Overhauling the New Year's Eve Ball

You might have rung in 2009 watching the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball drop, but did you know it was brand new? Officially unveiled on Nov. 12, 2008, the new ball features some interesting electrical systems.

First, at 12 feet, the new ball is twice the size of the old one, and it weighs 11,875 pounds. It features 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which is three times the number of LEDs used in the old design. It is capable of creating 16 million colors and billions of patterns. It introduces a kaleidoscope effect the previous ball was unable to create. Also unlike the old ball, this one will be on display year round.

However, more to the point of energy, this ball is 10–20 percent more efficient, using the same energy as two traditional home electric ovens, according to Philips.

But that power had to come from somewhere. A Schneider Electric/Square D Powerlink 3000 energizes the LED power supplies used in each segment of the ball. The power supplies are fed from 13 two-pole, 30A circuit breakers. This enables operators to control the New Year’s Eve ball from several floors below the roof of 1 Times Square, over a video DMX network.

All of this came together to produce a bigger, brighter New Year’s countdown.

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