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The Night Scene

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  • Member since
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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:44 AM

Heck, they still look awesome, too blue or not.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Southgate on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:04 PM

Nice work so far Mike, thanks for sharing your progressive experience. One question: I really like that Webber Wholesale building. Is that a kit or scratchbuilt? Dan

 

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:46 PM

Peter,

Thanks for you comments.

I use several power supplies, because the lighting is scattered around on a fair size layout. Pretty much all 22 gauge, though, because that's plenty adequate for the number of LEDs driven. Basically, I tend to recycle wire I've set aside from or up-graded to a larger gauge on other projects. The wire goes as far as just below the surface of the structure. Each structure is usually wired so that the wires are fed from one source. I use regular ol' household wiring wire nuts for most of my wiring, so just twist and untwist as needed to move lighted structures. It runs in a "tree" format from the power supply.

For the outside lamps, I used the cast plastic, non-working lamps that come with the Walthers billboard kits. I carefully drill the shade, then run the LED leads through it and use canopy glue to keep all in proper place. I buy the Richmond Controls SMD LEDs prewired from Ulrich Models. I have friends who solder them on, but that's just crazy small in my book. Way cheaper to do that, if you learn how.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:53 PM

Rich,

Some folks dig the blues and some just tap their feet to the beat. Whatever works for you, I always say.

Southgate,

The Webber Wholesale complex is bashed from a Walthers 933-3760 Grocery Dist. I scratched up a refrigerated addition from styrene brick sheeting (JTT) and used some other recycled parts for the condenser, etc. It's named in honor of Bob Webber, who helped found the Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 1:00 PM

mlehman

Rich,

Some folks dig the blues and some just tap their feet to the beat. Whatever works for you, I always say.

Mike,

The more I say, the worse I say it.  Embarrassed

So, let me say it this way.  I love the blue.   Cool   Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 3:48 PM

richhotrain

Mike,

The more I say, the worse I say it.  Embarrassed

So, let me say it this way.  I love the blue.   Cool   Yes

Rich

Whew! GladWink you're happy

But since I want every reader to be as completely satisfied as possible, I went back for more pics.Surprise





...and my lights just aren't as well set up with blue.Sad Interesting though.

What I've been doing is using the fluorescent lights on the lower deack at Dove Creek on the other side of the aisle for the "sun." In fact, to be correct on the layout, it should be teh setting sun from the west. But on the layout Durango station is backwards due to...well, it's a long story, one of those track planning decisions I might do differently now, but seemed to make sense when I was cutting plywood. So to make it a convincing Durango dawn shot, I've been jiggering with the lighting directions.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    October 2013
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Posted by DigiMike on Thursday, October 24, 2013 2:33 PM

If you shoot in RAW and take the photo into Lightroom, you will see in real time any color, density, and any other changes you make in real time. You will then be able to learn as you make the changes.

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Posted by mlehman on Thursday, October 24, 2013 11:57 PM

I'll keep that tip in mind. Right now I'm pretty much point and shoot, but have plans to get back some of my old SLR/manual exposure chops again with some practice.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, February 2, 2014 2:33 PM

Thought I'd update this thread with some info on passenger car lighting. It's one of the great luxuries of night scene modeling -- and is often priced that way. However, the DIY route works well. There's some tips on that and some sources of useful cheap LEDS in this thread: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/t/227137.aspx

Here's a pic of the results.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    January 2011
  • From: Winter Garden, FL
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Posted by Curt Webb on Friday, February 14, 2014 6:54 PM

Excellent modeling Mike. I have been enjoying your postings in WPF. Running trains at "night" is something that I like a lot.

Curt Webb

The Late Great Pennsylvania Railroad

http://s1082.photobucket.com/albums/j372/curtwbb/

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, February 15, 2014 7:21 AM

Curt,

Thanks, I appreciate the comment. I'm not sure a night ops session is in the works here, but I enjoy operating after dark. It is a bit hard to see, so you have to know the line pretty well. But it's been well worth the work put into it -- and it always impresses the heck out of my non-rail friends.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    September 2003
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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:20 PM

Radio Shack restocked a few votal parts, so I converted two of my Model Railroad General Store coaches to electric lighting. I equipped these with brass trucks that were hand me downs from brass passenger stock I conerted to Blackstone trucks, so it was easy to tack some wipers on the bolster to tap into track power. I used 10k ohms of resistance this time and the look/intensity of the lighting came out just about right when used with the RS LED strip units.

I really like the light reflecting off the rippling water here.

A close-up of a pair of the MRGS coaches with lighting.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    April 2012
  • From: Denver, CO
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Posted by middleman on Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:37 PM

Those coaches look great,Mike!

