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The Kenneth Sharp Tardis Console

Started by tony farrell, Jan 05, 2016, 02:06 am

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tony farrell

Jan 06, 2016, 02:18 am #15 Last Edit: Jan 06, 2016, 02:27 am by Tony Farrell
Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Jan 05, 2016, 10:31 pm
Blimey, was that near you? I saw the footage, it looked horrific! hopefully no one was inside when it went..? Is your place OK?


Off topic, the pub is a ten minute walk down the hill from me. This is what it looked like until last week and this is it now (luckily it was empty, it could have held two hundred people).

2FA1434A00000578-3375234-The_Waterside_Pub_in_Summerseat_near_Bury_is_pictured_before_it_-a-26_1451215314969.jpg
images.jpg

As you can see, almost half the building was swept away.  We must be grateful for small mercies!

_87383393_pub_trevorpriestley.jpg

T

galacticprobe

Jan 06, 2016, 07:48 am #16 Last Edit: Jan 06, 2016, 09:02 am by galacticprobe
I hope you're all sitting back. This one is longer than usual, even for me. ;D

Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Jan 05, 2016, 08:22 am
According to Virgin's Fourth Doctor Handbook studio recording for Planet of Evil took place between 30th June -15th July 1975, whereas studio recording for Pyramids was between May 19th - 3rd June 1975.

Well... I stand corrected on that. You can't argue with irrefutable proof!

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 05:51 pm
Thanks for the confirmation (Dino had me doubting myself for a moment).

Sorry, Tony. That wasn't my intention. And in all honesty it was the costume change that made me think "Planet of Evil" was recorded first.

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 05:51 pm
I'd be really interested to hear from anyone who could describe the wiring needed to achieve the intermittent flashing effect.

Well, in the '60 and even into the '70s, most times they just used flasher bulbs because they were inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use; you just connect them into your circuit and once they heat up, the flasher element kicks in - like the old Christmas tree lights. A good example of these in action is the 'Lost In Space' (TV series) Robot. When he is first activated (and yes, his power pack actually made or broke the circuit that powered all of his lights), all of his lights came on at once - steady on - but after a few seconds of the filaments heating up, the flasher element would kick in and the lights would start blinking, some sooner than others, and all at random intervals.

This could possibly have been how they got the lights in the column to blink intermittently, and randomly. I'm not saying it's definitively how they did it, but it would have been the easiest way.

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 01:51 pm
I'm not sure what scarves have got to do with anything  :)...

Well, as Marc said:
Quote from: rassilonsrod on Jan 05, 2016, 04:22 pm
I'd assumed that it was an aid to dating but in this case, the season 13 is the season 13 is the season 13 :)

Ditto! So there goes my whole dating system out the window (which also sounds like my social life before I met my wife!) ;D

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 01:51 pm
To answer Dino's question, yes, the plans are on their way and they will show different dimensions to those that have gone before (including the dimensions stated by Scarfwearer and Lespaceplie) so, I've brought my tin helmet!!!!

Yay-hay! And I seriously hope you don't need that "tin helmet"; you've already proven your mettle!

Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Jan 05, 2016, 10:31 pm
Blimey, was that near you? I saw the footage, it looked horrific! hopefully no one was inside when it went..? Is your place OK?

First, OH MY GLOB! That was a terrible shame. The only bright side is that the place was empty. (I hope they rebuild; it was a great-looking place.) Also it's a good thing Tony and his place are okay.

Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Jan 05, 2016, 10:31 pm
As for a wiring diagram... I'd imagine at the time the controller/sequencer was more a sort of plug in unit rather than something made from scratch. Nowadays you could make something from scratch quite easily if you have the skills (electronics are not my forte... the voltage is too tiny...;) )

Well, even back then wiring harnesses and plug-in harnesses were easily made if you knew how. I mean, look at all the electronics of the time: TVs, radios, radars, etc. They all had wiring harnesses in them, and someone had to make them. Heavens knows that when I was in the military - right out of electronics school in 1981 - I'd made enough of them to replace ones that had gone bad: cracked insulation on the wiring and all that. So if you were trained in the field, then you could make those plug-in things with ease.

Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Jan 05, 2016, 10:31 pm
I think Dino is a bit of a whizz with electronics... Can you help, Dino?

