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Retrofitting NJ International Signals

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  • Retrofitting NJ International Signals

    Second question of the evening:

    I came across a bunch of NJ International signals (HO). Various types of target heads, position heads, couple of lighted crossing signals with gates, etc. They all seem to have the grain of wheat style lamps.

    Here's the question: (and I know that darn near "anything is possible") Can these reasonably be retrofitted with LED lamps, and does it make sense to do so? Would the LEDs be smaller, brighter, and more (or less) realistic looking?

    The above of course doesn't even go into to topic of how the controlling mechanism works on these contraptions. I don't know much about that at all, but maybe (or maybe not...) it's a question for later. All I have area the signals. I haven't even looked for a thread yet on how to make them work...

    So if you've had experience or disasters with something like this, have thoughts, advice or musings, it's all welcome. I'm not an "electrical" guy so my ears and eyes are open to what you might have to say.

  • #2
    I like the looks of their HO searchlight-style dwarf, but I need a bi-color LED to make it useful. It looks like a standard 3mm package would fit, though maybe the flange at the base would need to be removed. A couple of Springfield shows ago, I asked the owner what kind of glue was used to assemble them (the better that I could get them apart), but he didn't know.
    James

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    • #3
      I have a few of these things, maybe I can experiment a bit when I get a chance, to see how well they disassemble. Problem is, I'd sure rather know up front, so as to not add yet another partial project to my workshop - especially prior to having an overall reconstruction plan...

      3mm package, eh? I have no clue what that means, but it is a start so I'll try and web search what you suggest and maybe learn a little. Thanks much for the suggestion.

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      • #4
        3mm (about 14 HO scale inches) is the diameter, otherwise known as "T-1".
        James

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        • #5
          T-1. Now that's a term I understand, at least at a high level.

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          • #6
            Hey TC! For what it's worth, while they don't look bad, the NJ International signal heads are generally way over scale in HO. If you compare them to say the ones offered by Oregon Rail Supply, the difference is quite apparent. Now, if that doesn't bother you, then yes, they should be easily retrofitted to LED's and it will definitely help them to look better as well. As for which LED, I will have to yield James' input on that one as 3mm sounds about right.
            Mark

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            • #7
              Alas, Oregon Rail Supply's 2-LED dwarfs don't look anything like the B&M's searchlight dwarfs. Their mast-mounted searchlight heads I've built also use the 3mm (T-1) LED so they're somewhat overscale. This could have changed in the 20 years since I bought mine, but I haven't heard anything about their dies being re-worked.
              James

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              • #8
                Update long after: I dunked an NJI HO scale 2-head dwarf signal (#1296) in acetone. The paint and ACC glue went away, leaving a nice brass casting and red & green "1.8 mm" package LEDs filed down by the (?Chinese?) manufacturer to fit the castings. I was able to file 1.8mm red/green 2-wire LEDs to fit. See https://railroad-line.com/node/28096
                James

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