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Lighting Trains


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Yes, older european trains had trailers that took one polarity from one bogie and the other from the other one. Doing it right with all wheels picking up is better and actually easier too once you figure a way for the power to go up from the bogies instead of the bogie pin screw. Even the older Tomix system was all wheels, so i assume it has been a standard in Japan for quite some time now.

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Wow! This thread has a lot of great ideas, for people with the skills to solder, on the tiny Kato board. If I were to try that, what iron and tip should I buy?

But the easier solution is where can I buy the alternative (Torm for Kato) lighting, in the US? None of the posted links worked.

 

Also, I loved the idea of a shallow pan to clean wheels!!!

 

 

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Edited by kmcsjr
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Folks, Do 11-201 bulbs light at low voltage? I have a bunch of passenger cars, that will most likely, stay DC. Older commuter sets only need 3 or 4 volts, to speed around. As such, I'm considering the cheaper alternative. Is that a really bad idea?

 

 

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The adapter cable for my Tomix CL controller arrived today. I've found a time to quickly test it with all my motive power. Everything runs smoothly and nice a really low speeds with the possible exception of the C11 which seems to start more abruptly with this controller than with the Kato.

 

CL does not really work with my locos (Kato DE10, ED13 and C11) as their motors start before the lights lit.  CL it works well with my two Kato EMUs. Trains can now be stopped with the lights on, maybe fractionally less bright than when the train is running. Even better, there is now no annoying slow speed flickering at all. Some pics below.

 

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IMG 0923

 

IMG 0924

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Folks, Do 11-201 bulbs light at low voltage? I have a bunch of passenger cars, that will most likely, stay DC. Older commuter sets only need 3 or 4 volts, to speed around. As such, I'm considering the cheaper alternative. Is that a really bad idea?

Bulb lights will be roughly linear with voltage. So if they are at full intensity at 12 or 16V, you will get 1/3rd or 1/4th of this brightness at 4V. Led lights are better, especially with a constant current source, but they have a minimal turn on voltage around 3 to 4V. The Tomix PWM based CL is designed to solve both problems by providing full voltage. Modern Kato sets are also more or less CL compatible, just missing the small filtering cap to be 100% compatible. (but thanks to the nonlinear brightness curve of the LEDs, you can get 60 to 80% without buffer caps)

 

ps: If anyone wants to solder to light boards and other simple tasks, any cheap temperature controlled soldering station would work if it comes with a sharp tip, last time i bought one it was the equivalent of 15 usd in a Tesco general store  (like this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/28020-Fahrenheit-Analogue-Variable-Temperature/dp/B00HSJFKZ6 ) For dabbing on a few caps, wire ends and connectors, this one works, just get a good thin, multicore, no clean solder wire.

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Finally got my TORMs working. The LEDs were easy to use. I had some trouble with my trains though, that took me a while to figure out. Got them from Nariichi. These are bright white. At some stage I may add diffuser tape as mentioned above. I love them but if anything they are a tad bright. 

 

 

gKrPq7a.jpg

Edited by gavino200
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Nice work gavino!  Are you using the torm lights with dcc?  I was thinking of getting some, but hobby search said they aren't dcc compatable so I'll probably just install them in my Tomix models. 

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1 hour ago, Kiha66 said:

Nice work gavino!  Are you using the torm lights with dcc?  I was thinking of getting some, but hobby search said they aren't dcc compatable so I'll probably just install them in my Tomix models. 

 

Yes, DCC. Doesn't seem to be any problem. I've had them on for a long time now (with flickers). No problems.

 

 

Edited by gavino200
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1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

Gavin,

 

do the torms have caps on them?

 

jeff

 

I'll have a look. I'll post a photo of the tiny circuit. There are tiny components. But I assumed they were diodes.

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22 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

Yes, DCC. Doesn't seem to be any problem. I've had them on for a long time now (with flickers). No problems.

Thanks!  I'll have to try them out then.

Edited by Kiha66
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11 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Probably just diodes and resistors then. Even small super caps are like 5mm+ in diameter.

 

jeff

 

Yes, they're definitely not caps. I could have answered that just by thinking about my flicker problem. 

 

The two SMDs on the right are resisters. I don't know what's going on with the two components on the left. They look like transistors. I'm guessing it's acting as a rectifier. Is that the right term? To block the reverse current from the DCC AC.

 

IF8ipXs.jpg

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I think this guy might be a cap, but just a small one to smooth out the power coming in rather than as a keep alive.  It may be possible to add a larger one for true keep alive though, but I would need to think about the circuit diagram to make sure that was the place to add it.  The two left side black boxes are most likely acting as diode bridge, then the cap (red circle) after keeps it constant, then a resister (331) on the positive and negative side, then the the top and bottom commons for the LEDs.  The tricky thing is that some of LEDs are being also used as bridges over some of the paths. 

