DCC Concepts Flicker Free
Coach Lighting Kit
and installation of kit
For most of us, lighting in coaches adds that extra realism, if done properly.
It adds that extra detail and gives your coaches another dimension. Further to
that, you can then detail your interiors, add passengers and it almost comes
Now the hardest part was finding the right lighting and after nearly 8 months of
trial and error I finally found the perfect kit from DCC Concepts. I purchased
their kit about 2 months ago and I certainly have not looked back.
I have had a renewed interest in model trains now for just over a year, after an
18 year break and I am still on that steep learning curve. Lighting really
interested me right from the start and I was keen to do something with coaches.
So what do we get?
The coach kit consists of the following:
The kit packed.
With this kit we need to wire it up in a parallel circuit (more than one path
for current to flow between higher and lower potential) if using 2 or more LEDs
or else we will get volt drop. The best way I can explain a parallel circuit,
and relate it to what we do, it is think of a railway track, 1 track is positive
conductor and parallel to it is the negative track. Joining the tracks are the
sleepers and these are your LEDs. Now we have more than 1 path to flow through.
At the end of the track you have the last sleeper (LED) which closes the
circuit. But what about the start? This joins our power source the flicker free
LEDs are rated for a lower voltage than the track voltage. Therefore a resistor must be wired in series with the LED
lead. The LEDs have to be wired to the Flicker Free unit with the correct
polarity. If you do happen to wire it in backwards with a resistor no damage will
occur, they just will not work!
Tape up your capacitors in insulation tape before applying a charge. It stops
you accidentally shorting them out. I know I did it.
If you are a beginner consider drawing a small wiring diagram, it really helps
you get it right in your head. If your still unsure ask on here, everybody is
more than happy to help.
You may have 5 or 6 coaches to do so I suggest you get a little production plan
going. For example Take 12 LEDs bend and cut legs to length, solder 15-20mm wire
to each positive length, put red heat shrink on, solder on resister, solder on
35-40mm of wire put heat shrink on etc. If youre really keen do the 30 or so
in one hit.
If you are unsure with wire lengths cut them long, easier to trim than add to.
Technical information at end of review.
Standard coach without lighting.
Strip the coach down and remove the interior. If you can, try to remove the clear
plastic or windows. They are normally glued in so be very careful here. If you
cannot get it out it is not a problem you can wire over it. It is hit and miss,
I usually manage to get 50% of them out.
Once you have the coach interior out use it as a gauge for LED spacing, for
example do you want 1 LED for every compartment or 1 per 2 compartments etc. My
preference was one per compartment. See below.
Preparing LEDs for soldering. Make sure when you bend the legs, you give plenty
of support to the epoxy body of the LED (hold it tight) or you may break a leg
Cutting legs off, I suggest you have a good quality wire cutters/strippers also
available from DCC Concepts. Notice the curve on the top of LED this also helps
identify positive side.
Here you can see I have spaced 1 LED per 2 compartments. Dont forget to put on
heat shrink and if you colour code it always makes identification far easier.
Close up (below). As you can see the pattern I am working to. Now for the fun part,
getting here! I set myself reachable goals. Tonight I want to make 2 wiring
harnesses with 6 LEDs in each.
I find it easiest to work from the back and do everything in the wiring harness
for positive first. Then I just wire my entire negatives together.
Lighting for each row of dining seats and one for the kitchen.
Complete wiring harness with LEDs held in place with double sided sticky tape.
Time to test your work. Notice the LEDs are running only off the Flicker free
unit, no other source of power.
Decide what you want to do next, paint the interiors, add passengers it your
railroad. Putting it back together is a reverse of taking it apart except now be
careful you do not crimp any wires and the Flicker Free unit needs to be hidden.
I found the toilets or the rear of the brake coach the best spots.
Bring your black wiring from the flicker Free Unit through the bogie d-ten ready
to be wired to your pickups.
One method I used for pick up's of was to create a spring around the wheels.
This I found the easiest and simplest to do. Done well you end up with virtually
no rolling resistance. Don't forget to re-gauge your wheels when finished.
Jubilee 3rd class close up.
Jubilee 3rd class at night no ambient light when photo was taken.
Silver Jubilee and coaches.
Look no wires!
One of the great benefits of the Flicker Free unit besides the obvious (flicker
free lighting), you can reduce your pickups. I used to wire all bogies for
pickups now only the one. That is because it flicker free unit stores energy
and when you lose power to the coaches it kicks in. It takes about 1 minute to
hold a good charge with the flicker free unit being fully charged in 2-3
minutes. Once power is switched off it will take about 30-40 minutes to fully
discharge. I have seen a very faint glow in the LEDs after about 3 hours.
Another benefit I noticed only when writing this article when taking photos was
any coaches not fitted with the flicker free unit hummed. For any of you that
have the Hornby or Bachmann lit Pullmans, have a listen! Without going into too
many details it is the bridge rectifier and capacitor that sorts this problem
out. It also eliminates mechanical stress on the LEDs if you want to get really
Another good point is the constant supply of 4.7v DC. In theory you dont need
to add resistors into your parallel circuit but I feel much safer with them in
and I think you also get a better lighting effect. It also eliminates the need
for ohms law. Everything is done for you. As long as your supply voltage is
below 20v AC/DC and goes straight into your flicker free unit . No calculations
The natural or prototypical lighting itself is the biggest advantage of the
flicker free kit and you dont have to shop around for all the different
components. It looks the part and I would recommend it to anyone with a basic
understanding of electronics.
What to do with the Red LEDs? Here are some ideas.
Express lights on 9f. So many uses if you got a couple left over.
Technical Data and some useful information:
Hope that you enjoyed the review.
- February 2007
Flicker Free is available as follows:
1 pack: 1x Flicker Free, 5x G/White LED, 1x Red
6 1,000 ohm / 1k resistors & instructions
3 pack: 3x Flicker Free, 15x G/white LED, 2x Red
17x 1,000 ohm / 1k resistors & instructions
6 pack: 6x Flicker Free, 30x G/white LED, 3x Red FF-6
33x 1,000 ohm / 1k resistors & instructions
Input: AC, DC or DCC, 9~20 volts.
Connection: Pre-wired (150mm fine wires pre-fitted) and ready to connect.
Storage: Super Capacitor, 200,000 microfarads.
Output: 4.7 volts, current limited & protected
(already current limited and so safe for direct LED connection)
Flicker Free has a I year "Goof Proof" warranty.
Flicker Free is made by:
DCCconcepts Pty Ltd
Unit 3, 13 Lionel Street, Naval Base
WA 6155 Australia
You can contact DCC Concepts for the Flicker Free Kits. Click the banner below: