repairing LGB colour light signals

NCS from Qbyn

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29 Apr 2016
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Queanbeyan, Australia
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I recently purchased a bunch of green and red LED bulbs, to replace the incandescent globes in my colour light signals. This was chiefly because several years in the harsh sunlight has just about completely bleached the colour from the old globes. After a bit of postal drama, my LEDS finally arrived from Germany.
I installed one set in a signal and the result was brilliant (in every sense of the word) As these LEDs all look white until you add power, there won't be a colour fade issue - which is good. However, the LEDs are a bit delicate, when it comes to screwing them into the socket. Although they are sold as E5.5 they are a tighter fit than the old globes and this has caused some issues. Firstly, you can't grip the bulb to screw it in, as it tends to separate (permanently!) from the metal base. You have to grip it by the base. I lost a couple of bulbs that way. Secondly,, I found it helped to screw a "sacrificed" base into the socket, to sort of open it up a bit, and then remove it. After that, a new bulb screwed in a bit more easily. However, all the rough treatment of the sockets sometimes resulted in damage - either to the socket's electrical integrity, or snapping off the wire at the back of the socket. Both render the socket unrepairable. However, I found, from old LGB web pages, that you can disassemble these signals and replace the light sockets with a spare part that is a socket with the two wires pre-attached.
However these wires need to be fed through a tiny hole in the signal head, down the mast, through another tiny hole in the top of the base and then soldered to a tiny circuit board that hides inside the base. This board is accessed by loosening a screw under the base of the mast (where it plugs into the motor unit) and prising out a plastic insert and then extracting the board itself.
Has anyone had any experience with installing these replacement sockets and in particular how difficult is it to feed the wires through those tiny holes? Is there some technique to all this.
I note that the sockets/wires (there is one set for the red light and another for the green) can be obtained from Modelland in Germany for just under 3 Euros each.
Clearly, this installation looks a bit fiddly, but is somewhat cheaper than the alternative - which would be to replace the entire signal, along with acquiring a signal motor that I wouldn't need, but would still be paying for!
Any advice would be appreciated.
 

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Tamworth, Staffs.
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If the holes are that tiny...
You will probably have to solder the new wire to the old, and use that to draw the old wire through?

Sounds like one of those jobs!:eek:
 
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NCS from Qbyn

Registered
29 Apr 2016
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17
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Queanbeyan, Australia
Country flag
If the holes are that tiny...
You will probably have to solder the new wire to the old, and use that to draw the old wire through?

Sounds like one of those jobs!:eek:
Thanks Phil, I hadn't thought of that. I don't do this sort of fiddly stuff a lot - well almost never. However, the LED conversion is worth the effort, and I certainly don't want to spend oodles of money to replace each signal, just because a cheap socket has died.:neutral:
 

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
29,284
3,020
Tamworth, Staffs.
Country flag
Just be aware there are two sorts of the screw-in LEDs..
Some have a rectifier built in, so will work whichever polarity the supply is, some do not, so you have to wire them the correct way round.

PhilP
 
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NCS from Qbyn

Registered
29 Apr 2016
86
17
68
Queanbeyan, Australia
Country flag
Just be aware there are two sorts of the screw-in LEDs..
Some have a rectifier built in, so will work whichever polarity the supply is, some do not, so you have to wire them the correct way round.

PhilP
Oh. Well I intend to put the new wires exactly where the old ones were. So that should cover me. As it happens, the wires for the green light are white and black. Those for the red light are grey and black. I will need to be a bit more careful with the two black wires, but they may be electrically linked at the base anyway, as I presume they are both earth wires.
Another 'plus' about this whole exercise is that I get to clean all the little webs, fluff balls and their creators from the mast and the bulb housings as I go.