To a point. To paraphrase "Bones" McCoy: "I'm an electronics technician, not an electronics engineer." If something is broken and I've got a manual and schematic diagram to follow, then I can repair it. But when it comes to designing circuits, I'm total rubbish. It took me quite a while to translate that lamp flasher circuit from the YouTube video, but I couldn't have designed that circuit on my own.

As for the flashing lights inside this column, as I mentioned above, the easiest way they could have done it would have been to just use flasher bulbs. They might all come on steady for a few seconds when first powered up, but then they would quickly start blinking, each at their own rates and that would create a truly random flashing. Even if you use flashing controllers or sequencers, one for each bulb, you're still going to end up with some sort of pattern. Also, that would be a lot of work, having to build a flasher circuit for each bulb. That's why I think they may have just used flasher bulbs. With them, all you need to do is plug (or screw) the bulb into the socket, connect the wires to the socket, and then plug the wiring into the power source and flip a switch to turn everything on and just sit back and let the flasher element in the bulb do the rest. And from what I can see in that image Tony got from Jonathan, it looks like the bulbs in the column are in sockets, which would also facilitate changing out a bulb when it failed.

Quote from: fivefingeredstyre on Jan 05, 2016, 09:36 pm
I admire your attention to detail Tony... I honestly don't have the attention span to count the flashing lighting sequence...  ;D


Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 10:15 pm
Neither do I normally but it's done nothing but rain for a month... so I've had the time!

Hey, at least these bulbs flash at a reasonable rate for counting how many there are and where they are, and when they flash. I've been working on a drawing for a story I'm working on (not 'Who'-related; something completely different) and I'm basing this certain piece of equipment on something from an old TV series I loved as a kid - a "one season wonder" called 'Search', or in the UK as 'Search Control'. In the later episodes of that series, they had a set of very rapidly flashing lights on a large monitor frame and I've been trying to get the color location of each segment by running my DVD into the ground! Even on slow-mo it's very hard to follow those lights. Three rows, six units in each row, with ten light segments in each unit (two across, five down, and they're small). So far I've learned there are three colors: red, white, and a very pale blue in each unit. Now I'm trying to place where each color goes and it's nerve-wracking! This column's lights should be child's play when compared to this monstrosity I'm working on!

Now how does this fit in? Even though this series ran from September '72 until May '73, the flashing lights in their equipment had a discernible pattern to them, ergo they must have used a sequencer. However in the TARDIS console's column, from what I've seen watching some of the Pertwee stories, those lights have a truly random flash: no pattern at all, hence furthering my belief in the use of flasher bulbs.

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 10:15 pm
If you want to contribute a wiring diagram (an idiot's guide would be a better term in my case), then, brilliant!

Now, for a simple wiring diagram for this column, going on the assumption that flasher bulbs were used, once I know the location of each bulb in the column (both steady-on and flashing), I may be able to put something together. It may not be exactly how the original column was wired, but it would be a good working diagram for anyone building this column to get the same light and visual results.

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

tony farrell

Jan 06, 2016, 04:14 pm #17 Last Edit: Jan 06, 2016, 04:33 pm by Tony Farrell
Quote from: galacticprobe on Jan 06, 2016, 07:48 am
I hope you're all sitting back. This one is longer than usual, even for me. ;D


Goodness, you weren't kidding!

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 05:51 pm
I'd be really interested to hear from anyone who could describe the wiring needed to achieve the intermittent flashing effect.


Quote from: galacticprobe on Jan 06, 2016, 07:48 am
Well, in the '60 and even into the '70s, most times they just used flasher bulbs because they were inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use; you just connect them into your circuit and once they heat up, the flasher element kicks in and the lights would start blinking, some sooner than others, and all at random intervals.


Excellent, I'm all for cheap and easy solutions ;D

Quote from: galacticprobe on Jan 06, 2016, 07:48 am
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 01:51 pm
To answer Dino's question, yes, the plans are on their way and they will show different dimensions to those that have gone before (including the dimensions stated by Scarfwearer and Lespaceplie) so, I've brought my tin helmet!!!!

Yay-hay! And I seriously hope you don't need that "tin helmet"; you've already proven your mettle!


