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Power source for lighting buildings

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Power source for lighting buildings
Posted by C&O Fan on Friday, February 1, 2008 4:05 PM

Most of the bulbs I have are 1.5 volts

What would you recommend for a power supply ?

TerryinTexas

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, February 1, 2008 4:35 PM

Terry, 

How many watts each? (Or the resistance on each) and how are they wired?  (Series? Parallel?) Do you prefer long life or brightness?

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by C&O Fan on Friday, February 1, 2008 5:05 PM

Don I have 4 of these wired to a set of buss wires running the length of the engine house

They are made by Minitronics

Remember old bookkeepers lights or billiard shades, then picture our Old Fashioned Green & White Lamp Shades HO scale - 1.5 Volt 40mA 1,000 hour average life. Resistors included to use up to 12 Volts 3 sets/$10.95 Best description of this light is a billiard table with a fixture hanging over the table. That fixture is usually a green shade with a white interior. That is exactly what Miniatronics has created for the hobbyist. Use this fixture for indoors or outdoors as an exterior light for a building, warehouses or train stations.

I prefer long life over brightness

 

TerryinTexas

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http://conewriversubdivision.yolasite.com/

 

 

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, February 1, 2008 5:19 PM

I'll give you answers for both parallel hookups and series.

Series:

1.5V x 4 = 6 Volts

Volts * Current = Watts So 1.5V * .02 amps = .03 watts each (man that's small)

.03 x 4 = .12 Watts total

So you need a 6V supply across the lamps that can supply 20 milli-amps (ma) or .12 Watts output.  (Preferably .15 Watts output as a safety margin to keep from overheating the supply)

Parallel:

With 1.5Volts and 20mamps, you'll need a 1.5V supply that can give out 80 ma or .12 Watts total.

Next stop... http://www.jameco.com/

http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&categoryId=453030

Any idea what kind of power supply you'll pick?  (3.3, 5, 6, 9, and 12V are common power supply voltages)  I can calculate the resistor you'll need and tell you how to wire them up exactly.  I can even show you how to wire up to a DCC track for 50 cents.  But that makes most people cringe because it makes tracking down shorts more difficult.

For long life use a DC power supply.  It will reduce the brightness of the bulb, but will increase the life to it's rated maximum.  AC will let them burn brighter for the same voltage, but it will considerably shorten their life.

 

BTW: I really like the Miniatronics lamps.  It's a good choice.  The 1.5's are nice and bright.  I find the 12V versions are less prone to burning out due to bad wireups, but they are dimmer.

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by C&O Fan on Friday, February 1, 2008 6:09 PM
 DigitalGriffin wrote:

Snip

Any idea what kind of power supply you'll pick?  (3.3, 5, 6, 9, and 12V are common power supply voltages)  I can calculate the resistor you'll need and tell you how to wire them up exactly.  I can even show you how to wire up to a DCC track for 50 cents.  But that makes most people cringe because it makes tracking down shorts more difficult.

Snip

 

Probably the 6 volt

That way if i use any other 12 volt bulbs i can power them at 1/2 power

 

I'm trying to make all my building lights operate from a seperate source other than using track power

TerryinTexas

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http://conewriversubdivision.yolasite.com/

 

 

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Friday, February 1, 2008 9:25 PM

 

I designed a separate DCC controlled power supply for supplying power to control panels, Tortoises, on/off 12V for outside structure lighting and variable inside building lighting.  It doesn't use track power and can supply up to 3A of total currrent. 

Here's the link to it with schematics and parts list.  I tried to use commonly available parts:

http://www.thebinks.com/trains/decoder_adapter.html

And a picture:

I am working on a newer modified design that can provide 6A of total current and can have two on/off outputs.  Thus You can turn on/off one section of lights with F0 and another set with F1 .  It uses the commonly available MF615 Magna Force power supply.  I'll try to post the schematic over the weekend.

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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Posted by simon1966 on Saturday, February 2, 2008 8:30 AM

Have you got access to an old PC?  Who hasn't got at least 1 in a closet somewhere!

 This is what I did to make DC power buses around my layout.

http://web2.murraystate.edu/andy.batts/ps/POWERSUPPLY.HTM

 

 

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, February 2, 2008 8:34 AM

I had some of those same bulbs, with the same shades and resistors.  I wired them up, and within a few months all but one of the six had burned out.  I may have had too much voltage on them, but with anything less I was not happy with the brightness.

I replaced them with the 12-volt bulbs, which I run with a 10-volt power source, no resistors.  So far, no burnouts on a couple of dozen bulbs, and I'm happier with the brightness level.

I use an old train transformer, literally a Lionel that's well over 50 years old.  (Yeah, I know.  They don't make 'em like they used to.)  It has a series of binding posts, so by picking the right pair I get the voltage I want.  Old Reliable is about maxed-out on amperage, though, so I've go an old MRC sitting in a box ready to add in for the next set of wiring circuits.

Another option is the wall-wart, those little power supplies that come with pretty much every low-voltage appliance these days.  You've probably got a few of them sitting around from old computer printers, broken cordless screwdrivers, etc.  Check the output voltage on them, and find one that fits.  You can buy them, too, but the solution may be in your parts box already.

