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Lighting in Structures

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  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: Sandusky, Ohio
  • 537 posts
Lighting in Structures
Posted by NSlover92 on Sunday, February 10, 2008 8:54 PM
Hey, I want to put lighting in my structures on the layout I'm building, I am planning on using Digitrax DCC, how do I wire them, Like I know how to put lights in the structures but do I need anything special or do I hook them directly to the main's under the table. Mike
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Modeling PRR transition era operations in northern Ohio
nof
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Sweden
  • 97 posts
Posted by nof on Monday, February 11, 2008 6:18 AM
I think using the DCC power from the track is a misuse of power better used for locos. Use a separate power supply instead. I think we all have some useful left over power supply available, for example a charger for an old mobile phone. I have one on my desk that will give DC at 5.1V and up to 45OmA. Such a power supply wil be enough for a lot of LED lamps.
Nils-Olov Modelling the tomorrow in N-scale.
  • Member since
    January 2008
  • From: Central Georgia
  • 921 posts
Posted by Johnnny_reb on Monday, February 11, 2008 7:26 AM

Do not us your power bus from your DCC for structure lighting! You are better off using a separate power supply for you structures. Just pick up a few old train transformers at yard sales or train shows. Or you may try this

http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-a-Computer-ATX-Power-Supply-to-a-Lab-Power-Supply

While this was not intended for a model train layout. If your handy, I do not see why it could not be adapted to model train use and with the wattage output it should handle the power requirements of any small to mid-size Model Railroad layout. I plan to do just that as I have one sitting on the work bench now with a blown fuse.

With power outputs of  "+5V,  -5V,  +12V, -12V" combined with the wattage output it may be able to run the whole thing.

The only thing I plan to change is to install a external or surface mounted fuse holder.

As always remember that this is a "Computer Power Supply running on 120 volts AC" if you do not trust you skills "PLEASE BY ALL MEANS DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS!"

And I repete myself

As always remember that this is a "Computer Power Supply running on 120 volts AC" if you do not trust you skills "PLEASE BY ALL MEANS DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS!"

Johnnny_reb Once a word is spoken it can not be unspoken!

My Train Page   My Photobucket Page   My YouTube Channel

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, February 11, 2008 7:58 AM

For the benefit of the original poster, and anyone else who might be reading this, I'd like to add a reason why we don't connect our structure lighting to the DCC bus.

Your DCC system has a maximum rating, generally given in amps.  That's the limit to how much current may flow through the system.  Each item you put on the track will draw a certain number of amps.  A locomotive might draw 0.2 amps (or 200 milliamps) and a sound engine might be more like 0.5 amps.  A small incandescent lamp inside a passenger car might only take 50 milliamps, but if you've got 2 bulbs per car, and a 5-car train, those bulbs add up to a half amp.  Smaller DCC systems only have a total rating of 2.5 amps, and even the heftiest booster is only 8 amps.

There isn't much you can do about the passenger cars, lighted cabeese and locomotives.  They are what they are, and they have to be on the track.  Other than going with individual batteries, which some manufacturers do, you need to have these powered from the track.  But, that's not the case for structures, streetlights, yard towers, etc.  They don't need to be on your track bus, and should not be.  Save your DCC power for the trains.

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

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Southwest US
  • 12,914 posts
Posted by tomikawaTT on Monday, February 11, 2008 8:48 AM

Sign - Ditto [#ditto] to Mister Beasley.

The other side of the coin is, structure lights, whether incandescent or LED, don't need the carefully-conditioned digitally-coded power found in a DCC bus.  They can accept power from ANYTHING - old toy train transformers, wall warts left over from dead cordless tools, filament transformers, even flashlight batteries.

Except for batteries, I have used all of the above.  When my present layout reaches the, "Put lights in the structures," phase, I will be using all of the above - all plugged into a switch panel so I can turn things on in groups and not simultaneously.  The switch panel, in turn, will be powered from my, "One switch kills everything," layout master circuit breaker.

Just my My 2 cents [2c],

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: County Schuylkill
  • 484 posts
Posted by jblackwelljr on Monday, February 11, 2008 10:05 AM

You might also consider something like this:  http://www.web-tronics.com/2ampmuposup.html

I use it with 14v Miniatronics bulbs.

Jim "He'll regret it to his dyin day, if ever he lives that long." - Squire Danaher, The Quiet Man

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