Lighting your layout

Nodrog1826

Nodrog1826

Professional Idiot
21 Nov 2013
7,913
2,288
United Kingdom
The door way lights (mentioned previously) turned up yesterday, so after silvering the green shades and installing them, charging up the AA batteries, time for an endurance test...

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...11 hours between the first and last photo, still going.
 
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beavercreek

beavercreek

Travel, Art, Theatre, Music, Photography, Trains
24 Oct 2009
17,505
672
East Anglia
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Hi Slawman
The wall fixtures in the first photo (in my last post on the thread) 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.
I find the overall 'mixture' of types and different illumination to give a more realistic effect to simulate the different types and intensities that would be seen in real life.

10 Arbour summit revamp bu night 3.jpg

2 night old timers cabin 1.jpg

night arbour summit heinz wide light.jpg
 
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Slawman

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
276
79
Sydney
I think you have achieved a great look Mike. I just ordered some of those wall mount ebay lamps....
 
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GAP

GAP

G Scale Trains, HO Trains
14 Jun 2011
2,815
654
Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
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.

Best place to hide panels is in plain sight, model of a solar power station/farm would be seen as believable especially here in Aust.
Power wiring can be disguised as high voltage transmission line going to sub stations you probably have seen the real thing in your travels.
 
NCS from Qbyn

NCS from Qbyn

Registered
29 Apr 2016
68
16
67
Queanbeyan, Australia
I run DCC and one of the advantages is being able to power accessories from the constant voltage track power. I have programmable LGB 4-port switch controllers connected to the track all round the layout - mainly to power the signals and points - but I usually have 1 port left on each one to power street, building and station lighting. I use the 18V bulbs supplied by LGB in their street and station lights - these will run directly from track power, with no resistors needed. You can actually run several lights in parallel from a single port - especially if you can replace the supplied incandescent bulbs with 19V AC LEDS - which are available from a few places online. You just have to stay within the current limit of the ports, which is listed somewhere in the manual [I cannot remember it offhand]. This removes the need for any battery power for the lighting and, as I have a lot of switch controllers [almost 50 at last count], the cable runs are usually not too great either. I bury the cable and that seems to work very well. The switch controllers are water resistant [not waterproof], so I hide them under plastic junction box covers, purchased from a local hardware store. These look like small lineside concrete bunkers. I have not had any trouble with rain getting into anywhere it shouldn't. Once this is set up, you can switch the light ports on/off, remotely, from the Massoth Navigator, just like switching a point. In areas with a high concentration of lighting I actually have some 4-port controllers totally dedicated to lighting. I even connected power to the lighting and motor of my PIKO Ferris wheel this way.[though that did need a resistor, to lower the voltage for the motor]
Of course, the lighting ports have to be programmed to deliver continuous power - ie differently from the point and signal ports that need a short discrete pulse. Each port on the switch controller is individually programmable. A switch controller needs to be programmed before being connected to the running track. You connect it to the test track, and program it there. I use a bit of proprietary SW for that purpose. [similarly to the way you program a loco]
I even have one port delivering power to flashing Belisha beacons. Some items, such as buffer lights, I simply wire directly into the running track - which of course means they are in an 'always on' state.
Of course, all the lighting does use up some of the power that could be used for running trains, but my layout is separated [by isolating rails] into 3 regions, each of which has its own 12 amp Massoth power unit. [ie a master controller and 2 boosters all up]. So I can still run the lights and the trains quite happily. In any case, these lights don't use very much power - unless you have an awful lot of them.
Not the cheapest way to do things, I know, but it works.
Incidentally, I also purchased several IC sound boards and speakers and connected them to the switch controllers as well - to provide incidental pre-recorded background sounds in some stations and for church bells. This is a bit more complicated than the lighting, but is also very effective.
 
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Orville Fugitte

Orville Fugitte

Registered
13 Jun 2018
19
2
Orlando
All I can say about AA batteries and L.E.D. lights is they can last a long time before the batteries die. I put in battery powered White L.E.D.'s in a passenger car and ran them off 2 AA batteries, these were bright white L.E.D.'s. For a couple years I had packed the passenger car away and didn't realize I had left the switch on, 2 years later when the car got unpacked, the batteries were still working and the L.E.D. lamps were still operating at almost full brightness. I figured after all that time of being on the batteries would have corroded and leaked, thankfully they didn't. But to b safe I replaced with two brand new AA batteries but the L.E.D. light output was just a slight brighter than those batteries that had been running the L.E.D. lamps for 2 years.

Who knows how long they'd have lasted if the car was only lit at night for a few hours a night or so, probably years. That's why I love L.E.D. lighting, even if electrically powered, they are cheaper to run, stay cooler, much cooler than incandescents {which get hot and can even heat up your home} and on battery power, they seem to operate practically endlessly depending on the application. I've got a flasher L.E.D. in a caboose that's been operating on the same 9v battery with an inline 1K resistor now going on over 7 years on the same battery, and that running day and night, sometimes for hours upon hours on a daily basis!
 
