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Thread: Dimmer Switches???

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    Default Dimmer Switches???

    Has any one ever heard of a "Dimmer Switch" that can be used for layout lighting?

    What I want to do is connect my Structures and Street Lights to dimmer switches so I can turn up or down the brightness. So far, I have found nothing searching google other than household 12 V dimmer switches.

    Yes I know about woodlands stuff and their modules. I also know about their pricing as well I know about (heard of) arduino also, and not interested in getting into any of that. I am really ONLY looking for a real and proper dimmer switch if such a thing exists for our hobby
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Thanks Scotian Huntress and I might be missing something in that thread but it seems to be for room lighting as opposed to N Scale structure lighting. What I am hoping for is a "mini or micro" dimmer switch that I can connect my building lighting to instead of the run of the mill on/off toggle switch.

    Hope that makes more sense
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Hi Tony -

    How are you powering your lighting? A 12V power supply? Or something else?

    - Jeff

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    Jeff,

    Using an old MRC Railpro 1300 or a 1370 as the power source for my lighting.

    What I do is run the wiring from the Power Source to a Distribution Block which supplies power to each switch and/or structure/light. I normally connect the wiring for a particular building or set of street lights to a toggle switch for individual on/off control. What I was considering was replacing the "on/off toggle switch" with a dimmer switch.
    Last edited by wombat457; 1st Aug 2018 at 01:20 AM. Reason: Addition
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Use the variable 12vdc for the power to the lights

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    Ike -

    If I understand Tony's request, he wants to be able to dim individual structures and groups of streets lights. He does not want to necessarily dim the whole layout.

    - Jeff

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    Jeff,

    Exactly - you got in just a smidgen quicker than I But thanks for the suggestion Ike.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Tony -

    I just Googled LED dimmer circuit and got dozens of possible circuits to do what you want. For what it's worth, I considered building my own LED controllers but in the end decided to use the WS system. Building your own would probably be cheaper, but it would be a lot more work!

    - Jeff

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    @wombat457 Oops, misread your post - my bad
    As I understand it LED's can be dimmed with voltage potentiometers - which is what Woodland Scenics Plug'n Play system does. You may be able to fabricobble something for your use but I, like you, am not finding any products to do this. - Sorry

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    Jeff,

    Thanks and I guess I didn't google the right thing, I just googled dimmer switches. I'll take another look BUT did just come across this from the place I buy my LED's and resistors:

    https://www.allelectronics.com/item/...-module/1.html

    Any thoughts on this and how you would install it/set it up?
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Scotian,

    Not a problem at all and thanks for the suggestion. A potentiometer huh ... sounds important, impressive and with a lot of "potential"

    Something like this then:



    https://www.allelectronics.com/item/...e-wired/1.html
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    @wombat457

    MRH has an article in the 2010 May/June Edition (Free with registration) on "Lighting Structures with LEDs" on page 119 with an example of a Circuit in Figure 12 with potentiometers to set the variable intensity and instructions for their use, that may be of assistance. The author uses this in combination with a multi-meter to determine the resistors for permanent installations.

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    The evil inlet has a number of inexpensive dimmer switchers that can drive led strings some remotely.
    https://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_from...immer&_sacat=0

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    Put a 5K or 10K potentiometer in series with your resistor and LED. The potentiometer has three leads or solder points, but you only need the middle and one of the other two. There are "trim pots" which are small potentiometers that you need a small screwdriver to adjust, up to big metal dials that can accommodate various volume knobs (useful if you're mounting on a facia.) Some "pots" are single turn for the whole range and some are multi-turn for finer adjustment.

    Allelectronics and ebay are good sources for small quantities.

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    Thanks guys and Allelectronics is where I found the above posted pics. I'll also look at the MRH article, once I register. Thanks all for the help and advice.

    On a side note, I wonder why no one has ever, commercially, made a dimer switch for our hobby? Could it be because I am the only "goose" who thought of doing it maybe?
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    On a side note, I wonder why no one has ever, commercially, made a dimer switch for our hobby? Could it be because I am the only "goose" who thought of doing it maybe?
    That's more or less what Woodland Scenics has done, except that they are selling the complete package with streetlights, structure lighting, cars with headlights, in addition to their Light Hubs, which are just a little box containing four dimmers. Everything plugs together, so it's really easy to use, but you pay for the convenience.

    I think you could use the WS Light Hubs (dimmers) with your own LEDs and wiring. You would need to find the little plugs that WS uses, but I'm sure they are standard items, probably available from vendors such as Digi-Key and Mouser.

    - Jeff

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    Jeff,

    That might be an idea ... use the WS Hubs and incorporate it with my wiring, especially if each hub contains 4 dimmers.

    I might be barking up the wrong tree here BUT, would I need to use the WS plugs at all? Wouldn't it be possible to cut them off and solder the needed wires to the remaining WS wires? Either way, this might be the most practicle and, as you mentioned, convenient way of doing this.

    Scratch that last paragraph - just looked at the WS Hubs and see what you mean. The "plugs" will be a necessity but, as said, they should (hopefully) be a generic type.

    So, now I appear to have done a 180 on the WS stuff, I didn't realise that I could use their "hub/s" as a "stand alone" item so to speak. If I can buy a Hub + Lights Kit for $20 (there abouts) then that makes it a very viable proposition.
    Last edited by wombat457; 1st Aug 2018 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Correction/Addition
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Jeff or anyone,

    Any idea what the "Plugs" might be called? I found splicer plugs on WS but no connecting plugs and am trying to find them elsewhere but have no idea what the heck it is I am looking for
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Can you post close up pics of the plugs, maybe with a ruler in it? I'm sure WS didn't make a custom plug system just for this. Might be some used in R/C or computer motherboards.

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