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New Years Ball Answered

I don't know if you heard, but the ball that drops in Times Square every new year was energy efficient this year. It was twice as bright, but only used as much power as ten toasters. How do you think they did it? I'm thinking all LEDs. It was a neat thing for them to do, regardless.

The following picture is from the Associated Press

UPDATE: T3h_Muffinator looked it up on wikipedia. They switched to LEDs this year. Link

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westfw (author)2008-01-06

There's actually a fair amount of detail here: New Years Eve Ball and the linked videos. 9500 Luxeon LEDs shining through 672 triangles of waterford crystal.

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westfw (author)2008-01-06

> but only used as much power as ten toasters.

"only" ? What's that, about 10,000W? 2000A at 5V ?!

It looks nicely modular and geodesic, though; good for recreation. Does anyone know the technical details? Are those individual triangles fixed-colors or programmable, for instance?

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acer73 (author)2008-01-04

I saw the ball drop in time square this year and TV does a good job of making it look HUGE. I reality its maybe only 15 feet in diamerter

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Weissensteinburg (author)acer732008-01-05

Where do you get your information from? Wikipedia says it's 6 feet in diameter, which is still pretty darn large by my standards!

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acer73 (author)Weissensteinburg2008-01-06

By looking at it, I was in Time Square when it dropped, no wounder why it was so small. Maybe it should be 15 feet for all the people watching it on New Years.

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canida (author)2008-01-01

The first time I actually saw the ball drop on TV I was horribly disappointed. It just goes so slowly!

I had always pictured it falling under the force of gravity and exploding at the bottom. That would be much more exciting.

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trebuchet03 (author)canida2008-01-04

Now that sounds like an awesome new year's instructable :) Looks like I've got 361 days to get on that :)

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GorillazMiko (author)canida2008-01-04

That is very true, because when I was younger, I always though it would explode and the glass would be everywhere, then that would be really cool. Unfortunately, they have to go with the safe method. :'(

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T3h_Muffinator (author)canida2008-01-01

Odd... when I was a kid I thought a ball literally fell from the skies. Something like a meteor hitting the earth at 12 AM every year on the 1st. That would be awesome, but then you don't get to watch the pretty colors for very long... I propose a new ball! - Perhaps a muffin ball ;)

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Brennn10 (author)canida2008-01-01

That would kick off the New Year, just right!

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Weissensteinburg (author)canida2008-01-01

Yeah, when I was younger I thought it was going explode as well. For some reason, though, it seems that everyone still watches it drop.

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zachninme (author)canida2008-01-01

Thats exactly what I thought when I first watched it! (2000) They need to do that one year... maybe once scientists figure out spontaneous self-assembly... They should also fill it with candy. Or cookies.

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T3h_Muffinator (author)2008-01-01

I'm happy they finally switched over to LEDs.. that thing is crazy!

OH MY GOD.... dude... I just got an idea!

New Year's ball replica!

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Brennn10 (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-01-01
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T3h_Muffinator (author)Brennn102008-01-01

I can taste it =P

OOH!

Dude, and my uncle can sponsor us! He's got millions of LEDs, chips, and everything else we'd ever need (www.select-technologies.net)

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user

I can touch it! (The collaboration, of course.)

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Brennn10 (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-01-01

Thats sweet! So for any project you want, can you just ask him for some free LEDs?

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zachninme (author)Brennn102008-01-01

I'll do everything else! :P Too bad the laser cutter is almost over. I guess you guys will have to have another one :P I've been crunching the numbers, theres 504 triangles, each one has 4 smaller triangles. Thats 1512 small triangles. Then, theres RGB, 3 channels, so 4536 LEDs. Charlieplexing, it'd be incredibly slow, but it'd only 68 I/Os. I'm thinking very low-level multiplexing. Break the large triangles into 127 groups of 4, and control each one separately. Each of these would contain 48 LEDs. I guess we'll have to use ARM processors :P

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user

microcontroller and everything!

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zachninme (author)T3h_Muffinator2008-01-01

Lets see... AtMega8 has 23 IO lines, that means 506 LEDs!, thats 168 of each color (R, G, B)

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dsman195276 (author)2008-01-01

i just had the coolest idea. have a new years ball with 10 tosters on the top of it insted of LEDs!!!!!!!! lol

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GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-01

I was watching it yesterday, and they said that they were triangles with LED lights in them to save energy or something.

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dsman195276 (author)2008-01-01

yay. you were watching it two. I am not sure. may be they used those energy efecant lights you can buy at stores now.

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