Suggestions for making a floating lit candle prop

Thread Starter

ThirtyWest

Joined Jul 15, 2017
114
so I'm retiring the Star Wars santa yard cutouts and moving into a Harry Potter cheistmas-themed layout.

My wife liked the idea for the floating candles from the dining hall.

I think I can build them with clear plastic tubes, painted lightly to be white and lit from within.

The lights: LED or incandescent?

AC or DC?


I only need 9 or 10 for the entire yard. I've got lines across already so the spacing would be about 10ft intervals.

Any thoughts?
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,150
Commercial LED candles. They'll be more realistic (flickering effect) and economical than anything you can build. Additionally, some have automatic timers so they'll turn themselves on and off.
 

Bernard

Joined Aug 7, 2008
5,291
I do not grasp the idea of floating candles, any help ?
If commercial LED candles are not bright enough, then small flickering LED's can be made to drive high power LED's.
How is power distributed to candles ?
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,114
Commercial LED candles. They'll be more realistic (flickering effect) and economical than anything you can build. Additionally, some have automatic timers so they'll turn themselves on and off.
I agree. Menard's used to give them away or sell them very cheap.

If you need more power than these single-LED candles can produce, you might get ideas from this project thread.
 

Thread Starter

ThirtyWest

Joined Jul 15, 2017
114
Thanks folks. I'll check that link.

I haven't decided on power. I was thinking of just going DC but I guess it depends on how many and how bright.
 

philba

Joined Aug 17, 2017
960
I've always thought the flickering of those cheapo LEDs looked unnatural.

Years ago (2003-ish) I did a project where I recorded the light levels of a real candle flickering and then programmed an 8 pin PIC12F to PWM that pattern. The loop was made long enough to soak up all the flash memory and, iirc, was 4 or 5 minutes in length so no obvious repeat patterns. I also used a phototransistor to run it only during darkness. Ran for a number of days off 2 AAA cells. It looked pretty natural. BOM was totally dominated by PCB cost. Maybe with cheap Chinese PCB manufacturing it's not so bad now.
 

Thread Starter

ThirtyWest

Joined Jul 15, 2017
114
Flicker would be nice but I'm thinking I'd settle for a steady illumination

1. Low density plastic tubes for the candle stick

2. Hot glue to create pooled wax

3. Lightly spray painted white

4. White lights inside to light up the "wax stick"

5. Some simple, orange, flame shaped top.

I would need 5 or so now--on a single line. Incandescent might work better inside the candle sticks. That would be a lot of DC pumped across 30+ LEDs I think.
 
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