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Lighting Trains


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So, im in japan upgrading my stash of trains and recently getting more interior lights for Microace and Greenmax trains and have a few questions.

I know that for greenmax trains tomix lighting kits are compatible and for microace they have their own lights (but a bit pricey).

Anyways, my question is,

will microace lighting kits work on a greenmax train?

Will tomix lights work on a microace train?

Will microace lights work on a tomix train?

I've been trying to search online but it is hard to find... any suggestions will be great! Thanks in advance :)

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I have started working on my kato 681-2000 (10-381) light system

 

I bought it used with the old bulb light system installed and I have started to replace bulbs with leds and I want to share how I did it in case someone will like to try it

 

I use DCC, but this system can work also for DC

 

For each car I have used:

- rectifier

- resistor (660 ohm 1/8W) if I remember correctly

- 3mm warm white led with flat top

 

First an overview of the bulb holder that I had to modify to accomodate the new led

 

post-2159-0-59778800-1460924514_thumb.jpg

 

post-2159-0-00675200-1460924532_thumb.jpg

 

I cutted the wiring as close to the top as possible to re-use the actual wires

 

post-2159-0-87818800-1460924578_thumb.jpg

 

Led is round and need to be squared on top and bottom a little to have it fit properly the place of the old bulb

 

post-2159-0-03614900-1460924632_thumb.jpg

 

post-2159-0-03126200-1460924644_thumb.jpg

 

post-2159-0-07570800-1460924683_thumb.jpg

 

the old wires have been re-wired in the holder to have them coming fro the bottom to better serve the rectifier, I have then soldered the resistor and the led to DC exit of the rectifier

 

post-2159-0-69603800-1460924798_thumb.jpg

 

you don't need to work with the holder in position you can work on it and put it in place once you have finished all the soldering

 

post-2159-0-25881500-1460924935_thumb.jpg

 

Here the final result on the left (led) compared with the old system on the right (bulb)

 

post-2159-0-78823800-1460925032_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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If you add a small capacitor across the DC out, you'll have a Tomix CL compatible light that is also more tolerant of dirty track under DCC.

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If you add a small capacitor across the DC out, you'll have a Tomix CL compatible light that is also more tolerant of dirty track under DCC.

 

Thanks kvp

 

I'll think about that, I have some 100uF 25V tantalum capacitors available

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Sure~ Please see attached pictures. Much alike to the original Tomix or the illumi or TORM, just that the light tube is much different and it defuses the light evenly.

 

 

 

The pictures might be a good clue ~  :P

 

 

Went ahead to fix in the lights into the 485 salon trains Yamanami & Seseragi. Looking good now! Also used the remaining 6 tubes into the Tomix E233-8000 Nambu line, and complete it with all it's attachments and decals. E233s look nice!  :)

 

Very nice. This looks amazing. I'm a bit unclear about what these are, though. The conversation about Lego, and scalpers, black market, gray market, doesn't really clear up the issue. These resemble TORM, but are clearly different. More homemade looking. So they aren't stolen product, right? Some Chinese guy is making them and selling them on Taobao? Is he using stolen materials and finishing the work himself? Or is this an 'intellectual property' gray market issue? Or is it legal but you just don't want to reveal your sources? None of this is clear.

 

I don't like how the Kato light kits look. After reading five or so pages of this thread, and cut/pasting a ton of text, I'm leaning toward trying TORM. Then this product of yours looks great....but maybe it's stolen...or maybe not....or maybe it's available on Taobao.....or maybe only if you can speak Chinese....or maybe....

 

It looks like a good product. I'm not in a rush and could wait for the Chinese guy to solder up a few of his Shanzhai TORMs. I don't really care that they're half-price, this stuff is fairly cheap anyway. But if it's a superior lighting effect then I'd like to get some.

Edited by gavino200
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Sorry I haven't been really clear, it is because they can only be bought through Taobao like you mentioned.. Reason I am not being so clear is that I didn't want to look like I am promoting his product but I would still love to share in the name of hobby interests with like-minded collectors! Taobao is also mainly for certain Asian countries, so I reckon most of the members here are not situated in Asia hence there wouldn't be too much of a chance to be able to procure them through Taobao...

 

But I can assume you (or at least that's what he is assuring me), that these are 100% homemade with his own hands by buying the wires, copper stripes and light tubes and shouldering them together. They do cost much lesser and especially so in bulk, but like I mentioned, he is only a one man show so if you order too large a quantity it will take a long time.

