Make your own free website on Tripod.com


BILL'S RAILROAD EMPIRE










Night Lights



Copyright © 2003-2017 Bill's Railroad Empire®



Want to add more realism to your model railroad? Add some lights. You can use miniature Christmas tree lights and a spare power pack for this project. The photo above is the downtown scene on my N scale railroad. Here's how the structures are lighted and what you'll need to use.

In all, there are 222 lights on my N scale layout. Many of the lights are miniature Christmas tree lights.

If you have a "train set" power pack, these are usually 7va with 15-17v DC voltage. This should provide enough power for about 20-30 miniature Christmas tree lights wired in series, five lights to each series.

You can use a wall transformer, but I prefer a power pack with a rheostat to control the brightness and the voltage. Whatever you use, be sure it's protected by a circuit breaker.

If you plan to purchase a power pack, look into the Model Rectifier Model 1370. This is a 18va pack with on-off switch, pilot light, and circuit breaker. These have enough power for about 60-80 lights. I use one of these for some of my lights. These can be found for around $25-$30. You don't want to purchase the "look-alike" Model 1300 which is only 7va. You want a Model 1370. Atlas has a 1.2 amp power pack for around $30.








You'll need a set of clear miniature Christmas tree lights. Separate the lights by cutting them apart. You want to leave the lights in the sockets. You'll have two wire leads about 4"-6" long after they are cut apart.

The sets with 50 or 100 lights usually have 2.5v lamps. Sets with 35 are typically 3.5v, and sets of 20 have 6v lights. The lights discussed here are from sets of 100 lights. If you use the higher voltage lamps, the number of lamps in the series will need to be adjusted.

The inside walls of the structures should be painted black and the joints sealed so the light doesn't shine through. If the windows are bare, you might want to put waxed paper behind them to diffuse the light. When the lights are on, use the rheostat and set it to about nine volts. This will not only prolong the life of the bulbs, but will create a softer, more realistic light.








You can now wire the lights in series (see illustration above). I like to do five lights to a set (5x2.5v=12.5v). If your power pack is more than 12v at full setting and you're afraid you'd accidentally power it all the way, you might want to use six lights to a set to prevent the lights from burning out.

You'll notice that we're using the DC terminals. Some believe that the lights won't last as long with DC as with AC. What you can do to prolong the life is to switch the polarity from time to time using the reversing switch.

Drill holes where the lights will go, drop the leads through them and wire the lights in series. connect the wires to a switch or directly to the pack. I use Atlas #205 Connectors. They cost a bit more than some other switches.

If you decide to use lights such as those sold in hobby stores for about $1 each, purchase the 12-16 volt lights and use parallel wiring (see illustration below).







Note: These are incandescent lights, not LEDs.


Note: I assume no responsibility for any damage that might occur. You should use caution and familiarize yourself with the task at hand when working with anything electrical.

Alex's Electronic Test Bench has a large listing of helpful electrical and electronics sites plus a glossary.

Click Here





    What you'll need:
  • Set of clear miniature Christmas tree lights
  • Power pack
  • Stranded wire (22 gauge)
  • or speaker wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Multi-Meter (optional)



DC POWER DE-MYSTIFIED

Great source of information about low-voltage electric power





Links to web sites of manufacturers and suppliers:


Walthers MRC--Model Rectifier Corp
MiniatronicsMicromark
NJ InternationalAtlas Model Railroad Co.
Hobby Surplus SalesAcme Model Engineeering
Laster Hobby ToolsDemar Electronics
Radio ShackAll Electronics Corp.
Model PowerFiber Optic Products, Inc.






Bill's Ballasting, Track Painting, Track Cleaning, and Building a Layout Table How-To Page







scenery sound



Coming soon...how to add inexpensive sound to your layout.





Bob Backway has an outstanding article, "Modeling Sound"

Click Here


Paul Templar uses an old radio to create interesting lighting and sound

Click Here


Green Frog Productions has background sounds audio tapes

Click Here


Links to manufacturers of sound systems

Click Here










REALISTIC ANIMATION, LIGHTING, AND SOUND

This illustrated book has numerous projects with easy step-by-step instructions and color photos





OTHER RESOURCES

Links to 1,000 sites with layout how-to and tutorial pages as well as manufacturers and suppliers can be found on my favorite sites pages

Go to Bill's Favorite Sites Page






THE ALL GAUGE MODEL RAILROADING PAGE

Thor's great site has numerous tutorials, track plans, and much, much more

Go to the All Gauge Page






MODEL RAILROADING BOOKS

Select from over 150 model railroading how-to and reference books

Click Here to Browse





BACK TOP OF PAGENEXT




Return to Bill's Railroad Empire Home Page







SITE DIRECTORY


Bill's Railroad Empire Home Page
Recent Projects and On the Tracks Today
Bill's Circus Scene
U.S. Army Military Scene
Downtown Scene
Along the Highway Scene
Flying Saucer and Haunted House Scenes
Bill's Photo Gallery
Bill's Railroad Empire YouTube Videos
Bill's Railroad Empire -- The Complete Video at YesVideo
History of N Scale
Complete Bev-Bel N Scale Locomotive List
A Look Back...
B&O Cincinnatian History
History of the Original 1970s Auto-Train
Toy Trains
Bill's Easy Method Tutorials
Lights and Sound How-To Page
Bill's Store
Links to Favorite Sites
Web Rings
Awards and Comments from Visitors
Bill's Music Page
Send E-Mail
In Memory of Capt. James A. Graham





Updated 1/11/2017






Google





Search:
Keywords:










Copyright © 1999-2017 Bill's Railroad Empire®


Contents of this web site including text, photographs, programming code, and page format are copyrighted by Bill's Railroad Empire with the exception of certain gif, jpg, midi, and wav files which are assumed to be in the public domain. Amazon.com, Google, RailServe, Web Ring and certain other images and material have been used with permission.

Disclaimer: If any gif, jpg, midi, or wav files are copyrighted, kindly inform me and they will be removed promptly upon receipt of documentation.

Please do not link to any of my files without permission.


Bill's Railroad Empire® is a registered trademark






This web site is owned and managed by



www.billsrailroad.net

E-Mail: Bill's Railroad Empire