Thanks. And in answer to Mr Kent's earlier post, I'm not sure what to call the Sharp Console either. I can see the sense in MK1A as so many of the controls were re-used.  That said the framework, column and column drive were all new so, MK2 would make sense as well.

Perhaps we should have a New Year's poll?  :)

Quote from: galacticprobe on Jan 06, 2016, 07:48 am
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 05, 2016, 10:15 pm
If you want to contribute a wiring diagram (an idiot's guide would be a better term in my case), then, brilliant!

Now, for a simple wiring diagram for this column, going on the assumption that flasher bulbs were used, once I know the location of each bulb in the column (both steady-on and flashing), I may be able to put something together. It may not be exactly how the original column was wired, but it would be a good working diagram for anyone building this column to get the same light and visual results.


Does this help? It's the best close-up I can get without losing the definition.

column close up time monster.png

So you know the locations of the lamps, in this picture the light is "lamp one - side one" and I've marked the same lamp on my 'Painted' version of the column:

PERTWEE COLUMN FOR TB.png

T

galacticprobe

Jan 07, 2016, 04:55 am #18 Last Edit: Jan 07, 2016, 06:19 am by galacticprobe
Okay... not sure this is how the props builders did it, but from what I can see in the photo image and your drawings, Tony, this is how it looks like those Central Pier lights were wired:

The straight, rigid wire that runs to the topmost bulb is the supply voltage (call it V+). Considering the size of the bulbs used I would say between 6 and 12 volts DC power is needed for each bulb. Then we have the curly wire that runs from bulb to bulb to bulb back down to the column's base; this would be the "return" (earth, ground, negative) side, or V-.

If this is how they were wired, then they were wired "in series", meaning that the current to light the bulb would come in through the V+ wire, and then had to pass through one bulb to get to the next (via the V- curly wire) and so on. This presents us with two issues: 1) like Christmas lights of old, if one bulb burns out, all of the bulbs in that line go out; and 2) we have to take into account the voltage drop across each bulb and have a strong enough power supply for that. I'll try to show it here (in probably overly simple) terms...

__________________(straight wire to top bulb)___________________ V+ source
|
BULB1vvvvvvvvvvvvvBULB2vvvvvvvvvvvvvvBULB3vvvvvvvvvvvvvv V- source (vvvvv = curly wire)

Issue 1: Needless to say, if you remove one bulb from this (any bulb), then the other two are going out because the current path is broken - like opening a switch, it turns off the lights.

Issue 2: If each bulb is a +6 Volt bulb, then each bulb (in layman's terms) is going to use up 6 volts from the power source. So if there are three bulbs in this circuit (as seen on each side of the Central Pier) with each requiring +6 Volts, 6+6+6=18; we would need to have the power source (power supply) with an output voltage of +18 Volts. Bulb1 would use 6 volts, leaving +12 volts left for the rest of the circuit; the next, Bulb2, would use another 6 volts, leaving +6 volts for that last, Bulb3, in the circuit.

Issue 1 really is a problem with dealing with flasher bulbs; when the flasher element kicks in, it opens the current path inside the bulb very briefly to turn the bulb off. This would in turn make the other two bulbs go out until the flasher element cooled down (which only takes a second, sometimes less) and moved back into place to restore the current path and turn the bulb back on. And now that I'm trying to think about this, I can't remember if all lights on "Side 1" of the Central Pier flashed at the same time - all on, all off, all on, etc. If they did, then only one flasher bulb would be needed. If, on the other hand, each bulb on Central Pier Side 1 flashed on its own, then each bulb was a flasher, and there is a third wire hidden in there someplace to keep the power going to the other two bulbs while one of them is in its "blink out" phase - much akin to modern Christmas tree light strings. (And this brings up a third issue that just hit me; a "sub-issue" of Issue 2, which I'm coming to.)

Issue 2, as far as power supplies go, isn't much of a problem because they do make +18 Volt power supplies, and have done for quite a while - probably since the dawn of electronics in the late 19th Century (though by the time of the 1960s would have been much smaller and cooler-operating, being transistorized). Now that sub-issue I mentioned if the bulbs flash on their own, and not all on Side 1 blinking in unison: the voltage across each bulb. If there is that third wire hidden in there someplace to keep power to the other bulbs when a bulb "blinks out", then that full +18 volts would be present on each bulb at all times, regardless if one or two bulbs have "blinked out". This would instantly burn out a 6-volt bulb.

