DIY Disney Parks Tree Twinkle Lights Project (Part 3 - Testing)

This is the third in a series of posts about my attempt to recreate some twinkling lights that used to be inside of Disney Parks (and...I think are still at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs).  While this project has come together in the past few weeks, this has been something that I've been thinking about for a number of years. 

For background, here's the outline of the idea from last week.  Then, a couple of days ago, I posted about the bulbs and the specific fixtures that I'm using

Now that I had the bulbs and the fixtures, I wanted to see if I could figure a way to get them going without making the investment in the larger, outdoor transformer, the run of low-voltage wire and the waterproof connections.  I wanted to see if I could get them to power up and to see how "random" they actually were.

Each of the bulbs are 4 watts.  And they run on 12v power.  I went to the Google machine and searched to see what my Lionel transformers were running at power-wise.  Turns out, one of them I have runs as a 18v/40 watt transformer.  That means...that I could wire up to 10 of the bulbs, and as long as I didn't run the throttle all the way up, it might work.

So, I took out the bulbs and fixtures. Spun a few bulbs into them and then wired them all directly to the positive and negative terminals on the back of the transformer. 

And what happened?  Well...I took this video to show the results:



What do you know.  It worked.  They sure appear to be random flashing, right?  The flashes are a little faster than I would like, but as I mention in the video, with some space - meaning longer wires separating them - I'm pretty sure I'll get the look that I'm seeking. 

So, what's next?  I've started to shop for a larger outdoor transformer.  I'm thinking of 15 of these bulbs x 4 watts a piece = 60 watts.  According to what I've read on the Web, it is best practice to double your wattage needs.  I also want to (potentially) account for a second set.  That would mean 120 watts x 2 = 240.  I see a bunch of 250 watt versions that I'll be investigating.  I also need to figure out the wiring (16 gauge?  14 gauge?) and connectors (waterproof?  pigtails?). 

Then, once assembled, I'll turn to installation.   That's a project for August, I think.

DIY Disney Park Twinkle Lights

Part 1:  Introduction
Part 2:  258 Flasher Bulbs and e10 miniature Bases
Part 3:  Fitting and testing with low voltage transformer

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