Jump to content


See more by registering or logging in!

Welcome to PlanetChristmas Forums. You must register to post in our forums and see all the pictures, but don't worry because this is a simple process that requires minimal information. Get rid of this irritating message by clicking those buttons to the right.
  • Start new topics and reply to others
  • See all the images and get rid of that annoying snow at the top of the screen
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Add events to our community calendar
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Tap into the world's largest decorating brain trust!
Guest Message by DevFuse
Photo
- - - - -

Adding Slip Ring to Gemmy Ferris Wheel?


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:35 AM

If you saw my other thread, you know I'm the recent (and surprised) owner of a Gemmy ferris wheel.

And if you know me at all, you know that I'm never too satisfied with "stock" stuff. I have to mod it! ;)

The Gemmy wheel is very cool but a little dark, unless you floodlight it. I'd rather add more lights to the wheel itself! But that requires a slip ring... So my questions: Has anyone actually attempted this? And if not, does anyone have any ideas how I'd go about adding a slip-ring to this beast?

I have some multicolored LED rope in my "new old stock" pile in the attic that would look great on this wheel...

-Tim

P.S. Cheaper (and still reliable/safe) is always better in my book, and I"m always willing to do some grunt-work to save some bux-- that's part of the fun since this is my hobby!

Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#2 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 05:45 AM

I've spent much of the night googling for slip-rings. I've done this in the past, and every time I come up frustrated. The only things I can find are DIY projects (some of which downright scare me) and industrial suppliers catering to heavy industry. Of the latter group, the only product I can find any pricing information on is the mercotac, and they are expensive ($50-$100 and up) and way overkill for what I need to do (pass maybe an amp of power to light up some LED's).

If Gemmy wer to build 120V lighting into this wheel, they're not going to use anything close to a Mercotec, they're probably going to use some bent copper strips or maybe some motor brushes. That's the sort of product I'd like to buy, or if necessary, build...

-Tim

Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#3 iresq

iresq

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 1,819 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:13 PM

I am looking to do the same thing. If anything comes to mind, I'll let you know. Otherwise, I will monitor this post.

Dave N

#4 drivemewilder

drivemewilder

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 463 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:34 PM

I have a ferris wheel that i built myself, and eventually ended up building dozens more and providing kits/plans for 100's of people. The very first one i built, i built my own slip ring. Not knowing anything about electrical, it was a great learning experience for me and i'm glad to now have that little bit of knowledge. Since then, i have only used mercotac on my ferris wheels and STRONGLY encourage the use of one. After shipping, i pay i think $72 which really isn't all that expensive. When i first saw the price i freaked out and said no way would i pay that, and forgot about it. But after troubleshooting, and building my own slip ring (w/ plenty of help from people that did know what they were doing) i decided that $70 was well worth the money primarily for the safety factor. I know...people shouldn't be coming up to my ferris wheel in the first place without asking, but kids, neighbors, family members, ect do walk up to it to get a good look at it. With a home-made slip ring, it's too easy to touch and then zap! The mercotac, everything is enclosed in a very small body that can easily be hidden and is very safe.

I don't mean to advocate for mercotac, i just know that it saved me alot of trouble in the end. I'm building a carousel next, and truth be told i will use my home-made slip ring simply for the cost savings and the fact that it can be hidden under the carousel where noone can touch it. As for the gemmy ferris wheel, i'm not a big fan of it so i haven't looked at it closely to see how you could incorporate a slip ring into it but i'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult. Good luck to you.

Troy

Posted Image


Keeping the season magical, and keeping it about Christ! Yes!!

#5 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 07:54 PM

drivemewilder wrote:

Since then, i have only used mercotac on my ferris wheels and STRONGLY encourage the use of one. After shipping, i pay i think $72 which really isn't all that expensive. When i first saw the price i freaked out and said no way would i pay that, and forgot about it. But after troubleshooting, and building my own slip ring (w/ plenty of help from people that did know what they were doing) i decided that $70 was well worth the money primarily for the safety factor.

I heartilly agree about the safety factors, and I'd rather buy vs. build. But those mercotac rings are so overbuilt formy proposeduse-- as I recall even the cheap ones are rated at 10 amps and much faster rotation speed than a ferris wheel. They're also rated to carry data signals like Cat-5 based ethernet... Now it would be cool to pass an LOR signal onto the wheel and have an on-board controller, but that's not my intent (and isn't in my budget).

