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Author Topic: Night Lights  (Read 26780 times)
Doneldon

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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2014, 12:18:16 AM »

I intend to add a lighting component. Basic layout ambient lighting will be done with blue LED strip lighting for nighttime scenes and daylight/warm LED strips for daytime (I am still trying to find this stuff...yes, Micro Mark sells a similar product that is a bit too rich for my pocketbook. One of my UK pen pals procures his at a local English box store during the holidays for a low price...haven't found any in the States as of yet).

Ray-

In my experience, the Xmas lights are mostly mini incandescent bulbs. They work just fine and last a long time since they are permanently installed and aren't putzed with. They can be put on a rheostat which is nice. However, there are blue LED strips on eBay all of the time. I just checked. There are thousands of listings. One I noticed has 600 LEDs in a 5 meter (~6.5 feet) strip for $10 and free shipping.
                                                                                              -- D
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CNE Runner


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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2014, 10:21:02 AM »

Thanks for the return Don. Yes, I am aware of the fact that many cheaper Xmas lights are mini incandescents (as are most rope lights). I definitely do not want to use incandescent bulbs on my layout (relatively short lifespan and too much heat). LEDs are the way to go (extremely long lived, and virtually no heat production).

Your post also helped me with one important item: the length of those LED strip lights. I know they come in varying lengths, but Amazon didn't mention the length of theirs in any part of the ad (just that they had X amount of LEDs). The ones you found, on eBay, at 5 meters, are exactly the length I need for each module. Let me express my sincere thanks for the information. I was about to mention that, as an Amazon Prime member, we usually don't pay shipping costs...then you mentioned that the eBay items are shipped free. This sounds like an excellent deal.

When I get around to building the 'light boxes' (structures that are composed of 2-side walls, a back and a top - all out of Styrofoam that sit on top of the train board), I will be ordering said strip lights. Funny, I rarely visit the Bachmann forum anymore...yet I received some extremely valuable (and time-saving) information.

Jon, if your layout photographs better than it looks in real life; I am inviting you to the Heart of Dixie to photograph mine.

All the best,
Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
electrical whiz kid

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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2014, 12:10:11 PM »

Ward;
Try messing around with optic fibres for switch stands.  Story I have been told by those who know are [that] the yard men had the task of lighting and maintaining oil level in, the switch stands.  I figure this was a rather tedious job.  I remember when I was a kid, the construction sites had these black "bomb" looking affairs that were filled with kerosene-and left as markers to  the way for drivers to negotiate.  This was in the day when the idiot factor was much, much lower, but I digress...
I assume one could run a fibre up and into the drilled-out portion of the light head, install jewels and be done with it.  I've done it with classification lamps, but not switch stands.
On my last "layout", I monkeyed around with blue rope lighting in behind a backdrop, so as to radiate light up over the drop, whatever it was, thus suggesting nocturnal activity.  I got the idea from one of MR's DVDs.  I liked it.
Rich C. 
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rogertra


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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2014, 12:20:51 PM »

Ward;
Try messing around with optic fibres for switch stands.  Story I have been told by those who know are [that] the yard men had the task of lighting and maintaining oil level in, the switch stands.  I figure this was a rather tedious job.  I remember when I was a kid, the construction sites had these black "bomb" looking affairs that were filled with kerosene-and left as markers to  the way for drivers to negotiate.  This was in the day when the idiot factor was much, much lower, but I digress...
I assume one could run a fibre up and into the drilled-out portion of the light head, install jewels and be done with it.  I've done it with classification lamps, but not switch stands.
On my last "layout", I monkeyed around with blue rope lighting in behind a backdrop, so as to radiate light up over the drop, whatever it was, thus suggesting nocturnal activity.  I got the idea from one of MR's DVDs.  I liked it.
Rich C.  

The issue with working lights on switch stand is you require two colours.

Switch stands on the running lines, i.e. main tracks and sidings, displayed red and green targets.  Green when lined for the through route and red when lined for the diverging route.

Switch stands on non running lines, i.e. yard tracks, displayed yellow and green targets.  Green when lined for the through route and yellow when lined for the diverging route.

May be possible in 'G' scale but I doubt it's possible in the smaller scales but I'd like to be proved wrong.



