power supply for lights

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by fundamentalman, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. fundamentalman

    fundamentalman New Member

    I am planning my first layout now and I am planning to have some lit scenery. I intend to have a traffic light, a few street lights, a couple of lit buildings, and a flashing water tower light. What should I use to power all of this?
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    What I do is use an old, cheap power pack, and use the track output so that I can vary the light intensity to suite the ambient light. It may also be necessary to put limiting resistors in some lights if they appear too bright in relation to the others. You can even use a wall wart from an old recorder or something, just be sure that you know the voltage and current rating on it. Some are AC output, while most are DC. They can vary from 100 mA to 1 amp. Use the biggest one you can find.
  3. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    I do like Don, I have an old style, MRC transformer that is for accessory lighting. That's AC power and is just right for the 12vac bulbs I get from Radio Shack. Use the speed control to dim or brighten your lights.

    My only problem is, I'm powering the snap switch motors with the same power pack. So, whenever I throw a turnout, the lights momentarily blink out. I've grown used to it.

    Anyone else have it wired this way? Do I need a third unit for the switches!?
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Engineer Kyle

    Build a Capacitive Discharge (CD) supply for your switch machines. This will significantly reduce the momentary load on your power pack to just the capacitor recharge current. The CD unit will also really prolong the life of your switch machines and control switches. Highly recommended for anybody using twin coil switch machines.

    Use a circuit from towards the top of this page (http://home.cogeco.ca/~rpaisley4/CDPSU.html). The second set of circuits (current blocking) has more components, but recharges faster and blocks current to the switch machines while recharging. Or this site (http://www.awrr.com) has simple instructions for a simple CD unit under the more circuits link.

    If the chosen circuit indicates a DC input simply use wire in a full wave rectifier (used to be easy to get a Radio Shark) of 50PIV, 1 amp or more and a 470ufd capacitor across the DC output of rectifier. Attach the rectifier to the AC terminals of your old power pack and you have the DC input at the right voltage.

    Circuitron also makes a commercial CD unit advertised in Walters. But you can do it youself for less than half the cost.

    Hope this helps.
  5. johnny b

    johnny b Member

    For the 12v lighting and accessories I have allways used a doorbell transformer. They are cheap and can be found in any hardware store.
  6. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Dear Fred,

    Thanks so much for the answer to my prob. I hafta get or build on of those Cd's when I get a chance.

    Muchos Gracias!
  7. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    You know all those ac/dc adaptors you have lying around? Well check out thier voltage and amperage and then use them if you can.
    Adding a 5k or 10 k potentiometer makes it variable as well. :)
    Apply the pot only to the dc output though NOT the ac.

    Hope that helps you out. :)

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