Have I mentioned that I like the larger photo's?Wink

Mike

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, February 16, 2014 1:21 PM

Mike,

Thanks! And yes, I think you did mention you liked the bigger pics. I appreciate you nudging me to do something about that, too, as it was one of those things that was bothering me but hadn't risen to the top of the priority list enough yet. Knowing folks cared was the extra incentive I needed to get it done.Angel

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, March 1, 2014 8:58 AM

I worked adjusting the light levels in a number of cars this week. Toning them down is more realistic, but also helsp hide the fact that there aren't any passengers in board. Here's an example of the difference that I posted in WPF.

Here the local is on the bridge over the Rio de las Animas.

A couple of views of Silverton at night.

Entering Durango.

Here's the circuit I use to take pwoer from the tracks and convert it to DC.

This is the bridge rectifier and capacitor I usually use.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, March 7, 2014 7:45 AM

Now I'm going to tell you how to dim your BLI California Zephyr...Say what? You wanna dim out a shiny bright train?HmmHuh?

Once you've brought on the Night Scene, yes, the CZ is like a rolling tanning salon. What to do?

It turns out it's pretty easy to fix this problem -- if you think it's a problem like I do -- because BLI made it easy. Carefully open the car with the BLI-supplied tool, being care fo the uncoupling gear at each end. You'll either see, in the flat top cars, or can find underneath the dome seating, in the dome cars, a resistor pack that controls the lighting. It has tiny 1/8 watt 330 ohm resistors. I replaced with some 1,000 and 1,500 ohm 1/4 watt resistors I had on hand.


Bend the new resistors over to clear the roof of dome seating, being careful not to short anything in the tight clearances.


To cut the flicker, pull up the interior gently, where you'll find a voltage regulated bridge rectifier next to a well in the chassis that will hold a big ol' capacitor, with conveninet holes to solder in a cap to match the polarity of the board's output. I've tried everything from 10 uF to 470 uF caps and they all work. 47 uF seems about right, as you still get a little fade with the 10 uF caps every once in awhile.

I'll note the resistor in the positive lead of the cap in the above pic is not needed if you use a cap rated at 25 volts or higher. I removed it on the other installs and just direct wired the cap to the bridge rectifier.

After dimming the interior, I brightened the rear lighting but subbing in a brighter, red LED.



Now my CZ matches the more realistic lighting levels of my other passenger stock and it doesn't flicker. Big Smile

I did a more detailed writeup of these mods at:

http://atlasrescueforum.proboards.com/thread/2266/dimming-constant-lighting-california-zephyr

This mod works for DCC, but hasn't been tested on DC (I think it will work, there, though, YMMV). I'd be happy to answer any questions or post more pics if needed.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Thursday, March 13, 2014 11:57 PM

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mikelhh on Friday, March 14, 2014 2:40 AM

That's a great effect, Mike. Well worth the effort!

Mike

Modelling the UK in 00, and New England - MEC, B&M, D&H and Guilford - in H0

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, March 14, 2014 6:50 AM

Mike,

Thanks, I appreciate your comment.Big Smile

One thing I forgot to mention...I think what makes the lighting work so well is that the light levels from both the rice lights and the other lights I made from SMD LEDs (I'll post more on those in a bit) are stopped down with resistance so that what they illuminate is just bright enough to see colors. Once you get beyond the pool of light they offer, then the overall blue from the "moonlight" takes over.

It's so simple a thing to do, yet so effective.

I've taken to not soldering the resistor into the circuit for each light in many cases, just using a wire nut to hold my "best guess" for a resistor value, then adjusting if needed, up or down, once it's on the layout. It works wonders.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Friday, March 14, 2014 8:09 AM

I've always found that the "blue light" thing is really easy to over-do. Real moonlight isn't really blue afterall. I use Evans Design "cool white" LEDs, which have a little touch of blue. I use one throttle of an old MRC dual power pack to control those lights above the layout, with the other throttle used for interior lights. That way I can vary both to get the right balance.

BTW Evans LEDs come with resistors and diodes already attached, so you can hook them up to AC or DC power up to 14-16V and they work fine. In a few isolated buildings, I've hooked them up directly to DCC track power.

Stix
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Posted by mlehman on Friday, March 14, 2014 8:17 AM

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, March 24, 2014 1:40 AM

Stix,

Sorry, missed your comment the first time around...

Yeah, the blue thing is a matter of taste. I like it myself, so it works for me. An important component is that that the new LED lighting is partial spectrum UV, so that helps with doing sky effects. I've written that up here: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/228359.aspx

Some folks use the flourescent effect to paint in lit windows, etc, but I confine that to sky effects. The exception are the tiny markers I make from beads and pins to designate the Normal position for turnouts, where I put a tiny dot of paint on top so it's visible at night.

