Christmas Tree Fiber Optics

Ceramic Christmas trees usually don’t fall under the normal scope of scaled models.  It is a scaled tree, so I guess that makes it all right.  My mom made this tree for me back in 1981.  It used a night light bulb and due to the small size of the tree and the nature of the fixture that held the bulb, roughly 1/3 of the tree was lit.   I always wanted to find a better way to light this tree.  Over the years, I thought about an LED bulb cluster or shallower fixture.  I then thought about pulling all of the plastic “bulbs” and replacing them with small LED’s.  I couldn’t find anything that would fit and later realized that there were 75 “bulbs” and at $1-2 an LED, the cost of this project would have gotten out of hand.

Finally, I stumbled upon a fiber optics hobby kit and realized this was my answer.  It took me two solid tries to get it right but in the end, it worked out really well.

Since I finished it last winter, a couple of the LED’s have failed.  They were advertised as supporting voltage from 3-12v.  The LED fixture includes a resistor so I was confident that my 9v power supply would be sufficient.  I’m not sure why they failed. To solve the problem, I ordered the brightest LED “bulb” available in the size I needed and added my own resistor. The new LED’s were brighter and have held up very well.