Night Running & Lights?

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DianneB
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Night Running & Lights?

Post by DianneB » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:58 am

I am adding lighting for night running to my 1.5" scale American. I have a small 12 volt battery in the 'gas car'.

Headlamp: I have up to 2.5" overall diameter for the headlamp and would prefer a 12 volt LED spot light. Sort of taking a tape measure from store to store and measuring all the flashlights, bicycle headlamps, etc. can anyone recommend a 12 volt LED lamp, preferably spot?

Rear Marker: I see Bryterails make 1/8 scale caboose markers but they are rather expensive. Has anybody seen drawings for making a railroad lantern from stock materials?

(I also plan to use a couple of white LEDs in the cab to be able to see the gauge glass and pressure gauge but I have got that covered.)

Ideas, suggestions, and thought always welcome!

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:48 am

Make sure that whatever reflector you get can handle the heat. I have had some that I used before that I thought would work fine, made from plastic, and they did work OK for a while. After about a year of running, it started getting saggy and wrinkled looking and the shiny plated surface started coming off. I then spun one out of a piece of aluminum to replace it.

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Fred_V
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by Fred_V » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:08 am

For the cab I found little LED lights, about the size of a dime with an elastic band. They fit on my finger like a ring and I just point my hand at what I want to see.
Fred V
Pensacola, Fl.

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DianneB
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by DianneB » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:09 pm

Pontiacguy1 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:48 am
Make sure that whatever reflector you get can handle the heat.
The Little Engine's American carries the head lamp high in front of the stack on brass brackets so I am hoping heat wont be a problem. I have had a cheap flashlight reflector in there for a few years and it is still okay.
Fred_V wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:08 am
For the cab I found little LED lights, about the size of a dime with an elastic band. They fit on my finger like a ring and I just point my hand at what I want to see.
Sounds like an arrangement that works for you.

I have a white LEDs at the back outside corners and they illuminate the inside of the cab pretty well. (2 LEDs in series with a 3,300 Ohm resistor - works good on 12 volts.)

rkcarguy
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:58 pm

I've made some signals for my RR using "cabochons", they are convex round glass "lenses" typically used to laminate little pictures and whatnot to the back of them that are a craft store type of thing. I ended up using the reflectors from those cheap harbor freight headlamps and then installed my own LED's into them and assembled the whole thing with E6000 adhesive. Mine were about 1-1/2" in diameter for my larger scale RR.
Being the lens is usually the hard part to find and one can buy or make the rest, the "cabochon" is a good option to be had in many different sizes in glass so it will take some heat.

https://www.lillyds.com/products/1-inch ... domed-25mm

Here is some in red. Looks like the same manufacturer has green too.

https://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Round-Do ... B01N3C5C25

little giant
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by little giant » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:29 pm

I made marker lights for locomotive and caboose from Bob Ready’s design in Live Steam magazine. For the locomotive lenses I used glass marbles sanded down to 1/2 diameter, using a cold diamond grinder for lathe tooling bits. Jack Boedmen has a post here called “markers and such” showing how he made them.

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by Dick_Morris » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:18 pm

Wouldn't marker lights be considerably more modern than your locomotive? I vaguely remember seeing a photo of a caboose, maybe Central Pacific, that had a single read lamp/lens directed to the rear and mounted high on the cupola.
Last edited by Dick_Morris on Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kevin S
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by Kevin S » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:31 pm

One note on the cab lights, make sure the white ones are not too bright, they will make it harder to see out into the dark. Suggest using red leds as they will not mess with your night vision as much.
-Kevin S.

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by Dick_Morris » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:59 pm

Here's examples of early marker lights. 1879 Car Builder's Cyclopedia. I've seen photos of a similar or identical four-wheel caboose used on the Central Pacific -

https://archive.org/details/carbuilders ... dictionary

https://archive.org/details/carbuilders ... dictionary

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Craig
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by Craig » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:57 am

I have been experimenting with leds for the last several years. I personally think the white lights do not look right for the older engines. I use warm white leds even some of these are too yellow for my taste. Yellow would a color keeping with the kerosene lighting of your engine. I also use a higher value resistor to get the illumination that I want. The last few years I have been using a 50 watt Halogen headlight. I use a on-on switch as a dimmer, one leg has 12 volts and the other has 4 zener diodes in series for the dimmer leg. This last year I have been using a 3 watt warm white led with built in resistor this a direct plug in replacement for the Halogen. I am still using the same diodes as a dimmer. I believe the Led is as bright as the pr16, a 12 volt flashlight type bulb that I used for about 25 years as my headlight. This led is not as bright as I am looking for. I find as I get older I need a little brighter light, a few years ago this led probably would have been perfect. Currently there are 47 leds in use on my engine, tender & pass. cars. The great thing is I lower my amp hr. useage with the leds by 90% vs. the incandescent light that were once used.

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DianneB
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by DianneB » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:37 am

Dick_Morris wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:18 pm
Wouldn't marker lights be considerably more modern than your locomotive?
Yes, that's why I am thinking of just a kerosene lantern (which date back to 1846). I guess that wouldn't be too hard to freelance.
Kevin S wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:31 pm
One note on the cab lights, make sure the white ones are not too bright.
I have tested the two white LEDs in the shop with all the lights off and they give a nice subdued glow on the backhead and the pressure gauge. I have them shrouded as well so you can't directly see the LEDs from the driver's position, only the areas illuminated by the LEDs. Yellow would be more prototypical but not quite as effective as white light. Red would be better for night vision but our track goes from illuminated areas to very dark areas so one doesn't get the chance to develop full night vision.
Craig wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:57 am
I have been experimenting with leds for the last several years....
Thanks for sharing your experience!

I also have a 1/8 scale streetcar that I built a few years ago where I used 'grain of wheat' incandescent bulbs for interior illumination. Running them at reduced voltage (6 volts) gives them just the right colour for the kerosene lamp look.
SNB11855.JPG
For the headlamp on the American I will sacrifice colour for good visibility down the track in the dark. We have critters around the track and it is nice to be able to verify switch positions before you are on them. None of our switches are near a corner so a spot lamp that will light up the rails for 100 or 200 feet will work great.

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NP317
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Re: Night Running & Lights?

Post by NP317 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:33 am

For night running with my steam locomotives, I use "auxiliary" headlights made from LED flashlights.
They are mounted on magnetic bases, and sitting on the front deck and act as "ditch lights" and greatly increase forward visibility in the dark.
Easy to place, and aim.

The magnetic bases are commercial units having metal spring-clips usually used for holding broom handles on a wall.
https://www.mcmaster.com/spring-clips

A simple lighting solution, easily removable.
Then I can use a main headlight with that prototypical yellow glow, ala "Sunbeam."
And still see the track ahead at night.
~RN

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