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Author Topic: LED Lighting Color for Jackson Sharp Passenger Cars  (Read 16946 times)
RkyGriz
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« on: April 18, 2015, 09:59:40 PM »

Hi, again! I have installed LED lights on 4 of my passenger cars. The lights give a bright white color, which is too bright and unrealistic looking. They are powered by the track. I have a couple of questions . First, I was wondering what color LED lights give off the most realistic look. Secondly, they only light when the train is going forward. How is this problem solved? Should I convert them back to battery or is there something I can wire into the cars to fix this? Another thing, could I paint these white lights with a transparent paint to correct the color? Thanks guys!
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Joe Zullo

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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2015, 10:07:37 PM »

You need to power them with a full wave rectifier. Adding a large capacitor eliminates blinking. These parts are available inexpensively on line. I have done this on my 6 Bachmann J&S coaches and it works great.

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RkyGriz
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2015, 10:59:40 PM »

I tried looking for the parts but I was a little confused as to which type and voltage/amp rectifier and capacitor I should buy for the lights. There were several choices and I'm not sure what to buy. Suggestions? Thanks again, Chuck! PS: Those cars look great!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 11:28:34 PM by RkyGriz » Logged
Kevin Strong


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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2015, 01:45:06 AM »

A rectifier such as this: http://www.parts-express.com/400v-2a-bridge-rectifier--050-015 will work well. For the capacitor, you'll want one rated for voltages greater than your track voltage, but I couldn't tell you what capacity you should aim for.

As for the color of the LEDs themselves, you have a few options. First would be to go to your local hobby shop and look for translucent paint used for model RC cars. Tamiya (?) makes some, but I'm sure there are others. If the LEDs are "cool white" (blue-ish in color) then try painting the LEDs with orange translucent paint. You can also try an orange or brown Sharpie marker.

Later,

K
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Joe Zullo

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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 07:50:51 AM »

The bridge rectifier that Kevin mentioned is a good one for this application and similar to what I used. As for the capacitor, this is what I used to good effect...
http://www.parts-express.com/3300uf-25v-radial-mini-electrolytic-capacitor--020-1126  Grin

Just remember that the capacitors are polarity sensitive and must be hooked up on the output side of the rectifier!
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 11:58:17 AM »

RkyGriz,

In the future you could also try the "warm white" LED's, They seem to give off the more mellow yellowish color of a gas lamp.  Radio shack used to carry them and still may, but you can also get them from some of the online electronics stores.  Of course Kevin's trick is great for the ones you already have.   Christmas before last I bought a string of 100 warm white Led Christmas lights.  I was amazed to see that each LED had its' own tiny resistor, which made all kinds of applications very easy.  Not all strings have the individual resistors.

Glad you are having fun!!

Bill
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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
jviss

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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2015, 04:51:20 PM »

Hi guys,

Joe, your cars look great!  

I assume you guys are all talking about regular DC track power, not DCC?

I, too, have plans for track powered lights in my coaches.  I'm using DCC.  This is not fully executed on all three cars yet.  I purchased full wave bridge rectifiers nearly identical to Kevin's suggestion, but mine are 100V 3A.  I got them on eBay at 5 for $1.99 plus shipping; I ordered 10 and got a shipping discount, so they came out to 74 each, delivered.

I then removed the factory lights and put in a 12" strip of LEDs inside the roof.  They are self-adhesive, cut-to-lenght LED strip lights, It's about one LED every 5/8".  They take 12V, but will run on less, down to about 5 or 6V, if I recall correctly.  They are available in warm white, cool white, and a rainbow of colors.  The ones I bought are described on Amazon thus:

"HitLights Warm White SMD3528 LED Light Strip - 300 LEDs, 16.4 Ft Roll, Cut to length - 3000K, 82 Lumens / 1.5 Watts per foot, Requires 12V DC"

$7.99 shipped (Amazon Prime, 2-day), so 2.7 per LED, including attachment and resistors.  

I had tried this out with some cool white strip LEDs I had, and it was way too bright, even running off the 9V batteries that are the standard power source for lights in my coaches.  So, I assumed I'd dim them with a resistor, the old trial and error method.  Then I stumbled across these remote control dimmers on Amazon, designed specifically for strip LEDs:

"Lerway Mini LED Controller Dimmer with RF Wireless Remote Control DC 5~24V 12A R106"

These take form 2 to 24V in, and allow dimming from off to full brightness with a keychain-like RF remote control.  One reviewer discusses getting multiple dimmers to respond to the same remote.  They are now $2.85 each!  I bought 3.  

So, for power, I purchased kits of brass tubes, springs, and brushes, which the Bachmann passenger trucks are set up to accept.  I have metal wheels to complete the conversion.  

I will put a capacitor on the rectifier output, but probably also a resistor first, to limit the inrush current when it's first powered up.  A discharged cap looks like a dead short to DC.  There's probably enough bulk resistance in the rectifier to do the job, but why take chances?

