> PROFILE BRIGGS ELECTRIC
It wasn’t required, but Briggs Electric made all crew members use a “yo-yo,” a safety harness application, tied off to two
points of connection. Guardrails were also provided.
The crew accessed the multiple levels of scaffolding using a
ladder that extended from the ground to beyond the scaffolding, a bit more than halfway up the wheel.
“We created a protocol so that, when the wheel needed to
be turned, our foreman would announce over the loud speaker,
‘Hands free, tools free,’” Weaver said. “He’d sound the bell and
make sure everyone had their tools and equipment away from
the wheel. At that point, the wheel could be totally rotated to
another position so the crew could continue to work on it.”
Work began with the wiring of the metal spokes, which
extended from the hub to the outer wheel. To access the spokes
in the center, Briggs used painters' expandable pick aluminum
planking that went through the wheel from scaffolding to
scaffolding so that the workers were able to mount the power
supplies for the lights.
Crews first installed a linear run of Rigiflex, a strip that the
light nodes clip onto.
“There were 64 lights on a strand that plugged into multiple
breakout cables, which were able to accept eight or 16 sets of
the 64 light strands each,” said Steve Southern, general foreman, Briggs Electric.
Off the breakout cables, each strand had to be situated in a
precise location, per the RGB Lights drawings.
“Their crew was on the ground directing us during installation,” Southern said.
Briggs Electric’s crew then had to attach the mesh surface
from the hub to the inner circle, the center area of the wheel
that can now maintain a horizontal image. Since the mesh surface is only available in panels of a certain size, Briggs added
one panel to another, making adjustments to the surface so that
it covered the space of the circle. In all, 20 panels were used
on each side.
“We started from the center and dropped the panels down,
tied them off, then spun the wheel to do the other ones,” Southern said.
While installing the mesh, Briggs Electric had one crew-member on each level of scaffolding.
“As we dropped the mesh, the guy on the upper level of
scaffolding would clip the mesh onto the spokes with a stainless-
steel band, then pass the mesh to the guy on the level below,”
Southern said. “That guy would do the same and so on until we
finished a section, [creating] a waterfall effect. We used the same
process when installing the light strands.”
For Briggs Electric’s crew, snapping the lights in place
wasn’t as simple as it might sound.
“RGB had a schematic, and we installed the lights per RGB
Turning on the lights
mapping,” Southern said. “The lights didn’t go in a straight line
but in a serpentine one. RGB told us where we were starting
and where to turn. Some went up 20 [nodes] and then over one
and up 20. Others would go up for 64 nodes.”
As a result, images are created on the screen by the panels
of stainless steel mesh that have light nodes every 4 inches per
The computer systems that control the lights are located in a
building near the wheel.
“The wireless signal from that goes up to antennas to send
information to a master control mounted on the hub of the
wheel that takes all the information in and puts it out on a network throughout the wheel,” Lorenz said.
RGB designed the control system and provided computer
controls, while ShowPro, Los Angeles, provided technical
installation support. On the wheel, Briggs Electric mounted
wireless receivers as well as 7. 5 and 24V boxes for power and
network data that were linked together through Category 5
cables on the wheel's inner circle.
Basically, a data hub takes in power and Ethernet data and
distributes it to the strands of lights that are attached to the
FlexiFlex mesh panels.
“Each strand of light is on individual connection into the
power-data supply and can be individually controlled,” Gardener said.
Information goes from the video source to the individually addressed lights, which reduced the number of power
and data connections. RGB originally thought that 800 control boxes would be necessary to manage the power and
data but the company redesigned the system so that only
100 boxes would need to be installed, simplifying the process
for Briggs Electric.
“It was a team effort, starting from the owner on down to
the apprentice out doing the work,” Weaver said.
Light show displays on the wheel now delight the community every night with varying color schemes and animations
drawn from a choice of 16 million colors. It’s a one-of-a kind
light show on one Giant Wheel.
CA SE Y, author of Women Heroes of the American Revolution, Kids
Inventing!, and Women Invent! can be reached at email@example.com
and www.susancaseybooks.com. P H
Flexiflex is a 4-inch-by-4-inch mesh surface patented by RGB Lights.
Control boxes that communicate with the controller are located in a
building below the Giant Wheel.