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DCC and Lighting passenger cars

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  • Member since
    March 2007
  • 2,751 posts
DCC and Lighting passenger cars
Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Sunday, April 13, 2008 9:26 PM

I am in the process of building a new layout and have decided to make the leap to DCC. The board has been a great source of information so I throw this one out to you guys.

As I am not physically able to start construction just yet do to recovering from surgery I have way too much time to think about stuff. I am sitting here looking at the 30 plus passenger cars I have collected from my last layout, all of which are lighted. So my question is can I retain the present lighting or will I be required to retrofit them with something like LED with capacitors etc. I now Micro Engineering makes such a product but if I don't "NEED" to replace them I would prefer not to.

Thanks

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: S.E. Adirondacks, NY
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by modelmaker51 on Monday, April 14, 2008 1:30 AM
I think the May MR had something on a fairly simple method using a capacitor and resistor to power lights and minimize flicker. The size of resistor will depend on the track voltage and current and that will depend on which DCC system you go with.

Jay 

C-415 Build: https://imageshack.com/a/tShC/1 

Other builds: https://imageshack.com/my/albums 

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 19,080 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, April 14, 2008 7:01 AM

There are a couple of things to know about passenger car lighting on DCC.  First, the lighted cars you have now will work just as well as they did under DC, or just as poorly.  The issues with lighted cars don't really change.  You still need good electrical pickup from the wheels.

DCC will provide constant voltage to the tracks.  It's a "modulated square wave," so most of the time it will look kind of like AC to your lights.  They should be happy with that, but remember that the constant voltage is around 14 volts.  You may find that the lights are a bit brighter than you want, or, worse, that they burn out quickly.  Try using 16-volt or even 20-volt bulbs.  Running them well below their rated voltage will increase bulb life, and also give a more subdued lighting effect.

DCC systems come with a maximum current rating.  The smaller ones are usually around 2.5 amps, and the larger ones go up to 8.  You can add additional capacity to most by using boosters.  However, you still need to think about how you are using that current.  Generally, you should count on half an amp or so per active locomotive.  But, you've also got to consider anything else that draws track power, and that includes those passenger car lights.  If you've got 50-milliamp bulbs, then 20 of them will add up to a whole amp.  Use older 100-milliamp bulbs, and it's only 10 to get to an amp.  LEDs, by comparison, use only a few milliamps each, so they are a pretty good replacement choice.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Monday, April 14, 2008 7:59 AM
Thanks for the response guys, I am going with NCE Procab and using at least one booster so far. I did a little research and I believe Minitronics makes an led or fluorescent replacement for either DC or DCC at around $25.00 ah we'll ride in the dark for that much. I'll check in to either LED or higher voltage replacements whihc seem a lot more economically feasible.
Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?

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