So, DCC, track-powered, remotely dimmed, warm-white LED strip lights.  This will work standing still, in reverse, etc.

One final point: the color.  According to John H. White, Jr., in his 1977 article on Pintsch lights in Technology and Culture, the light was "an intense, slightly blue-green flame."  I'm thinking a cool white might be the best match for this.  Pintsch gas lights were the dominant lighting source for the period of these cars, 1888 to 1928 or so.  
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Bachmann Big Hauler fan
Pennsylvania Railroad Set - generation 3 locomotive
Emmet Kelly Circus set - generation 3 locomotive
Open Streetcar
4-6-0 D&RGW "Bumblebee" Anniversary loco
various passenger cars and rolling stock
indoor, temporary at this point
DCC: Digitraxxxxx Super Chief Xtra 8A
Joe Zullo

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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2015, 05:14:14 PM »

Thanks jviss. I am now working to add passengers to my 6 car fleet. I know these are supposed to be 1:22.5 scale, but the seats are really tiny. I have found that 1:25 scale seated people (Ebay) work well if you cut the feet off. I have already populated a couple of cars with 12 people and they look good so I ordered 24 more!
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Kevin Strong


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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2015, 05:19:10 PM »

I'm not sure Pintsch gas was all that common in narrow gauge circles. Typically if a passenger car had gas lighting, you'd find a cylindrical gas tank under the floor of the car. That's not a common feature when you look at photos of early narrow gauge passenger cars. The East Broad Top used oil lamps until the mid 1910s when the locos were fitted with electric generators, then they took power from that.

Later,

K
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jviss

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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2015, 06:39:50 PM »

Hi Kevin,

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge on these topics.  Gee, I have my heart set on Pintsch gas lighting - oh well!  I'll search for narrow gauge use of it.

I can't find anything about locomotive generators being used to power anything other than head and tail lights, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.  That would be a pretty big generator - where was it mounted, and powered?  I assume steam?

Thanks,

jv
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Bachmann Big Hauler fan
Pennsylvania Railroad Set - generation 3 locomotive
Emmet Kelly Circus set - generation 3 locomotive
Open Streetcar
4-6-0 D&RGW "Bumblebee" Anniversary loco
various passenger cars and rolling stock
indoor, temporary at this point
DCC: Digitraxxxxx Super Chief Xtra 8A
Kevin Strong


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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 12:02:20 AM »

If you're freelancing, anything goes! Ozark Miniatures makes an airtank casting that will work very well for a Pintsch gas tank. Paint it black and attach it to the bottom of your passenger car, and voila!

Later,

K
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jviss

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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 09:54:28 AM »

The Rio Grande Southern ran narrow gauge passenger coaches with Pintsch gas lighting:

https://books.google.com/books?id=qImBxR3p2d8C&pg=PA69&lpg=PA69&dq=pintsch+lamps+in+narrow+gauge+cars?&source=bl&ots=WjEvNOuB9v&sig=cHC5MeNH63pk5uHdpn4ZLrVwgXc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gwM1VcjDHMuhNo2xgMAF&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=pintsch%20lamps%20in%20narrow%20gauge%20cars%3F&f=false

The Durango and Silverton ran narrow gauge coaches (at least one!) with Pintsch gas lamps:

http://www.coloradoinfo.com/travel.asp?pageid=19%7C381%7C561

Here's a car that went from narrow gauge to standard and back to narrow, with Pintsch lighting:

http://www.midcontinent.org/rollingstock/CandS/dsp-passenger/offcar_050b.htm
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 10:19:07 AM by jviss » Logged

Bachmann Big Hauler fan
Pennsylvania Railroad Set - generation 3 locomotive
Emmet Kelly Circus set - generation 3 locomotive
Open Streetcar
4-6-0 D&RGW "Bumblebee" Anniversary loco
various passenger cars and rolling stock
indoor, temporary at this point
DCC: Digitraxxxxx Super Chief Xtra 8A
jviss

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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2015, 11:55:41 AM »

I've given this some more thought, and have recently done a lot of reading on the topic if lighting in passenger coaches.  I got White's book "The American Railroad Passenger Car," "The Car Builder's Cyclopedia of American Practice," and other reference sources.  What occurs to me is this: oil lamps were just not very bright.  There are historical comments of passengers who would stand in Pintsch gas lit cars rather than sit in oil lamp lit cars so they could read the newspaper.  The historical progression seems to go, roughly, from no lights, to candles, to oil, to gas, the Pintsch gas being dominant in the U.S. from about 1888 to 1928, with oil, gas, and even candle having coexisted historically, to electric in fits and starts, and even combination oil and electric fixtures.  I have a little experience with oil lamps, as I have a couple on my boat, mostly for the 'romantic' effect, and I can personally attest to the fact that an oil lamp at any distance is not a good reading light; and, they do produce soot.  So, the brightly lit passenger cars we see in model railroads must surely be Pintsch gas lamp lit!  Electric lights would be powered by batteries, under each car, or by a "head end" generating car, some of which even had Pintshc gas lamps for illumination if the generators were down for maintenance or repair! 

