Passenger car lighting - best method?

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Guy Everhar » Fri, 28 Nov 1997 04:00:00



I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.  My current roster
of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
these and start over (maybe).  My question is 2 part 1: What's the best
method of lighting cars, and 2. Without getting into real expensive
stuff what is the best passenger equipment.  

I've tried several lighting methods; Athern kits, Tomar shoes, homemade
(brass tubing over the axle with a wire soldered to it) and none of them
are completely satisfactory.  The Tomar shoes provide the steadest
light, however, I find they tend to catch on switchpoints.  In all
fairness to Tomar though I have only 1 car so equiped and one of the
shoes got bent a little.  Would really like to use the Tomar as I have
about 10 pairs I have never installed.

Comments would be appreciated.

Guy

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Daniel A. Micke » Fri, 28 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
> several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.  My current roster
> of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
> these and start over (maybe).  My question is 2 part 1: What's the best
> method of lighting cars, and 2. Without getting into real expensive
> stuff what is the best passenger equipment.

> I've tried several lighting methods; Athern kits, Tomar shoes, homemade
> (brass tubing over the axle with a wire soldered to it) and none of them
> are completely satisfactory.  The Tomar shoes provide the steadest
> light, however, I find they tend to catch on switchpoints.  In all
> fairness to Tomar though I have only 1 car so equiped and one of the
> shoes got bent a little.  Would really like to use the Tomar as I have
> about 10 pairs I have never installed.

> Comments would be appreciated.

> Guy

I have tried phosphor-bronze wipers on the axles, but did not like it
because they dragged too much.

The best method that I have tried is to take the wire that comes with
Atlas switch machines, strip it, and then use it to wrap around the
axles of Athearn wheel sets.  I make an S-shaped affair so that it is
more springy, and use each end to wrap once around each axle.  The
middle can either be soldered to a screwhead (the***going up into
the car to retain the truck with a nut on the inside), or soldered to a
pigtail which goes up into the body through a small hole near the
truck.  

When this is first done, the results seem to be a little disappointing
because the lights want to flicker, but after several hours when the
oxidation has been worn off from the axle, the lights stay on very
nicely.  

I suppose that a spool of magnet wire could be gotten from Radio Shack,
if you dont have any left-over Atlas switch machine wire.

Dan Mickey

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by jlrose » Fri, 28 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:


> > I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
> > several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.  My current roster
> > of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
> > these and start over (maybe).  My question is 2 part 1: What's the best
> > method of lighting cars,

<SNIP>

Quote:
> The best method that I have tried is to take the wire that comes with
> Atlas switch machines, strip it, and then use it to wrap around the
> axles of Athearn wheel sets.  I make an S-shaped affair so that it is
> more springy, and use each end to wrap once around each axle.  The
> middle can either be soldered to a screwhead (the***going up into
> the car to retain the truck with a nut on the inside), or soldered to a
> pigtail which goes up into the body through a small hole near the
> truck.

> When this is first done, the results seem to be a little disappointing
> because the lights want to flicker, but after several hours when the
> oxidation has been worn off from the axle, the lights stay on very
> nicely.

> I suppose that a spool of magnet wire could be gotten from Radio Shack,
> if you dont have any left-over Atlas switch machine wire.

> Dan Mickey

I would suggest wiring all the cars together.  More wheels making
contact equals non-flickering lights. A plug can be used between cars if
they need to be seperated frequently. A large scaler I know even plugs
the cars into his locomotives and almost never has to clean track.

Have fun,

John W Rosenbauer

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Juhana Sire » Sat, 29 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> I would suggest wiring all the cars together.  More wheels making
> contact equals non-flickering lights. A plug can be used between cars if
> they need to be seperated frequently. A large scaler I know even plugs
> the cars into his locomotives and almost never has to clean track.

Hey, I've been thinking something like this could be done very nicely
in Lego... I used to have lots of the 12 V trains in the 80's - boy,
were they cool.

