Jump to content
KenS

Lighting Trains

Recommended Posts

gavino200
On 11/26/2017 at 2:35 AM, gavino200 said:

 

Yes, they're definitely not caps. I could have answered that just by thinking about my flicker problem. 

 

The two SMDs on the right are resisters. I don't know what's going on with the two components on the left. They look like transistors. I'm guessing it's acting as a rectifier. Is that the right term? To block the reverse current from the DCC AC.

 

IF8ipXs.jpg

 

 

I think I'm finally going to do this. I actually ordered one of those SMD resistor assortment books from China around the time I posted this. I didn't understand about there being code numbers for different physical sizes of resistors. I focused just on the Ohms. The book I received was full of minuscule 0402 resistors. I sort of abandoned the project. 

 

This time I know what size code I need - 1206. (3.2x1.6mm). I'm not getting an assortment either as they contain tons of values that will never be useful for trains. I'm just going to get rolls of a few different values that I think I'll use.

 

Currently the TORM has two 330 Ohm resistors and they're brighter than the sun. 

 

I was thinking of trying a 1k, 1.5k, 2k, 3k, 4K. 

 

Anyone want to guess what value will work? I know, I could set up a trial rig with a potentiometer and then read the resistance, but you can only tell what's right with the train coach closed, and that would be difficult to wire up. I think it would be easier to just play around with it until I get it right and then just use the same value to fix all my TORMs.

 

When I'm done with my TORMs I'll probably just move to using regular LED strips and rectifiers. 

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200
On 12/17/2017 at 11:19 PM, Kiha66 said:

Yeah, the old version of the kato lights was pretty bad, but the LED one works very well.  The brightness seems to be pretty good too, but some cars need the floor painted to tone down the shinyness.

20170930_115725.jpg.17f534c57fc87a1f0d45219d2351041d.thumb.jpg.aa4ba3b80086b7ebd202f877ec0480ab.jpg

23472949_1817778518251288_4134561236316162139_n.thumb.jpg.f065d0461a238c77ef5aafac20f48911.jpg

 

I'm still amazed by this result. One of these days I'm going to buy one last Kato lighting kit, to try for a result like this!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Kiha66
1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

I'm still amazed by this result. One of these days I'm going to buy one last Kato lighting kit, to try for a result like this!!

 

I really like them, they seem to have the brightness just right and the new version's light guide does a great job spreading the light evenly over the whole car.  I hear that a touch of tamiya clear orange on the LED will create a good incandescent effect too, so I plan to test that out in the near future.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
kvp
2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

Currently the TORM has two 330 Ohm resistors and they're brighter than the sun. 

I was thinking of trying a 1k, 1.5k, 2k, 3k, 4K. 

Anyone want to guess what value will work? I know, I could set up a trial rig with a potentiometer and then read the resistance, but you can only tell what's right with the train coach closed, and that would be difficult to wire up. I think it would be easier to just play around with it until I get it right and then just use the same value to fix all my TORMs.

With 12V, a rectifier bridge and this many leds 660 ohm sets around the maximal current the leds tolerate. Normally one would use 1k or 1.5k, which means 570 ohm x  2 or 720 ohm x 2. In your case. you might want to leave one of the 330 ohms in place and add 1k or 1.5k, giving you 1.3k and 1.8k. If you go above 4k or 5k, the leds might not turn on at all or get lit up quite uneven. (there is a minimal turn on voltage and current for each led based on the material it's built out and it varies very slightly within the same batch, pretty much like resistor values)

 

I would also add an extra buffer cap or two between the rectrifier and the resistors. (onto both sides of the small filter cap sitting vertically just right the rectifier chips)

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200
8 hours ago, kvp said:

I would also add an extra buffer cap or two between the rectrifier and the resistors. (onto both sides of the small filter cap sitting vertically just right the rectifier chips)

 

In my hands that would be much more difficult than just switching out components on existing pads. I'd be sure to ruin an unacceptable percentage of them. I'll probably experiment with that at some stage though. I don't have any of these tiny caps. I'll have to do a bit of research to avoid buying the wrong size and type. 

 

I'll order a few rolls of resistors tonight. I'll let you know how it goes. 

 

Thanks kv.