For modeling, the oil lamp light would be quite warm, I think, warmer than Pintsch gas, probably around 1000K; for Pintsch gas color temperature I can't find a reference, but one can assume cooler than oil, maybe more towards 3000K.  In addition, when mantles were introduced the Pintsch gas lamps burned brighter still, at much reduced fuel consumption, too.  Mantles can't be used with oil lamps. 

So, I'm going to pretend my PRR cars were fitted with Pintsch gas lamps, and ignore the lack of roof vents and the square box below the car in place of the gas tank.  For now.
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Bachmann Big Hauler fan
Pennsylvania Railroad Set - generation 3 locomotive
Emmet Kelly Circus set - generation 3 locomotive
Open Streetcar
4-6-0 D&RGW "Bumblebee" Anniversary loco
various passenger cars and rolling stock
indoor, temporary at this point
DCC: Digitraxxxxx Super Chief Xtra 8A
Kevin Strong


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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2015, 02:36:46 PM »

Thanks for the links. It doesn't surprise me at all that the business cars would be outfitted with Pintsch gas lamps. The Telluride book's reference to narrow gauge sleepers is curious, though the D&RGW did have a few narrow gauge Pullmans (one being restored in Colorado Springs). The D&RGW stuck with kerosene lamps up through the 50s as seen in some photos. Pick your lighting source, and there's a plausible prototype for it in almost every era.

(BTW, check Ozark Miniatures or Hartford Products for suitable roof vents.)

With regard to the earlier question about using the steam generators on the locomotives to provide electricity for the passenger cars, they provided ample power, at least to a point (well within the needs of narrow gauge passenger trains). Pyle National made generators ranging from 500 to 7500 watts. While the electric lights were an improvement over the older lights, they were still fairly low wattage bulbs, so you could power a lot of them. Locomotive headlights at the time were less than 60 watts. I'd imagine passenger car lights were probably in the 20 - 40 watt range.

As for our models, I find the vast majority of lit passenger cars to be blindingly bright from a prototypical standpoint. But you have to balance that against the ambient lighting where we run them, which is typically not "real" nighttime lighting. We want to see the interiors we worked so hard on, so it's certainly acceptable. Alas, when you do get these cars running at night (real night), you find the passenger car lights lighting up the railroad brighter than anti-aircraft searchlights. You almost need a dimmer switch.

Later,

K
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jviss

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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2015, 04:11:57 PM »

With regard to the earlier question about using the steam generators on the locomotives to provide electricity for the passenger cars, they provided ample power, at least to a point (well within the needs of narrow gauge passenger trains). Pyle National made generators ranging from 500 to 7500 watts. While the electric lights were an improvement over the older lights, they were still fairly low wattage bulbs, so you could power a lot of them. Locomotive headlights at the time were less than 60 watts. I'd imagine passenger car lights were probably in the 20 - 40 watt range.

Thanks, Kevin.  Do you happen to have any references for that?  I apologize for being so finicky on this, but I just simply can't find any reference to coach lights being powered by the locomotive dynamo that powered the loco lights.  What I have found on Pyle-National dynamos is that they put out about enough for the loco and tender lights - 350 Watts for the model K, 500 for the model K2.  And, intuitively, I can't imagine an early 20th century dynamo of that size putting out anywhere near a kiloWatt, never mind 7.5kW.  Here's a reference from 1919, pretty late in the period of interest:

https://books.google.com/books?id=EJEjAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=steam+locomotive+turbine+dynamo&source=bl&ots=n9LJBcYCuR&sig=aa259TEGTAlJvYvh_8PWtjZ6Vos&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3lI1VemMKYaMNpuigbgN&ved=0CF0Q6AEwCw#v=onepage&q=steam%20locomotive%20turbine%20dynamo&f=true

I am pretty sure that electrical coach lighting in the U.S. was by batteries charged in the yard (PRR, for example), or by head end car generators that were small steam engines powered by locomotive boiler steam, driving large dynamos.  Axle powered dynamos never caught on in the U.S., as opposed to the UK and Europe.  I was wrong about this, apparently it did catch on, although slowly, and was adopted by several major lines just after the turn of the century (based on the Moskowitz system).

I'm going to keep reading and researching!  Fascinating topic.  
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 04:24:23 PM by jviss » Logged

Bachmann Big Hauler fan
Pennsylvania Railroad Set - generation 3 locomotive
Emmet Kelly Circus set - generation 3 locomotive
Open Streetcar
4-6-0 D&RGW "Bumblebee" Anniversary loco
various passenger cars and rolling stock
indoor, temporary at this point
DCC: Digitraxxxxx Super Chief Xtra 8A
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