Discussion in 'FAQs' started by yellowlynn, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I have a group of 10 bulbs that are powered by 2 AA batteries. I don't know if they are GOW or GOR, but are quite small. How can they be used without having to keep batteris on them? Would a picture help?

  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    pic would help but from what you say it sounds like they might be LED's
  3. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I guess this is as good a place as any to bring up a neat idea I had back in the day, and probably someone will tell me how bad of an idea it really is.

    After reading about Tortis turnout controls for slow motion turnout alignment and how it was so much more realistic than the snap controlers distributed by the turnout manufacturers I decided to try a few things with my snappers. Using the power supply provided by *cough* Tyco ... that came in my train set I attached the control unit for the snap device to the variable power instead of the auxilary power. I did this on purpose! Though many of you will most likely choose to believe I did it by accident.

    Anyway, after you've got it hooked up just start hitting the control for the snap back and forth and lowering the power on the power supply until the turnout moves nice and slow without stalling out.

    You can do the same on your lights. Just don't turn up the voltage too much or you'll fry your bulbs.

    Edit: I think I've got all the parts in the garage. If you guys ask real nice I can rig it up and make a video to post on the web.
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    I don't mean to rain on your parade. But those twin coil switch (snapper type) machines you have slowed down were designed for a momentary current (I mean 1 sec or less - preferably much less - duration). They have extremely low resistance windings - less than 10 ohms - to generate maximum power from a very brief shot of high current. If the current is kept on, they get VERY hot VERY quickly. If they are Atlas switch machines (or similar) that overheat, the plastic casing softens and jams the mechanisms. Other makes without a plastic case will melt the wire insulation into either a short or open.

    By inserting a resistance into the circuit as you are doing with the power pack, you are reducing voltage and current at the switch machine but significantly increasing the duration of the current. I would be checking for heat buildup in the switch machines before I would be comfortable with your arrangement. If they are anything more than warm after a use or two, revert back to full power for very brief intervals. A switch machine on fire is not something I recommend experiencing - don't ask me how I know! And the smell may lead to revocation of your modeler's license by the CEO as evidence that your toy trains are too dangerous for YOU to play with.

    yours in staying safe
  5. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    That's kind of what I was thinking. My friends and I have melted a few, but it wasn't from this setup. We were actually testing to see what it took to fry one of them. From my experience light usage over long periods of time didn't damage the switch machine, but I can imagine one under heavy use would warm up rather quickly. It's a cheap alternative to the mechanical turnout controlers.
  6. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I finally got a picture. I put a small pen with them so you could gauge the size. They take 2 "C" cell batteries. I know there's a difference between parallel and series, but - don't ask. I've got another that uses 2 AA, with about 10 of those tiny Christmas tree bulbs. Can these be used some way with a resistor, or something?


    Attached Files:

  7. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I put this picture in, but it never came up on new posts. I'll just try this blurb to see if it floats to the top. They look like nice bulbs, if I could only find a way to use them.

  8. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Sure you can, Lynn. Try to determine the voltage required for each bulb, either by figuring
    it from the wiring or by measuring with a voltmeter. Since it's low voltage DC you can
    stick a sharp pin into the wire on each side of one of the bulbs and measure the voltage
    across the bulb with it lit. That's a starting point.
    If you want to light the whole string at once you just need a 3V supply or regulator. Can
    you use your meter to measure the amp draw of a bulb?
  9. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    well they are incandescent lamps for shure. do the batteries face the same way in the holder if the same way they are 1.5V if end to end they would be 3V.
  10. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    The case shows the batteries side-by-side, one pos up, and one pos down. I'm an electronics genius, I know + is positive, and - is the other end.:D

    So, how can I use them, seperately, or together? without batteries.

  11. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    OK, Lynn, you seem to have a 3 volt battery supply. Try to determine the voltage required for each bulb. If the bulbs are all wired in parallel then they are 3v bulbs. If there is some other arrangement, then measure using a voltmeter. Since it's low voltage DC you can stick a sharp pin into the wire on each side of one of the bulbs and measure the voltage
    across the bulb when it is lit.

    If you want to light the whole string at once you just need a 3V supply or regulator.

    Do you have a VOM? Does it have a current range you can use to measure the amp draw
    of a single bulb?
  12. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    I don't have a VOM, but I have a battery checker that handles AA up to 9V to show if they are good or not. To do some "Southern Engineering", could I use those pins and see what voltage goes across? I was hoping it would work to hook them up to a power pack with a 'forty-leven' resistor.:D . I guess it just isn't that simple.

    Thanks any way

  13. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    If you can get your hands on a meter, you can do what LoadMusic talks about, I have. Set the output of a cheap toy train power pack to 3 volts (or a bit less) You could go so far as to remove the knob and glue the controller in that position (I have) You won't have to worry about batteries anymore.
  14. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member

    Gary, I was wondering about that. I hooked them up to a power pack and cracked it to about a 20. The bulbs lit good, bright but not 100%. I have a box of those cheapo packs, but It never crossed my mind to remove the knob and glue it in place. Thanks for the idea.

    On the string of 15 Christmas tree light types, I did the same thing. Evidently they don't work the same as the GOW bulbs. They take 2 batteries too, but when I crank the throttle, some got real bright, and some so dim they were hardly on. I think I only paid a dime for them at a yard sale, so - - - - -.

  15. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Someone will have to explain the physics on this one for me -

    I've connected individual christmas lights to my stereo's output (generally used for speakers ...) to get a strobe effect from the music being played. It works quite well and with enough bulbs is great for parties (woohoo!). But eventually the bulbs will appear to burn out. However, if left alone, the bulbs eventually begin working again. Are they simply overheating? Also, it seems only certain frequencies cause the bulbs to illuminate. Without trial and error using a frequency modulating audio output, I'm curious what frequencies it takes to light which bulbs. Bass seems to have more effect than treble - you should see the light shows Will Smith puts on in my living room :)
  16. piano

    piano New Member

    I am a newbie to your group. I go by piano. User name that is not my means of transportation!! It is the current from your amp that is driving your lightbulbs not frequency.Bass requires more current so that is why bass lights em up more. Many PA cabinets have DC light bulbs in them to protect from speaker overload. DCC systems can benefit from this too - in the case of a short, the current begins to flow through the bulb rather than shorting out. Quick answer I know - I've got a lot of forums to visit!!! Hope it helps some

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