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Thread: Constant lighting for DC?

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    Default Constant lighting for DC?

    Is there a constant intensity lighting trick for DC locos? You'd have to run most locos at scale 150 mph to get a reasonable amount of light out of them...

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    I should probably also state that I have no interest at this time in DCC...so looking for an old school solution. I'd even be happy with making the light come on at lower voltages...it seems like I have to be moving at highball speeds to have anything show up realistically.

    Why am I not interested in DCC? Well for starters, I work in the IT department of a large insurance company. The last thing I want to do in my spare time is dick around with technology and it's inevitable pitfalls.

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    You'd have to use some sort of low voltage bulb or LED. That way it's bright without the loco running too fast. The only problem is if the voltage goes too high the bulb or LED could blow. Or you could try some sort of battery system like Panorama uses in their passenger cars.

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    Hmm. Me thinks some experimentation is in order. Any of you folks out there doing something similar? I've seen the circuitry using diodes, but I think that it's probably not going to fit in an N scale loco, it's more for HO and up. And I'm not wild about the overall voltage drop per power pack.

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    Will this work for you http://rapidotrains.com/n-scale-easy...-car-lighting/

    Try FiferHobby and Modeltrainstuff
    "It's not whats best......It's whats best for you"

    Gary

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    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    I work in the IT department of a large insurance company. The last thing I want to do in my spare time is dick around with technology . . .
    That was so funny! I'm all-analog myself. I have four DC controllers and I love it! I like that there's at least an easy-to-install, battery-powered solution available that ike pointed out (the razor's cheap, but the razor blades are where they get you!). Edit: Nevermind. At 5.75" long, it won't fit into an N-scale Bombardier car, as one MTS customer wrote in their comments section. Too bad, since it's a pretty neat product--you can turn it on and off with an included magnetic wand.

    Now, this probably isn't solution you're looking for, but using an analog Kato Soundbox ($209.99) offers some of this capability. With the "start" and "sync" potentiometers set just right, the train will light up but not move.

    If you're planning on staying DC, you may be interested in a Soundbox anyway. I connected its stereo line-out to an old Sony surround-sound amplifier, and it sounds great! Add a ≈$100 powered sub-woofer for some real thunder! The dynamic range and audio fidelity of the Soundtraxx recordings are excellent when heard through an external sound system.

    Below, I have my Soundbox shown connected to my Kato controller, but it also works well with my MRC Tech II-series DC controllers (I'll go back and test how well the lights-on/don't-move settings work with my MRC controllers, since I haven't tried that recently):


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    Quote Originally Posted by P-LineSoo View Post
    I should probably also state that I have no interest at this time in DCC . . .
    This was pretty much the only reason I was considering going DCC: To have my locos' lights on all the time as well.

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    And dont forget , with DCC , you can do lighting effects as well . Like flashing ditch lights , and Mars , and blinkng becons , and.......
    So many more options .

    Steve

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    I'm a DCC'er but would love to know the answer. There is such a thing as a voltage regulator, but that requires a minimum voltage and I believe it will steal some of your power. I'm no expert here, so waiting to be educated.

    FWIW, DCC requires more care, but you forget about how the layout is wired when you're running trains (unless you've got polarity swap sections and don't have autoreversers). That's why it rocks. To me the only downside is needing to keep track and locos cleaner. I can get stuck for months not doing a real running session due to work requirements. In the end, on a mid or large sized layout, the wiring plan can start to really creep into how you operate or requires a ton of planning. With DCC, just run wires all over and be done.
    Creating new towns out of thin air.
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    Get a very small bridge rectifier. Wire the AC (marked ~) terminals in series with one of the motor leads. (Wheel pickup - ~ - ~ - Motor. Those aren't minus signs, just dashes) Short the + and - leads together. That will leave about 1.5 volts across the ~ leads and you can connect a 1.5 V grain of rice bulb to this. It will do constant lighting, but will also require more voltage before the loco starts running.

    You can also use LEDs with appropriate dropping resistors, but you need two, so it will conduct with both polarities. The advantage is that this can give you directional lighting. The anode (+) of one LED should be connected to the cathode (-) lead of the other. Connect one side of this to one of the ~ terminals, then the dropping resistor to the other side, and the other ~ terminal. A loco connect this way will not MU with a loco that doesn't have this, so don't even try!
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    Replace the headlamp with an led but instead of rectifiers or resistors, re-use the 12 volt lamp as a ballast wired in series.
    I did this on my old Atlas Mikado with a nice yellow led and the light comes on as soon as I crack the throttle.
    The only drawback is it flickers intermittently in reverse. Might be a cure for that flaw, but I haven't gotten around to experiment with it further.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ike8120 View Post
    Will this work for you http://rapidotrains.com/n-scale-easy...-car-lighting/

    Try FiferHobby and Modeltrainstuff
    Possibly... I've read about these and other than the greenish hue, people seem to like them. Wouldn't be hard to hack out the led's, hardest part would be finding a place for the batteries. In a steamer, probably the tender and wires to the loco. Larger/longer diesels probably have room. Things like my Trix FM switchers....dunno.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick McGrath View Post
    Replace the headlamp with an led but instead of rectifiers or resistors, re-use the 12 volt lamp as a ballast wired in series.
    I did this on my old Atlas Mikado with a nice yellow led and the light comes on as soon as I crack the throttle.
    The only drawback is it flickers intermittently in reverse. Might be a cure for that flaw, but I haven't gotten around to experiment with it further.
    This holds some promise...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim R View Post
    Get a very small bridge rectifier. Wire the AC (marked ~) terminals in series with one of the motor leads. (Wheel pickup - ~ - ~ - Motor. Those aren't minus signs, just dashes) Short the + and - leads together. That will leave about 1.5 volts across the ~ leads and you can connect a 1.5 V grain of rice bulb to this. It will do constant lighting, but will also require more voltage before the loco starts running.

