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 Using LED strip lighting on modules...experiences?
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danpickard
Fireman

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  01:38:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi all,
I'm in the middle of doing some brainstorming on a new layout design, and am considering perhaps the option of changing over to LED SMD strip lighting (instead of fluro tubes) as the main source of lighting for modules (ie ie hidden up behind a valance in a boxed diorama style module). The LED strips are similar to the ones found here (thanks to the link from Slim some while back)...
http://www.ledworldlighting.com/ledstrip.html

The main question I'm trying to get answers for, is how well the LED illumination compares to the old fluro tube option? There are obvious weight savings, by not needing the heavy fluro battern fixed into the module roof, plus the LED's can be mounted in more concealed spaces. I know how well a single LED can light inside a structure etc, but in a few web searches on the use of LED strips as normal house hold lighting, it seems to be used more in decorative settings, or lighting for effect, rather than bright daylight replacement (that may just be the sexy sales pitch images though!)

So, anyone used this to do general layout lighting? Slim, you may even know more about how bright this stuff really is, and how well the light spills and spreads.

Cheers,
Dan Pickard
http://www.austnarrowgaugeconvention.com/

Country: Australia | Posts: 1344

Martin Welberg
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  02:48:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit Martin Welberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Dan,

nice to see someone else 's thinking about using LED strips.
Do use'm on my home layout and I do think they do a excellent job. Do use the 2.92W /Ft only.
When I started to use them in the kitchens I build I've been thinking they where great for layout lighting.
Just because of the great equal lights on the worktop.
I like to do 2 strips above the layout (around 70cm above tracklevel) but one will be with RGB so it can be mixed with the warm white to simulate with yellows and redish sunrise /set and moonlight with a bit blueish mixed in
If you like I can take some pictures of the layout with only the LED's on, still got a few halogen's to highlight places...



Country: Netherlands | Posts: 6736 Go to Top of Page

danpickard
Fireman

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  03:42:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks Martin,
A few comparison shots would be really handy (especially with purely LED as the sole source of light). I did find one railway thread on another forum from a few years back now, and the amount being thrown didn't look enough to my liking, and that was using 4 strips spaced evenly across the roof of the module. I didn't see any fine details though on what size LED etc was used for that application. That use of mixed RBG and white had crossed my mind, thinking more along the lines of the blue hue of a night time scene, but that would only be suitable in the controlled setting of a home layout. As this would be for a portable exhibition layout though, there is also all the ambient light of the show venue to consider, so going to the effort of "night lighting" would probably be pointless (so may as well save the cost). I do my exhibition layouts within the "boxed diorama" style modules (ie includes the roof and lighting valance in complete module), so do have some degree of ambient lighting control. I have only ever exhibited in one hall though, where I was located in a darkened alcove area, and had complete control over how the actual layout was lit.

Have you found you get an effective spread of the light in the layout setting? I haven't done a heap of research on the different LED's yet, but where abouts do they classify the 2.92W/foot variety (warm white, bright, super bright? seems to be how they are commonly described). I am seeing a huge weight saving with them (eg a 5m roll of the strip LED weighs just 96g, which included the plastic spool they came supplied on, according to another thread I read...which is a feather compared to fluoro bayonet based, infact probably lighter than the actual fluoro tube!).

Now if the actual light is good enough...hmmm

Cheers,
Dan Pickard


http://www.austnarrowgaugeconvention.com/

Country: Australia | Posts: 1344 Go to Top of Page

Martin Welberg
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  04:30:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit Martin Welberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dan, I'll take some shots this evening and post them right away...


Country: Netherlands | Posts: 6736 Go to Top of Page

danpickard
Fireman

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  05:05:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the quick follow up Martin. Just browsing through the thread on your layout construction, whats the lighting behind most of the shots in those pages? There seem to be plenty with a fairly even spread of light, but a few with quite dark backgrounds (almost looks like maybe shot in day time with no lights on).

The modules I'm considering putting these into would have a roof height of around 600-700mm, so not far off your settings. Also toying with having foreground and background strips of lighting, to try and avoid some of the backscene shadows that can occur with lots of trees in the way. Good thing about the LED strips is their very unobtrusive size, which could almost be hidden in a roof channel near the rear of the roof (think almost like a sawtooth factory roof), thus avoiding a glaring light from above, for those who go to stick their heads inside the modules for a closer look.

