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more Christmas LED lights for the model railroad

more Christmas LED lights for the model railroad


Three years ago, I found some $1 LED lights at Dollar Tree.
This year, I got some $5 lights from Dollar General, and after I tested how good they are,
I bought several more sets at half price after the holidays.

It's an ok price for a battery box, a 4 position controller switch, and 20 LED's.
The color set has 4 reds, 4 greens, 4 purples, 4 blues, 4 yellowsl
There is a 'warm white' set which should be useful for interior lights of buildings.

(40 years, ago, a 5mm LED was the smallest that was readily available at Radio Shack for $4 each
and that was the 'standard' green color. Red and white colors weren't available, or cost an arm and a leg.
I still have one locomotive running a green headlight and since so few people visit here, they usually don't notice.) These are a useful smaller size than what I got 3 years ago,
they are very close to GOW bulbs (Grain of Wheat) bulbs,
and are 3mm size, under 1/8 inch in diameter after stripping off the green heat shrink insulator. About 11 scale inches in HO scale.

They have a very typical LED round-nose.
They throw light mostly out the end; not exactly a flashlight, but it's useful.


I made a railroad signal from brass tubing and 14-gauge copper wire for the support posts,
easy to solder.

I had some steel washers to make a round black target to highlight the light,
and epoxied them to the brass tubing,
I glued them, I wouldn't attempt another solder job so close to my first work.


Here's the same wiring diagram from 3 years ago; actually the plan is 40 years old
Even though the power supply is just 3 AA batteries,
I dimmed their brightness by putting a 2K ohm resistor in the circuit.
Then I can stare directly at the LED and it doesn't leave spots in my eyes,
yet it will throw light 'across the Mississippi River', which is my walkway aisle.
I like it as a 'guiding light' when I don't turn on the main overhead lights in the basement.
It makes the railroad look exciting even I am just walking near and not running trains.

It's battery powered, and I leave it on all the time, even if I am not there for hours.
So, it's ready to light the way without waiting.
And even though the battery box holds 3 batteries for 4.5 volts,
I find these run for months on old batteries that are too weak to run radios and cameras.
So, I don't recycle a weak battery immediately, I use them on my RR to use 90% of all their power on these LED's.
I just have be careful when a battery gets really drained, that's when they leak their goop and salts.

The controller for these lights is interesting, it is marked Off, on, blinking, fading.
and they are all TIMED. After I put the batteries in, it's little chip clock starts, and its non-adjustable timer runs the lights for 6 hours, then turns itself off for 18 hours, and after a day (24 hours) it picks up where it left off for another 6 hours on, 18 off.
It would make a good evening light, or a wake-up light.
The only way to change the start time is to remove the batteries and re-insert them for when I want the light cycle to start again.
Removing and re-installing batteries is not convenient, so I added a switch between the batteries and chip.
I also found it convenient to start two different lights at different times of the morning or night, so at least something is on to view.


The top two lights are track powered and tell me polarity or direction,
and if this track section has any power at all,
because this block has power wiper contacts and does not have wires to feed this section of a drawbridge.

The LED brightness is nearly constant,
until the throttle is turned down so low that not even the locomotive headlight glows.

The lower yellow light is battery powered and I leave it on,
so even if I am not running trains but just walking through the room,
it is blinking and looking like something exciting, and marks the aisle.

I didn't attempt to hide the wiring behind the mast yet, a maintenace access ladder and platforms would be good.

I didn't hide the wiring yet that is dangling below the bridge deck.

I am cutting a used blue plastic drinking straw to make a wire-way support.


the wires can lay in the U shape of half of the straw, and I will nail it up under the wood bridge deck.

I put one yellow light under an overhead bridge,
so it shines onto the track below so I can more easily see the track switch points position.

Link to my 2019 page about the first cheap LED's I got, Christmas Lights on the Model Railroad

to My Main Index Page on the TrainWeb site.

This page was made in January 2023