    You can also use LEDs with appropriate dropping resistors, but you need two, so it will conduct with both polarities. The advantage is that this can give you directional lighting. The anode (+) of one LED should be connected to the cathode (-) lead of the other. Connect one side of this to one of the ~ terminals, then the dropping resistor to the other side, and the other ~ terminal. A loco connect this way will not MU with a loco that doesn't have this, so don't even try!
    Interesting, may have to experiment with this.

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    Constant lighting has been around a long time. Long before Astrac was even conceived.

    The big problem is the efficiency of today's motors. A good example of this is the Kato MP36. To demonstrate the reversing lights on my new Metra NS bi-level cars I used two AA batteries to light the LEDs in the loco and cab/coach. Instead of the lights coming on and the train sitting nicely for it's picture, it took off down the track.

    So to get lights on before the loco moves you need to block power from getting to the motor before it gets to the lights. On older locos using incandescent bulbs instead of LEDs replacing the bulb is in order. By using differently rated resistors the light can be brighter or dimmer. LEDs have a brightness rating as well. The amount of light is measured in MCD or micro candela or thousandths of a candle. A 5000MCD LED is considerably brighter than a 500MCD one. The information is generally on the specification sheet for the LEDs.

    The old model railroad electronics books have whole chapters devoted to how to get constant bright lights. The solutions range from the bridge rectifier trick to adding high frequency generators. You can find these books used. The HF generators do wreak havoc with DCC equipped stuff though.

    Some of the Tomix Neo power packs (blue case) have a ring around the throttle that will adjust lighting versus starting speed. So that you can have lighted cars and locos sitting.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
    Learn from modeling what you don't know about the real world.



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    Wow, you guys sure are making this difficult when it doesn't have to be.

    I have no interest in DCC, and every lead unit is equipped with constant lighting, strobes, mars lights, you name it.
    http://www.richmondcontrols.com/ His boards are direct replacements for the 'stock' LED boards on split-frame diesels.

    Jim Hinds is a freakin' genius. Not only can he make almost anything work, but he can match lighting patterns on known locomotives. Not just a diesel, but a Santa Fe SD45-2, as delivered, with the orange stratolite package.... He's evolved from bulb systems to LED's and now everything is even scale-sized on the roof.

    Nearly every one of my cabooses has one of his systems in it as well, with operating marker lights and interior lights. They'll stay on even after layout power is shut off. Ultracaps on the boards, so no flicker, no nothing.

    For passenger cars, I've equipped them all with Rapido lighting boards. Easy Peasy.

    Most of my videos show it, but pay particular attention to the lead SD45 on this one: https://youtu.be/8CqkkxeYL6I That's a mid-generation board with bulbs and one strobe LED on the roof. Note that I can just crack the throttle and everything comes on full bore.

    Also came from IT, and also have no interest in dealing with any more computer problems than I normally get in a day. There are good reasons for DCC, but lighting effects is certainly not one of them.
    Randgust N scale kits web page at www.randgust.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    Some of the Tomix Neo power packs (blue case) have a ring around the throttle that will adjust lighting versus starting speed. So that you can have lighted cars and locos sitting.
    Is this the one you mean?





    Does this controller below have the same feature?


    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    I would really love to have this feature most for my Tomix Odakyu trains (they have really cool-looking running lights). Looks like this Neo unit does have the lighting control feature:



    A little pricey ($109.58 USD plus international shipping), but I really like the looks of this controller. No momentum circuit, so I'll keep the three MRC 3000GS controllers I have for my freight lines. But, I think this is perfect for operating my electric light-rail line, the Tomix Odakyu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by randgust View Post
    Jim Hinds is a freakin' genius. Not only can he make almost anything work, but he can match lighting patterns on known locomotives. Not just a diesel, but a Santa Fe SD45-2, as delivered, with the orange stratolite package.... He's evolved from bulb systems to LED's and now everything is even scale-sized on the roof.
    That scale-strobe LED looks ridiculously cool. I got a bit confused as to where to start on his site. I would like to equip my five Atlas GP35s first, then my Kato F40PHs, and SD40T-2, SD40, and SD45s. Later, an SD60 and AC4400.

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    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    Quote Originally Posted by randgust View Post
    Also came from IT, and also have no interest in dealing with any more computer problems than I normally get in a day.
    Do I see a trend?

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    This question is for CNW: Are the white "Neo" power pack connectors the same as the Kato plastic two-pin connectors? I plan to buy the black Tomix controller, but I'm unsure if I need to buy a Tomix Neo connector power cable extension as well to connect to the power pack. I can manually splice the Kato track-feeder cable to the end of the Tomix extension cable. Here's the Neo extension cable:


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    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    Well, a combination of PWM DC power and capacitors would work. Of course, bad things will happen if you try to use locomotives with dual mode decoders with PWM DC power.

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