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Overhead track lighting

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  • Member since
    November, 2002
  • From: "Steel, Steam and Thunder"Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • 1,055 posts
Overhead track lighting
Posted by TheK4Kid on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:09 PM

I have a general question on overhead track lighting.

For now I have some flourescent lights overhead of my layout as I build it.

However I would like to go to overhead track lighting.

What kinds of lighting would any of you recommend?

Dimmable LED lights or other?

It seems LED lighting is quicly making quite an advance in the lighting world.

My layout presently is 6 feet wide by 24 feet long.

I do have a center divider running the full 24 feet.

How many lights and types would any of you guys recommend?

Right now I am just looking at different track lights, dimmers, etc.

My basemeyt ceiling isn't finished yet and all I have now is overhead rafters.

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 4,575 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 12:04 AM

Hi, K4

My layout occupies two halves of the basement. One half had been "finished" with stud walls and a ceiling of furring strips with a light colored paneling over that.

The other side was finished later with a drop ceiling.

I use a variety of lighting which has evolved over the years to suit my needs and to take advantage of more recent LEDs.

Traditional track lights are certainly versatile. Aiming and highlighting sertain spots on the scenery can be easily achieved with track lights. Many of the "cans" I bought years ago now have Edison base LED Par 30 and PAR 50 lamps in them.

The early LEDs were not dimmable, more recent ones are, to a degree (they will only go down to maybe 20 or 30% light output) and I have found some dimmable ones seem to work better than others. You may have to search for a dimmer switch that is "LED recommended" as some of the older dimmer switches didn't play well with LEDs.

In the "New" side of the layout I use 4" mini-can recessed lights. These are also able to be "aimed" but to a much lesser degree than the track light housings. The main advantage is the clear view of the ceiling without the distraction of the lighting hardware. These were designed to use MR-16, GU-10, 50 watt halogens but there are LEDs in that size which will fit nicely.

Recently I've been buying mini track light fixtures that also use the MR-16 lamps. Some of these are on goose-necks which are easily aimed. The main drawback is that they look like weeds growing out of the ceiling and are a bit obtrusive, visually.

I have found fixtures at closeout prices at the "Big-Box" stores and also at the Habitat For Humanity Restore. I try not to pay retail prices if I can help it Whistling

Here is an assortment of some of the more recent LEDs I've been using. I generally opt for the 2700K temperature range. Some of these are labeled as "Warm White". Some have a broader beam-spread. In a few places I use a "tighter" beam to highlight something in a scene, something like spot-lighting.

In the foreground is an MR-16, GU-10 halogen lamp and above it is the recessed can that I show with an LED in its place.

I certainly prefer the clean look of the recessed can over the traditional track lighting at a slight sacrifice of being able to move the light in more directions. Since my suspended ceiling tile is thin fiberglas, I have made "inserts" using bright white melamine cut to fit. I have a 4" hole saw for making the clean cutout for the light housing.

For general room light and "working" lights I also have recessed LED panels, both 2 x 2 and 2 x 4 feet. 

I hope that helps,

Good Luck,

Ed

 

  • Member since
    November, 2002
  • From: "Steel, Steam and Thunder"Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • 1,055 posts
Posted by TheK4Kid on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 12:28 AM

Hi gmpullman,

 Thanks for the reply !

It's helpful.

You have a really great looking layout!

I actually went to a big box store Sunday looking for two CFL spotlight bulbs.

I guess they went the way of the dinosuars for outside security lighting.

So I started looking at the LED track lights and they didn't have much of aselection, so I ll keep looking around.

I may put a dropped ceiling in, and put paneling on my bare basement walls where my layout is now

Probably wait until winter sets in , when I can't do much outside.

I'd like to put in dimmable LEDs for a night time effect.

By the way, those goose neck lights remind me of the Martian space machines in The War of the Worlds! lol!Big Smile

 

Also how easy is it to install the new LEDs into the cans?

I have 6 of those in my kitchen over the counters with the older light bulbs in them. I was thinking of changing the lights out for LEDs.

A neighbor had some just like mine, the lady of the house left them on as they left for the day and one of them overheated and set fire to the insulation and totally burned the house down! It was a $250,000 ranch home . It was a total loss!

We live in an addition with all wells , no sewer or water lines and it took 34 tanker truck loads to put the fire out!

