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Thread: Adding Lights to Locos

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    Default Adding Lights to Locos

    I know I'm getting in over my head with this electrical stuff, but I'm looking at a couple of loco's I just picked up...One Atlas, One LifeLike.....and they do not appear to have any lighting....So can lights be added and if so, would they be wired to the motor pickups..by soldering? Or should I just invest in loco's that are already lighted....


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    Quote Originally Posted by rhikdavis View Post
    I'm looking at a couple of loco's I just picked up...One Atlas, One LifeLike...
    Specifically, what locomotives do you have?

    And, have you looked at photos of the models shown on Mark's (Spookshow) most excellent website?
    = >

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    Of course you can solder to the motor tabs. By why would you want to? Invest in a DCC system and embrace the 21st century -- or at least the late 1990s.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhikdavis View Post
    I know I'm getting in over my head with this electrical stuff, but I'm looking at a couple of loco's I just picked up...One Atlas, One LifeLike.....and they do not appear to have any lighting....So can lights be added and if so, would they be wired to the motor pickups..by soldering? Or should I just invest in loco's that are already lighted....
    Yes, very easy to do depending on headlight opening either 1.8 or 3mm led with 1K resistor in series, does not necessarily need to be soldered to motor contacts, frame halfs can be drilled and tapped provided your Life-like is not plastic frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ol' Curmudgeon View Post
    Of course you can solder to the motor tabs. By why would you want to? Invest in a DCC system and embrace the 21st century -- or at least the late 1990s.
    How is DCC going to light up my locos, they have no lights.


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    Quote Originally Posted by rhikdavis View Post
    How is DCC going to light up my locos, they have no lights.
    All plug-and-play decoders come with LED headlights installed. And those that aren't PnP have wiring for headlight installation. That's been the standard for at least two decades. Unless your locomotives are old junkers pre-1995, give or take a few years, there's likely a PnP decoder for your situation.

    I'm a bit surprised that someone who's been on this forum for nearly eight years hasn't caught on to that yet. Even a simple Google search using the box in the upper right would have answered your own question.

    DCC is where it's at. A modest investment in a DCC system and some quality locomotives is worthwhile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhikdavis View Post
    How is DCC going to light up my locos, they have no lights.
    Adding lights is basically same for DC or DCC. Wha twill be different is how you wire them up. Decoders have three wires for lights; one for front (white), one for rear (yellow), and. common (blue). Now this is for decoders that are not drop in replacements for DC light boards.

    Let's say you use something like the Digitrax DN136D for a diesel locomotive. These have to be hard wired to the locomotive and include the three wires for lights. So it can make adding lights to a locomotive fairly simple (once you figure the light mounting out). You would just use the white, yellow and blue wires to connect the lights to the decoder.

    DN136D decoder.jpeg
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    @rhikdavis

    Please post what models of Atlas and Life Like locomotives you have.

    And, either review Spookshow's locomotive website, specifically looking at the photos that show the locomotives with their shells off, and post which look like what you have,

    OR better yet, post photos of your two locomotives with their shells off.

    This way, it will be much easier for forum members to help you determine the best way to install lighting.

    If your locomotives didn't come with lights, then they might be difficult to install a DCC decoder. Not sure why you would want a decoder just to have lighting on a DC locomotive...
    = >

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    True he will not need a decoder just to add lights. I just commented that it is not difficult to do so if he wished to go DCC. And depending on what locomotives he has, he might not even be able to switch them over to DCC (easily)

    And yes knowing exactly which locomotives he has will help. As far as wiring up lights on a DC loco, that should not be difficult either. Depending on the frame he can most likely just solder the wires to the frame if it is a split frame. Otherwise he will need to solder wires to the motor or to the power pickups.
    Just an old gandy dancer.

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    @Army-Gandydancer

    Totally agree with what you said, good sir!
    = >

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