<nostalgia> These modern 9 V things are no match for them... no
feeling of weight, no fancy accessories, no nothing. BTW, the 12 V
system with its sliding pickup shoes (4 per motor truck!) could gather
tons of dirt and still run without hesitation...  Dammit, where could
I get these things?! :) </nostalgia>

Well, now 20, I'm usually considered way too old for Lego anyway
(except when I use my two kid brothers as an excuse :)
--

==========================================================================

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Merlin W. Phillips, Jr » Sat, 29 Nov 1997 04:00:00


How about wiring together the cars and using a DCC decoder to run the
lights etc.  You could do really neat things like have different roomette /
compartment lights go off and on,  special actions could take place, such
as smoke from the dinner car, etc.
The possibilities are endless.

v/r
merlin

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by F. DABNE » Sat, 29 Nov 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
> How about wiring together the cars and using a DCC decoder to run the
> lights etc.  You could do really neat things like have different roomette /
> compartment lights go off and on,  special actions could take place, such
> as smoke from the dinner car, etc.
> The possibilities are endless.

Or pack batteries into a baggage car and distribute the power to the
other cars for LED illumination.  You could use re-chargables and use
track power to recharge them.  If the voltage was a bit eratic, it
wouldn't matter so much.  It would require a bit of electronics, but that
stuff is nearly as cheap as the sand they're made from.  I've done that
to power a strobe beacon on a loco.

Fred D.
Watching the action from BNSF MP 1112, El Paso sub

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Andy Mill » Sat, 29 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
> several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.  My current roster
> of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
> these and start over (maybe).  My question is 2 part 1: What's the best
> method of lighting cars, and 2. Without getting into real expensive
> stuff what is the best passenger equipment.  

> I've tried several lighting methods; Athern kits, Tomar shoes, homemade
> (brass tubing over the axle with a wire soldered to it) and none of them
> are completely satisfactory.  The Tomar shoes provide the steadest
> light, however, I find they tend to catch on switchpoints.  In all
> fairness to Tomar though I have only 1 car so equiped and one of the
> shoes got bent a little.  Would really like to use the Tomar as I have
> about 10 pairs I have never installed.

> Comments would be appreciated.

> Guy

------
I have played with lighting several times and lit a very few (about 5) of
my 160 passenger cars.  There seem to be two problems. First is flicker.
Passenger cars don't weigh what locos do, or the locos couldn't pull
them!  So erratic track contact is a problem.  The second problem is
volatage variance dependence.  Thats a fancy way of saying that the light
go dim and out as the train slows.

There are two potential solutions to te flicker problem.  The first
solution is to maximize the track contact.  I do this by providing
all-wheel pick-up. This can be done by putting metal wheel sets in plastic
framed trucks such as those from MDC.  You can then make spring wire
wipers to lean against the back of the two wheels on one side of the
truck. Put one such wiper set on each side.  The wipers are just a piece
of thin spring steel wire; available at any (almost) hobby shop; with a
loop bent into the middle.***these wipers to the underside of the
truck bolster and attach an electric wire lead to the screw.  Voila, four
wheel pick-up from a four-wheel truck; and the trucks are cheap.

The solution to the voltage dependence has been resolved for loco
headlights for some time.  You can use a voltage regulator or a 2-diode
drop.  In either case you use 1.5 volt bulbs. You also will need a
resistor to "suck up" the extra voltage over 1.5 volts.  On locos this is
done by the motor.  On passenger cars it has to be done with a resistor.
A little juggling with Ohm's law will tell you that if you have 0.6 watts
of light in a car (4 small bulbs) you will need a 5 watt resistor.  This
going to get hot - not too good on a plastic car.  SO you need something
to dissapate the heat. A brass plate larger than the resistor, between the
resistor and the floor will help.  I've rebuilt some cars with brass
floors.   Back to Ohm's law; 0.6 watts of light will draw .4 amps per car!
A lighted 5 car train will draw 2 amps.  Get a large power supply!

Another solution to both problems is to use a AAA battery in the water
tank under the floor.  Be prepared to change batteries often.  I've often
played around with using track power to recharge a battey when the train
is running.  However, once again, Ohm's law tells us that their just isn't
going to be enough "juice" to do any real good.  You wouyld have to leave
the can on a powered track for about 24 hours to recharge what you used in
a 1 hour run of the train!

