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Dwarvin Lighting System

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Dwarvin Lighting System
Posted by GNMT76 on Sunday, October 20, 2019 7:51 PM

I just learned of a new fiber optic lighting system called Dwarvin and am wondering if anyone's had experience using it.  If so, what's your assessment of it?  

Here's the website's link: https://dwarvin.com/

Thanks!

Kerry

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Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, October 20, 2019 8:40 PM

I’ve been working with fiber for about 12 yrs and while I like their light driver box that’s about it for me.  You would either have to buy fiber fixtures such as lamp post or make them.
 
Just sticking a fiber up through a hole won’t give good light dispersion so that would require coming up with a way to distribute the light.
 
Working with lighting isn’t a 10 minute job if you do it right.  I also like individual lighting control that would require to many light drivers.
 
Might work for some but not a serious model railroader.
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
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Posted by GNMT76 on Monday, October 21, 2019 4:05 PM

Mel,

I'm a newbie to fiber optics.  Just what's needed in the way of equipment to use fiber optic cable for streetlights, building interiors and the like?  And where is it available?

Thanks!

 

 

Kerry

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, October 21, 2019 4:42 PM

GNMT76

Mel,

I'm a newbie to fiber optics.  Just what's needed in the way of equipment to use fiber optic cable for streetlights, building interiors and the like?  And where is it available?

Thanks!

 

 

 

I buy all my fiber cable off eBay by diameter.  I stock .075mm for vehicle taillights and big rig clearance lights, .15mm for small lights, 1mm for slightly larger light sources and 2mm for larger lights, 2mm is the largest I use.
 
A typical use for 2mm is the taillights in my streamline observation cars.
 
 
 
I use .03”/.075mm for taillight such as this 1951 Rolls Royce Phantom.
 
 
 
 
I make my own light drivers for each vehicle using Styrene tubing and 1mm 1½ volt micro bulb.  I use 1mm micro bulbs for all of my vehicles, LEDs just don’t cut the mustard for realism as far as I’m concerned.
 
Actually I use incandescent lighting in all of my structures for the same reasons.
 
To get non directional light from fiber I heat the end with my soldering iron to form a round blob.
 
For fiber light drivers I use the styrene tubing with a incandescent bulb.  Bright 3mm LEDs work very good but the light looks like LEDs.  I normally glue the bulb inside the tube or LEDs to the end of the tube then a drop of CA in the tube and stick the fiber into the tube.  The fiber needs to physically touch the light source for maximum light from the fiber.  
 
This is the Rolls Royce headlights using 1mm micro bulbs.
 
 
 
EDIT:
 
For street lights you would have to either make your own or buy them from Dwarvin, a bit pricy but very good looking.  Their light driver would work very good for multiple street lights but again quite pricy.
 
I might add I make everything on my layout easily removable because I’m super clumsy and that would be difficult using fiber optics.  All 100 of my vehicles are removable so that I can move them around for a different look.  When I’m working in a area near streetlights or trees I remove them before I break them. 
 
 

 
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 21, 2019 6:04 PM

 If you have access to the archive, or have a good collection of back issues, there have been some good articles in MR over the years on working with fiber optics, especially for things like car lights and street lights. Including some good information on getting the light to disperse nicely.

 With today's mico-LEDs, and the fact they you can buy them now from several suppliers with the hard part already done - namely solding wires to them, which requires a fine tipped soldering iron, good vision AND a good magnifier, and very steady hands - it seems to be the mechanical complexity of snaking fiber optics through everything is a lot less appealing, or needed. Back when those articles were published, a grain of rice bulb was maybe as small as it got, and those are far too large for HO or N scale autos. Fiber optics was the only way to go. In the case of a car, you now can use micro LEDs, and have 2 wires form the car to under the layout to supply power, instead of 4 fibers. If you've seen the amazing (but not cheap) modern fire apparatus with full lighting - micro LEDs are great. All those flashing lights and so forth, and it's only 2 wires to supply power, everything is contained within the vehicle. 

 For a while, fiber optics were everywhere - my pool has fiber optic lights - it's a really stupid idea. OK, instead of one underwater light, I have 4, and they change color. But they are nowhere near as bright as one ordinary pool light would be. There's a box on my patio that contains a high intensity projector bulb and a color wheel and the fibers are bundled and installed underground over to the pool. It has 2 switches, so I can stop the color wheel on one particular color, although because there are 4 bundles of fiber optics, it's hard to get all 4 showing the exact same color.

 It may have its place, but I'd rather install small LEDs and jus thook up some wires instead of trying to feed fiber optics all around, driven from a central light source.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by GNMT76 on Monday, October 21, 2019 6:10 PM

Mel,

Thanks for the photos, et al.

Rerarding your edit: Without the use of Dwarvin's lamplighter power box, what's your power source for lighting non-powered items like streetlights and building interiors?  Seems you're going to have to spend some bucks on something, perhaps approaching the price of the Dwarvin box.  And I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable to make one on my own.

