Small station building

Paulus

Paulus

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13 Jan 2012
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I am working on a small station building for my layout. Like the small lineside building I have made last year I build this station basicly from a styrofoam base (package material left overs), some underlayment foam sheets and a mixture of sand with Portland cement. This make very solid structures that can be placed outside all year round.

Here's a short description of the build so far. For more details just post your questions (or visit my blog: A Small Garden Railroad ).

First steps; making the basic outlines from styrofoam packaging bits. Than cutting out the openings for doors and windows (a messy job. I consider a foam cutter that works less messier...)







I used foam underlayment sheets for window and door frames and roof. The foam sticks out as much as the Portland mixture will be that is used as a 'plaster' (see further below).












Stone- or brickwork can be carved in when desired. I attempted an irregular 'nature-stone' look.





I will two converted solar garden lights that will be disguised as chimneys and power the interior lights. I will replace their batteries and make some little adjustments to make them more accessible (for instance for changing the rechargeable battery when needed) and fitting in the building. More to come ;-)

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Paulus

Paulus

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13 Jan 2012
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Two garden LED lights that have been in service in my garden the last year will become the interior lights for the building. The upper part of the light fixtures themselves will be used as they hold the solar panel. They are placed on top of the building to collect sunlight.




After opening the light fixture it is clear that it used a 1,2 V 40 mAh battery. The power switches were rusty (but these are actually quit obsolete as I never used those) and will be removed. Considering the rusty state of the battery cells it will be a good idea to replace those with rechargeable AA or AAA cells.



The wires from the solar panel to the circuit board will be lengthened. As mentioned above the fixtures with panel will be placed on top of the building (disguised as chimneys) and the longer wires run to the circuit boards that will be placed in the building, together with the new batteries, in a way it is easy to access for repair or maintenance.



 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Likely that the Batteries will have been rechargeable as that is the norm for these types of Garden Lamps. What has rusted is the wires to the Switch and the LED, these on the cheep Chinese made objects are normally cheep steel that rust readily as you have discovered. Perhaps best to but new, grease up all of those wires to prevent rust. Be a happier outcome in the longer term and be prepared to swop the Battery out perhaps every 2 years if you are lucky.
 
Paulus

Paulus

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13 Jan 2012
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Yes the little green batteries that were originally installed were rechargeable ones also. 1,2 V 40mAh.
I'll make a holder for AA or AAA battery so it can be changed when necessary. Greasing to prevent rust is a great idea indeed, thank you!
I was wondering, could I prevent the circuits also that way? Perhaps spraying some silicone spray over it? Or will that damage it?

 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,969
429
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Yes the little green batteries that were originally installed were rechargeable ones also. 1,2 V 40mAh.
I'll make a holder for AA or AAA battery so it can be changed when necessary. Greasing to prevent rust is a great idea indeed, thank you!
I was wondering, could I prevent the circuits also that way? Perhaps spraying some silicone spray over it? Or will that damage it?

Sorry you got me on that one.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
23,485
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Tamworth, Staffs.
You can get a couple of products to protect the boards..

1. A protective lacquer (like a varnish) designed to 'melt'/'burn-off' when you need to solder to the board. - Ventilation needed if you have to work a board with this on..
2. Search for 'Conformal Coating'. - Can be spray, or brush, applied. More like a rubber 'paint'.

PhilP.
 
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
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Ormond Beach, Fl
a lot of my buildings I just leave the unit in one piece and use the factory diffuser to spread the light, you can also glue the solar panel end on a window and it will work as well , the extra wires showing on this picture were to add a LED to the circuit as to light up the vestibule in the church
 

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Paulus

Paulus

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13 Jan 2012
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Thanks for your replies. A conformal coating would be a good idea indeed. See what I can find.

Bill if I am correct the roof of your church building can be removed to have easy access to the light. The roof on my building can not be removed as it is one piece with the rest of the building. This gives limited access to the inside. Therefor I build it this way so I have better acces to the circuit and it is easier to replace a battery when needed.
Btw your church building was one of the inspirations for me to experiment with these garden lights in the first place so thank you ;-)
 
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
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Ormond Beach, Fl
Thanks for your replies. A conformal coating would be a good idea indeed. See what I can find.

Bill if I am correct the roof of your church building can be removed to have easy access to the light. The roof on my building can not be removed as it is one piece with the rest of the building. This gives limited access to the inside. Therefor I build it this way so I have better acces to the circuit and it is easier to replace a battery when needed.
Btw your church building was one of the inspirations for me to experiment with these garden lights in the first place so thank you ;-)
Yes you are correct the roof is removable, but in more than 2 years I have never had to service any of the units. I clean the solar panel every once and a while but that is about it. I was using them but until I got into my city water tower project never really understood how they worked, like adding a led to an existing one only dims the first one about 10% but makes the battery last about 25% longer, nothing like regular bulbs. Biggest ? I had was the units have a 1.2vdc battery and bower a 3vdc LED how is that possible? They have a transformer (jewel thief/converter) that boosts the voltage by X 2. I have found by using a longer amp hour good grade battery improves the function by quite a bit. Pretty much all my buildings do not have a floor so access is not a problem. Glade to know that something I shared was put to good use, thanks. I think the thing other than price and ease of use is the fact that they turn on and off at differ times jus like real town with the only exception of the city water tower which comes on at dusk and lasts till day break but then again it has a modified circuit in it. Stay in touch, Bill
 

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Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
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Ormond Beach, Fl
Yes the little green batteries that were originally installed were rechargeable ones also. 1,2 V 40mAh.
I'll make a holder for AA or AAA battery so it can be changed when necessary. Greasing to prevent rust is a great idea indeed, thank you!
I was wondering, could I prevent the circuits also that way? Perhaps spraying some silicone spray over it? Or will that damage it?

Went to your blog spot, what a nice railroad but also noticed the problem with the boxwoods, here in the states I found a plant called a schilling which is kin to a holly, leaves are smaller than a boxwood and require very little maintenance make great looking "oak" trees. I live in Florida, USA, but they put up with the heat and freezing, yes it freezes in Florida, Bill
 
Paulus

Paulus

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13 Jan 2012
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Went to your blog spot, what a nice railroad but also noticed the problem with the boxwoods, here in the states I found a plant called a schilling which is kin to a holly, leaves are smaller than a boxwood and require very little maintenance make great looking "oak" trees. I live in Florida, USA, but they put up with the heat and freezing, yes it freezes in Florida, Bill
Thank you Bill, glad you like the blog and railroad :)
Great advice on the schilling. I looks very nice indeed. I searched for the latin name which is Ilex Vomitoria ' Nana' to see what it is called here.
The normal Ilex Vomitoria is known under the name " Hulst" over here in the Netherlands and has normal size leaves (5cm) but the addition 'Nana' refers indeed to a smaller size dwarf plant which is very usable. I like it! I will look for it in the local greenery soon.

Freezes in Florida?? There goes another stereotype preconception that I had... ;-)