Cheers

Roger T.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 02:05:05 PM by rogertra » Logged

jward


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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2014, 01:19:30 PM »

Ward;
Try messing around with optic fibres for switch stands.  Story I have been told by those who know are [that] the yard men had the task of lighting and maintaining oil level in, the switch stands.  I figure this was a rather tedious job.  I remember when I was a kid, the construction sites had these black "bomb" looking affairs that were filled with kerosene-and left as markers to  the way for drivers to negotiate.  This was in the day when the idiot factor was much, much lower, but I digress...
I assume one could run a fibre up and into the drilled-out portion of the light head, install jewels and be done with it.  I've done it with classification lamps, but not switch stands.
On my last "layout", I monkeyed around with blue rope lighting in behind a backdrop, so as to radiate light up over the drop, whatever it was, thus suggesting nocturnal activity.  I got the idea from one of MR's DVDs.  I liked it.
Rich C. 

the ones i remember used 9 volt lantern batteries and had a light bulb in them, probably the same low voltage bulbs used in signals. it seems to me the big problem in lighted switchstands is finding something that won't wear out with the constant twisting when the switch is thrown.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Doneldon

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« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2014, 04:09:33 PM »

The issue with working lights on switch stand is you require two colours.

Roger-

There are bicolor LEDs which are red when the power flows through one way and green when
the power flows the other way. This would seem to be ideal for switch stands and control panel
or tack diagram indicators.
                                             -- D

                                                                   
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rogertra


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« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2014, 04:40:22 PM »

The issue with working lights on switch stand is you require two colours.

Roger-

There are bicolor LEDs which are red when the power flows through one way and green when
the power flows the other way. This would seem to be ideal for switch stands and control panel
or tack diagram indicators.
                                             -- D                                                                   

This is true but it would be nice if both colours could be lit at all time.  The red and green on running line switches and yellow and green on yard switches.

Cheers

Roger T.

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J3a-614

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« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2014, 01:01:12 AM »

Great looking photos as usual, Jonathan!

"Try messing around with optic fibres for switch stands.  Story I have been told by those who know are [that] the yard men had the task of lighting and maintaining oil level in, the switch stands.  I figure this was a rather tedious job.  I remember when I was a kid, the construction sites had these black "bomb" looking affairs that were filled with kerosene-and left as markers to  the way for drivers to negotiate.  This was in the day when the idiot factor was much, much lower, but I digress...

"I assume one could run a fibre up and into the drilled-out portion of the light head, install jewels and be done with it.  I've done it with classification lamps, but not switch stands."--Electrical Whiz Kid.

I well remember those kerosene "fire balls."  Black, oily, sooty, and smokey, and compared with modern lights, quite dim.

Don't assume the idiot factor was necessarily lower "back in the goodle days."  A friend of mine told me how he and his high school buddies thought it would be fun to make off with one of those lights.  They picked the thing up, still lit, and put it on the floor of their car.  Well, it didn't take long before the motion of the car started the ball to rolling around, spilling the kerosene and starting a fire in the car!  In a panic, the guys got the ball out and set it on the street, and then got busy putting out the fire in the car.  The street had a considerable slope--this was in West Virginia--and now the still-lit ball started to roll down the street, spilling more kerosene and leaving a trail of fire.  My friend did mention it was interesting watching other auto drivers take evasive action to avoid the rolling fire ball!

Between this and other things he did, I wonder why he is still alive, but he is.

I like the idea of the optic fibre cable providing light to a rotating lantern, very likely through a hollow shaft on which the lantern would rotate, the optic cable or rod being stationary inside the rotating shaft.  I agree, the big problem, besides getting something small enough, is coming up with a way to get light or power into a light that rotates back and forth, eventually causing a fatigue break in something like a wire.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2014, 01:20:08 AM by J3a-614 » Logged
J3a-614

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« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2014, 01:48:59 AM »

Some pix of those kerosene "fire balls:"

http://img1.etsystatic.com/021/0/6678482/il_570xN.496736313_29r2.jpg

http://www.funchase.com/Images/BitsAndPieces/SandLotsAndSmudgePots.htm

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/353251164493671854/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62fRQg3HgPA

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J3a-614

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« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2014, 02:03:46 AM »

The fun stuff you can find on the internet:

http://www.metafilter.com/93521/Holy-Toledo-Torches

http://www.flickr.com/photos/iowahawk_blog/3071110167/

http://www.premiereproducts.biz/products/toledotorch.php

Wonder how big a job it would be to come up with some of these for a period construction scene?  They are small enough that I would definitely go with fibre optic for lighting.