I could see adjusting the brightness to balance it between the overhead light and building lighing. My problem is the extent of my lighting, which is pread among at least 4 power supplies. I suspect that you're using blue lamps, as I'm pretty sure my blue LEDs aren't dimmable (although they are starting to be more widely available)? In any case, I have set brightness to the overheads and adjust building lighting to match it as best possible. Just got done adding another couple of strings, because Silverton was pretty dark toward the back, so you can make adjustments.

A couple more recent pics...

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, March 28, 2014 1:36 AM

Some more pics at night from around the layout.

New platforms light at Durango station.

A low angle shot.

Unobstructed view of the station with nice pools of light pushing back the darkness.

The Durango Freight Depot.

The narrowgauge side of the icing dock, along the freight house NG lead.

A night view of the new office at the smelter.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
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Posted by mlehman on Friday, April 4, 2014 1:45 AM

Time for an update on The Night Scene. Note that I often submit Night Scene-worthy pics to the WPF thread here every weekend that are different from these -- at least I try to not repeat any without a specific reason to.Wink

So here are some of my recent lighting installs around the layout. They get easier as you go as you place the infrastructure, the wiring and power supplies, around the layout.

In Durango, the Oriental Refinery was lit at my wife's suggestion. I used a section of the rice lights and wound them around the fractionating tower (or whatever it is called.) I twisted the LED so that it would point toward various valves and light up the ladders and platform. I wound it around the structure from topto bottom, tacking things down with CA. After getting the lights on, I used liquid elctrical tape to apply the light's "fixture" by carefully painting the top and a little of the sides of each rice light, it blocks the light in such a way as to create the impression the LED was in something that focused the light in a certain direction. I then used aluminum paint to cover the black of the "tape" so that everything blended together. It's a 3-foot model that looks good during the day and great at night with the lights on.

Added more pole-mounted lamps at several places. Here's the Silverton Electric Co-op's light.

The Dove Creek icing platform

The icing platform, with the warehouse next to it. The warehouse lamps are simply an LED with the leads bent at 90 degrees, pushed through the black foamboard, where the wiring is carefully solderd on (remember, it's foamboardSmile, Wink & Grin if you're swinging the hot iron around.) The I cut a section of white plastic tubing, slicing off one small part of the tube from top to bottom to make it into a C shape. This snaps over the LED and looks great. They're a little dim here, but I went back and tiik away resistance. I left access to do this easily. This is always a good thing to do, because if it's too high, you need tio physically remove the resistance from the circuit. It's easy to add more, but you don't want to have to disassemble something bcause it doesn't please the eye with it's light.

On the narrowgauge, the Red Mountain Sinclair was lit.

Foretunately, pole light are easy to adjust -- provided you don't glue 'em down! I subtracted some resistance from the too dim lights are the Silverton Northern enginehouse.

The bean co-op at Dove Creek received a light. It was especially welcome, because it's dark down on that first deck.

 In Dove Creek, the area around the nuclear depot and along the wrong side of the tracks in the red-light zone was lit up, dimly for the most part. There will be more from the gate scene at this week's WPF. Here's some pics of my version of Downtown Deco's Addams St #1. The rooftop sign is lit with some "flicker" LEDs from a Xmas light set. It's easy animation without anything but wiring up some LEDs. I'm still figuring them out, but they are well worth experimenting with for various lighting effects.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, April 4, 2014 7:59 PM

Thought I should include a link back to my thread on adding stars and other objects to your night skyz;

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/228359.aspx

Here's a sample.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
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Posted by LOCO_GUY on Sunday, October 19, 2014 9:18 PM
WOW, Now that's a really cool night scene(s).

Chris.

Loco Guy - is a state of mind - not an affinity to locomotives.

Sit back and enjoy your track...

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, October 20, 2014 1:36 AM

Thanks, Chris.

Sometimes I write a bit sketchy late at night, so if anything's unclear let me know. I also have a lot of leads on different aspects of structure and car lighting, so may be able to help or suggets where to find it. I am no electrical expert, that's for sure, so with a little work all these effects can be obtained.

I've not posted much here recently, so how about a few  that aren't up elsewhere...

That's the Wilde Mine at Sheridan. The new office is kinda bright, so may still get toned down with some more resistance and a strategically placed  shade or two in the windows.

The next one is the dock at Thompson's Wholesale. This was done with some lights like the Rice Lights by Starlite Creations.

Finally, the still mostly undeveloped station at Black Cat Junction, up on the Cascade Branch.

 

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
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  • From: Huron, SD
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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Monday, October 20, 2014 2:03 AM

You should write an article.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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