There are two ways to solve this: one is to just use a +6 Volt power supply, which also have been around since before the 1960s; the other is to use 18-volt bulbs for all three bulbs (though it would make more sense, in this case, to use a lower voltage bulb and power supply, like the more common 12-volt variety). Using a +6 Volt supply would apply only +6 volts to each bulb, so when one blinked out, the others wouldn't feel a surge and burn out; that third hidden wire would keep +6 volts on each bulb regardless of one or two were in their "blinked out" phase. The same goes for using the 12- or 18-volt bulbs and power supplies.

To keep things simple, each Side of the Central Pier should have its own V+ supply wire, and you can find a power supply with enough of a current output to handle three branches, so only one power supply can be used to power all three Sides. The Sides would be wired "in parallel" with the supply which would apply the same voltage level on each Side, and (again overly simplified) would look like this:

                   |---------------------Pier, Side 1---------------|
SUPPLY(V+)---------|---------------------Pier, Side 2---------------|
 |                |---------------------Pier, Side 3---------------|
 |                                                                 |
 |----------------------------Return(V-)---------------------------|


The devil is in the details here: whether each Side of the Pier blinks the bulbs in unison, or independently. Once that is determined with certainty, then I could create a much better wiring diagram for the Central Pier and its blinking lights. But for now, I hope this is at least (mostly?) understandable.

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

lespaceplie

I'll need to revise the later rotor plans based on the new info. The errors in mine are based on some assumptions made in Timerotor's build and a lack of photo references. Especially important is nailing the twinkling lights. Those were always just glossed over in my plans. I think we're on the right path.

tony farrell

Thanks for the replies gents.unfortunately the laptop "went west " today so can only access TB on my mobile. Dino there is one + (straight wire) per side of the pier and I described the flashing sequence a couple of posts ago. Sorry,  I think that I'll struggle to explain with out my laptop (phone is too small).
Thanks Lespaceplie, I hope that you do realise that any disagreement I have with your dimensions is purely in the interests of accuracy and is intended in a friendly manner. :-)

galacticprobe

Jan 08, 2016, 05:37 am #21 Last Edit: Jan 08, 2016, 06:10 am by galacticprobe
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 07, 2016, 10:18 pm
Thanks for the replies gents.unfortunately the laptop "went west " today so can only access TB on my mobile.

Wow. Really sorry to hear about that, Tony. I hope you get it back up and running soon.

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 07, 2016, 10:18 pm
Dino there is one + (straight wire) per side of the pier...

Yes. You've drawn that rather well, and you can also see that in the screen grabs. It wasn't easy for me to illustrate what I was explaining using just standard keyboard keys, especially when showing how one power supply could feed all three sides. I'll try to whip up a graphic that better shows what I'm getting at, which should concur with what you've drawn.

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 07, 2016, 10:18 pm
...and I described the flashing sequence a couple of posts ago. Sorry, I think that I'll struggle to explain with out my laptop (phone is too small).

(I quite understand about the phone.) I'm still working on deciphering your light flashing pattern; it was very detailed for what you were able to see (i.e. not all of the possible bulbs being visible). Now I'm trying to see it in motion in my head so I can hopefully get a plausible diagram for the wiring. If all of the bulbs on one side of the Pier don't flash in unison, and your pattern indicates they don't, then there needs to be a third wire somewhere in that Pier; simply having it wired as I tried to show it with my first rudimentary "drawing", with the one V+ wire (confirmed), and only the curly V- wire (also confirmed) connecting the bulbs (from bulb to bulb to bulb) won't give that pattern you described. Electrical circuits can't work that way, so there must be additional wiring for the bulbs - possibly very thin wires hidden inside the Pier, which would make those very thin wires almost impossible to see, especially given that the Pier is: 1) tinted; 2) somewhat diffused (due to the tinting?); 3) partly obscured by those yellow and dark blue perspex pieces along the "open" sides; 4) the "open" sides are never really shown in close-up, and if they are occasionally, not for very long, and the column is moving up and down making it hard to focus the eyes on the Pier's insides (and unless you can catch a grab just right, it's going to be a bit of a blurry "still" when you hit that PAUSE button).