Lastly consider DCC (I havn't).  Like the ancient high frequency lighting
schemes, this has a constant source of 12 volts in the track for ordinary
12 volt bulbs to use.  All you need is to apply the anti-flicker solution.

Good luck, and keep us (me) informed.  I still have 155 cars to light.

--
Regards,

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Daniel A. Micke » Sat, 29 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Quote:


> > I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
> > several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.  My current roster
> > of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
> > these and start over (maybe).  My question is 2 part 1: What's the best
> > method of lighting cars, and 2. Without getting into real expensive
> > stuff what is the best passenger equipment.

> > I've tried several lighting methods; Athern kits, Tomar shoes, homemade
> > (brass tubing over the axle with a wire soldered to it) and none of them
> > are completely satisfactory.  ...

snip

After one has solved the problem of getting the current from the rails
to the lights, at constant voltage (?), there is another problem.  

What is the best way of getting uniform lighting, instead of the
"dark-bright-dark-bright-dark" effect?  A nicer effect, I would think,
is a warm but not too bright light all over the inside the car.  Perhaps
a string of yellow LEDs???

Dan Mickey

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by William W. Roo » Sun, 30 Nov 1997 04:00:00


Another solution no seems to have mentioned is the Spectrum passenger
cars.  I ahve several and their lighting is quite even and flicker
free.

Bill


: >
: > I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
: > several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.  My current roster
: > of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
: > these and start over (maybe).  My question is 2 part 1: What's the best
: > method of lighting cars, and 2. Without getting into real expensive
: > stuff what is the best passenger equipment.
: >
: > I've tried several lighting methods; Athern kits, Tomar shoes, homemade
: > (brass tubing over the axle with a wire soldered to it) and none of them
: > are completely satisfactory.  The Tomar shoes provide the steadest
: > light, however, I find they tend to catch on switchpoints.  In all
: > fairness to Tomar though I have only 1 car so equiped and one of the
: > shoes got bent a little.  Would really like to use the Tomar as I have
: > about 10 pairs I have never installed.
: >
: > Comments would be appreciated.
: >
: > Guy

: I have tried phosphor-bronze wipers on the axles, but did not like it
: because they dragged too much.

: The best method that I have tried is to take the wire that comes with
: Atlas switch machines, strip it, and then use it to wrap around the
: axles of Athearn wheel sets.  I make an S-shaped affair so that it is
: more springy, and use each end to wrap once around each axle.  The
: middle can either be soldered to a screwhead (the***going up into
: the car to retain the truck with a nut on the inside), or soldered to a
: pigtail which goes up into the body through a small hole near the
: truck.  

: When this is first done, the results seem to be a little disappointing
: because the lights want to flicker, but after several hours when the
: oxidation has been worn off from the axle, the lights stay on very
: nicely.  

: I suppose that a spool of magnet wire could be gotten from Radio Shack,
: if you dont have any left-over Atlas switch machine wire.

: Dan Mickey

--
Model Railroading really is fun

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by john a dalt » Sun, 30 Nov 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>Another solution no oneseems to have mentioned is the Spectrum passenger
>cars.  I ahve several and their lighting is quite even and flicker
>free.

>Bill

...bill...i'm a rookie here...can you figure out why they are like
that...in other words, what did Spectrum do different?...they do make
a nice-looking car...

...thanks, big john...

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Demetre Argir » Mon, 01 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
> several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.

Good for you.  Properly executed passenger operations can add a tremendous
amount of interest to a model RR operating session.

Quote:
> My current roster of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
> these and start over (maybe).

Don't.  Read on.

Quote:
>  My question is 2 part:
> 1: What's the best  method of lighting cars. . . . . . . . .

