Lighting your layout

Slawman

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
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Sydney
Hi all,

I am curious as to what others might be using to power the (building and structure) lighting on their layouts?

I have a few options at this stage however am leaning towards running a dedicated 3.5v, 12 amp circuit as a main line and then taking a feed off that and adjusting voltage (brightness) per requirements at each location. This will allow me to run up to 60 LEDs at peak brightness and around 100 at the brightness I think will be more realistic.

The low voltage makes a mistake less likely (and costly) and is ample to run the very bright little warm white LED pads I have sourced from China.

At each structure and building, I have a small buck converter I will use to adjust the brightness of each LED or set of LEDS ie. the inside of the building will be a bit brighter than the awning lighting etc… I am applying a conformal coating to the boards so they hold up to the garden environment. This is mounted inside the structure out of site so while it is protected from direct rain it will get damp.

Trial and error at this stage as lighting models outdoors is new to me.

Does my approach seem sound? What other experiences are there?
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
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Can you link us to the little light pads please, only finding big ones that whilst interesting are not what I think you are using?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Nodrog1826

Nodrog1826

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I had looked at them, but have gone with 3v led ribbon strips, and a basic 3v AA battery holder per circuit, looking at four circuits in total.

2 x buildings and 2 x platform lights.

Early tests look promising...

IMG_20180611_222831.jpg

...not sure how long the AA's will last, but they are rechargeable and I have more than enough, to go round.
 
Slawman

Slawman

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9 Apr 2018
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Sydney
That looks really good. Warm white? How long are your cable runs?

I will be interested to know how long the AAs last.
 
LGB-Sid

LGB-Sid

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Mine had a dedicated 12v supply added to feed buildings and signals etc, I use 3v yellow LED bulbs to imitate Gas lighting, with resisters in lamps and for signal lights and in some cases 12v short LED strip lights where I want more light.
 

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mike

mike

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I use a car battery charger.. 12volt ring main around the railway...building and street lamps tap into it ..leds with resisters
 
Slawman

Slawman

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Gizzy

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
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Some of my buildings are solar powered.

Maybe an option to consider....
 
Slawman

Slawman

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Sydney
I like the idea of solar and have got a few old Christmas battery/panel modules to play with. I am struggling to hide them in the layout.
 
Nodrog1826

Nodrog1826

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That looks really good. Warm white? How long are your cable runs?

I will be interested to know how long the AAs last.

Not fully installed yet, but...

To give you an idea, station building is going on the two slabs on the right, platform lights 5x 3 leds, wired one circuit for each platform, all cable runs will terminate in individual battery boxes, inside the other building,
which will be placed on the left where the grey slate is covering a duct. Cable runs are approx. 3/4 mtrs., but in that test photo was running the lights off a 20 mtr. cable.

As for the battery life the station building was running 48 leds for 4 hours when I switched them off, and still life left in the AA's

IMG_20180610_123942.jpg

The basic idea is to lift the MPD building install batteries, switch on, and replace building, when I want to.
 
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ebay mike

ebay mike

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I've been a bit wary of solar lights as some (particularly the £1 ones in cheap stores and Poundland) don't always last very long. Having said that I got these sets from B&M months ago and they're still going strong. They stay alight ALL night until dawn.
The LEDs are spaced at 8cm intervals which obviously limits their use as supplied but I see no reason the chain cannot be extended with suitable wire to provide clusters in various locations.
Prices are £3.99 for 60, £6.99 for 120 and £9.99 for 240
Available in Bright White, multicolour, or green ( the green 120s on offer at £3.99 ATM) and are switchable static or flashing.
P1070239.JPG P1070240.JPG
 
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Slawman

Slawman

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9 Apr 2018
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Not fully installed yet, but...

To give you an idea, station building is going on the two slabs on the right, platform lights 5x 3 leds, wired one circuit for each platform, all cable runs will terminate in individual battery boxes, inside the other building,
which will be placed on the left where the grey slate is covering a duct. Cable runs are approx. 3/4 mtrs., but in that test photo was running the lights off a 20 mtr. cable.

As for the battery life the station building was running 48 leds for 4 hours when I switched them off, and still life left in the AA's

The basic idea is to lift the MPD building install batteries, switch on, and replace building, when I want to.


I like the look of the track lighting poles running down the inside left line. Are they scatchbuilt?

How are you weatherproofing the electrics?
 
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Slawman

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
276
79
Sydney
I've been a bit wary of solar lights as some (particularly the £1 ones in cheap stores and Poundland) don't always last very long. Having said that I got these sets from B&M months ago and they're still going strong. They stay alight ALL night until dawn.
The LEDs are spaced at 8cm intervals which obviously limits their use as supplied but I see no reason the chain cannot be extended with suitable wire to provide clusters in various locations.
Prices are £3.99 for 60, £6.99 for 120 and £9.99 for 240
Available in Bright White, multicolour, or green ( the green 120s on offer at £3.99 ATM) and are switchable static or flashing.
View attachment 238933 View attachment 238934

You cant beat the price of those sets. I have cracked a few of the battery boxes open in the past and put some new cells in to get another year out of them (they only ever seem to last one Christmas). I think I have even used some of the cable from a dead set to wire up a few reeds back to my feedback modules.