I look forward to the pics and reports.

Cheers,
Dan Pickard


http://www.austnarrowgaugeconvention.com/

Country: Australia | Posts: 1344 Go to Top of Page

Mario Rapinett
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  05:40:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brilliant. Now this is a topic I'm interested in as I had intended to use downlights for my modules. I decided on a very narrow valance and did not what the normal bright "day light" fluro's. You may have noticed on some of my progress photos, I was using the downlights in the house ceiling to give me an overall concept.




Additional theatre lights were to be used for some added highlites. I'm not concerned about shadows at this stage, although a narrow difusser my help.

The strip lighting seem very affordable ( about $100 a strip ).


Dan, Martin look forward to your input.

thanks again for links and topic

Mario



Country: Australia | Posts: 5872 Go to Top of Page

Martin Welberg
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  05:41:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit Martin Welberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Lighting in most pictures is LED, with some halogen lights for highlighting. Trouble is the sloped ceiling, so I did mount the led in a slight angle to light the background a bit. Bit like you said about the sawtooth roof. Hopefully it gets a bit better with a second strip (RGB, can make white with it). It's all the 2.98W / Ft, with metric we talk about 14.4W / meter.
Lucky me, most of the time I order in the 5m lenghts for customers even if I only use 3. They pay my layout lighting
Personaly I think there are 3 advantages in the LED, it has no vibration in light like some fluro tubes have, its dimable and a lifetime of over 30.000 hours. Oh and don't forget weight..
See a lot of innovation in them the last 2 years, more and more variation in color of white (first ones to blueish). And they are getting cheaper..

This ones taken in a place with almost no additional lights, just one strip of LED light



as you see there's a minor shadow on the backdrop. LED strip's almost on the front edge of the layout, building has a clearance of 2" from the backdrop.

Do not know how the AUS dolaar is doin against the euro. But http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/80119420/ is maybe something to expirement with to find out if you like it



Country: Netherlands | Posts: 6736 Go to Top of Page

Mario Rapinett
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  06:03:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Martin.
Thanks for the up date. Amazing amount of lighting.

EU 0.73 = A$1

Dan, Just wondering if this stuff is available here, otherwise I'm happy to share any postage cost.

Now, I know nuffin about wiring, so how compatiable is it for Oz.

cheers M




Country: Australia | Posts: 5872 Go to Top of Page

Martin Welberg
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  06:25:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit Martin Welberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That would be no problem Mario, you have 220 / 240 as well, just 2 wire + / - from the strips to a transformer, can't do anything wrong. +/- twisted means no light, still is a diode only letting current through in one direction...
Be shure you take the strip with the highest W / Ft or M....
Shall post a overall shot with only LED lights on this evening (for me then..



Country: Netherlands | Posts: 6736 Go to Top of Page

danpickard
Fireman

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  07:39:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Martin,
Thats pretty good light coverage, especially if only from one strip too. One good thing about fluoro lights is the diffused spill of light, which can help to smooth out shadows a bit, and based on that above image, the LED is hopefully doing similar. Just wondering with the mix of whites in the different strips may cause any confusion with a digital camera and its auto white balance (mainly thinking about the poor exhibition attendee who might struggle with a compact camera)? Maybe if some of the photography minded folks read this thread, they might know if this would be something to be mindful of. Often things might look right to the naked eye, but the camera just freaks out.

Mario,
Sure its available here...it's called eBay in China! :)
Have seen similar 5m kits listed at the likes of Jaycar for around $150/set (roll of lights, 12v transformer and controller), but the China special's can be as low as about $20+AU. Cheap enough to probably experiment with a bit. May pay to source a local transformer though, since most of the cheap import ones I've had on other items I've been a be reluctant to use. Its still the whole weight thing which is making me giggle a bit. Reminds me of some of the discussions that happen of the bush walking forums I'm on, where the gear freaks go crazy about how many grams they can scrape off things.

