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  • Layout lighting both external and internal

    This thread is to discuss lighting on the layout.

    External lighting is how you light the room where your layout is located. Do you use any special effects lighting etc.

    Internal lighting is lights on your layout. Do you have lights in your structures, street lights, etc. Also general lighting of rolling stock can be discussed here suck as passenger car lighting.

    Please leave topics such as ditch lights, mars lights, etc. for the DCC forum

    <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

  • #2
    Hi all for External Lighting:

    Here is an answer posted by Mike C to a question "What do you use to light the room where your trains run".

    For general room lighting, I have ceiling mounted incandesents. For layout lighting, I use daylight-balanced fluorescent tubes in shop lights. (They're GE Chroma 50's and are balanced to give off "daylight." They are great for photography. Paul Templar - aka "Shamus" - uses the same type of tubes over his layout. I believe his are made by Sylvania, though I'm not positive about that.) I also use 50 watt "floods" in track lights to highlight specific scenes or portions of my layout.
    <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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    • #3
      Hi, My Daylight Fluorescent Tubes are in fact:-

      Philips TLD 58W's, I have them at 18" intervals on the ceiling.

      Shamus


      Comment


      • #4
        This is a topic that explains how Campbell Scale Models lamp shades can be lit for outside use under a soffit on a building. I have the model being worked on and wished now that I had done this proceedure.

        This was written by Pat Durand and posted on John Comb's Alaska RR web site.



        There are 12 lamps hung under the sofit overhang on the first floor. They were made by drilling out Campbell Scale Models brass lamp shades to accept a 14 volt lamp. The lamp was attached to the shade with ACC and then the shades were painted dark gloss green on top and gloss white in the reflector. Holes were drilled in the sixth board gap on the underside of the sofit as a friction fit for the lamps and they were fixed with ACC. Long leads of the lamps were coiled around a pencil and laid loosely in the space between the sofit sheeting and the roof substrate. This allows for a burned out lamp assembly to be twisted out of the sofit and replaced by splicing in new leads and shoving them back into the opening if ever needed. I run all the lamps in the station on three switched circuits connected to a nine volt battery in the baggage room boiler space. The red tape secures the soldered splices and in turn is glued down to the sofit sheeting to keep everything tidy if it should ever be necessary to pull and prod those wires.

        <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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        • #5
          John,

          Could you post the address to John Comb's web site? I would like to visit it.

          Thanks,

          Paul Brock

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          • #6
            John,

            Thanks for the info on putting light under the soffit. I am building a station and have put it aside until I can figure out the lighting. :erm: Maybe this will be the answer. Plus, I am building a freight warehouse. I might be able to use this idea there as well.

            Does anyone have an idea on putting lights in a structure? I have not built very many structures yet, so I need all the help I can get. I would like to put lights in them as I build them.

            Thanks again.

            Paul Brock [:-cowboy]

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Paul

              John's web site is at

              http://www.alaskarails.org/

              Also there is a 5 or 6 page article on constructiing the Nenana Depot by American Model Builders here. This is where the information came from. There is a description of the proceedures used and actually has photos of what I copied. So happy reading. The information on the Campbells lights are located in the Phase 4 page.

              I have this depot about 95% complete but since I have attached the roof I do not have lights. :erm: :erm: [:-censored]

              http://www.alaskarails.org/modeling/...t/phase-1.html
              <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

              Comment


              • #8
                John,

                Thanks for the info. I went to that website. Great ideas!!

                Thanks again.

                Paul B.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ive been exploring the use of the small white strings of Christmas lights....ya the kind where one dies, they all die, but they seem to provide even light between my mocked up decks.

                  Anyone else explored these? Other than the bulbs being in series, I dont see a problem, I did however, "double" the strings of 50, making 2 rows of lights.....

                  [:-apple]
                  Randy

                  Virginia Southern

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Thank Rich for posting these instructions. Some great ideas that we can use.