I would like to be able to have the lights come on as the sun sets which these little battery/solar panel boxes do.
 
Slawman

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
276
79
Sydney
Mine had a dedicated 12v supply added to feed buildings and signals etc, I use 3v yellow LED bulbs to imitate Gas lighting, with resisters in lamps and for signal lights and in some cases 12v short LED strip lights where I want more light.

For some reason I cant load your picture. Did you/do you have any water ingress / environmental degradation issues?
 
Nodrog1826

Nodrog1826

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I like the look of the track lighting poles running down the inside left line. Are they scatchbuilt?

How are you weatherproofing the electrics?

The poles are a Chinese import, via ebay, bought more than I think I will ever need.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-x-O-Scale-LED-yard-light-Model-train-Railroad-street-station-lamp-post-703BG/401176698604?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Not sure how they will stand up, to the great outdoors, but an earlier version I over wintered, stood up quite well. Awaiting a delivery of these,

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-x-O-gauge-Led-Street-wall-Lights-Model-train-spotlight-Railway-Lamp-post-R46O/401142459120?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&var=670687694783&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

for the mpd building doorways.

As for weather proffing all joins will be soldered then heat shrunk, I have a liquid rubber on hand just in case. Battery boxes will plug into the end wires, in a sealable enclosure with the battery boxes, if necessary.

So it may be a battery box, within a box, underneath/inside a kit building, which has already had the joints sealed with mastic.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I've been a bit wary of solar lights as some (particularly the £1 ones in cheap stores and Poundland) don't always last very long. Having said that I got these sets from B&M months ago and they're still going strong. They stay alight ALL night until dawn.
The LEDs are spaced at 8cm intervals which obviously limits their use as supplied but I see no reason the chain cannot be extended with suitable wire to provide clusters in various locations.
Prices are £3.99 for 60, £6.99 for 120 and £9.99 for 240
Available in Bright White, multicolour, or green ( the green 120s on offer at £3.99 ATM) and are switchable static or flashing.
View attachment 238933 View attachment 238934
I have some similar to them bought who remembers where now? I have been pondering the one set as a link round the Garden by extending the wires with cuts etc. Probkem as I see it is to ensure that you rejoin with the correct polarity, stagered cuts is probably the best bet. I have just had a couple of these apart as they ceased to work and with a little cleaning of Terminals, one with a replacement Battery (in stick) they are now just fine again, even the set that somehow got its wires cut and has a few LED's not working. Another set has been on one of my Sheds flashing the lights for probably 3 or more years now quite happily. My current thoughts for the one that I want to use for my line is to locate it Inside the Shed at a Window that gets light all day and see how that pans out. If it works OK that may be a way if preserving the life of them without weather effects.

I have also got some spray on stuff recommended here that is to secure circuits. Not sure how that will pan out but certainly worth a try. EDIT Acrylic Circuit Protection from RS.

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/products/1368533/?grossPrice=Y&cm_mmc=UK-PLA-DS3A-_-google-_-PLA_UK_EN_Facilities_Cleaning_And_Maintenance-_-Electronics_Cleaners_And_Protective_Coatings|Electronics_Varnishes_And_Lacquers-_-PRODUCT+GROUP&matchtype=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMImoOUhYPV2wIVCYbVCh1gTgHuEAQYASABEgIJ1_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

My plan is to use LGB Graphite Paste, did this previously on one of the ones that I repaired on the terminal connectors to protect them and stop this (RS) stuff affecting future Battery Changes then Spray this stuff inside the circuit box on all my Solar Lights. In my experience with many of these products it is often the Switch ('s) if fitted that rust out.
 
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beavercreek

beavercreek

Travel, Art, Theatre, Music, Photography, Trains
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I use a combination of warm white single leds, led bulbs (screw in led bulb 19V replacement for the E5,5 Pola/Piko/LGB bulbs and also E10 bulbs found in other model lighting fixtures), waterproof led strip and I still have some tungsten for that very 'tungsten' look in very old places.
This is all driven from a 16V to 22V variable laptop transformer.

quarry 3.jpg

lors diner 1.jpg

arrowhead night from frint high 1.jpg

arrowheadfront low wet.jpg

arrowhead night from tracks.jpg

1 night station loco 1.jpg


arbour 1.jpg

9 Arbour summit revamp bu night 6.jpg

point rock saw mill close.jpg

point rock panorama dark.jpg

The wall fixtures in the first photo (and also found elsewhere) are Pola 330972. I remove the plastic translucent light diffuser and reduce the diameter of the shade, then 'rust' them up a bit.
The Pola 5,5 sized tungsten bulbs are replaced with the same size screw-in led ones (that have inbuilt circuitry to be non polarity sensitive.

The whole lot is driven by two laptop battery packs (there are more lit up buildings than in the photos and the total the current pull is too much for one unit so the lighting circuit is split into two sectors).

All of of types of bulbs (led bulbs, led strips and tungsten bulbs ) are all driven straight with no extra 'resistance' to affect the luminance.
 
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Slawman

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
276
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Sydney
That's some serious lighting Mike, it looks great. I would like to get to that point on my layout as well where it is just as good to run at night as in the day.

What wall lamp fixture are you using? ie the one in the top shot above the beaver creek sign on the right

How are you controlling the light intensity of each bulb? (or are you)?