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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would anyone in the group have views on my low-tech approach to illumination?

Here is the situation
- an Era V Swiss theme
- a 4' X 8' mdf baseboard
- a Roco GeoLine track with a standard Roco starter set DCC controller
- SBB HO (very roughly Interlaken Ost) and one day, an HOm extension (very roughly representing Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald)

Here is the plan:
- a cutting / tunnel / hill or mountain side - preferably all of these features - predominantly made of what I call styrene foam- the stuff the trains are packaged in
- a rail track and vehicle road traversing this topography
- topography and sections of baseboard to be stocked with the usual Faller-genre buildings

It is these buildings (including a Faller Waldbrunn and a Faller St Niklaus) and perhaps some station / street sections that I wish to illuminate.

I have an aversion to fire and want to mke this very safe, very low-tech and very low voltage.
Ideally it would magically run off the extant 12 volt system governing the trains at present.
With no access to the underside of the board, any wiring will of necessity run on top of the baseboard, suitably camouflaged with terrain scenery.

I would appreciate your thoughts on the practicality or otherwise of this project and if practical, how best to set it up.
Thanks,

Michael
 

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I believe doll's houses can be lit by low-voltage bulbs powered from self-adhesive copper tape stuck on the walls and ceiling. This is thin enough to be painted or papered over to disguise it, so on a railway layout there should be little problem with the scenic materials available.

Grain of Wheat bulbs (usually 16v) run at twelve volts will usually be adequate for lights in and outside buildings. Best to run lights from a separate supply so they don't flicker or dim when trains are also taking power.

Hope this helps,
Regards,
John Webb
 

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Hi menright,
Welcome to the forum


For lighting one of the best options is to use are LED's which do not give off heat as Grain of weat bulbs do no chance of distorting the plastic in any of the buildings, the wires could be routed in the styrene foam and covered over with scenics.
 

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I've no advice to offer regarding building lighting, but I have been tempted by the idea of a model of Interlaken Ost, so I have taken a few photos, some of which I have uploaded to this gallery. Some of the steam photos in a neighbouring gallery were also taken at Interlaken Ost.

I have a photo of the track plan of the station too if that would be of interest.

David
 

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Hi Michael

I did an experiment with LED lighting in a building and was pleased with the result
There is a Post of it Here

That building is lit with one LED which is pointed upwards and a small piece of foil glued op top of the LED
The LED is in series with a 860 ohm resistor to run on 10-20v

The building uses the Faller light mask (made of black printed paper with pictures of curtains) inside the building
otherwise the walls would glow as well

The LED I used for this was a Golden white the New Prototype White LEDs give a more realistic incandescent colour

Hope this helps

Regards Zmil
 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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I am a fan of the LED and adjustable resistor approach so you can tweak the brightness to suit.

I learned this after connecting a 0.8mm LED that I had built as a 4mm scale desk lamp in my signal box to Richard's pure DCC track power and watched that lamp go brighter than the sun for a nanosecond before filling the interior of the box with realistic smoke effects!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What a great site.
Thank you for the advice.
LED seems the go.
To that end I have paid a visit to the local electronics shop.
Michael
 

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Since it is nearly time for the christmas sales, it is worth looking at christmas tree lights.

I bought some this year for NZD5.00 that I use to light my storage yard.

Quick cheap and easy to turn off and on.

In terms of building theses are white LED's so may not be appropriate.

Cheers

John
 

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Go for LED's - golden white to represent tungstone & white to represent fluorescent. Virtually no heat given off & very little power required, also easy to vary the brightness. Just diffuse the light & you should obtain a good effect.

If the card masks are not available use blackboard paint, but blank out the light from some of the windows as most houses do not have all the lights on at the same time (unless it's mine LOL).

Use a separate supply (an old analogue controller maybe).
 

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Personally, I spray all by building interiors black rather than use the carboard inserts.

If I ever light the town then I will build smal boexs for individual rooms so that only some of the rooms are lit
 

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Good Idea John

I was wondering what I was going to do with the Buildings that I did not put the light mask in

I can mask off the windows that I would like lit and give it a little paint job inside ( I might need to use a brush though)
my spray painting technique is not up to scratch


Even the buildings with the light mask sometimes leak light from the corners

Regards Zmil
 

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I have found the trick is to prepaint as much as possible before beginning construction.

First thing I do is throw the base away if it is outside the foot print of the building, unless it has steps I need, which I cut out.

When built, I weather with black anyway so am not concerned about masking widow glass as that is the last thing I add before glueing the roof on.

Cheers

John
 

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QUOTE (john woodall @ 26 Nov 2008, 07:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have found the trick is to prepaint as much as possible before beginning construction.

First thing I do is throw the base away if it is outside the foot print of the building, unless it has steps I need, which I cut out.

When built, I weather with black anyway so am not concerned about masking widow glass as that is the last thing I add before glueing the roof on.

Cheers

John

We also tend to paint the insides before final assembly. Often, we discard the footprint too, although sometimes we just "tack" the sides to it, just to keep the building square for assembly, then remove it.
 

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Just another modeller
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*** Yes, but there is more to building lighting than simply plonking a bulb in there... LEDs use less current, give off no heat and last much longer than bulbs, which are almost impossible to replace on a scale model building. Here is an example of a careful approach to LED lighting. (actually a bit brighter in the picture than in reality due to the exposure time)

regards

Richard
 

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I know that L.E.D's last longer, but when they run out they are hard to remove, the bulbs can be run of an AAA battery(though you will need to convert it) and gives off the same heat as a L.E.D. The hornbys lights are easy to remove, unplug it pull out the battery and just put a new one in, I have done it lots of times before.
 

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The ones marketed by Hornby are very similar to those used to illuminate dolls houses.

Personally, I don't see the point at all to use batteries for lighting.

As the OP was concerned about heat LED's will be much better & safer than bulbs - in any case lighting technology has moved on !
 

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QUOTE in any case lighting technology has moved on !

Indeed; I am considering using strips of ultra bright LEDs to provide light for the layout, not just the buildings.

David
 
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