Lighting Buildings

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Prof1000, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Prof1000

    Prof1000 New Member


    I am wanting to put little led lights inside buildings. I looked at Radio Shack. They had two different voltages available. I am going to power them from an old power pack. Any help appreciated thanks.

  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi....Red lights..?? Is this in some part of town best not mentioned..?? I use regular ol' incandescents (12 v.)powered off a pack like you're wanting to do. I turn the voltage down quite a bit so I don't get the "doctor's office" look, but rather a soft, yellowish glow which is more in keeping with what you see in real life. I also place the lights in a spot where they can't be seen from the outside, and I lightly buff the windows with steel wool to eliminate glare.
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Jeffrey seems to do a nice job with building lighting. Hopefully he will chime in here.

    I have heard of people using white christmas light strands. You can cut the individual bulb/sockets off, then wire them so that they run about 1.5 volts per bulb. This is a real cheap method.

    The problem with LEDs is the light is directional. It shines a "spotlight" that will only illuminate in front of the LED, and not the whole building. You can try to build a diffuser to scatter the light.

    If I decide to light buildings on my new layout, I am going to use the christmas light route.

  4. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    If you going to use LED's and/or Christmas light bulbs you might want to use one of these:

    It puts out two primary voltages: 12v from the yellow and second black wires and 5v from red and first black wire (the one next to the yellow wire). Just put whatever resistor(s) inline that you need. On the 5v side it will pull literally many dozens of LED's or low voltage bulbs. I had mine pulling over a hundred Christmas light bulbs at one time.
  5. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I'm modeling N scale but I'm very interested in that topic.

    Is it an ATX form factor computer power supply ?
    I've heard about wheat bulb, rice bulb etc.. what are they exactly ? are LEDs better ?

  6. Jeff,can you tell us what the rating of that power supply is,ie 150watt etc.
  7. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    It's a 250 watt AT type non-switching power supply. I'm using a 150 watt unit at present. It does NOT need a load in order to operate. It does however need a locking power switch. These can be found at computer supply centers or you can get one from an old AT type (pre-ATX) computer, say something like a 386 or an early 486. Just plug it in and turn it on. It's circuit breaker protected so if you short the wires it instantly cuts off. It has to be unplugged to reset. It will generally reset after 15-25 seconds.
  8. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    If you're using DCC take a look at the May issue of Model Railroader. There is an article where someone had the idea of using track power to light your buildings with LEDs since its a relatively constant voltage. I did a variation of what he did using some rectifier diodes that i had laying around and the normal resister i put in series with the LED. 560 ohms 1/4 watt.
  9. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I bought a 1.5 power supply from radio shack and used 1.5 volt grain of rice bulbs they are easy to hide and you can get grain of wheat ons under shades for outside lights. But I don't use them very often.
  10. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Why waste track power when a constant voltage power supply can be used?
  11. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member

    Love the idea of using Christmas tree lights. If you buy them at the end of the season, you can get for practically nothing. Or just go to a Goodwill or some other thrift store.
  12. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    I got mine at the Dollar Tree store for 50 cents for a box of 50.
  13. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    Good point, but its only 20mA. However I suppose it could add up if you were to do hundreds of them and you're using a lot of BLI/PCM locos.
  14. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    I believe in using track power for the trains alone. I've always used an alternate source for layout lighting, but that's just me.

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