two.

About jumper cables themselves: everything is china cheap ass junk these days. Most jumper cables look fat and beefy, but they are really skinny wimpy wire with really thick plastic coating on them. You have to read the gauge size.
2-gauge is the smallest you should use. The lower the gauge number, the bigger the wire. 6-gauge jumper cables are crap.
Lowes has some halfway decent 2-gauge sets for a good price.
Makes sense, but would have never thought of that. Thanks for the tips!

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Aug 09, 2015 4:17 pm

Deep cycle. Costco is a good source for good quality + good price. $80 - $90 if I recall correctly.
Regular car starting batteries will work, but are designed for delivering short bursts of high current, like when you start your car. They are less tolerant of being drained low.
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daft
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by daft » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:49 pm

You need a deep cell for sure. Charge during the day off someone's generator, or get a good size solar panel. Last year did an art project and had to charge the deep cell every other day.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Camp sign: bulb types, power, and charging?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:28 pm

If you go the mooch route and charge your deep cycle battery off someone's generator, you'll up your odds if you at least bring your own charger.
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