Given your pattern for the flashing, I "think" I might have an idea for the wiring, so I'll work on that. (I'll probably go on the premise of all three sides having 4 bulbs; given that two sides have 4 it would make sense if that third side also had 4... and as you say, there is room for that 4th bulb.) And like your other drawings for the original console, my wiring diagram will no doubt undergo some alterations as more info on the flashing pattern and number of bulbs comes to light <pardon the pun>.

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 07, 2016, 10:18 pm
Thanks Lespaceplie, I hope that you do realise that any disagreement I have with your dimensions is purely in the interests of accuracy and is intended in a friendly manner. :-)

And I hope this also holds true for my wiring diagrams? ;) ;D

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"

silverfox

Great subject. I Love the attention to detail.
I tackled this version of the console a while ago when I was doing some virtual set designs but I'd love to get them more accurate.

Here is what I did for the central rotors. I was just trying to work out the placement of all the parts, more than anything (not always easy when you have overlapping layers of translucent perspex involved)


rotors2_zpsd65f55c1.png

tony farrell

Sorry chaps, no laptop until after the weekend. Silverfox , you're so close!  Dino, side two almost definitely has only three lamps.
Sorry the message is so brief. Being without the pc is very inconvenient!

fivefingeredstyre

Jan 08, 2016, 12:50 pm #24 Last Edit: Jan 08, 2016, 12:57 pm by fivefingeredstyre
Quote from: galacticprobe on Jan 07, 2016, 04:55 amIf this is how they were wired, then they were wired "in series", meaning that the current to light the bulb would come in through the V+ wire, and then had to pass through one bulb to get to the next (via the V- curly wire) and so on. This presents us with two issues: 1) like Christmas lights of old, if one bulb burns out, all of the bulbs in that line go out; and 2) we have to take into account the voltage drop across each bulb and have a strong enough power supply for that.
Dino

Are we sure that the lights are not wired in Parrellel? It looks like the V+ wire extends all the way to the top lamp; however the pictures aren't that clear at the level we need to examine them. It could be that there is a leg that spurs out to each of the lower lamps as it travels upwards towards the top lamp (it would also stabilise the V+ wire and stop it from waggling around alarmingly with the rotor movement).

To my mind this would be the simplest method of wiring each of the circuits for the three sides of the central pier, and would relive the problems of all the lamps going out when one of them flashed, as well as getting over the volt drop and surge issues.

Just because we cannot see the legs on the +V side may not mean it's not there, and given that the Console was probably designed and built in a hurry - if it was me I would have gone for the simplest solution (flasher lamps and a simple wiring harness).

tony farrell

I feel a bit like William Hartnell stuck in the vortex without my pc. Can I make a suggestion? Can either of you put a simple line drawing of what you are proposing next to the close up picture of the pier? Thanks Tony :-)

lespaceplie

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 07, 2016, 10:18 pm
Thanks for the replies gents.unfortunately the laptop "went west " today so can only access TB on my mobile. Dino there is one + (straight wire) per side of the pier and I described the flashing sequence a couple of posts ago. Sorry,  I think that I'll struggle to explain with out my laptop (phone is too small).
Thanks Lespaceplie, I hope that you do realise that any disagreement I have with your dimensions is purely in the interests of accuracy and is intended in a friendly manner. :-)


Not to worry. The same things have happened with the scarf and practically any other item I've tried to figure out for years and years. There's always new info coming forward, and I'm glad that others are working on things - especially when I have limited time.

fivefingeredstyre

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 08, 2016, 04:06 pm
I feel a bit like William Hartnell stuck in the vortex without my pc. Can I make a suggestion? Can either of you put a simple line drawing of what you are proposing next to the close up picture of the pier? Thanks Tony :-)
How about this...

possible%20lighting%20rig_zpsx0dnl7sk.png

I'm wondering if, rather than extend solely to the top, the straight wire (which could be the V+ or live wire) could actually connect to all the lamps as it travels upwards. If this was the case it, and the lamps contained their own flashing mechanism the lamps would be connected in parallel and this would alleviate the volt drop and the surging issues that Dino mentioned in his earlier post.