 

Thanks again for your input.Big Smile

TheK4Kid

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 4,575 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 12:37 AM

TheK4Kid
I actually went to a big box store Sunday looking for two CFL spotlight bulbs.

Ha! We have one of those closeout stores near me. They are selling pretty nice CFL flood lights in a variety of color temps and wattages.

Price?

 

Four for a dollar!

 

I did pick up a bunch for outdoor floodlight lamps which I have quite a few of.

I see you have two Habitat "Restore" locations in Fort Wayne. If they are anything like the ones I go to around Cleveland you can sometimes find good deals on gently-used light fixtures. You have to be patient and check often.

TheK4Kid
A neighbor had some just like mine, the lady of the house left them on as they left for the day and one of them overheated and set fire to the insulation and totally burned the house down!

Oh, yes, the halogen lamps get really HOT! The LED conversion is pretty straightforward. Sometimes you have to fuss with the little retaining clip as some of the LEDs have cooling fins on them.

The MR-16 is the lamp shape and the GU-10 is the pin spacing on the base. The porcelain socket simply snaps onto the lamp with a slight twist.

 

I usually buy the LEDs in multi-packs from Amazon. They run about $4 or 5. per lamp that way. Non-dimmable ones are a little cheaper.

https://www.amazon.com/Dimmable-Equivalent-Recessed-Lighting-Spotlight/dp/B00IXG3O3S/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1505282171&sr=8-6&keywords=gu-10

 Another source is 1000 bulbs:

https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/led-light-bulbs/

Have Fun,

Ed

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 22,970 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:41 AM

 I have a can at the bottom of my basement stairs that went through 2 CFLs in a matter of months, so I repalced it with one of these:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-65-Watt-Equivalent-White-Dimmable-LED-Recessed-Retrofit-Downlight-Fits-Housing-Diameter-5-in-or-6-in/1000075157

and it's been there for 2 years now. This is the way to replace recessed cans with LEDs, instead of screwing in an LED floodlight. Which BTW my back yard is MUCH brighter at 1/4 of the power since I repalced the 4 big 150 watt floodlights with LED equivalents. They draw like 40 watts each, and make more light.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: North Dakota
  • 7,519 posts
Posted by BroadwayLion on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 10:06 AM

The LION does not put tracks on the ceiling of him. The trains would fall off of them.

Ceilings of LION are 12+' high, and the doctor will not allow the LION to climb up ladders any more. A basement, more easier, BUT, what about the color of the light? Will it PHOTOGRAPH WELL. The eye will fix up issues with color on the fly, but the camera will not. It will show up any bad color.

Then where are the shadows? You do not want shadows on your backdrops, again, you eye will erase these, the camera will not.

LION fixed this issue, him runs trains in subway tunnels. Dark spooky tunnels!

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Southern California
  • 925 posts
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 1:29 PM

    Track lights are nice because you can aim them. There are some which are small and not as noticeable as others. If you put them in the aisle straight over your head you can not see them and they can shine light onto the areas you wish to highlight, or you can flood out the whole area. If you cross them so the light shines from two different angles on the same scene then there won’t be any shadows.
    For a night effect I recommend using blue light bulbs instead of dimming your lights. Consumer grade dimmers can cause weird electrical problems with other electronic devices especially audio and video devices. The blue lights can be on a different circuit or track. Some people use strings of blue Christmas lights.
    Florescent lights are on their way out because they are hazardous waste and can not just be tossed into the trash. Legally (at least in California) they have to be taken to a hazardous waste facility.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 4,291 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 2:17 PM

TheK4Kid

I actually went to a big box store Sunday looking for two CFL spotlight bulbs.

I guess they went the way of the dinosuars for outside security lighting.

 

 

If you're talking about motion-sensor activation, fluorescents were, and are, a bad choice.  Turning them on and off is what "wears them out".  I would far prefer using halogen than fluorescent.

If the bulbs are on all-night:  different story.

 

Traditional MR-16 low voltage bulbs were, and are, bi-pin.  They're all over my house.  Push in-pull out.  The GU-10 are more of a bayonet style, in that there's also a twist involved.  It's good to know which you have BEFORE you try to remove the bulb. 

There are also Edison-based MR-16's.  These are 120 Volt.  And, of course, they don't interchange with the above.

 

Ed

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