LEDs to illuminate bigger and better New Year's Eve ball in Times Square

Dec. 30, 2008
December 30, 2008--The New York Post reports that "Everything else in the economy may be shrinking, but there's one thing that's getting bigger: the ball that drops on New Year's Eve." On Nov. 11, Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment revealed a new ball that's double the size of previous balls at 12 feet in diameter and weighs nearly six tons--all being lit from within by thousands of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

December 30, 2008--The New York Post reports that "Everything else in the economy may be shrinking, but there's one thing that's getting bigger: the ball that drops on New Year's Eve." On Nov. 11, Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment revealed a new ball that's double the size of previous balls at 12 feet in diameter and weighs nearly six tons--all being lit from within by thousands of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

This year's ball contains 9576 Luxeon K2 LEDs donated by Philips Lumileds, replacing last year's 600 bulbs. That translates to a brightness increase from 291,541 lumens to 625,033 lumens. Nonetheless, power consumption dropped from approximately 30,000 W to 15,000 W. With half the power and twice the light, it's four times more efficient, says Brett Andersen, general manager, Focus Lighting.

The ball has two layers, and Focus' solid-state lighting system takes advantage of both. Color LEDs are used to illuminate the 672 Waterford crystals (also donated), which are stylized with a radiating sunburst design and cut into triangles, while white LEDs light the geodesic aluminum skeleton. A mirrored baffle was built for each crystal. The combination of the two LED layers and mirrors sets in motion an unending, pulsing array of inner reflections. The ball also features a palette of 25 vivid colors.

The new ball will hang atop One Times Square year-round, although it will still drop just once a year.

For more information, go to electronicdesign.com/Articles/ArticleID/17689/17689.html.

--Posted by Gail Overton, [email protected].

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