Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Toastmasters Signal Lights for Timing Speeches - Part 3

(This is the continuation of Part 2 -Toastmasters Signal Lights for Timing Speeches)

The Toastmasters timing lights device cost me Php 800 - still relatively cheap. This was negotiated down from the original quoted price of Php 1500. Cost of materials (LED lights, box, wires, switch, etc.) was estimated at Php 400.

But still, the lack of brightness coming from the ping-pong "bulbs" is a major issue for me.

For one of the lamps, I removed the blue threaded plastic part where the ping-pong ball was glued. It exposed the two LED lights.

I suppose the timing lights device may still be used as is, but with the LED lights exposed, it simply looks "unfinished". Also, I fear that the LED lights, though well-soldered, might accidentally get dislodged if they bump into something hard.

I discarded the blue threaded part because it was glued to the ping-pong ball. The challenge now is to replace the ping-pong balls with a clear protective plastic cover.

Replacing the Signal Lights Protective Cover

I found that the cut threaded part from old water bottles had the same thread as the one that I discarded and fits into the blue bottle cap already in place. For the clear plastic caps, I stumbled into plastic caps used for dispensing virgin coconut oil. It looked like a perfect fit.

So here are the materials to be used:

  1. Hold the threaded part from an old water bottle and position it into the blue bottle cap.

  2. Screw in the threaded part into the blue bottle cap.

  3. With some clear glue, smear liberally around the rim of the plastic threaded part with your finger.

  4. Put the clear plastic cap cover in place, making sure that the glue attaches it to the threaded part. It is imperative that the plastic cap fits snugly into the rim of the plastic threaded part.

Here's how the new setup looks like. Again, the photo below is a composite image showing all lighted LED's although in reality they're just lit one at a time. You can see how so much brighter the lamps are when lit.

Is this enough to attract the attention of a Toastmaster member when delivering speeches? Maybe, but it still better than the subdued light from the ping-pong balls.

You could actually achieve higher brightness from the lights by positioning the timing light device vertically as shown below.

It is still operable because the rotary switch knob is now on top. And the light is so bright it would surely attract the speaker from one end of a meeting table.

Size-wise, the new plastic cap covers have a much lower profile, therefore more compact, than the previous ping-pong balls. The timing lights device easily fits into a small carrying bag.

Shown below is the comparison in heights.

The new timing lights device was very well-received at our Toastmasters club meetings. Here's the timing lights device (encircled in yellow) in one of our meetings.

In the photo above, shown left to right at the Alabang Community Toastmasters Club are: Larry Gamboa, Neil Caranto, Lolet Gabay, Les Aquino, Trish de Guia and Duchess Munsayac. Taken at Henlin, Alabang, Muntinlupa City - Mar.6, 2008.

Unfortunately, the device developed some internal wiring contact problems and so I temporarily made some Improvised Toastmasters Timing Cards as replacement.

Here's the recent version of an easy DIY Toastmasters Timing Lights device used in my current club.