 

Quality is, well, I guess the pictures tell eh? He has been experimenting and collecting feedback and now I feel he has somewhat reached the standard. I love how the light diffuses throughout the car, and the effect of the light tubes are nice. 

 

currently, he can only do tubes for Tomix/ MA/ greenmax cars NARROW tubes only as he has yet to know how to make the hole that WIDE tubes need. He can also do Kato ones, but installing them requires more care not to pull too hard as the wires are thinly shouldered to the stripes.

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Sorry I haven't been really clear, it is because they can only be bought through Taobao like you mentioned.. Reason I am not being so clear is that I didn't want to look like I am promoting his product but I would still love to share in the name of hobby interests with like-minded collectors! Taobao is also mainly for certain Asian countries, so I reckon most of the members here are not situated in Asia hence there wouldn't be too much of a chance to be able to procure them through Taobao...

 

But I can assume you (or at least that's what he is assuring me), that these are 100% homemade with his own hands by buying the wires, copper stripes and light tubes and shouldering them together. They do cost much lesser and especially so in bulk, but like I mentioned, he is only a one man show so if you order too large a quantity it will take a long time.

 

Quality is, well, I guess the pictures tell eh? He has been experimenting and collecting feedback and now I feel he has somewhat reached the standard. I love how the light diffuses throughout the car, and the effect of the light tubes are nice. 

 

currently, he can only do tubes for Tomix/ MA/ greenmax cars NARROW tubes only as he has yet to know how to make the hole that WIDE tubes need. He can also do Kato ones, but installing them requires more care not to pull too hard as the wires are thinly shouldered to the stripes.

 

Thanks for the clarification JR. Your results are amazing. I might look into these. I some have Chinese friends who could help me with procurement. Or I might just be lazy and go with TORM. I won't get to this project for a couple of months. Just researching ahead.

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Yes the results are good, but I do have to warn about the thickness of his light tubes... They are slightly thicker than the Tomix or Kato ones, thus there will be issues with Tomix trains as usually there is a bracket to rest the light tubes on.... Therefore, the bracket might need to be cut a little to fit in the thicker light tubes...

 

I haven't ordered from them in a while, but I do hope he has succeeded in making the WIDE type ones... Now, all most of my trains are lighted except those that require WIDE type lighting....  

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I would like to ask if anyone has tried the new 4-5 mm wide self adhesive led strips for lighting trains? In theory they only need a rectifier chip and a parallel buffer cap, but there might be issues i didn't think of.

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I would like to ask if anyone has tried the new 4-5 mm wide self adhesive led strips for lighting trains? In theory they only need a rectifier chip and a parallel buffer cap, but there might be issues i didn't think of.

 

The problem is the light diffusion, I have found that optimal diffusion is trough indirect light, another alternative is to use led strip for external use, their transparent cover help the diffusion, the standard one without the transparent cover give the worst result of all three

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Yes, i know about that. The question is if the new strips using tiny leds that are suggested for platform lighting have a better effect in the cars or not? The lens forms are different and the leds are smaller, so in theory we would have smaller leds, packed more densly and having a better overall light diffusion thanks to being made for diffuse lighting. If anyone has tested these thin strips, maybe we could see the results and if it's worth to try.

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I have just installed the Kato V2 lighting sets in Tsurumi line s101 EMU. Needless to say the lights flicker too much, more in the trailers than in the motor car.

 

For what I have read in this thread and elsewhere the solution is to add 100uF (100 microfarads) capacitor in parallel with the LED. First of all, I have a DC system powered by the regular Kato controller. Now, I have a few questions:

 

-where to solder the capacitor? It seems somehow easy to solder it between the copper stripes, but that raises more questions. Let's see, the polarity will change when the train changes direction. It is not clear to me whether this will be fine with the capacitor which may work in the intended way with one polarity but not with the opposite (and possibly go ka-boom). So, would the capacitor need to be soldered to the lights board  after the diode bridge then? What's the best way to go?

 

-do illumi and/or TERM come with anti-flicker circuits installed?

 

-how would an anti-flicker capacitor work with Tomix CL high frequency AC? Are there compatibility issues, anything important to know?

 

-why the head and tail lights work perfectly while interior lights flicker? 

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Pablo

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Pablo,

 

Check out Ken's site. He has a lot of info.

A Simple Design for DCC Lighting Flicker Prevention

If your head units are running good then I would look at the install.