Like I said in my earlier email, if Gemmy were to have done this from the factory, they're not going to invest in a mercotec slip ring but yet it would still be safe. Things like the rotating tree stands definitely aren't going to have that grade of a slip ring inside (the whole tree stands retailed for $30-40...

I'm not knocking your choice and I'm sure the Mercotec is a great product. I just can't see investing $70+ into an item that I might pass 50W of current through to run some LED rope light. On the other hand I want the wheel to be safe... If that's the only safe answer, then my project will be cancelled. Is there really no cheaper option? Mercotec's website goes to great lengths to discuss why they're better than the competition -- where do I find "the competition"?

I do appreciate your thoughts though...

-Tim

Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#6 ChuckHutchings

ChuckHutchings

    Active

  • Members
  • 2,634 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 08:05 PM

Tim -

Have you checked out Gary's (Toymakr) slip rings that he made for his flying Santa? That will probably work.

Maybe you should PM him for some feedback. (In fact, I'm surprised he hasn't already posted here.)



I AM THE 1%!

#7 drivemewilder

drivemewilder

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 463 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:25 PM

Tim, no offense taken. Whether you choose mercotac, home-made, or whatever you choose makes me no difference. I just hope you are able to achieve whatever you are after. As i mentioned before, i'm not an electrical guy at all. Mechanically inclined..totally, i know nothing on the electrical side though. So the amps and Cat-5 you speak of are totally greek to me! The rotation speed though, that's dictated by the speed of the ferris wheel. Maybe that's not what you meant, but i have had several people ask me "how can i adjust the speed of the mercotac because it's not turning when i plug it in." The ferris wheel turns the mercotac, not the other way around. If you were aware of that, then my apologies for bringing it up. Like i said, it's been asked by many people.

I'm not too aware of the other competition mercotac speaks of, but i have seen slip rings for as much as $400-800. And still it is something that needs to be housed to ensure a child doesn't put their hand on it. That being said, $70 for "overkill" isn't a bad deal considering the fact it's small, compact and already safe.

My first slip ring i mentioned was a very simple design. I simply took copper pipe and cut 1" pieces (2). I glued pvc pipe to the inside of each pipe to insulate it from the metal shaft on the ferris wheel. I then took an old lamp, cut off the cord (about 4' long) and soldered one wire to the inside of each copper pipe between the pvc and copper. I spaced them about 2" on the shaft and then ran the male end of the cord up to my lights on the wheel. That was the easy part. Next i soldered the ends of my extension cord to a couple of spring loaded switches that would be mounted in front of the copper pipe, and the switches would remain in constant contact w/ the copper pipe. All of this was relatively easy (once i learned how it worked), and all that was left was building an enclosure around the shaft and the switches. I don't know if this is what you are after or not, but i hope it helps. Good luck my friend.

Troy

Posted Image


Keeping the season magical, and keeping it about Christ! Yes!!

#8 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:31 PM

Incidentally, I just opened up my wheel to check out a motor issue. Inside of it is a very simple slip ring that powers the internal lights: just a couple of coper rings on the axel, and some "brushes" held by plastic and some springs. Now, of course, these are for some very low-wattage, low-voltage lights, so I'd never trust this setup with 120V. But it does show that there should be some other options...

Troy-- my 'rotation' comment was regarding that a ferris wheel might be rotating about 1-3 rotations per minute. Many slip rings are engineered for hundreds, even thousands, of RPM's. My point was that for this application, that's way overkill...

-Tim

Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#9 drivemewilder

drivemewilder

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 463 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:39 PM

I wasn't intentionally accusing you of not being educated on the rotation issue of the slip ring, but it has been a question posed to me several times. I gave you an idea in my last paragraph as to how you can build your own slip ring that should provide you what you are looking for. Again, just trying to help as i've been down this road before and trying to offer whatever i can.
Posted Image


Keeping the season magical, and keeping it about Christ! Yes!!

#10 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:41 PM

drivemewilder wrote:

I wasn't intentionally accusing you of not being educated on the rotation issue of the slip ring, but it has been a question posed to me several times. I gave you an idea in my last paragraph as to how you can build your own slip ring that should provide you what you are looking for. Again, just trying to help as i've been down this road before and trying to offer whatever i can.


Completely understood- I appreciate any help and advice. I, too, was just trying to clarify what I meant!