                    Paul

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For lighting buildings internally The new product on the market worth a look is

                      the 8,000mcd High Intensity White LED

                      With it's low power consumption and protected with a fixed resistor I am sure it will outlast any grain of wheat or any other small incandecent. Due to it's construction it will give many years of trouble free lighting. Not sure of US numbers in 'Tandy', but Australia and NZ 'Dick Smiths' it is Cat No. Z 3982

                      Ballast construction is only an encapsulated choke!

                      Warning. When using second hand Flourecent lighting, it is always wise to rewire them, remove the capacitor and dispose of it safely. Older style capacitors contain very toxic materials including PCB's that if the capacitor leaks or fails, they can kill you! I am speaking from experience. Also ensure all metal fittings have solid earth connections.

                      Another tip is never make your own difusers or colored lenses from any plastic material.

                      Proper 'High Temerature' colored translucent material can be purchased from places that sell 'Disco' type lighting, here again a safe distance from incandecents should be observed.

                      Incandecent lamp holders are another danger. If enclosed, substantial heat is generated with disasterous consequences. Porcelain holders with glass insulated 'flying leads'

                      to a nearby junction box is the safest construction, with all metal 'earthed' shrouding.

                      Also flourecent lighting will cause severe eye strain, always use incandecents for fine work.

                      Furthermore white flourecents have the unusual feature of bleaching red pigments from everything, so if you have expensive items such as instruments with red lettering try and shied them from direct radiation.

                      Deidre Rene'e

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Deidre,

                        First of all welcome. It is good to have your input.

                        Thanks for the tip & the warnings.

                        Look forward to future posts.

                        Paul

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A question concerning layout room lighting came up on another forum and here is a post by Dave Kreitler which has some very good information on lighting for your layout.

                          Regarding lights:

                          With lights there are really three considerations:

                          1) light color - how will the color affect the look of what you are modeling

                          2) Function - can you put them on a dimmer circuit

                          3) Impact on the operating environment - Heat, sound and flicker

                          Regardless of the lights you purchase you need to consider these three things.

                          Fluorescents:

                          If you go with fluorescent then make sure you buy electronic ballast. Before someone jumps on the “they are too expensive” bandwagon let me explain where I am coming from. You can break fluorescents into three categories - cheap, mildly expensive, and “I find it hard to believe one light fixture costs that much.” The major difference is the ballast. Cheap fixtures use magnetic ballast. These typically have two problems - hum and flicker. Magnetic ballasts cycle at 60 Hz (same as the AC current in your home). Theoretically this is fast enough that you don’t see the flicker, but reality is that some people can see it. Have you ever been in an office that is lit by fluorescents and they seem to bother your eyes? Or at least make your eyes tired? This is the flicker. Most folks have heard fluorescents that hum too. Both of these effects are from magnetic ballasts. They are the cheapest and easiest to find. Typically, "shop" lights are this type.

                          Electronic ballasts cycle at a MUCH higher rate so there is no detectable flicker. Electronic blasts are also quiet. Much more satisfying for an enclosed environment like a train room. The disadvantage is that electronic ballasts are more expensive.

                          Neither regular electronic ballasts or magnetic ballasts can be run on dimmer circuits. There are electronic ballasts that can be dimmed but they get pretty pricy.

                          Two other advantages of fluorescents are: very little heat and you can buy different “temperatures” (light color) of bulbs. You can even get bulbs that come close to simulating outdoor lighting for photos)

                          Halogen:

                          Halogen lights put out a lot of light for their size. However, as someone else mentioned earlier, they can cast harsh shadows. Another issue is heat - they run real hot. I am not sure what part of the country you live, if it gets warm there you need to consider how much heat your lights will generate - especially since you train room is upstairs. If it gets blistering hot up there you will find you don’t want to spend time up there.

                          A lot of folks see halogen track lights and they think they look great (and they do) but if you have never worked with them there are a couple things to be aware of - you need to choose either “line voltage” or low voltage systems. Line voltage systems run standard 110 volt house current through the track and either use 110 volt fixtures (slightly bulkier and slightly larger light bulbs). Low voltage systems have smaller more delicate looking fixtures and bulbs (these are typically the decorator systems seen in museums and restaurants) and use a 12 volt transformer to power the track.