Its all conjecture at this stage; however if I was wiring this, that would be the simplest method I could think of. The cables are so thin you can barely make them out in all the photo references and screen grabs we have. And they are practically covered by the angled perspex pieces (and later the opaque perspex panel), maybe we just can't see them properly?

markofrani

Jan 08, 2016, 11:21 pm #28 Last Edit: Jan 08, 2016, 11:38 pm by markofrani
Great work so far Tony. Hope the laptop can be repaired!
This pic from 'The Time Monster' shows a small gap in the console collar. This could mean it was assembled in two halves unlike the original...
TM3.jpg

and another one showing the gap more clearly...

tm4.jpg

galacticprobe

Jan 09, 2016, 06:13 am #29 Last Edit: Jan 09, 2016, 07:27 am by galacticprobe
Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 08, 2016, 10:56 am
Dino, side two almost definitely has only three lamps.

Still working on that graphic, but I'll work with only three lamps on Side 2... for now. (It's that "almost definitely" that still leaves possibilities open for a fourth lamp.)

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 08, 2016, 04:06 pm
I feel a bit like William Hartnell stuck in the vortex without my pc.

(Getting that "BC" feeling... "Before Computers"? ;D) No worries, Tony; we won't let the thread go into runaway mode. Steve, Jonathan, and I will keep things in check until you get your computer back up and running again.

Quote from: Tony Farrell on Jan 08, 2016, 04:06 pm
Can either of you put a simple line drawing of what you are proposing next to the close up picture of the pier? Thanks Tony :-)

Yeah, I'm trying to knock that out in a way that it makes sense. Steve did a nice job showing your drawing with the modification to the V+ wire - where there is a little branch going from the wire to each bulb. (And along those thought lines, this could also have been done inside the Pier to help hide those little branches. The V+ wire looks to be stiff and of heavy enough gauge that having just that one wire on each side connecting at the topmost lamp would make the Central Pier rather stable.)

Focusing on just the column's inner workings (cropped from Jonathan's images):
PierLights-01.jpg
The Pier Lights (unfortunately all unlit)...

PierLights-02.jpg
...and the Pier Lights from a different angle, some lit, with the column raised a little higher. (And as Steve mentioned: "...they are practically covered by the angled perspex pieces...".) This makes the wiring very difficult to see. Although, it looks like on the side facing us in the second image - where the bulbs are lit - there is no bulb at all near the top of the Pier.

Jonathan, do you have a larger image of this one, or others like it (column raised, lights on, different angles)?
ReducedImage.jpg
It's got the entire Pier is visible. Larger versions like this could reveal more details with regards to the number of lamps on each Side, and the V+ wire. Also, I'm in agreement that it makes more sense to have the lamps wired in parallel for just the reasons Steve stated. (It's been a while since I taught it, but I believe it's part of Kirchhoff's Law that says the voltage in a parallel circuit is the same across each leg:)

(V+)
+12V_________________________________________________________
   |                      |               |                |
   |                      |               |                |
   |                      |               |                |
Source (12V)             BULB#1          BULB#2          BULB#3
   |                      |               |                |
   |                      |               |                |
 0V|                      |               |                |

(V-, a.k.a. ground/earth)

So no matter which BULB you place your volt meter across, you will consistently measure 12 volts whether you've got 1, 3, 10, etc., bulbs in the circuit. (The 12-volt value is arbitrary for explanation; this could be any voltage.) This would also allow one of the bulbs to "go out" (burn out, be removed) without affecting any other in the circuit. This would also allow each "blinker bulb" to flash independently. And if you wanted two bulbs to flash in unison, you would just have to place it in series with one of the bulbs (say in the BULB#1 leg) and you'd have two bulbs on/off at the same time, while the other bulbs are unaffected.

This still doesn't resolve the flashing pattern totally, but it hopefully illustrates how wiring each Side of the Pier in parallel, as Steve suggests, would make it easier both on the power supply and bulbs, and to get the flashing pattern that Tony was able to determine (which I'm still trying to visualize... give me a little more time; I'll get there, and then figure out how the Pier "possibly" was wired).

I hope this is helpful. And, Tony, if you would like us to hold off on further discussion (aside from maybe Jonathan posting larger images of the column fully raised - if he has any - so I can take a better look at the innards... around the extra bits of colored perspex :P), we can hold off until you've got your computer back so you can give us your input in a much easier way.

Dino.
"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"