 Re-truck your Athearns using the Rivarossi 4 wheel Commonwealth trucks
available at most hobby shops.  They come equipped with a pickup wiper that
works well.  replace the coupler draft gear with MDC Roundhouse passenger
coupler pockets.  Cut off the two circular mounting holes at the back end and
drill a hole to clear a 2-56***in the shaft.  Mount it to the carbody
centersill such that it works like a radial coupler.  That way you retain all
the benefits of Athearn's talgo method, but with none of the drawbacks.  I
don't usually say anything negative about Athearn, but those passenger trucks
are really not my favorites.
   If you know how to construct constant intensity lighting use four to six
bulbs per car to give even lighting throughout.  Add plugs at each end of
every car and 'daisy-chain' them together through the diaphragms after you
have them consisted.  They will not flicker or blink so long as even one car
is making contact with the track.

Quote:
> and
> 2: Without getting into real expensive stuff what is the best passenger equipment.

Without getting into the real expensive stuff you already have it.  Take into
account that even if you move to scale length cars- A' la Con-Cor, etc.  You
will still have to make the same or similar modifications to get what you want.
 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by TJohn185 » Mon, 01 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

> My current roster of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I
plan to junk
> these and start over (maybe).

Umm-umm!! If you really want to "junk" those Athearns cars.... My Christmas
stocking is empty.   :))

Tom

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by reber.. » Mon, 01 Dec 1997 04:00:00


As with all things, the best method has to do with the
preferences of the user. One of the best methods I have
found is as follows:
1) If the car has brass trucks and metal wheels, you can
easily add wipers on the backs of the remaining insulated
wheelsets and run a wire from this assembly up into the car.

2) If you have plastic trucks, replace wheelsets with metal
wheelsets and add wipers to backs of wheels on at least 2
wheels on each side of truck. Run wires up through floor
from these wipers.

3) As a general rule, for flicker free operation, at least
4 wheels on each side of each car must be picking up power.

4) Once you have gotten the power into the car, you have
many options available for powering bulbs. I prefer the
LM-317T variable voltage regulator circuit set to 1.5 Volts.

5) Make sure the roof of the car is made to be white in color
inside which helps diffuse the light from the bulbs.
Rivarossi knows this trick. For an 80' car, would expect to
put in from 3 to 4 grain of rice 1.5 volt bulbs in the
ceiling of the car.

6) The lights in the car will come on at about 4.5 Volts, so,
if your train starts moving too soon, add diodes or other
circuits to motor circuit on loco to increase starting voltage.

7) What you get is each car independently lit anywhere on any
train. For end of train cars, a Tomar drumhead can be added to
the lighting circuit of the car without additonal power supply.

8) This is a lot of work, but you have very few passenger cars
and cabooses that need this treatment and is well worth it. If
you are so inclined you may also add Tomar or Utah pacific
marker lamp sets that operate on the end of the train.

Good luck, keep having fun....RON

 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by Frank Forste » Tue, 02 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Quote:


> > I've never been into passenger trains much but with the purchase of
> > several Proto 2000 E-8/9's I'm going to jump into it.  My current roster
> > of passenger cars numbers about 10 (mostly Athern) and I plan to junk
> > these and start over (maybe).  My question is 2 part 1: What's the best
> > method of lighting cars, and 2. Without getting into real expensive
> > stuff what is the best passenger equipment.
> > (...)
> ------
> I have played with lighting several times and lit a very few (about 5) of
> my 160 passenger cars.  There seem to be two problems. First is flicker.
> Passenger cars don't weigh what locos do, or the locos couldn't pull
> them!  So erratic track contact is a problem.  The second problem is
> volatage variance dependence.  Thats a fancy way of saying that the light
> go dim and out as the train slows.
> (...)

I run DCC and many of my passenger cars have build-in all-wheel pickup (ROCO models
of German prototypes). But there is still a lot of flicker. A removable electric
connection between two cars (thus creating pairs) helped very much. If you don't do
too many switching with your passenger trains, you can use that apporach to get a
better voltage supply for the internal lighting.
 
 
 

Passenger car lighting - best method?

Post by GSStratt » Tue, 02 Dec 1997 04:00:00


Try using one of those little voltage regulators charging a NiCad battery that
in turn powers a string of small bulbs.  No flicker and they stay on for
station stops.  The biggest problem is how to hide the battery.
G Stratton