 

I would create a test LED and connect directly to the pick up and watch it with the V2. If both of them flicker in uni-instance the I would check how the bogie is riding the pickup.

If it is lined up the I would add a little weight above the bogies to see if the car is bouncing.

 

After that I would build the circuit.

 

Inobu

Edited by inobu
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If there is a diode bridge, you could add a polarised capacitor behind it. Just watch the polarity. If there is no diode bridge or the headlights flicker too much, then you could add non polarised capacitors to the pickup strips.

 

Tomix CL works by adding a capacitor behind the resistor bridge and loading it with short full throttle pulses. This allows full brightness even while the train is stopped.

 

You could check the pickups too for dirt or contact problems. (wheels, bogie pickups, car pickup strips, lightboard pickups)

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Hey Pablo, I was just having this problem on my Kiha 82 series.  I found that after cleaning the wheels and track, the spot where the wheelset transfer power to the copper bus bars in main body seems to get dirty too.  I just popped off each truck and cleaned the exposed brass under the car with the corner of a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol, and gave the corresponding piece sticking up out of the truck a wipe as well.  Not perfect, but it seems to be working fairly well now, and certainly much better than before. 

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Well, I just run the train for a while in a loop test track at speed and after a little while the lights started to work quite well. Then I tried it in the module with decent results as well.

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Pablo,

 

Check out Ken's site. He has a lot of info.

A Simple Design for DCC Lighting Flicker Prevention

If your head units are running good then I would look at the install.

 

I would create a test LED and connect directly to the pick up and watch it with the V2. If both of them flicker in uni-instance the I would check how the bogie is riding the pickup.

If it is lined up the I would add a little weight above the bogies to see if the car is bouncing.

 

After that I would build the circuit.

 

Inobu

 

I have seen this. It is brilliant as pretty much everything in Suminda crossing, but I hope to be able to do something simpler as I am running my trains in DC.

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If there is a diode bridge, you could add a polarised capacitor behind it. Just watch the polarity. If there is no diode bridge or the headlights flicker too much, then you could add non polarised capacitors to the pickup strips.

 

Tomix CL works by adding a capacitor behind the resistor bridge and loading it with short full throttle pulses. This allows full brightness even while the train is stopped.

 

You could check the pickups too for dirt or contact problems. (wheels, bogie pickups, car pickup strips, lightboard pickups)

 

The headlights are fine. The interior lights do flicker a bit, sometimes. I understand that a non polarised capacitor between the pickup strips work with or without a diode bridge in the light board, am I right? Would a high frequency PWM, i.e. the Tomix CL signal, fry the non polarised capacitor?

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Actually the circuit on the Sumida crossing site is a variant of the official Tomix CL circuit. It works with DC, DC-PWM, DC-PWM-CL, DCC and even AC for the 3rd railers...

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You do need a bit of a circuit with DC to add a cap as you need it polarized one way regardless the track polarization for both the cap and lighting led to work.

 

Ken's diagram is the basic one using a rectifier to keep the lighting and cap polarization the same regardless the polarization of the track/direction of travel. The resistor is to drop the current then for the leds used.

 

Another way is to use a rectifier and a constant current chip and a cap. His has the great feature that it stays the same brightness regardless how much voltage you apply! This is really helpful with D.C. As you run them at various voltages and thus the brightness will change on you with just a rectifier and resistor.

 

This video is great and shows a nice way to do car lighting simply from scratch w.o a lot of complex circuitry, it's pretty simple as well as soldering the 1210 smd leds, just takes some soldering skill (and that is only an investment in watching soemsoldering videos and just practicing until you get the feel of it) parts are super cheap except the current regulator chip which is like a buck (or less if you get like 25 from china).

 

 

In all these it's the cap that acts like a battery and supplies a bit of power when track connection is momentarily lost.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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Actually i would like to add, that if you have a led lighting circuit already built by a company (like Kato), it probably already has a diode bridge. If you just add the buffer cap behind the diode bridge but before the current limiting resistor, then you are set. If you want constant brightness with a smooth DC controller, then you can replace the current limiting resistor with a constant current chip. (PWM controllers act very much like the Tomix CL system, so the buffer cap is enough to get constant brightness)

 

ps: The video linked by Jeff is great!

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I think I'll have to do something like this. I'm starting to install TORMs now which are great, with no flicker, except when the cars run over insulated joiners. I put them in for future block detection. It's not a huge deal but it bugs me.

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