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

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Posted by BlueHillsCPR on Saturday, February 2, 2008 8:59 AM
 jbinkley60 wrote:
I designed a separate DCC controlled power supply for supplying power to control panels, Tortoises, on/off 12V for outside structure lighting and variable inside building lighting.  It doesn't use track power and can supply up to 3A of total currrent.

I am working on a newer modified design that can provide 6A of total current and can have two on/off outputs.  Thus You can turn on/off one section of lights with F0 and another set with F1 .  It uses the commonly available MF615 Magna Force power supply.  I'll try to post the schematic over the weekend.

 

jbinkley, your DCC controlled supply is nice!  Looking forward to seeing what you are doing in the new and improved version! Thumbs Up [tup]

 simon1966 wrote:
 This is what I did to make DC power buses around my layout.

http://web2.murraystate.edu/andy.batts/ps/POWERSUPPLY.HTM

Thanks for the link.  I have seen a few different ideas for doing this.  So far I like this one the best! Smile [:)]

 

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Posted by simon1966 on Saturday, February 2, 2008 9:24 AM

I have also been starting to use some LED's for interior lighting.  Some of the very small LEDs allow for some interesting effects. In this photo I was able to drill out the lamp shade of a desk lamp and get one of the small surface mount LEDs installed on the desk.

A bit nuts really, but this is for a foreground building that has a lot of interior detail on 4 floors, each with its own switched lighting circuit.

 

 

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by SteelMonsters on Saturday, February 2, 2008 9:37 AM
 simon1966 wrote:

This is what I did to make DC power buses around my layout.

http://web2.murraystate.edu/andy.batts/ps/POWERSUPPLY.HTM

 

Banana plugs and an internal resistor. Very nice. 

-Marc
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, February 2, 2008 10:28 AM

Simon, those Venetian blinds are great!  I hope you don't mind if I copy the idea.

I heartily agree with Simon on the virtues of lighting and detailing those foreground structures.  It's a real eye-catcher, and it draws the visitor into the layout and the other details.

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

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Posted by BNENGR on Sunday, February 3, 2008 12:41 AM

Hi Engineer Jeff,

I'd like to see that schematic of using the Magna Force MF615 power supply. I have an extra one that's brand new that I could use for lighting in the new yard I'm building.

Paulie

The Burlington Northern Lives On!
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Posted by BNENGR on Sunday, February 3, 2008 12:47 AM

Hello Simon, Wow! You did a splendid job of detailing on that structure. It's awesome!

Paulie

The Burlington Northern Lives On!
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Posted by jbinkley60 on Sunday, February 3, 2008 5:41 AM
 BNENGR wrote:

Hi Engineer Jeff,

I'd like to see that schematic of using the Magna Force MF615 power supply. I have an extra one that's brand new that I could use for lighting in the new yard I'm building.

Paulie

I've updated the page with higher current version. 

http://www.thebinks.com/trains/decoder_adapter.html 

I haven't built it yet but it is based upon the 3A design, with some minor modifications.  I have all of the parts and will try to build it over the next week or two.  It should be able to scale to 10A of total output, with proper heat sinks for Q1 and Q2.  Here's the schematic.

The base schematic T1 uses the popular Magna Force MF615 power supply to supply 6A of continuous current but any 15-20 VDC or 13-18 VAC supply can be used, even old Lionel transformers and similar.  Note that if the source does not provide current limiting, I highly recommend adding an input fuse between T1 and D1 of sufficient size to protect T1. 

Also F1 is shown as a 2A fuse for the variable output.  It can safely be scaled up to 5A as long as the source can provide enough current and you heat sink Q2 properly.  On this version you can also adjust the output voltage for the fixed and switched outputs.  Adjust R4 for the proper output voltage.  I use 14V Minatronics bulbs for my layout and will adjust this to 13V.  The part numbers are all for Radio Shack or Jameco.

 

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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Posted by C&O Fan on Monday, February 4, 2008 10:42 AM
 simon1966 wrote:

Have you got access to an old PC?  Who hasn't got at least 1 in a closet somewhere!

 This is what I did to make DC power buses around my layout.

http://web2.murraystate.edu/andy.batts/ps/POWERSUPPLY.HTM

 

 

This looks really good but i'm just lost when it comes to electronics

I need something simple that just plugs into the wall

TerryinTexas

See my Web Site Here

http://conewriversubdivision.yolasite.com/

 

 

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 4, 2008 11:47 AM
 C O Fan wrote:
This looks really good but i'm just lost when it comes to electronics

I need something simple that just plugs into the wall

You could go the 6 Volt route.  But I think you'll be seriously disapointed when you hook a 12V bulb to a 6 Volt DC source.  It would barely light.  I would recommend at least a 9 Volt.

You could buy a 12Volt then take a 9 volt battery across the terminals to see how you like it.

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by C&O Fan on Monday, February 4, 2008 12:31 PM
 DigitalGriffin wrote:
 C O Fan wrote:
This looks really good but i'm just lost when it comes to electronics

I need something simple that just plugs into the wall

Snip

You could buy a 12Volt then take a 9 volt battery across the terminals to see how you like it.