Slawman

Slawman

Deckline
9 Apr 2018
276
79
Sydney
I use a bit of proprietary SW for that purpose. [similarly to the way you program a loco]
.

That sounds like a pretty nice setup NCS. What software are you using to program your decoders?

How long do the 18v incandescent bulbs last for?

I am using a number of Massoth switch decoders also, although most are fully occupied. The max. for each output in the manual is 1.5 amps.
 
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NCS from Qbyn

NCS from Qbyn

Registered
29 Apr 2016
68
16
67
Queanbeyan, Australia
That sounds like a pretty nice setup NCS. What software are you using to program your decoders?

How long do the 18v incandescent bulbs last for?

I am using a number of Massoth switch decoders also, although most are fully occupied. The max. for each output in the manual is 1.5 amps.

Yeah, I thought the max current was 1.5 amps, but I wasn't sure. I think a standard incandescent uses only about 80 mAmps and the 19V LEDs only about 20 mAmps. So you can power quite a few from each port without any trouble. I usually keep it below 10 - so there is a large margin for safety there.

I actually use Stellwerks Easy to program the decoders, as it has a specific menu that prompts for all the parameters. It also has a menu to program LGB loco decoders - at least the pre-Marklin ones. The main reason I bought it was to control the layout from a PC - the decoder programming was a bonus. This product is the successor to the old LGB programming tool and is maintained by Juergen Schwarz, the fellow that used to maintain the LGB program. He is based in Germany. It connects to the programming track via the old LGB PC module. I believe the Massoth programming tool also has some decoder tools, but I haven't looked at them for a few years. [The advantage being that they are a free download from Massoth}. As things have evolved, I now do most of my track control directly from a Massoth Navigator, rather than the PC - so the main use for Stellwerks has now become the programming tools!

As to the incandescent globes, I bought a whole load of replacements for a very good price several years ago, as I expected I would need them. As it turns out, I have only had to replace a handful, at most, over many years. I don't use the railway a lot at the moment, as I have been doing a lot of maintenance and enhancement work after a very bad storm a couple of years back, but I think it is safe to say that, barring some sort of disaster, I will never need to buy another incandescent globe for my fixed lights - and when you add up all the street lights and station lights and building lighting, plus the semaphore and colour light signals, I am talking in excess of 200 globes.

I have a rolling program to replace the incandescents in the lights with LEDS, merely to save power. However, I have not replaced any in the signals.
 
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No72

No72

Registered
21 Dec 2014
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197
Melobourne Australia
beavercreek

beavercreek

Travel, Art, Theatre, Music, Photography, Trains
24 Oct 2009
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672
East Anglia
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I run a 12V bus and then use these little DC-DC powersupplies to control the brightness of individual LEDS though I have groupings of leds run off each one. I also have discovered warm white leds with a diffused lens gives a really good incandescent light colour.
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1-PCS-LM2596-DC-DC-buck-adjustable-step-down-Power-Supply-Converter-module/273146507922?_trkparms=aid=555018&algo=PL.SIM&ao=2&asc=20140106155344&meid=b83fbd96fc674209a14bbf059449b9bd&pid=100005&rk=2&rkt=12&sd=173241355072&itm=273146507922&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851

50 Pieces 3mm Round Diffused Bright LED : WARM WHITE | eBay



Yeah, they are useful little circuits, I use them to drop the voltage for running/chrging 5v 'environmental' scenic sound units from the lighting circuit.
 
NCS from Qbyn

NCS from Qbyn

Registered
29 Apr 2016
68
16
67
Queanbeyan, Australia
As an interesting follow on from the question about how long the incandescent bulbs last. I have noticed over the years that the green and red incandescent globes in colour signals tend to get affected by the weather - probably because of the high UV we get here - it is 600 metres above sea level where I live and 35 degrees latitude. The bulbs still work fine, but the red and green coloring tends to fade away - to the point that the lights look more white than coloured. My first option was to acquire some glass paint that is translucent, to touch them up. However this had only limited success, as the paint is rather grainy and does not give an even coverage all over the bulbs. I am now planning to replace the bulbs with coloured E5.5 19V LEDs. I found a supplier on ebay in Germany that makes these bulbs in White, Red Green or Blue for DC or AC use. I have ordered some and will see if they fare any better with the weather. At least they will have the added bonus of reducing the amount of power I use to run the signals - I have about 50 of them, so it will make a bit of a difference. I have used white LEDs to replace the globes in all my station lights but I haven't used any for signals. I don't know if the LED bulbs are intrinsically coloured, or whether they just paint the glass around a white LED to get the required colour. I am hoping it will be the former!
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,935
2,784
Tamworth, Staffs.
I don't know if the LED bulbs are intrinsically coloured, or whether they just paint the glass around a white LED to get the required colour. I am hoping it will be the former!
Coloured LED's are made so that the 'emitting' part is excited at a certain frequency.. Different frequencies emit light of different colours.

The 'package' the LED is in, can either be 'glass-clear' (so you see a clear 'bulb' when the LED is not lit) or it can be coloured.

PhilP.