fiber optics

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jaijef, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. jaijef

    jaijef New Member

    I was wondering if anyone has used Fiber Optics in their structures or locomotives with a DCC or DC power supply?
    If so, which manufacturer did you use?
    I am planning on re-doing the lights on a few Athearn locos and would like to use fiber optics rather than a bare bulb in the cab.
    Or should I use the Athearn bulb then attach fiber optic cable to it?
    I am planning on using fiber optics on my structures for lights. Any suggestions on what to use?
    Thanks to eeryone in advance.

    PS--i can run either DC or DCC on my layout.
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I see you've not had much luck with a response.

    I've put LEDs and fibre optics into about 15 of my locos. I run DCC. For both headlights and marker lights. You cannot use the exisitng "globe".

    Any brand of LED will do. You'll need to find a fibre optic supplier in the US somewhere. (I'm from Australia. The supplier I got mine from ..... might ..... do overseas orders.) The fibre optic itslef is pretty cheap. Cuppla $$$ per metre. (bout 4 sizes I ordered). LEDs are about 10c each.

    I drilled a hole in the end of the LED, insert the fibre optic in the hole, and use a small dob of clear silicon sealant to keep it in place. Some have two fibres per LED (i.e. for maker lights, or dual headlights). Then paint the whole LED and piece of fibre optic with opaque paint (couple of coats) to stop the light dispersing inside the loco. Thread the fibre optic through the headlight hole (remove anything that's there first, of course), and just hold your soldering iron very close (but not touching) to the end of the fibre optic and it will melt into a nice lense.

    Wiring it up? LEDs are polarity specific. so must be wired the right way round. The longer wire is +) Also they are NOT 12V DC (for either DC or DCC operation), so you need a 1K ohm resistor in the wiring as well, to limit the current, otherwise the LED will blow.

    I use the "high bright" white LEDs, however you can get "yellow glow" ones.

    The fibre optic, and LEDs are cheap enough to experiment first, before attempting installing them on your fav loco.

    Check the "locomotive roster" click here to see some results.

    Any more info? Let me know.
  3. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

  4. cp1963

    cp1963 New Member

    I have never worked with scale trains, but I have put fiber optics in plastic models. for the cars, I've used them for headlights, taillights,turn signals, interior lights, and on some scifi models. I always got fiber optic lamps at yard sales for practically nothing. and they will do a lot of models. I used heat shrink tubing to attach fiber bundles to leds. May not be the info you're looking for, but maybe it will be a little bit of help.
  5. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

  6. Chaparral

    Chaparral Member

    Fibre optics seem like a better choice for traffic lights, headlights and places where the laser intense leds are too bright to be proto. I've seen too many EMS, fire and Police cars with sunbright lights.
    Just my opinion.
  7. DELTA

    DELTA New Member

    As a Firefighter/EMT I wish we had them that bright for real.. something to get the driver off the cell phone...

    I have seen people put light weight paper over the LED's to soften the light...
  8. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

    If you look at the article in Novembers MR it explains how to soften the glow by using different resistors. I would love to have that whole article simplified into laymans terms. If anyone out there has some knowledge on this I along with a lot of others would appreciate it.

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