Another look at L.E.D.'s

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by kf4jqd, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Hello ALL:

    A fellow modeler and I were talking about white LED's a few days ago. He asked me why people are putting white L.E.D.'s into thier locomotives?

    I said because they last longer and brighter. He braught it to my attention that it's not phototypical correct. He asked me, "Have you ever seen a super bright, white light coming from a locomotive? Specially steam?" I said no.

    His point was that everyone was jumping to use LED's, but shouldn't. He prefers to use a wheat stone bulb that is dimmed. He loves his steam in N scale. The main headlight should not be an LED. It's ok to use LED's as marker lights on your passenger cars and cabooses. We even reconmend that you do.

    How do they make a white LED white? The main LED is blue. Then they add a red and yellow phosphorus. When the blue light hits the phosphorus, it makes white light!

    Look very carefully if you have one of these turned on. Do you see a blue tint?

  2. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Andy, Often steam the headlights on steam locos had an almost "yellowish" tint to them. This was due to the use of an incandescent bulb and discoloration of the reflector (silvered like a mirror). Many of the early headlights were converted from oil to electricity and the discoloration of the reflector was even more pronounced.

    Check out this site for some LED possibilities that I hadn't seen before. If its LED these guys have it.

    73, K4VIC
  3. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    Andy -

    I don't think pitching the LEDs is the answer. I like the no heat, brightness and long life aspects of them.

    A better solution, I think, is one I got off the Atlas forum - use Gallery Glass Amber stain (#16020).

    If you coat the blue-white LED with this, you get a nice amber light , I'm told - I haven't bought any yet, but those who tried it liked the results.

    I will try this soon with my Kato IMRL SD40.

    - George
  4. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    LED's continued......


    I checked out the site. Lots of good technical information. I even ordered a catalog.

    I would like to see a sample of that! Take alot at this ad. I don't think this looks very realistic.


    I would give your idea a try though!

    Attached Files:

  5. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    The photo looks good, Andy (although as a former amateur photographer I tend to distrust colors in photographs).

    I am going to try the amber stain on my Kato loco in a week or so - will let you all know how it works.

    Another thing - I just got an Athearn Genesis SD70M in UP.

    (my RI layout is in 1996, and the UP just got some from the SP merger)

    Anyhoo, the headlights in this loco are great! Bright (not as good as Kato LED, but better than P2K), and not blue. I know the ditch lights are 1.5V lamps, but am not sure about the main headlights. Maybe your wheat bulbs?

    At least, if they are 1.5V also, the newer Digitrax decoders can adjust the power to them so they do not have to be replaced (or melt the plastic!) when I go to DCC later this year.

    - George
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I use Model Master clear orange on white LED's, works well to eliminate the blue tint.

  7. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member


    These are all good ideas. I guess I will have to experiment and see what I like. Keep giving me those ideas!


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