                          Low voltage systems typically look great but the fixtures are a little more expensive. Also you have the added expense of a transformer. The bulbs are usually 35 or 50 watt and you can buy transformers that range from 100 watt to 600+ watts - bottom line, most train rooms will require multiple transformers. Before you go to a lighting specialty shop and spend $500 on a big transformer try running down to Lowes or Home Depot and looking at low voltage transformers for yard lights. They are the same thing and MUCH cheaper. One note, by one and try it before buying extras. I have found that some of the really cheap transformers have a high pitched whistle when you attach a light - really annoying.

                          Also, if you go low voltage you need to pay attention to the length and gauge of wire between the transformer and the track. For eaxmple you shouldn't really locate the transformer 20 feet from the track, it needs to be 8 feet or less if possible.

                          Incandescent:

                          Regular light bulbs don’t produce as much heat and they are dimmable. Downside is things will not photograph as nice - alhtough digital cameras are starting to make this an easier problem to solve.


                          Bottom line here is that most of the railroads use a combination of types. As for affect, how much dimming do you need? Think of it this way:

                          Use fluorescents and incandescents for main lighting with a few low voltage spots for highlights. When you want to dim the lights for dusk/dawn operations turn of the fluorescents (this way you don’t need dimmable fluorescents). This will change the feel of the room a lot. Then dim the incandescents as it gets closer to “night”. Once night falls turn them all off - or - have one blue light in each corner of the room and for “night” turn of all other lights except the blues. This will leave enough light that folks can see (if you are actually operating at night your room will be black without any light. Blue allows you to see a little but still operate like night.

                          One other thought is where to locate the lights relative to the front edge of the layout. If possible try to have the lights slightly farther out into the room than the front edge of the layout. If the lights are directly abouve the layout or slightly toward the back you will have shadow issues. Think of it this way, if you build a great structure and then place a light directly above it, the eves will cast a shadow down the entire front of the building and when you photograph it it will be much more difficult to get a good shot. If the light is slighty in front of the building then the eves will not cast shadows down the front and photography will be much easier.

                          Sorry this has ended up being much longer than I expected. One last thought that I learned the hard way. Put one emergency light in your room (maybe over the door). I see your room has a single window. If you have a bunch of folks over and it is dark outside - and the power fails your train room will be pitch black and full of folks who may not be familiar with the lay of the land. This happened to a friend of mine who has his layout in the basement. The lights went out and it was completely black and the room was full of folks. An emergency light (less than $100 at Home Depot) keeps it self charged and comes on if the power fails - a real help to those folks visiting….



                          <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

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                          • #14
                            [quote}..other advantages of fluorescents are: very little heat and you can buy different “temperatures” (light color) of bulbs. You can even get bulbs that come close to simulating outdoor lighting for photos)...


                            ...When you want to dim the lights for dusk/dawn operations turn of the fluorescents (this way you don’t need dimmable fluorescents). This will change the feel of the room a lot. Then dim the incandescents as it gets closer to “night”. Once night falls turn them all off - or - have one blue light in each corner of the room and for “night” turn of all other lights except the blues. This will leave enough light that folks can see (if you are actually operating at night your room will be black without any light. Blue allows you to see a little but still operate like night.



                            another thought here is that you can use "tube protectors" for fluorescents. i have found them in all sorts of colors.

                            see: http://lightinglouvers.com/tube_protectors.htm for an example.

                            this way you can have the advantage of the low heat contribution [:-hot] AND keep you bulbs from raining down sharp shards if someone is to hit one somehow :erm: [:-bigeyes2][:-censored]

                            just my two cents worth

                            --jeff
                            Jeff

                            Spitton, Bailey & Wyre RR

                            "We\'ll get you there even if we have to get out and push!"

                            http://www.trainweb.org/sbwrr

                            Loosely Based on the Camas Prairie RR in Northern ID

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jeff, thanks for the link to lightinglouvers. The UV filtering tubes are just what I've been wanting for a long time but could never find. UV from fluorescent tubes can fade layout scenery pretty quickly. These tubes should help slow down that process. :up:

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