03 Nov The Time Machine’s sequenced working lights
All twenty-one lights onboard the GCM Time Machine are incandescent, filament bulbs. LED’s were tried but their light appeared brighter or dimmer depending on your viewing angle. This is an inherent characteristic to the Light Emitting Diode. The light produced was also cold and harsh. Except for the four lights that are displayed as actual bulbs (the large red caged bulb atop the brass transmission column and the smaller yellow, red and green caged passage lights atop the control console), the other seventeen light bulbs are encased in components made of translucent material. When encased, the light from LED’s did not diffuse satisfactorily producing patches of light and dark, whereas in incandescent bulbs, the intensity is adjustable, producing a warm uniform glow. In the case of the four external Machine lights, the scale, shape and look of the bulbs used are faithful in their representation to the original Machine.
The micro processor located under the seat controls the light program, speed and direction. All Machine operations are timed and pulsed which keeps the lights and the rotation of the dish in sync. When a light appears to be on continuously, it is actually pulsing very quickly. When the side port lights come on and build to full brightness or diminish to off, it is a result of a longer or shorter pulse signal. Incandescent light bulbs do take more power to run than LED’s. This is why the model draws one full amp peak when the Machine starts off in a direction and the lights come on. There’s a fairly large capacitor on the driver board, located in the motor housing, to help supply current to the onboard circuitry when the control lever is pushed from off.
The lights themselves are rated for 6volts and have an operational life of 10,000 hours. The Machine runs the lights at 5volts thereby prolonging the bulb’s life. There is also a trickle charge through the bulb filament keeping it from powering up from cold when in pulsed operation. We estimate that the Machine could be run continuously for over a year before any light failed.
In the next instalment we start at the bottom and work our way up.