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Lights in a Hornby 121 Bubble car?

2533 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Richard Johnson

I've finally got my Hornby 121 Bubble car working well on DCC by fitting a Black Beetle bogie onto it, it's now smoooooooth

But, it still has no lights

Can anybody tell me what value LED's and resistors to use for the directional lights (those type of LED's that have a 'pole' type lens)?

I was thinking of using 'proper' bulbs for all the rest of the lighting so I can have nice cab lighting, head code boxes and interior lights. Can somebody tell me what 'bulbs' to use here. I thought, 12v grain of wheat? or would that be to bright, maybe something 'yellower' and softer???

I know nothing about lighting or where to buy or what to buy, some help if you would please


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I think I would recommend you look at DCC Concepts website as there is a lot of useful info on there. Richard Johnson(MD) is on here lots and will undoubtedly be able to give you excellent advice.

I can only provide from my limited experience. Recently I have put decoders into 4 HS 125's fitting red/white lights.

I used a bi-colour red white LED from DCC supplies (about £1.60 each). It has a common connection plus a lead for the red and one for the white. You will need a 680 ohm resistor in the positive leads (2 needed for each LED, connecting the blue to the middle pin and the yellow and white to the other pins.
I put a bulb and red LED in first but had lots of problems in getting the lights consistent. Plus the bulb got very hot and was worried about the plastic if it was on for long periods. Is this a real problem anyone or am I being over protective? What decoder are you using as you may need more functions than some decoders supply. I assume you have a 4 function rather than a 2 function decoder if you are driving various lights as well as directiona lights.

Hi Ian,

It's an 8pin Lenz silver, I use NCE, would that be OK??

Would calling DCC supplies (I bought my NCE from them) answer my questions and be able to sell me what I need?

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Yes they have given me a lot of good advice and are a friendly bunch. I have returned one TCS decoder which I managed to short and it was replaced by them with no quibble under the goof proof warranty. Have found their prices to be very competitive. kick myself as i bought a load of items from Maplins then found they were substantially cheaper at DCC supplies. Plus the bi-colour LED is DCC friendly, have seen claims that some are not DCC friendly.
Also as Bilbo says Richard from DCC concepts is a mind of information and will almost certainly answer when he comes on and sees your question.
*** Red+white are available in 2mm tower type and 3mm. There are none as far as I know that mirror the correct white tint other than those we commissioned specially under the DCC Concepts Brand. We call that white tint "prototype white", and it accurately mirrors the lighting used pre halogen / high intensity lighting, making it right for the 121.

If you want simple reversing lights, basically you need to connect front white to rear red (each with its own resistor) to the white wire and rear white and front red to the yellow. In both cases, the blue is the common positive and is connected to the centre lead.

On these LED, the longest lead is centre = positive, the mid length lead is the white and the shorter lead the red.

all the rest of the lighting should be LEDs too, attached to say the green for the cabin lights, the purple for the cab light. It would be better to use our "flickerfree" lighting on the passenger cabin as the fine PCB strip we supply makes interior lighting very easy.

Martin 71 recently did a 121 - I loaded sound for him. If you PM him he may be persuaded to post a few pictures if he has talen any - his install was a bit extreme with working dash lights as well.

All items mentioned are available ex stock AU and are also available in UK from a couple of retailers who are forum members who post here regularly.

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Hi Rob

When you put a 'black beetle' motor into the 121, was it easy to mount; what catalogue number was it, and does it allow for the cab to be modelled (like the other non-moterised) end ?

Personally I would rather have both ends with a cab and driver than worry about lights !

34mm x 12mm 15:1

The black beetle fits easily, the side frames can be left as a 'hoop' and fixed to the bogie fixing points via 1.5mm packers. You will need to cyno onto the frames and ECK onto the bogie (if you use plastic card). You will need to cut away all the original bogie fixings found on the chassis and build up your own in whatever you feel happy with, I used 1.5mm plastic card with reinforcements.

The bogie mount comes about half way up the sole bar of the chassis, so there is more than enough room to fit this end out with as much detail as you want. It is a totally under floor solution. I will be copying the other end in G28 rubber and reproducing another cab in G26 resin so a perfect copy will be made.

I will be super detailing my 121 with full cab ends, direction lights, cab lights, head code lights, buffer beam detail etc etc.

Thanks for the information rbush.

Funny, I never thought about the buffer beam details. I have not fitted them to any of my (diesel) locomotives because of the need to negotiate tight curves, but on the dmu's the couplings have been removed.....
hi all,

i too am about to add lights to a hornby loco. i will be using LEDs. all iam doing is putting a white light in the cab and head light. do i need to run them though a decoder? cant i just run them from the pickups?. i dont need to turn them off or worry about red lights as the loco will only ever run one way.

has any one else just put lights in with out a decoder?. iam hoping i dont have to spend extra money on decoders if not needed.

many thanks
***Hi Francesco. You can simply use pickups if you like.

Just place a 1000 ohm resistor in series with the LED, and if running on DC, its good practice to add a standard diode reverse wired across the LED to protect it from reverse voltages.

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