Edited by gavino200

Share this post


Link to post
kvp

One of  the tricks is CA glue. You put a small amount on the bottom of the component between the pads with a toothpick. Then glue it on. Wait till it dries and then touch the tip of the iron to the top metal pad part of the component and then the thin solder with the no clean rosin flux inside towards the bottom, near the board  and it will solder easily. You can solder two pads together too, so by leaving the original cap there, gluing the new ones next to it and soldering them together, you don't have to position the new ones too carefully just put them next the installed part.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200

Just posting this here so I don't lose track of it. It's dani's method of lighting trains.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
changkh
On 8/9/2018 at 3:14 PM, Yavianice said:

It Goes below. I poke the copper rods with a needle to make it so. 

 

I contacted KATO on this and they told me it should go above the tab.

Share this post


Link to post
Yavianice
1 minute ago, changkh said:

 

I contacted KATO on this and they told me it should go above the tab.

 

Really, so you have to cut each individual copper rod to length? Also the conductivity isn't great and it kinda looks ugly to me that way. Strange.

Share this post


Link to post
changkh
1 hour ago, Yavianice said:

 

Really, so you have to cut each individual copper rod to length? Also the conductivity isn't great and it kinda looks ugly to me that way. Strange.

 

What do you mean by having to cut the copper rod to length? They all go in the same length whether above or below the tab. I attach the picture I sent to KATO. They say the one on the left is the correct installation going above the small tab. About conductivity, I actually had only one car not conducting which led me to post the original question. Now I have to find a way or ask KATO for advice.

lcJVXzPSSm26lmFom+busw.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
JR 500系

Connecting that copper piece above or below that tab doesn't really affects the lights much for me, though I personally find attaching it above the tab to cost less of an issue with conductivity. The issue with placing it below the tab is that on the bottom of the chassis, there are much copper strips and metal pieces, so any one of the copper strips touching the metal pieces of the chassis unintentionally costs a fault in the system, and out pops the red light on the controller... Having the copper strip below the tab increases its chances to touch any of the metal pieces of the chassis especially more so when installing back the body which costs an electrical fault, at least in my experience ~

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Yavianice
30 minutes ago, changkh said:

This is the problem I am facing. Any ideas what could be the issue?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNRG-qw3BGQ

easy. the copper strips of the lights don't connect with the body copper strips (or weights, the weights are also sometimes used for electrical connectivity). the solution is to bend the copper strips slightly, or to force them under the tab. If you open the train you can probably figure out how to make the connectivity better. Also what is most times the issue is that the copper strips do not connect to the light module properly. Slightly bending the copper strip or the light module tabs solves this issue. I've had this in most of the trains I lit, I almost always bend the copper strips in one way or the other

Edited by Yavianice
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
changkh
On 8/30/2018 at 6:43 PM, Yavianice said:

easy. the copper strips of the lights don't connect with the body copper strips (or weights, the weights are also sometimes used for electrical connectivity). the solution is to bend the copper strips slightly, or to force them under the tab. If you open the train you can probably figure out how to make the connectivity better. Also what is most times the issue is that the copper strips do not connect to the light module properly. Slightly bending the copper strip or the light module tabs solves this issue. I've had this in most of the trains I lit, I almost always bend the copper strips in one way or the other

 

Thanks. I did what you said and it works!

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200

I'm adding this link here because it contains a description by Dani on how he lights his trains. It seems like a good method and I'm planning to try it soon. It took me ages to find so I'm putting it here for safe keeping.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200
On 12/17/2017 at 11:19 PM, Kiha66 said:

Yeah, the old version of the kato lights was pretty bad, but the LED one works very well.  The brightness seems to be pretty good too, but some cars need the floor painted to tone down the shinyness.

20170930_115725.jpg.17f534c57fc87a1f0d45219d2351041d.thumb.jpg.aa4ba3b80086b7ebd202f877ec0480ab.jpg

 

 

 

Inspired by this, I had one more try at the Kato light kit and finally worked out how to get it to work properly. Also thanks to scotch tape and my new favorite hobby tool - adhesive putty - for holding the diffuser snugly in place.

 

Unfortunately there's no stock way to fully illuminate the irregular observation coaches. It could be done by wiring in a second Kato light at the opposite end. I think the actual observation dome should remain dark. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to see out the window and 'observe', right?

 

The lights don't look as bright in person as on these cellphone photos.