Cap.thumb.jpg.a8a0dfc67dde9ca5e5d57bddd0d98221.jpg

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Looks like it might be just a path bridge. It's super tiny for a cap and not much filtering needed for a simple led circuit like this. But tantalum caps like 10-100pf get down to like 805 size. Maybe one of the ee types can spec it!

 

you need a lot more for any keep alive for antiflicker. There are nice tantalum brick smds that can get up to 100uf and 16v. A few of the fancy light board systems use small super caps that are quite nice, but expensive and harder to source.

 

two at left are rectifiers.

 

thanks much for the detailed photo! 

 

jeff

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It's between the output rails of the three pin dual diode chips. I would say it's a Tomix CL keepalive cap. It should have enough capacity for 1/16000th of a second. (the time between two cl pulses)

 

ps: Connect any buffer cap here, but try to stay under the inrush current capacity of those small diodes.

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3 hours ago, kvp said:

It's between the output rails of the three pin dual diode chips. I would say it's a Tomix CL keepalive cap. It should have enough capacity for 1/16000th of a second. (the time between two cl pulses)

 

ps: Connect any buffer cap here, but try to stay under the inrush current capacity of those small diodes.

 

Can you give me some advice. My knowledge of circuitry is elementary. I'd like to experiment with switching out the resistors for different values to dim the lights a bit. Would I be able to do that sufficiently with SMD resistors without creating too much heat? Also, I have a bunch of SMD capacitors that I bought for sound decoders. I'd like to try adding them to these torms. Can you tell me where I should add them? Also, forgive me if this is asking too much, but would you be able to sketch a schematic of this TORM circuit and explain it a bit? 

Edited by gavino200
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I'm on a phone right now, so i'll try to explain it instead of drawing. The pickups go into the 3 legged chips, each having half of a diode bridge. Then the output of these chips are filtered by that small capacitor connected in parallel. You can add more filtering on top of here (also in parallel), but not too much as the initial charge up current has to remain small due to those tiny diode chips.

 

The filtered power has two series current limiter resistors that power the leds, that are in parallel. It's strange that Torm used two resistors, one on each feed instead of one bigger one on one of the feeds.

 

You can change both to a larger value with the same wattage (size). Like going from 330 (a total of 660 ohm) to 470 (940) ohm. This will actually decrease the current and the heat a bit. Imho the smd marking would be 471 as 47*10^1.

 

ps: so the circuit is: pickups, diode bridge, filter cap in parallel, current limiter resistors in series, leds in parallel

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1 hour ago, kvp said:

I'm on a phone right now, so i'll try to explain it instead of drawing. The pickups go into the 3 legged chips, each having half of a diode bridge. Then the output of these chips are filtered by that small capacitor connected in parallel. You can add more filtering on top of here (also in parallel), but not too much as the initial charge up current has to remain small due to those tiny diode chips.

 

The filtered power has two series current limiter resistors that power the leds, that are in parallel. It's strange that Torm used two resistors, one on each feed instead of one bigger one on one of the feeds.

 

You can change both to a larger value with the same wattage (size). Like going from 330 (a total of 660 ohm) to 470 (940) ohm. This will actually decrease the current and the heat a bit. Imho the smd marking would be 471 as 47*10^1.

 

ps: so the circuit is: pickups, diode bridge, filter cap in parallel, current limiter resistors in series, leds in parallel

 

Are those two half-diode-bridges connected on the other side of the board? That way it would make sense to me. Two inputs, two outputs.

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Simple question: Should Dr. Yellow have lights. I'm not talking abut the tiny ones on the roof. I'm talking about regular car lights? I generally like putting lights in anything that can be lit. Is Dr. Yellow an exception? What about the car that looks like a regular passenger car?

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The real doctor yellow operates with the blinds closed, as I believe kato has modeled.  Would you even be able to see the lights on the model? 

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6 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

The real doctor yellow operates with the blinds closed, as I believe kato has modeled.  Would you even be able to see the lights on the model? 

 

I don't know. It looks like you'd be able to see diffused light. It might look ok. I'm assuming the JR guys have the light on behind the blinds, and that some of it shines through. 

 

I'd experiment, except that I just lit 3 trains and I'm exhausted.

 

But I don't know. Maybe they have the lights off so they can see their computer screens, etc. I can't find any pictures of Dr. Yellow at night.

Edited by gavino200
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The latest Japan Railway Journal has a segment on JR central's cape gauge Dr. car, where they are very well lit inside with the blinds closed.   I'll have to see if there are any night pictures of Dr Yellow.

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Ah ha!  Found a video!  From the pictures, it seems that in a well lit station or city it appears dark, but out on the line a glow is seen through the curtains.  If the model has clear windows, you could put a strip of printer paper over the inside to simulate the curtains. 

 

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