LGB Street Lights

duncan1_9_8_4

duncan1_9_8_4

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I have a old solar panel thing off a B&M special solar light string. If I wired this onto a couple of street lights would it power them OK?
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

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LGB street lights AFAIK use track size voltage like 16-20 volts. I imagine your mini solar panel generates less than that, probably 5v to drive some LEDs. So I would think yes but very dimly. If you can find out what voltage the solar panel generates you could change the light bulbs in the street lights accordingly.
 
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duncan1_9_8_4

duncan1_9_8_4

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Could they be wired to the track, I use a CS3?
 
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

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Just have to change the bulbs to LED's and see what the solar panel puts out or stores, going to have to be at least 2.6 or 7 to get the LED to light, but possible, I light everything with solar LED's works great
124721_a34f33f1fbccad06db03eab6c648704a.jpg
 
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ebay mike

ebay mike

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I have a old solar panel thing off a B&M special solar light string. If I wired this onto a couple of street lights would it power them OK?
I've got a few of B&Ms light sets in the garden (not railway associated). One set finally stopped working during the winter due to the rechargeable battery expiring. It's a 60 LED string and the battery is a 1.2v 600mAh Ni-MH jobbie. Replacing the LGB bulbs with white LEDs should do the trick.
 
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Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

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I've got a few of B&Ms light sets in the garden (not railway associated). One set finally stopped working during the winter due to the rechargeable battery expiring. It's a 60 LED string and the battery is a 1.2v 600mAh Ni-MH jobbie. Replacing the LGB bulbs with white LEDs should do the trick.
Not sure about that, I found when doing my blinking light for my water tower I was unable to find any 1.2vdc LED's to purchase but did fine although most of the solar lights are powered by 1.2vdc rechargeable batteries the LED's that they light are 2.4 or greater and do so with the use of a joule thief or a converter which boosts the battery voltage 1.2 vdc to the necessary 2.4 + volts. Replacing the bulbs with LED's will work but you need to find out what voltage the bulbs were working under as some of the older systems that used bulbs before LEDs were of a much higher voltage which will damage LED.
 
ebay mike

ebay mike

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Bill. These sets I have consist of what is basically a 'sealed unit' box with solar panel on the front. The only bit you can sensibly access is the battery compartment which holds one AA size battery. I assumed if you tap into the lead that comes out of the back it would be feasible to connect it to a couple of (or more) LEDs instead of the full string of 60, 120 or 240 that come as alternatives. I have sets in the three sizes all of which contain just the single AA battery. I have found that the 240 light set will normally last for at least 5 hours after dusk and the smaller ones will go all the way through until dawn. I've got two of the larger strings ready to light my station area when I get round to it and was considering using a shortened set to do the lamps on my signals. Do I take it that some jiggery-pokery will be required if I attempt to modify the number of LEDs?
 
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phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
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Could they be wired to the track, I use a CS3?
Hi Duncan,

Yes, you can power the lights directly from the track. They use the same 18V bulbs as used in their switch lanterns and old locos. I also use a CS3 and have four switch lanterns powered from the track. Not only do they show how the points are set they provide a positive indication of when power is applied to the track.

Phil S.
 
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duncan1_9_8_4

duncan1_9_8_4

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Ha. Right so, if I power from the track is it possible to switch them on and off via the CS3? I don't really want them on all the time.
 
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phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Not without additional electronics. The cheapest way would be to use a 4 channel switch decoder set up for light switching if you've got a rail side shack to put it in. You could independently control 4 groups of track powered lights using this method. The not so cheap method would be using an EPL switch motor with single channel decoder with auxiliary switches. I've got a lot of lights I'll be putting in powered by a separate 12V landscape lighting transformer (the same one powering my waterfall/water feature lights) that I plan to control using the second method. Trying to save most of the CS3's 5 amps for trains!

Phil S.
 
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PhilP

PhilP

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5 Jun 2013
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As others have said, the bulbs will be 18 volt in these lamps. - Might even be 24 volt? They do come out quite dim and yellow.
These bulbs will also probably be 50mA items, so will draw a lot more current than LED's. - Shorter illumination-time, even if you can get your existing solar lamp to power them.

Some of the multi-LED strings, use a single 'battery' (which looks like a 'AAA' cell) but is actually 12 volts. They do usually have their specifications printed on the cover of the cell.
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

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Not without additional electronics. The cheapest way would be to use a 4 channel switch decoder set up for light switching if you've got a rail side shack to put it in. You could independently control 4 groups of track powered lights using this method. The not so cheap method would be using an EPL switch motor with single channel decoder with auxiliary switches. I've got a lot of lights I'll be putting in powered by a separate 12V landscape lighting transformer (the same one powering my waterfall/water feature lights) that I plan to control using the second method. Trying to save most of the CS3's 5 amps for trains!

Phil S.
FYI the Massoth single channel decoder can operate lights in loco address mode
 
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phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
326
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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Phil P. makes valid points. The standard LGB supplied 18V bulbs do consume 50 mA each. Also their life is somewhat shortened if directly powered by G gauge track voltages. Mine runs at 22V as measured by the CS3. (Märklin 60195 PS) I estimate the bulbs last around 100 - 200 hrs for me. I've had to replace each one once in the past two years. All of my track side lighting except switch lanterns is or will be LED or fed by my 12V landscape lighting power supply in the future. I find it much more convenient to power switch lanterns locally from the track rather than run separate power lines to each one.

I did try some E5.5 base 12-14 V LED replacement bulbs in the switch lanterns. The light sockets are fed through cheap 1A bridge rectifiers to eliminate the LED ac flicker and get the polarity right for the LED bulbs. Four out of five died within a few months when driven by the higher track voltage. I replaced them with the standard LGB bulbs as they died. I could have put additional resistors in series with the LED bulbs to extend their life but there are other issues. The light output is so directional that the lanterns did not illuminate very well. I can't tell whether my one remaining LED illuminated switch lantern is on during the day. I'll be replacing it with a standard bulb when it finally dies if not sooner. Another issue is that, depending on the brand, the LED bulbs are slightly taller making the top of the switch lantern difficult to fit. However, these LED replacements do make a good alternative in other applications using the E5.5 light sockets, such as the OP's lanterns, where the drawbacks I've mentioned don't apply.

Phil S.
 
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