Author Topic: LED Lighting for Layout and Workshop  (Read 1633 times)

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robert3985

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LED Lighting for Layout and Workshop
« on: August 17, 2017, 04:46:15 AM »
+1
In a broad sense, everything we put on top of our layouts could be considered to be "scenery", and we see it because our eyes receive and interpret the light which reflects off of everything.  Even the trains which run through the scenery could be thought of as part of the scenery of our layouts, since they add interest and variety to the little vistas we make.

How we light our scenery (layouts) is an individual preference which depends on our individual likes and dislikes and there isn't one way that is best for everybody.

Nowadays, we are living in an era that gives us many options as to how to light up our model railroads which can both make it look great, and save considerable energy costs at the same time.

My layout is a portable, modular/sectional layout, which I break down portions of several times a year and take to various local shows.  I have a partner (Gregg Cudworth) who is deeply immersed in his Nn3-Code30-ribbon-rail-double-decked-fill-up-the-basement version of the RGS, but who likes to run some of his collection of standard gauge D&RGW trains at the shows buckled up to my UP-Thru-Weber-&-Echo-Canyons display two or three times a year.

We developed our own standards for our portable layout, and one of those was what type of lighting and what color temperature we wanted to illuminate our modules so we weren't dependent on available lighting at the venues where we set up.

We decided that daylight (5000K) fluorescent CFL's (100W equivalent) in swing-arm drafting lamps attached every 3' to our skyboard was the way to go.  Since then, LED bulbs have become affordable, and we've replaced the CFL's with LED bulbs, which draw even less power and are much less fragile.

The reason behind the "daylight" color temp of 5000 degrees Kelvin, was (1) it made photography a lot easier, (2) colors of scenic elements such as foliage, water, concrete, asphalt, grass, dirt and rocks were much easier to match to reference photos taken in natural daylight, and (3) ya never know what kind of color temperature the available venue lighting is, so having a "standard" natural light to display our work is advantageous.

Both Gregg and I have also replaced our workshop lighting with 5000K tubes, and now LED "Linear Light Bulbs" are commonly available to replace the old 48" fluorescent tubes, with much longer life, no flickering, and no color temperature change as they age and get dimmer.

The logic behind having 5000K lights in the workshop is that's where my painting, superdetailing, decaling, weathering and painting small objects such as people takes place.  If the color temperature of both workshop and layout are identical, I won't be unpleasantly surprised when I take a newly painted model to the layout room.  Also, since I document many of the projects I do photographically, the 5000K color temperature makes that significantly easier.

Here's what I ordered for my workshop to replace old T8 fluorescent 40W tubes with 18W LED Linear Light Bulbs: https://www.amazon.com/Hykolity-Equivalent-Qualified-Fluorescent-Replacement/dp/B01JOHR2DW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1502955595&sr=8-3&keywords=led+linear+light+bulb#Ask

These are "Single-End powered LED bulbs" and don't need ballast and/or a starter for them to work, so rewiring the fixture is necessary to supply them with straight 120VAC.

If you don't want to re-wire your fixtures, look for "Hybrid" Linear LED Bulbs, but be prepared to pay almost twice as much.

The LED Linear Bulbs consume only 18 watts of power vs a 48" fluorescent tube's 40 watts, and since they convert the AC to DC, they run flicker-free.

Whether you choose to go with "daylight" or "warm" color temperature lighting for your layout, you should make sure you have the same color temperature lights in your model train workshop, which will add significantly to your modeling experience.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 04:55:21 AM by robert3985 »

Philip H

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Re: LED Lighting for Layout and Workshop
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2017, 11:29:58 AM »
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Nifty idea.  For us unwashed - what rewiring is required?
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

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robert3985

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Re: LED Lighting for Layout and Workshop
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2017, 09:52:42 PM »
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Nifty idea.  For us unwashed - what rewiring is required?

Click on the link and on the left side of the screen there are wiring diagrams showing how to re-wire your light fixtures

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 04:55:43 AM by robert3985 »

nkalanaga

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Re: LED Lighting for Layout and Workshop
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2017, 01:56:55 AM »
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Thank you!  Now, when my fluorescents finally die, I know what I'll replace them with.

But, one question:  Wouldn't LEDs also flicker at 120 Hz, since the voltage drops to 0 twice a cycle?  Or do these have filter capacitors to prevent that?

I usually can't see the flicker in a fluorescent until it starts to fail, so it wouldn't matter to me.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 02:03:12 AM by nkalanaga »
N Kalanaga
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Lemosteam

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Re: LED Lighting for Layout and Workshop
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 08:40:55 AM »
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Wish someone would make the U shaped version for the 2' fixtures.