Happy New Year 2014 – Times Square Ball LED Trivia

2014 New Year's Ball (Source: Philips)

2014 New Year’s Ball (Source: Philips)

Each year hundreds of thousands of New Year’s revelers brave the chilly New York City weather to see the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop at midnight to usher in the New Year.  More than a billion more people worldwide watch the Ball Drop via television.  Since 2007, the Ball has featured LED lights.

The 2014 Ball, a geodesic sphere, is 12 feet in diameter, and weighs 11,875 pounds. The Times Square 2014 Ball will feature 2,688 of the Waterford Crystal triangles, each including a series of intricate wedge cuts that appear to be endless mirrored reflections of each other to bring a kaleidoscope of colorful patterns on the Ball.  The Ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs (light emitting diodes). Each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs – 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color.

Every year, the Ball undergoes improvements to improve the celebratory lighting experience.  For the 14th consecutive year, Philips is the official lighting partner for the world-famous Times Square New Year’s Eve – produced by the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment.  This year, the Ball was accompanied by the year 2014 with the “1” and “4” in special color-changing, programmable LED light bulbs from Philips’ line of hue bulbs.  Each programmable bulb has more than 16 million color options while the “2” and “0” will feature Philips’ outdoor rated BR30 LED bulbs.

Philips compiled trivia questions for the big celebration.  How smart are you about the Ball? Here’s the trivia quiz:

1) What year did the first New Year’s Eve festivities in Times Square take place?

A) 1885
B) 1900
C) 1904
D) 1915

The first ever celebration of New Year’s Eve in Times Square took place 109 years ago on Dec 31 1904. The party was organized to commemorate the official opening of the new headquarters of the New York Times. The area known back then as Longacre Square was renamed Times Square in honor of the famous publication.

2) When did the first Times Square Ball drop happen?

A) 1900
B) 1907
C) 1924
D) 1950

“The first Times Square Ball was lowered from the tower flagpole precisely at midnight on December 31 1907, to signal the end of 1907 and the beginning of 1908.”

3) How many people attended the first ever Times Square Ball Ceremony?

A) 50,000 people
B) 200,000 people
C) 500,000 people
D) 1 million people

Considered a big success, “the joyful sound of cheering, rattles and noisemakers from the over 200,000 attendees could be heard thirty miles north along the Hudson River.”

4) How much did the first Times Square Ball weigh?

A) 100 pounds
B) 300 pounds
C) 500 pounds
D) 700 pounds

The first Ball made of iron and wood, weighed 700 pounds.

5) How many lights were installed in the first Times Square Ball?

A) 100 lights
B) 250 lights
C) 500 lights
D) 1000 lights

If you said A you are right. In 1907 the first Time Square Ball was covered with 100 light bulbs.
“In 1920, a 400 pound iron Ball replaced the iron and wood Ball.
In 1955, a 150 pound aluminum Ball with 180 light bulbs replaced the iron Ball.
In 1995, the aluminum Ball was upgraded with aluminum skin, rhinestones, and computer controls.
In 1999, the crystal New Year’s Eve Ball was created and lit by Philips to welcome the new millennium.”

6) What year did LED technology replace the light bulbs in the Times Square Ball?

A) 2007
B) 2009
C) 2011
D) 2012

“To mark the 100th Anniversary of the New Year’s Eve Ball in 2007, modern LED technology replaced the light bulbs of the past. In 2008, the permanent Big Ball was unveiled atop One Times Square where it sparkles above Times Square throughout the year.”

7) How much will the 2014 TS Ball weigh?

A) 99 pounds
B) Over 5,000 pounds
C) Over 11,000 pounds
D) Almost 17,000 pounds

“The Ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter, and weighs 11,875 pounds. For Times Square 2014, all 2,688 of the Waterford Crystal triangles introduce the new design Gift of Imagination – featuring a series of intricate wedge cuts that appear to be endless mirrored reflections of each other inspiring our imagination with a kaleidoscope of colorful patterns on the Ball.”

8 ) How many LED modules are attached to the aluminum frame of the Ball?

A) 333 LED modules
B) 528 LED modules
C) 672 LED modules
D) 980 LED modules

The 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles are bolted to 672 LED modules which are attached to the aluminum frame of the Ball.

9) How many LEDs are required to illuminate this year’s Times Square Ball?

