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Design Issues and Solutions Need Advice Creating Battery Operated Candelabras

elisully

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Location
New York
Hello, I'm a student lighting designer and I am currently designing the lights for a production that needs 4 candelabras that are brought on and off stage by actors that are battery powered and have a switch for the flames to turn on. The current set up is using 4 chandeliers that have 5 bulb sockets, that I plan on removing so as to wire in these theatrical candle flames. The chandeliers will be affixed to thin stands, and thus have no space to hide power on or within the stands. The chandelier however has a few hollow compartments that we can hide wiring and power. I'm not too familiar with wiring/soldering/electrical projects and am unsure of how to figure out how much power I need/what power materials I will need. I'm also not positive about how I need to circuit them. They need to run for no longer than 30 minutes a performance for 7 performances, but we are able to replace batteries if need be. I've attached some images of the chandelier and it's spec sheet for reference as well as the switch I would like to use. It should be noted that the sockets are already wired to one Edison tail per chandelier. Any advice on what I need to do or purchase to make this work would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
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dbaxter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2007
Location
Rochester, NY
I have used one of those candle lights in a show and can bring up a couple points you may want to consider. They do look fairly realistic if the bulb itself is not visible - like when in a candle with "wax" sides. Otherwise you can see the little filaments going on and off. They do run off a 9V battery which is good news for you. The bad news is, I don't think you can parallel 5 bulbs from one controller. That would mean trying to hide 5 boards and batteries and at $39 each, adds up to $195 per chandelier or $780 for all 4. Most student productions don't have a budget for that. Sorry to be so negative.

Trying to be positive, perhaps the folks at RC4 (theatrewireless.com) have something that would work for you. StageLighting mentions an led version of the candle light. In that case, you might be able to split the wiring up for one led per socket. I fear, however, that it will look like a blinking led rather than a candle. There is also the option of just having steady light, not a candle effect, which would be greatly simpler - 5 bulbs and a battery.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
I just noticed your link for the candle flickers. I have also used those and DB is right I don’t think you will get all those into 1 fixture off battery power. You should go with 12v flicker leds and a battery.
 
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theatrewireless

Jim @RC4Wireless #RC4DoesThat
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
Location
Raleigh, NC
Since you have very little space, I strongly recommend using an LED flicker, rather than incandescent. This reduces the size of battery you’ll need, and that’s going to be the biggest piece. The LED version is here:
https://www.stagelightingstore.com/home/79703-city-theatrical-candle-kit-led

Then you’ll need to connect them all together and measure the power draw. One 9V battery will not give you much (if any) running time. You could run multiple 9V batteries in parallel, or use a larger battery pack. I recommend the latter. A pack of AAA batteries is just a bit larger and has a much higher A/h capacity (that’s how much energy in Amps a battery can deliver for an Hour).

We could help you with controlling everything wirelessly, turning each candelabra into a DMX fixture that responds just like any other fixture, incorporated into your scenes and cues. But you can certainly do it with switches operated by actors or stagehands and that’s the lowest cost solution. Let me know if you want to get more sophisticated — we can even make each individual candle controllable. The sky’s the limit when you go wireless with RC4.

Jim
RC4
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
Since you have very little space, I strongly recommend using an LED flicker, rather than incandescent. This reduces the size of battery you’ll need, and that’s going to be the biggest piece. The LED version is here:
https://www.stagelightingstore.com/home/79703-city-theatrical-candle-kit-led

Then you’ll need to connect them all together and measure the power draw. One 9V battery will not give you much (if any) running time. You could run multiple 9V batteries in parallel, or use a larger battery pack. I recommend the latter. A pack of AAA batteries is just a bit larger and has a much higher A/h capacity (that’s how much energy in Amps a battery can deliver for an Hour).

We could help you with controlling everything wirelessly, turning each candelabra into a DMX fixture that responds just like any other fixture, incorporated into your scenes and cues. But you can certainly do it with switches operated by actors or stagehands and that’s the lowest cost solution. Let me know if you want to get more sophisticated — we can even make each individual candle controllable. The sky’s the limit when you go wireless with RC4.

Jim
RC4
Best sales pitch of 2019 folks.
 
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Crisp image

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Location
Eastern Victoria Australia
You say that the lights will be on a thin stand. Well how about you make the stand base a bit bigger to house the battery and it would also give you a counter balance to stop your lights from falling over. All the electronics can be hidden down there including items like the an RC4 dimmer for example.
This is how I would do it. I have done many battery powered street lights that get plonked on stage and light up on cue form the LX desk.
Regards
Geoff
 
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aryes

Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Location
Las Vegas, Nv
I make led candle flicker units for much less than $39 that run on 9v batteries. Probably around $18, a little more if you want the candle tip also. depends on how many you want. You can also use a mercury switch to power that way when you lay them down they turn off and when upright turn on. I would need some lead time though as I have none in stock and would need a few weeks.
 

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RickBoychuk

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Toronto
Hello, I'm a student lighting designer and I am currently designing the lights for a production that needs 4 candelabras that are brought on and off stage by actors that are battery powered and have a switch for the flames to turn on. The current set up is using 4 chandeliers that have 5 bulb sockets, that I plan on removing so as to wire in these theatrical candle flames. The chandeliers will be affixed to thin stands, and thus have no space to hide power on or within the stands. The chandelier however has a few hollow compartments that we can hide wiring and power. I'm not too familiar with wiring/soldering/electrical projects and am unsure of how to figure out how much power I need/what power materials I will need. I'm also not positive about how I need to circuit them. They need to run for no longer than 30 minutes a performance for 7 performances, but we are able to replace batteries if need be. I've attached some images of the chandelier and it's spec sheet for reference as well as the switch I would like to use. It should be noted that the sockets are already wired to one Edison tail per chandelier. Any advice on what I need to do or purchase to make this work would be greatly appreciated.
We all must do what is necessary to mount a production. But ... what you have described is props, not lighting.