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Irbricksceo


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« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2014, 04:16:14 AM »

I actually don't think keeping wires from breaking when the lamp rotates would bee all that difficult, ad I agree that a single lamp behind different gem lenses would work. I'd think that you could just use thin wire through the post, give it a little slack below to allow movement (it doesn't have to move far remember, yes it's twisting 90 degrees but It's also doing so in a tiny circle) As long as you get a decent solder joint, should be fine.

The biggest Issue, I would think, is how to get it to turn when the switch is thrown, that,I have no idea how to do.
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J3a-614

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« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2014, 07:45:38 AM »

Actually, there are commercial switch stands by other manufacturers that do have lanterns (unlit) and targets that do turn.  All you have to do is mount them with an appropriate linkage.  You would likely have to modify the stand (substitute a very tiny tube for the wire used for the support of the lamp and target), and drill out the lamp itself to get either wires or the optic fibre into the lamp.

If you have a hollow light and can put lenses in it, then there might be very small LEDs you could use.  Jonathan has done this for some of his locomotive headlights, and some of those things are tiny!  I don't know how he sees well enough to work with them (he has mentioned using a magnifier--maybe something for me to buy).
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CNE Runner


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« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2014, 09:37:01 AM »

This thread continues to hold my interest and is extremely helpful for some future projects.

Regarding small wires: Many of the smaller light fixtures, intended for HO structures, use magnet wire. This is extremely thin wire that probably could be threaded into those switch stand lamps. If it had to be exposed, it is (as already mentioned) very thin and could be painted to blend into the stand. Rather than having to deal with dual colored LEDs, I think I would follow J3a's idea of keeping the colored gels/gems already installed in the lamp and illuminate it with a mini LED...while not purely prototypical it does align with the K.I.S.S. Principle.

The 90-degree arc that the lamp turns would not cause a problem with the wire as it actually moves very little. If it is of concern, one could use 2 washers, separated by a fiber washer, such that one washer was + and the other -. Phosphor-bronze power pick ups (from Tomar) could be used to transfer electrical current from the washers to the LED. I do feel that such complexity would be unnecessary.

Bi-colored LEDs work by reversing the polarity of the incoming circuit. To change the color of the LED, I would use turnouts with 'live' frogs. In that way when the turnout controller is activated (controllers contain a DPDT internal switch...think Blue Point or Tortoise), the polarity of the frog is changed and thus the polarity of the feed wire current to the lamp. Just a suggestion.

Good thread and some clever ideas.

Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
jonathan


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« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2014, 10:10:40 AM »

Well,

Folks are certainly getting the creative juices flowing in me!  I have never considered trying to light a switch stand, or even modeling a switch stand for that matter. Sounds like a potential future project.

The Surface Mount LEDs (SMDs) that I use are indeed tiny. I liken them to a half-grain of uncooked rice--small, uncooked rice.  I wear magnifying lenses AND a magnifying glass to solder them to magnet wire.  Under magnification, the soldering iron looks like a piece of pointed rebar.  A very steady hand is required.  I'm soldering as many SMDs as I can, now, before my dexterity and eyesight get too bad to work with such tiny things.  Believe me, craftsman kits (rolling stock) are easier than wiring up these lights.

I am quickly approaching the senior menu at IHOP and Cracker Barrel.  Smiley

Regards,

Jonathan 
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Desertdweller

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« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2014, 01:05:58 PM »

I remember those things from when I was a kid.  They burned with a yellow flame and were very smokey.

In those days, the county shop saved drain oil and spread it on the gravel streets in town to keep the dust down.  My mother hated it because it would get tracked into the house.  I suspect that was what fueled the pots, too.

I thought they looked like the bomb in old pictures of the Haymarket Riot.

Nobody seemed to be concerned with pollution back then, least of all the Government.

Les
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