Saturday, December 31, 2016

American flag compliance

Post title sounds important, huh? Well, maybe it is. 

Flying a flag does come with responsibilities. http://www.almanac.com/content/american-flag-guidelines

HOW NOT TO DISPLAY THE FLAG

  • The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing.
     
  • It should never be displayed with the union down, save as a signal of dire distress.
     
  • It should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
     
  • It should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
     
  • It should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
     
  • It should never be used as covering for a ceiling.
     
  • It should never have anything placed on it.
     
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose, nor embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs, printed on paper napkins or boxes, nor used as any portion of a costume.
     
  • When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
Since I made my pallet flag, I've been violating some of the rules. Mostly the illumination rule, which you don't see here. So I set out to change that.
I made a bracket to mount it to the wall, so it's not leaning against the wall anymore. You can see the bottom had a base on it to keep it up off of the ground already, but now snow removal will be more fun.
Cost: 1 pallet board, 4 screws, some paint, water, time and electricity.
I bought 2 rolls of LED lights, from ebay. Cost for a 16.4' roll was about $5. There's an LED about every inch, and you can cut it every 3 leds. (Tired of capitalizing the led.) These are coated with a soft rubbery stuff, seems a lot like silicone, billed as "waterproof". 
Cost for this project? $1

The pallet is 40" square, and I built a bracket to hold the lights just above and in front of the flag. I painted the inside of the bracket white to reflect the light and the outside black to blend with the rest of the flag. Clashes with the garage, though. OH well. The LED strip is 34 or 5 or 6, something like that, and has pretty good tape on the back. Of course, soldering the wires onto the strip destroys the tape for the first little way, and if you don't use a mechanical cable holder on the wire you solder onto the strip, the weight of it will pull it off. Curious as to how I know this???
Cost: one pallet board, 2 screws, a staple, paint, time, electricity, etc. The wire I got from a dumpster. 

Right now it's powered by a "wall wart" transformer. Curiously, the leds will work on a variety of voltages, the pkg says it wants 12, but they work fine on 9, also. I meant to look to see if a 9 volt battery will light a strip for any length of time.  Anyway. Right now there's just wire nuts connecting the wall wart to the strip. I'll drill a hole thru for the wire and then it might get interesting. See.....the garage door opener has a circuit on it that runs to the switch by the door....and that is approx 12 volts. So I'll probably wait until a warmish day and tap into that to power the light. 
Cost: more wire. Dumpster wire, of course. 
The flag is illuminated all the way down, but not so well that the phone camera can see it. The light is on day and night. I can buy a photocell that will turn it off during the day, cost of about 3 dollars...and I may do that, but the strip only uses about 6 watts, I think. It'll take a long time to use $3 worth of electricity, I think. 

Happy New Year
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