Youth samaritan lights up

If you’re heading out to Leycester and follow the sign to ‘Josh’s Xmas Lights’, you’ll meet electrical whiz Josh Mulcahy.

The 14-year-old Richmond River High School student has put his natural talents to good use and has been helping friends and neighbours negotiate the problems found in setting up Christmas light systems.

“He’s always helping people and thinking of others,” Josh’s dad Ray said. “Everybody in the neighbourhood knows that Josh is good with electrics and they often ring him up for help and advice.”

Not only can Josh fix any broken wiring in light sets, he has custom-built transformer boxes which can be installed in convenient locations (such as the roof) for lights to be plugged into.

Josh’s talents for making and fixing things has been completely self-taught.

When he was seven years old, Josh found a box of power points left by his builder father and made his first power board from them.

“I just used to play around with things,” Josh said. “My dad was surprised when he got home to see what I’d done.”

Josh’s experiments with all things electrical just kept getting bigger and better. He started raiding old computers for parts, such as fans, which he used to cool his transformer boxes. He then started to combine transformers from multiple sets of lights into one box, which created household power savings and got rid of messy cables trailing into the windows of the house from outside.

His ‘greening’ of the use of Christmas lights continued this year, with Josh using LED lights in his light displays, which he says use much less power than the old sort.

Using recycled materials like an old fan and a battery, Josh is also experimenting with building a wind turbine, which he hopes to use to power his Christmas lights next year.

“He’s continually creating stuff; he spends hours working in the shed,” Ray said. “Whenever I walk out of the house, I know he’s going to do something new.”

When asked where Josh’s talent with electrics comes from, his family say they are not sure. His brother is good with computers, and his grandfather had a knack for mechanics.

“Josh sees the fault in things,” Ray said. “We look at broken things and chuck them away. Josh looks at them and fixes them.”

Josh said his favourite subjects at school were the ‘practical’ ones such as woodwork and agriculture.

Josh also has a knack for making sound and television systems work, and is called upon by family and friends to assist in fixing dodgy home-installations.

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