Producing electric light by means of small bulbs that give from one-half to six candle power, and a suitable source of power, is something that will interest the average American boy.
These circular bulbs range from 1/4 to 2 in. in diameter, and cost 27 cents each complete with base. They are commonly known as miniature battery bulbs, since a battery is the most popular source of power. The 1/2-cp. bulbs are usually 2-1/2 volts and take 1/4 ampere of current. It requires about three medium dry cells to operate it. However, there is now upon the market a battery consisting of 3 small dry cells connected in series, put up in a neat case with 2 binding posts, which sells for 25 cents. This is more economical than dry cells, as it gives about 4 volts and 3 amperes. It will run as large a lamp a 3-1/2 volts, 1 cp., for some time very satisfactorily. More than one lamp can be run by connecting the bulbs in parallel, as indicated by Fig. 1, which shows the special battery with 3 dry cells in the case, and the 2 binding posts for connection with the bulbs. In this case it is also advisable to connect several batteries in parallel also, so as to increase the current, but maintain the voltage constant. Thus the individual cells are in multiple series, i. e., multiples of series of three. By keeping in mind the ampere output of the battery and rating of the lamp, one can regulate the batteries as required. It must be remembered, in this connection, that any battery which is drawn upon for half of its output will last approximately three times as long, as if drawn upon for its total output. Thus, in any system of lamps, it is economical to provide twice as many batteries as necessary. This also supplies a means of still maintaining the candle power when the batteries are partially exhausted, by connecting in series. However, this must be done with very great caution, as the lights will be burnt out if the voltage is too high.
Illustration: Fig. 1
Persons living in the city will find an economical means of lighting lamps by securing exhausted batteries from any garage, where they are glad to have taken away. A certain number of these, after a rest, can be connected up in series, and will give the proper voltage.
In conclusion, for battery power: Connecting batteries in series increases the voltage, and slightly cuts down the current or amperage, which is the same as that of one battery; while connecting batteries in parallel increases the amperage, but holds the voltage the same as that of one cell. Thus, if the voltage and amperage of any cell be known, by the proper combination of these, we can secure the required voltage and amperage to light any miniature lamp. And it might be said that dry cells are the best for this purpose, especially those of low internal resistance. Fig.2
For those having a good water supply there is a more economical means of maintenance, although the first cost is greater. Fig. 2 shows the scheme. A small dynamo driven by a water motor attached to a faucet, generates the power for the lights. The cost of the smallest outfit of the kind is about $3 for the water motor and $4 for the dynamo. This dynamo has an output of 12 watts, and will produce from 18 to 25 cp., according to the water pressure obtainable. It is advisable to install the outfit in the basement, where the water pressure is the greatest, and then lead No. 18 B & S. double -insulated wire wherever needed. The dynamo can also be used as a motor, and is wound for any voltage up to ten. The winding should correspond to the voltage of the lamps which you desire to run. However, if wound for 6 volts, one could run parallel series of two 3-volt, 1-cp. lamps; making, as in Fig. 3, 11 series, or 22 lights. If wound for 10 volts, it would give 1-1/4 amperes and run four 6-cp. lamps. Thus, it will be seen that any candle power lamp can be operated by putting the proper number of lights in each series, and running the series in parallel. So, to secure light by this method, we simply turn on the water, and the water consumption is not so great as might be imagined.
For the party who has electric light in his house there is still an easier solution for the problem of power. If the lighting circuit gives 110 volts he can connect eleven 10-volt lamps in series. These will give 3 cp. each, and the whole set of 11 will take one ampere of current, and cost about the same as a 32-cp. lamp, or 1-1/4 cents per hour. Simply connect the miniature circuit to an Edison plug, and insert in the nearest lamp socket. Any number of different candle power lamps can be used providing each lamp takes the same amount of current, and the sum of their voltages equals the voltage of the circuit used. This arrangement of small lights is used to produce a widely distributed, and diffused light in a room, for display of show cases, and for Christmas trees. Of all these sources of power the two last are the most economical, and the latter of these two has in its favor the small initial cost. These lamps are by no means playthings or experiments, but are as serviceable and practical as the larger lamps. --Contributed by Lindsay Eldridge, Chicago.