 

There's a good thought !

I have seen some layouts with lighted buildings that are just way to bright

TerryinTexas

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http://conewriversubdivision.yolasite.com/

 

 

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Monday, February 4, 2008 12:43 PM

There's a good thought !

I have seen some layouts with lighted buildings that are just way to bright

 

This is why on my DCC controlled adapter that I provide a constant 12V for the outside of buildings and streetlights where you generally see brighter more consistant lighting. For inside lighting it is adjustable based upon the throttle setting for the DCC decoder in the adapter.  Exterior lighting tends to be more contant and interior lighting tends to vary more.  You can also diffuse the interior lighting or place small resistors to provide lower light in certain buildings and locations.

   

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Monday, February 4, 2008 1:23 PM

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by C&O Fan on Monday, February 4, 2008 3:50 PM

TerryinTexas

See my Web Site Here

http://conewriversubdivision.yolasite.com/

 

 

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Posted by 60YOKID on Monday, February 4, 2008 8:53 PM

Or this for 1.5 volts directly.

  http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2552559

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Posted by C&O Fan on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 6:56 AM
 60YOKID wrote:

Or this for 1.5 volts directly.

  http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2552559

Thank you !

TerryinTexas

See my Web Site Here

http://conewriversubdivision.yolasite.com/

 

 

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Posted by dewey on Thursday, February 7, 2008 7:21 PM

This is slightly off the subject but I have low voltage landscape lights 12 volts.  However between the power transformer and the bulbs is about 50 feet of wire, knocking the voltage down to about 10 volts.  In five years that t hese lights have been installed, I have NEVER had to replace a bulb!!  So what I'm saying use less voltage to the bulbs, i.e. 12 volt bulb, have ten volts going to them.  Yes a slight less brightness but not having to replace bulbs as often.  When I start lighting my buildings, I'm going to use LEDs and use a yellow Sharpie to soften the whiteness of them, which is what I do on my steam locos.

 

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Posted by steam618lover1 on Friday, February 8, 2008 4:00 AM

Hi Everyone, i have a medium lay out, most of my buildings are 12volt lit, what ive done, i have 3or4 of those cheap transformers, that ive picked up at train shows for a couple of bucks, i know that this sounds like a lot of work, but you have complete control of the brightness, i like my bulbs to last a life time, i use 2 to 3 lights pending how big the building is, i run the lights in series, the end of the lights are conected to an atlas controler, which holds 3 buildings, from there i run my wires to the controlable DC side of the transformer, with that i can control the wattage, i don't care to much for bright buildings, my street lights will be controled the same way but just a tad brighter. I'm just starting to learn about dcc electronics, my layout is still under dc drive, i have about 5 locos, that are dcc equiped, im working on it, this sounds like the caveman era

                  thanks guys Earl T

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Saturday, February 9, 2008 5:04 PM

Lowering the voltage slightly is a great way to extend light life.

Running DC 12 Volt, the miniatronics 12V lights are rated at 10,000 hours.  That's ~5 years at 5 days a week at 8 hours a day!  (2000 hours = 1 work year of 40 hour weeks)  If you want full brightness, you can safely run them at 12Volts.  Just be sure to use a regulated power supply (clamps down on power spikes and dips)  Spikes can drastically shorten a bulbs life.  (So can constantly switching them on and off)

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Saturday, February 9, 2008 7:47 PM
 DigitalGriffin wrote:

Lowering the voltage slightly is a great way to extend light life.

Running DC 12 Volt, the miniatronics 12V lights are rated at 10,000 hours.  That's ~5 years at 5 days a week at 8 hours a day!  (2000 hours = 1 work year of 40 hour weeks)  If you want full brightness, you can safely run them at 12Volts.  Just be sure to use a regulated power supply (clamps down on power spikes and dips)  Spikes can drastically shorten a bulbs life.  (So can constantly switching them on and off)

I use their 14V bulbs which are rated at 16,000 hrs and I run them at 13V.  They should last forever.  Here's a chart comparing their bulbs:

http://207.234.141.88/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=TABLE&Store_Code=M

 

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, February 10, 2008 10:18 AM
Lately I've been putting 16 volt Model Power stick-on bulbs in my structures. At this time there's about 40 of these bulbs on the layout. I use an old AT computer supply that I salvaged from an old Intel 486 computer. The sweet thing about theses old power supplies is that you don't have to make any modifications to the unit to make it work. I have the main wires for the bulbs connected to one of the hard drive power plugs. Holding the plug so that the red wire is on the left I connected the wires to the first black wire (12 volt -) and the yellow wire (12 volt +). The unit is feeding 11.97 volts to the bulbs through this one plug and isn't even working hard.

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Posted by dcnlgjms on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:45 AM
I use old computer pwr supplies for for all my stuff, including tortise switch machibes, lights signals, etc.  They really work well and do not take power from the DCC track power.  When finished, I will have 5 supplies on the layout.  These pwr supplies are super regulated and give very reliable performance.  Try it, you'll like them.

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