How to wire fairground lights
There are a wide variety of uses for LED fairground lighting. From amusement park and carnival signage to wedding and event lighting, fairground lights are versatile and varied with professional production, organisation services and amateur hobbyists alike choosing them for their projects.
As mentioned above, one of the most common uses for fairground lighting is on letters and signs. This is great because it draws attention to the signage in a unique way, making sure you get the intended message across in style and to create a talking point.
In this guide:
Elements needed to wire fairground lighting projects
Cabochon lighting, Golfball lighting
Learn more about what you need to know when wiring fairground lighting projects
What do you need to wire your own fairground lighting?
To wire your own project up, you’ll need equipment including:
- LED bulbs – you can choose between Cabochon or Golfball bulbs, both with a range of colours and sequence options
- Cabochon base and cap (if using Cabochon bulbs)
- Lamp holders and nuts
- Wires – the thickness of the wire you need will depend on the size of your sign and how big the bulbs are. A general rule is the bigger the bulb and sign, the thicker the cables. The most important factor is that your wiring fits inside the grooves of your lamp holders, as this is crucial for correct instalment. If in doubt, the most common wire thickness is 1.5mm.
- Power source
- 2 port lever clamps
These parts can be bought individually or you can buy a kit that includes everything you need to wire your project. These include key components such as cabochons, LEDs, cables, lamp holders, connectors and a power source (PSU).
How to fit and wire your own fairground lighting (Cabochon)
If you choose Cabochon bulbs for your project, here’s the best way to wire your project:
- Drill a hole in the backing material – this could be a simple shape or the letters to make up your sign, wherever you intend to add your lights. For E10 Cabochons, you will need a 14mm hole. For E14 Cabochons, increase the size to 20mm.
- Next, push the lamp holders through the back of each hole.For either size Cabochon, the maximum thickness of material for your lamp holders to be used with is 10mm. Any material thicker than this, and a 40mm diameter area will need to be rebated on the back of the material, where the lamp holder is meant to go. Be sure to leave a thickness of between 1-10mm.
- From there, screw the Cabochon base onto the head of the lamp holder, making sure it is tightly and securely screwed on. This just ensures that the socket isn’t wobbly or your finished result insecure.
- Once the Cabochon base has been screwed on, the next step is to screw in your LED lights inside the Cabochon base.
- Place the Cabochon cap over the top and screw it on top. This closes the lighting unit so that the base matches the cap and dictates the pattern and colour of light from the front of the bulb.
- On the back of your material, place your wires in the groove of the lamp holder. One thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter which way round the wires go.
- Now, picking up the lamp holder nut, the next step is to screw it to the back of the holder. This is to pierce the wires on the brass spikes, ensuring that the wires are secure and in place to allow an electrical connection to be made between the wire and the bulb.
- Take the 2 port lever clamps and attach the wires from your lights to the colour coded wires on your power source. Take care to ensure that the colours correctly correspond.
- Following on from this, the final step is to attach the brown and blue wires of the power source to the mains. A simple 3-pin plug should suffice; you can either buy one yourself or use the one supplied in any of the WeLoveLEDs complete kits.
Note: if you’re unsure of what to do when connecting your lights to the mains supply, always seek the advice of a qualified electrician. Don’t attempt to do it alone unless you’re confident in how to do it.
How to fit and wire your own fairground lighting (Golfball)
The wiring method for Golfball lights is largely the same as the Cabochon method. However, there are two notable steps that are different, which are outlined below:
- At step 3, rather than screw the Cabochon base onto the lamp holder, screw on the face nut This creates the correct base for the Golfball bulb to be installed upon.
- At step 4, rather than screwing in the LED light, simply tightly screw in the Golfball bulb instead. Please remember that Golfball bulbs are made of glass, rather than plastic so don’t hold them too tightly or use too much force when screwing them in.
- You can leave out step 5 as there is no need for the Cabochon top
And it’s that simple!
What are the factors to consider when wiring your own fairground lights?
There are a number of factors to bear in mind when wiring your own fairground lights, especially as a professional service working to client expectations and deadlines.
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before taking a project on:
- What is the size of the project?
- How long will the project take?
- Will I need to seek the assistance of a qualified electrician? If you’re plugging your project into the mains supply, we would always recommend that you seek the advice of a professional electrician.
These are all important factors to consider. Determining how long the project will take, the size of the project, and whether expert assistance is required will allow your fairground lighting project to run more smoothly, having already anticipated the most common issues.