 

 

Kerry

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Posted by GNMT76 on Monday, October 21, 2019 6:21 PM

Randy,

No such stock of back issues or access to the MR archives (don't want it either). 

The Dwarvin system does not use LEDs since the fiber optic cables themselves light up like the full moon when connected to the lamplighter power box.  That's the way I'd like to go to avoid using more LEDs and for a more realistic look.

Given that - and without purchasing the lamplighter box - what alternative power sources could one use?  And I'm not knowledgeable enough to make one myself.

 

 

 

Kerry

  • Member since
    January 2009
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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, October 21, 2019 6:44 PM

GNMT76

Mel,

Thanks for the photos, et al.

Rerarding your edit: Without the use of Dwarvin's lamplighter power box, what's your power source for lighting non-powered items like streetlights and building interiors?  Seems you're going to have to spend some bucks on something, perhaps approaching the price of the Dwarvin box.  And I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable to make one on my own.

 

 

 

Not at all.  Miniature 12 volt Grain of Wheat bulbs (2 to 5mm) are about $10 per 100 on eBay.  The 1mm micro bulbs are beginning to get scarce and the price is going up.  About $20 per 100 now.
 
The bulbs mounted in a Styrene tube ready to go is less than 25¢ each and I power all of them with two $5 DC to DC converters (two voltages, 8½ volts and 1.4 volts).  I power my entire layout accessories from a 12 volt 30 amp switching power supply $20.
 
I power my entire layout lighting for less than $40, that’s over 300 lights.  I doubt I have more than $125 tied up with all of my lighting and other accessories.
 
I have recently gone to using Arduino Random Lighting for my structures, something you couldn’t do as easy with fiber optics.  The Arduino controllers cost $7 each and each one turns on and off 20 bulbs randomly.
 
I use incandescent bulbs for my layout because I model the 1950s era and LEDs are not realistic looking enough for me.  They would look OK for now days with all the flourescent and HID lighting.
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 
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Posted by GNMT76 on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 5:56 PM

Mel,

Thanks for the mini education! 

I see a number of DC-DC convertors and switching power supply units on Amazon.  Can you please tell me the names and models of the ones you use so I can do a comparison?

 

 

 

Kerry

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 9:18 PM

I buy most of my supplies off eBay and they generally don’t have brand names.
 
I bought a 12 volt 30 amp switching power for my layout, probably much larger than you need.  My goodies on my layout have goodies so I need plenty of power.
 
The DC to DC converters I use are 8 amp ambient cooling and 12 amp with a fan.  That also may be over sized for you. 

Here are a couple of eBay search links.
 
DC to DC Converter
 

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=DC-DC+CC+CV+Buck+Converter+Step-down+Power+Module+7-32V+to+0.8-28V+12A+300W&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=0&_odkw=DC-DC+CC+CV+Buck+Converter+Step-down+Power+Module+7-32V+to+0.8-28V+12A+300W

 

 
EDIT:
 
I corrected the link above.
 
 
Power supply
 
 
After you check them out you will see that they are quite inexpensive so I would go with more current than needed rather than have to replace them with higher current later down the road.
 
I have hundreds of lights and over a dozen Arduinos controlling stuff on my layout.  The 1½ volt micro bulbs draw 15ma each and the ammeter measures 5.2 amps, all of the converters for my layout are 8 amp.
 
The 12 volt bulbs are running at 8½ volts or about 70% of their rating.  The bulbs are 12 volt at 40 to 100 ma each.  They are much more realistic looking at reduced voltage and the last forever at 8½ volts.  My lighting converter measures 6.7 amps with all my lights on.  I haven't had to replace a 12 volt bulb in over 10 yrs and only two 1½ volt bulbs in 12 yrs, I run the 1½ volt bulbs at 1.38 volts, for longer life.
 
I have a total of five DC to DC converters running off the 12 volt supply because I have 5 operating voltages.  My 30 amp power supply with everything on is drawing just under 14 amps.
 
The higher current power supplies (over 15 amps) have an internal fan that can be irritating.  It comes on at 1 amp and increases the air flow (and fan noise) with increase in current.
 
If you go this way and need some help send me a PM and I’ll be glad to help.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 10:42 PM

Kerry
 
A lot of the guys on the Forum are using low current converters (2 amp) like the one in the link below.  They have a built in meter for setting the voltage
 
 
I bought cheapo panel meters for the 8 amp version.
 
 
This is my bench power supply for testing my electronics.
 
 
I glued the meters to the top of the converters.
 
This is an 8 amp converter (12 amp with a cooling fan)
 
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    October 2017
  • 49 posts
Posted by GNMT76 on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:44 PM

Many thanks, Mel.  I'll check out those links.

Kerry

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