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Battery Lighting For Passenger Cars
American Flyer®
Connecticut S Gaugers

For Scale, Hirail and American Flyer S Gauge Model Railroaders

Battery Lighting For Passenger Cars
by Bill Mark, Jr.

Edited by Craig S. O'Connell and Don DeWitt

Having about 25 passenger cars that I wanted to have lighted, the cost of regulated lighting kits was more than I wanted to invest, and having built two previous relay operated circuits I set out thinking as to how I could use one of these.

I started out by purchasing a set of super bright miniature Christmas lights that used 2.4 volts per lamp. I cut out three lights and hooked them up to two AA batteries in series. They were still burning bright after four hours. My next stop was to Radio Shack to purchase a relay. I selected a 12 volt DC, with a contact rating of 1 amp. I then set it up with jumper leads and hooked it up to our track. As soon as there was power to the track, the lights came on.

The next step was to make a mounting board that would fit my cars. I cut a piece of .030 styrene about 3/4 of an inch wide and long enough to cover the mounting for the trucks. I then drilled two clearance holes at the truck mounting locations.

The next step was to install the components onto the mounting board. I secured the battery holders with Goo and the relay with foam adhesive. Having used stranded wire, I tinned and shaped a loop in the wire end to go around the 2-56 screw that mounts the trucks. I also installed a flat washer and nut on the inside of the car.

For the current pick up at the truck axles, I used a 4 inch length of .015 brass wire bent around a nail three times, making sure that the resulting coil was large enough for the 2-56 truck mounting screw to pass through. After installing the pick up wire, which wants to go on top of the axles, just trim off the excess wire at each axle.

As I started installing these in my S Helper heavyweights, to facilitate battery replacement when needed, I removed the lower latching portion of the locking tabs on the lower part of the sidewall. The fit of these roof sections is so close I doubt if any of these latches are needed. At this time I installed a paper liner on the inside of the roof. I should mention that this lighting process will not work very well with DCC, as the cars would be lit all the time and the four hours would go by very quickly.

The total cost of this lighting circuit came to about $6.00 and they are working very well.

Radio Shack part #s


Battery holders..........270-401A

Yours in "S"

Bill Mark, Jr.


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