You obviously have a lot more experience with this stuff than me so I'm very open to whatever you and others with experience have to say.

-Tim

Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#11 ChuckHutchings

ChuckHutchings

    Active

  • Members
  • 2,634 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:02 PM

Tim,

Here's Gary's "How To":

http://www.bazillion...lyingSanta.html

I AM THE 1%!

#12 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:04 PM

ChuckHutchings wrote:

Tim,

Here's Gary's "How To":

http://www.bazillion...lyingSanta.html


Thanks. I actually remember reading that way back when but couldn't remember how to get back to it.

Of course the advantage he has is that it's way up high on the roof, so he doesn't have to worry about safety as much (as far as covering up the contacts, etc). Mine would be down at ground level so I'd have to be a little more clever about that...

I might have bigger issues afoot, though -- my new-to-me wheel doesn't seem to be working properly. See my other thead in this sub-board for details...

-Tim

Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#13 slmatter

slmatter

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 13 January 2009 - 10:14 PM

My brother in law and I are working on some projects together that he would like for his yard next year. we work in a plastics extrusion plant that uses these types of slip rings or rotary joints. I agree they are kinda silly expensive. i got to thinking the other day that the slip ring(s) inside any retractable cord reel should be good for like 10 to 20 amps depending on the wire size used. ill bet we all know someone who has a cord reel laying around that doesn't retract anymore. even buying one new and butchering it wouldn't be all that salty. has anyone else thought of or tried this?:cool:

#14 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 13 January 2009 - 10:57 PM

My brother in law and I are working on some projects together that he would like for his yard next year. we work in a plastics extrusion plant that uses these types of slip rings or rotary joints. I agree they are kinda silly expensive. i got to thinking the other day that the slip ring(s) inside any retractable cord reel should be good for like 10 to 20 amps depending on the wire size used. ill bet we all know someone who has a cord reel laying around that doesn't retract anymore. even buying one new and butchering it wouldn't be all that salty. has anyone else thought of or tried this?:cool:


Might be worth a try. My initial thought would be that maybe it's not really made for constant duty (like a ferris wheel would be) but just the occasional extend and retract...

-Tim
Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#15 cars06

cars06

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 839 posts

Posted 15 January 2009 - 07:16 PM

Tim. why not just follow your first thoughts. the rotating christmas tree stand... heck if the motor on your wheel is giving your trouble you could just use the complete unit to turn the wheel AND power your lights lol the one i have in its casing is about the size of a coffee can ..
HOW\'D YOU DO THAT??

#16 tfischer

tfischer

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 15,314 posts

Posted 15 January 2009 - 07:43 PM

Just a little update on this -- I didn't get anything done with the wheel since I posted this. I set it out, and the motor didn't work well so I just had it sitting there as a stationary prop. Even the LED spotlight I had pointing to it didn't light it up very well...

I have it set up next to the shed in the back right now, and might try to look at it in the coming months before I tear it down and store it until next year... So any ideas on retrofitting a new motor and slip ring are still welcome.

I'll have to look at my rotating tree stand and see how viable that would be...

-Tim
Tim Fischer
http://www.plymouthlights.com
Visit and Join the Christmas Lights Webring: http://lightwebring.fischersplace.com
Need a webhost? Great hosting starting at $3.99/mo!

#17 Toymakr000

Toymakr000

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 4,433 posts

Posted 15 January 2009 - 08:46 PM

Tim,
you could make a slipring from scratch. copper pipe couplings, CPVC, carbon brushes, hobby brass tubing, and a plastic bracket. Just like my flying santa. It's still working just fine..
My original one went for 7 years and the new one has gone two Christmases and Halloweens...notice the bottom rings are unused. I can have a 3 channel animation on the end of my 15' boom;)

It is all mounted in a steel enclosure and is completely safe. Well except for the 10lb propane tank counterweight that will smack you upside the head if our not paying attention....:)
http://www.bazillion...lyingSanta.html
Posted Image

Edited by Toymakr000, 15 January 2009 - 08:51 PM.

Gary Slater
Posted Image
Official LOR Abuser
AC:cool:

#18 iresq

iresq

    Distinguished Member

  • Members
  • 1,819 posts

Posted 15 January 2009 - 10:20 PM

If you had access to the end of the center pipe, how about a 1/4" headphone jack? I know it's not rated for this use but it might work.
Dave N




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users