 

gqIbQzw.jpg

 

buJDpNb.jpg

 

 

Edited by gavino200
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200

So I've gone from having zero satisfactory interior lighting methods to having three (assuming I can accomplish the Dani method). I have to say, I'm very impressed by how the Kato lights actually can work. If the Dani method isn't prohibitively difficult, I'll probably make that my regular as it seems extremely cheap, and doesn't call for constant reordering of equipment. Time for a little cost analysis.

 

Kato Interior Light kit version 2.

6 pack for 32.89USD (Hobbysearch price)

$5.48 per car

 

Tomix lighting kit

6 pack for 45.68USD

$7.61 per car

 

TORM lights - the insane brightness can be toned down to optimal levels using two layers of regular printer paper. Probably easier than switching the SMD resistors.

10 pack for 54.79 USD (Modeltrainplus price)

$5.48 per car

 

Popondetta LED strips with capacitors

7 pack for 51.16 USD (hobby search

$7.31 per car

 

Dani method

LED strip 5meters with 300 LEDs for 3.75 USD (ebay)

Approx 6 LED per train car

so 7.5 cents per car

plus

100 rectifier bridges for 2.59USD (ebay)

or 2.6 cents per car

plus

100 resistors for 99cents usd

or 1 cent per car

Total 11.1 cents per car (USD)

 

I have no experience with Tomix Lighting kits. 

Edited by gavino200

Share this post


Link to post
katoftw

I found Tomix interior lighting great. I had some in old Micro Ace Kiha 40s fitted with Tomix lighting. They fit in prefectly. Probably the only issue if you can call it an issue. Is lining up the springs into the holes when getting the shell back on the chassis.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200
1 minute ago, katoftw said:

I found Tomix interior lighting great. I had some in old Micro Ace Kiha 40s fitted with Tomix lighting. They fit in prefectly. Probably the only issue if you can call it an issue. Is lining up the springs into the holes when getting the shell back on the chassis.

 

Thanks kato! Is it the same kit for all Tomix cars?

Share this post


Link to post
katoftw

Greenmax, Tomix and Micro Ace are 99% same setups. Some individuals models might require changes.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
chadbag

A forum member messaged me offline and pointed me to this

 

 

 

They look really interesting (form the above link)

 

 

-------

 

 

I have one set of Tomix lights.  I was going to use them for the Tomix 500 Shinkansen today but then I saw that they were the incandescent color and not the bright white so I will use them for my Tomix 100 Shinkansen or something.  But looking at the instructions, I think it was showing different ways they are installed depending on what sort of wagon you have.   Same light set, but slightly different ways for doing the install.   

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200

Interesting. Just like TORMs but with capacitors. How much do they cost?

 

I'm all about caps, but it looks like these are designed to work on Tomix/Kato CL AC. I'm guessing that like TORMS, when powered by DCC AC they'll shine bright like the sun. Although, that could be fixed in the same way as TORMs by adding paper screens.

 

Who sells these things?

Share this post


Link to post
Kiha66

Wow those GN cars look amazing Gavino, nice job!  I really hope kato re-runs the GN smoothsides at some point, I'd sure love to get some. 

Regarding the dome cars, budd practice (and I assume Pullman-standard would be similar) would have the domes unlit other than small footlights to avoid passengers tripping.  The stairs leading up to the dome would have dimmer and dimmer lights so that as a passenger ascends to the dome the lights seem to fade into darkness to help the eyes adjust.  

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
katoftw

Those Popendetta led lights are 850 msrp/rrp. Slight cheaper per unit for a 7 pack. They are sold by hs, mtp or aa.

 

They also have a high low feature, low being half brightness.  They come in 3 colours.  And looks like only for Kato version has been released so far.

Edited by katoftw
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
EdF
10 hours ago, gavino200 said:

Interesting. Just like TORMs but with capacitors. How much do they cost?

 

I'm all about caps, but it looks like these are designed to work on Tomix/Kato CL AC. I'm guessing that like TORMS, when powered by DCC AC they'll shine bright like the sun. Although, that could be fixed in the same way as TORMs by adding paper screens.

 

Who sells these things?

Couldn't you add caps to the Dani method?  The ones on digitrax sound decoders aren't that big.

Edited by EdF

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×