Cheers,
Dan Pickard



http://www.austnarrowgaugeconvention.com/

Country: Australia | Posts: 1344 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 10/12/2011 :  07:45:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
This summer, I bought some strips in the "warm white" color; I've played with them but not installed any permanently yet. As the scenic'ed part of lmy layout is already lit, I'll be using these for the stairs and staging. Later, I expect I'll supplement the existing fluorescents with LEDs where corners don't get enough etc. I haven't decided if I want the "warm white" for that.


Country: USA | Posts: 6462 Go to Top of Page

danpickard
Fireman

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  08:23:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A quick YouTube search dug up this short video, which was handy for explaining some of the various types of strip set available and their suggested applications.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdlM3DoI6gk

Dan Pickard


http://www.austnarrowgaugeconvention.com/

Country: Australia | Posts: 1344 Go to Top of Page

Martin Welberg
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  10:54:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Martin Welberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Oke her some pictures from the darkest corner of my layout. Need a srip more here, no fancy WB stuff just automatic, did set DOF manual on F22 tho...and used a tripod..





And one with a Nikon L12 snapshot camera, fully automatic, but used a tripod...




Country: Netherlands | Posts: 6736 Go to Top of Page

slimjerkins
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  11:02:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a sample section of a "super-bright" strip that I'm evaulating for the regular work job. We use industrial knitting machines to make a product that goes into meat/poutry/fish processing. Hence, I have a glass and brittle plastic policy and need to avoid glass wherever possible. I'm looking for the best price now.

The lighting stuff that I do is mainly for structure lighting within and on the model itself. These strips also lend themselves well for lighting structure interiors. Laser Modeling 3 provides short, one-sction strips in some of their kits. However, I'm going off topic here.

When I'm ready to light my layout I know this will be the route I'll take. Right now I'm seeing all kinds of prices for the product and am waiting for things to settle down a bit. I'd hate to commit to buying a whole roll of the stuff based on an online description of "warm white." On-line photos don't always work becuase you never know how well your monitor is calibrated or how the digital photo was taken. I guess it pays to try and get a sample first.

I like Martin's idea of modulating the colors with the RGB strip. This gets into a higher cost for the controller and strip but it's not prohibitive. Besides, if you aren't in a hurry, electronic items keep getting cheaper with time.

Dan - I know Leo Palitti is going the LED route for his layout lighting. Leo goes by the handle "Long Horn Caddy" on the MRR forum but hasn't been posting that much. Rather, he's been getting A LOT of work done on his layout. I follow his progress on Facebook. I know he's evaluated at least a couple of different strips to date. I'll see if he can shed some light here (yeah, I know, bad pun)

-slim



Country: USA | Posts: 1320 Go to Top of Page

danpickard
Fireman

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  4:16:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Slim,
Thanks for that contribution. I had seen one of your previous postings about these strips when someone asked about cutting them up for the interior use. A few of the various YouTube videos make it quite clear also that these are easily trimmed down at the marked segment points (groups of 3-5 LED...maybe a bit too bright for inside a structure as previously discussed also). The real world application you mentioned makes perfect sense...great example of using modern technology with an excellent rationale. It would certainly be interesting to hear back on Leo's experiences with them as well, especially with the different types of strips.

Martin,
Those photos have pretty much got me sold. They are suffering a bit with the same trouble the fluoro's have, with a bit of a dark edge at the front face of the layout, but I guess the really encouraging thing with the tiny size and weight of the strips, is it would be fairly easy to engineer a front of layout overhead rig to shed light over the face of the modules (especially from the portable exhibition layout design I'm pursuing).

Definately getting the answers and examples here that I was hoping to get...time to start the bargain hunt I think.

Thanks all for the valuable contributions, but please continue to add examples and experiences with these LED strip lighting units.

Cheers,
Dan Pickard


http://www.austnarrowgaugeconvention.com/

Country: Australia | Posts: 1344 Go to Top of Page

Martin Welberg
Fireman



Posted - 10/12/2011 :  4:44:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit Martin Welberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You're welcome Dan. On this piece of the layout there only one strip in the middle. Got some of this strips and gonna try a strip at the front of the layout. Think when my valance is in place, and it has a overhang of a inch, you don't look into the LED strips.
I do like your idea of somekinde sawtooth roof. Think I try that soon..



Country: Netherlands | Posts: 6736 Go to Top of Page
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