A) Over 11,000 LEDs
B) Over 24,000 LEDs
C) Over 32,000 LEDs
D) Over 53,000 LEDs

“The Ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs (light emitting diodes). Each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs – 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color.”

10) The Ball can create how many vibrant colors?

A) 2 million
B) 7 million
C) 10 million
D) 16 million

“In order to produce a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square, the Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns.”

For Further Reading

Times Square Alliance, http://www.timessquarenyc.org/events/new-years-eve/nye-faq/index.aspx#.Ur2eM_SIwxE

Philips, Philips hue to Mark Colorful Start to 2014 at Times Square, http://www.newscenter.philips.com/us_en/standard/news/press/2013/20131217-Hue-New-Years-Eve.wpd#.Ur2gFfSIwxG

Decorating for the holidays – LED vs. Incandescent

The Griswold House from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

The Griswold House from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

It’s that time again and Christmas displays are popping up in and on homes all around the world.  As we watch retailers like Home Depot and Walmart reduce prices on LED light bulbs, the same is happening with LED Christmas lights.  So, is it time to make the switch?

Depending on your tastes, LED lighting for Christmas holiday decorating can be a quick affair with a few strings of lights on your Christmas tree or can be a large artistic expression in light on your home like you’re Clark Griswold of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie.

Let’s take a look at some of the facts.

LED lighting for the holidays is safer – they’re not hot to the touch, so they won’t start a fire, especially if lit for a long period of time. They’re sturdier and made of epoxy lenses rather than plastic or glass like traditional incandescents.  They’re longer-lasting and could be in use 20 or even 40 years from now.  And they use less energy (about 80 percent) so that you can connect more strings together in series without blowing a fuse (your’s and the lights).

You might remember the moment in Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold turned on the Christmas lights on his home (decorated with 25,000 incandescent imported Italian twinkle lights) and caused a major power outage in the city of Chicago.  While you might not take out your local power grid, you might be concerned with your electric bill if you tend to decorate like a Griswold.  You may want to consider some information that the US Department of Energy put together information about energy requirements of Christmas lighting.

According to the DOE, it can cost up to $10 to light a six-foot tree, 12 hours a day for 40 days using large C-9 incandescent lights while incandescent mini-lights would cost about $2.72.  LEDs on the other hand would cost 27 cents or 82 cents respectively to light that same tree for the same period of time.  Over a decade, it could be quite costly to stick with incandescents.  The DOE table is below.

Retailers are bringing more LED Christmas lights to consumers.  According to a recent article in the Kansas City Star newspaper, Walmart dedicated half of its shelf space to LEDs. Costs are coming down from $5 for a string of 50 mini LED lights, down from $6.30 last year.  In fact, Costco won’t sell incandescent Christmas lights in 2013.  General Electric, selling holiday lights since 1903, anticipates that two out of every five strings of lights sold this year will be LEDs.

So, it may be time to ditch the old fashioned Christmas lights for some new LEDs.  And for a laugh and some holiday cheer, watch Christmas Vacation or this clip from the movie where the Griswold’s incandescent Christmas lights take down the Chicago power grid.

US DOE Christmas Light Info

Estimated cost of electricity to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days

Incandescent C-9 lights $10.00
LED C-9 lights $0.27
Incandescent Mini-lights $2.74
LED Mini-lights $0.82

 

Estimated cost* of buying and operating lights for 10 holiday seasons

Incandescent C-9 lights $122.19
LED C-9 lights $17.99
Incandescent Mini-lights $55.62
LED Mini-lights $33.29

*Assumes 50 C-9 bulbs and 200 mini-lights per tree, with electricity at $0.119 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) (AEO 2012 Residential Average). Prices of lights based on quoted prices for low volume purchases from major home improvement retailers. All costs have been discounted at an annual rate of 5.6%. Life span assumed to be three seasons (1,500 hours) for non-LED lights.

For Further Reading & Viewing

Kansas City Star, Christmas lights are going green, http://www.kansascity.com/2013/11/10/4612642/christmas-lights-are-going-green.html

Energy Manager Today, LEDs Lead the Way for Holiday Lights

http://www.energymanagertoday.com/leds-lead-the-way-for-holiday-lights-096959/

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Griswold Home Power Outage Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inWKw8nqQlI

US DOE Info:  http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/led-lighting