Passenger car lighting for short cars?

yellow_cad Jun 13, 2020

  1. yellow_cad

    yellow_cad TrainBoard Member

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    I have a number of shorter N Scale passenger cars that I wish to add lighting. I have considered shortening N Scale Easy Peasy, but at the time I planned to do it, they were not available. I see that they are back in stock. I also wondered about using Z passenger lighting, but I having trouble getting any specs on them. I also wondered if there were any other ideas out there for this. My trains are DC and I believe I would like to use battery power instead of track current power. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Jim
     
  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    There are some eBay items I have seen that look kind-of homemade/custom that use short segments of LED strip lighting. You could look for something like that or make your own. ESU makes light strips in both DC and DCC that can be snapped to length. They are a bit on the high side in price, and check to see how much you will need to break off. They are mostly for HO, so you might be wasting a lot of length. What about Kato lighting kits? Can they be modified for other car lengths?

    I’m just throwing out some things I have seen.
     
  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    How short 34 foot Overtons or 60 foot cars?
     
  4. yellow_cad

    yellow_cad TrainBoard Member

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    The passenger cars I am attempting to light up are older Arnold cars that measure 4.625 inches long so the lighting strip would need to be approximately 4 inches long.
     
  5. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I found an article on shortening Easy Peasy light strips that may help.

    http://www.tophobbytrains.com/easy-peasylightinginshortercars.aspx

    And another option would be to look a Z scale car lighting.
     
  6. yellow_cad

    yellow_cad TrainBoard Member

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    I don't see where I can take the Easy Peasy to a short enough length since I probably need to go down to appx. 4 inches. Also, I don't see any Z scale lighting that is battery powered.
     
  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have seen quite a few Japanese modelers have lit Bandai cars which are around 30 N scale feet so your answer may lay in Japan. And a lot of the Z scale stuff seems to be designed only for the manufactures cars which use track pick-up. Streamlined Backshop produced lighting kits but has run any for awhile.
     
  8. yellow_cad

    yellow_cad TrainBoard Member

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    I would even like to find instructions on how to create my own custom length battery operated LED light panel.
     
  9. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Have you tried an extensive Google search? And I am surprised that some of the electronic gurus here have not chimed in yet.
     
  10. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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  11. yellow_cad

    yellow_cad TrainBoard Member

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    These are perfect as you say, but they are $25 a piece plus shipping from the UK. That is quite a bit when the Easy Peasys are appx. $7. I'm willing to cut and solder a lot for the difference, but thanks for locating that option.
     
  12. yellow_cad

    yellow_cad TrainBoard Member

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    Is anyone out there that can give me a list of the required components and a schematic so I can make these units for myself?
     
  13. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Still looking in my spare time and found one article where I gent uses small strips of LEDs. But he goes to track power. I would think that no more than two or three LEDs would work probably off a single battery. The next issue is turning them on and off probably with a Reed switch.
     
  14. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    It depends on how advanced you want to go. Using Surface Mount LEDs is going to be your best bet. Through Hole LEDs will take up a ton of space in an N scale car, but SMDs are hard to solder without a PC board, which isn’t something you can just “kitbash”. You would need resistors unless you can get a battery that puts out the correct voltage. Check the specs of the LED to see what you need. Most batteries are 1.5 volts. Your main problem is going to be turning them on and off without totally disassembling the car every time. That is why I prefer track power lighting. Since you are DC though, that may be out of the question.
     
  15. yellow_cad

    yellow_cad TrainBoard Member

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    Knowing what you know, do you think that I could successfully cut down the N Scale Easy Peasy to the size I need? It has the switch, battery holder and all. I am willing to sacrifice some of the lighting , but still need the complete circuit. My concern is whether I can end up with a complete circuit, but I don't mind adding all the jumpers required.
     
  16. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I would direct this question to the folks who market and who make them. That way you can know direct what cut down could be done. I would word my question with a detailed measurement of the space in the car. And that would be the folks at Rapido trains.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  17. NDave

    NDave TrainBoard Member

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    Don't know enough about the electronics of connecting multiple SMD LEDs, but I use PCB tie material (left over from a past lives hand-laying code 40 Nn3 track and code 55 HOn3 track) to make power busses for soldering multiple wires together when installing decoders...

    ... Just a thought: Perhaps a simple "PCB" for a SMD LEDs connected in parallel might be fashioned from PCB tie material, either N scale or HO scale, depending on the size of the SMDs you are using. Cut the necessary length of PCB tie stock, and use a dremel cutting disc (maybe even just a hobby knife?) to rout a channel down the middle of the conductor, separating it into two parallel conductors. Tin the conductors with solder, place the LEDs across the "gap," and solder them in place. Attach the power leads wherever is convenient along the length. Of course, you will have to work out the details of resistors and battery holder...
     
  18. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    That is actually a pretty good solution and something I didn't even think of. The only problem now is getting the LEDs to operate safely. LEDs in parallel usually need a resistor on each one, not just one resistor at the base of the leg to control them all. However, if you are operating the power supply within the safe voltage of the LED, you can omit the resistor. A small button battery may allow you to do this. If you can find a small magnet switch like the Rapido lighting kit uses, you may be able to build your own knockoff Easy Peasy system
     
  19. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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  20. urodoji

    urodoji TrainBoard Member

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    Model Train Technology has some really nice DCC passenger light kits. Streamlined Backshop stocks them.
     

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