Author Topic: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles  (Read 557 times)

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jpec

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Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« on: April 16, 2019, 07:44:39 AM »
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What are folks using now for N Scale emergency vehicle lights? I remember Iron Penguin but it seems like they're no longer available...

Jeff
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DKS

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 07:47:42 AM »
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Do you mean the lights themselves, the driver circuits, or all of the above?
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jpec

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 02:17:59 PM »
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Do you mean the lights themselves, the driver circuits, or all of the above?

Yes, sir...all of the above. Iron Penguin had a package that was the whole enchilada. A friend did a fire scene that must have cost him a small fortune...every vehicle on it had emergency lights and there were at least 20 on there...
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DKS

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 02:24:16 PM »
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Myself, I use pre-wired SMD LEDs and flasher circuits like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/UFO-LED-Chaser-Beacon-Sequencer-Light-Flash-Show-Lights-Strobe-8x-5mm-LEDs/233095530095

Just connect the LEDs in a random order so they don't do the chaser sequence. And you don't need a separate circuit board for every vehicle, so there's some savings to be had.

 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 02:47:20 PM by David K. Smith »
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IronPenguin

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 09:18:34 PM »
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IronPenguin is alive and well.Had to switch providers. Still providing light boards.

Mike (IronPenguin) Tennent

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2019, 05:07:29 AM »
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What type of lights are you taking about? A full LED light bar? A strobe bar? V5 wigwags (like the NYPD). Michigan SP top hats?

Lights are very era specific and you will need to find the correct FX drivers for what you want to model. There are currently no true scale light bars in N. The best way to model them is to run fiber optics though the model and glue to clear styrene the shape of the bar. Use adhesive foil on top and bottom to direct the light outwards.

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2019, 06:08:48 AM »
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The best way to model them is to run fiber optics though the model and glue to clear styrene the shape of the bar. Use adhesive foil on top and bottom to direct the light outwards.

I've found fiber optics to be a problem doing this. It's a lot of stuff to cram in the car, it's a lot of work to get the ends just right, the fibers need to be carefully shielded so they don't bleed light, and you've got to deal with a permanent light source installation under the layout.

I assemble pre-wired SMD LEDs into a bar, the solenoid wires thread through just one hole in the middle, and the electronics can be located almost anywhere. The next time I build one of these, I'm also going to add a micro-connector (scavenged from some discarded tech) to the vehicle so it's removable for cleaning and maintenance.
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jpec

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 07:44:37 AM »
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IronPenguin is alive and well.Had to switch providers. Still providing light boards.

Mike (IronPenguin) Tennent

Current website? Google directs me to Lights4Models?
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jpec

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 07:47:27 AM »
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What type of lights are you taking about? A full LED light bar? A strobe bar? V5 wigwags (like the NYPD). Michigan SP top hats?

Lights are very era specific and you will need to find the correct FX drivers for what you want to model. There are currently no true scale light bars in N. The best way to model them is to run fiber optics though the model and glue to clear styrene the shape of the bar. Use adhesive foil on top and bottom to direct the light outwards.

Nothing that specific, Daniel...Iron Penguin had a board with a few SMD's that would suit the purpose. Going for effect more than scale or specificity.
"It's sad that you have to die to see how many people loved you..." - Rodney Bingenheimer

IronPenguin

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2019, 01:41:59 PM »
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Current website? Google directs me to Lights4Models?
Sorry about delay in answering.  Life has been interfering a bit too much...
Current web site is
https://tennentm.wixsite.com/ironpenguin

If you don't see what you want, email me. Some of my older boards with many LEDs aren't on the site, but still available.  And I can do custom boards on request. I've pretty much gone with Nano size, but can do Chip or Pico if needed.

IronPenguin

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2019, 01:58:27 PM »
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Might as well address the topic, too.

What you use probably depends on whether you're concerned more with the effect or modeling detail. Frankly, for n scale if it's just the effect, you don't need a light bar. If you use Nano or Pico, you can just mount them on the roof. At least with my boards, you won't see the LEDs because the effect is so bright that you can't see that there is not a light bar.
If a model has a decent light bar, it's usually possible to drill out enough space to put in a Pico and you can have both effect and modeling.

I did an n scale light bar on my old filament 3D printer, but it was rougher than I like so I  really didn't pursue it. I now have a SLA Photon that can get the detail needed, so it's on the list to do.

A final thought - a bigger problem than the LED size is the d***n wires! I've probably installed lights in 100 + cars in all scales and routing and hiding the wires is the absolutely hardest thing about it.

DKS

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2019, 02:16:40 PM »
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A final thought - a bigger problem than the LED size is the d***n wires! I've probably installed lights in 100 + cars in all scales and routing and hiding the wires is the absolutely hardest thing about it.

Try using #44 solenoid wire. Finer than hair, practically invisible, and easy to work with--assuming you use a delicate touch. One #80 drill hole will easily pass a dozen or more of these wires.
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peteski

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2019, 10:09:42 PM »
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Try using #44 solenoid wire. Finer than hair, practically invisible, and easy to work with--assuming you use a delicate touch. One #80 drill hole will easily pass a dozen or more of these wires.

Same for me - I have lost of various diameter and color magnet wires - they are easy to hide.
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IronPenguin

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2019, 10:48:51 PM »
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I'm quite familiar with magnet wire and occassionally use it, but it does have it's own set of problems. When I do a custom install, I have to keep in mind that the customer must be able to detach and re-attach all the wires from the effects boards. That means the wires can't be soldered to it.  Magnet wire is very difficult to reliably attach (and re-attach) to most available connectors, so it makes more sense to use with that can be used with connectors.

And that doesn't even address the problem of soldering magnet wire to picos and nanos in quantities I deal with. 🙂

peteski

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Re: Emergency Lights for N Scale Vehicles
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2019, 10:53:41 PM »
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I'm quite familiar with magnet wire and occassionally use it, but it does have it's own set of problems. When I do a custom install, I have to keep in mind that the customer must be able to detach and re-attach all the wires from the effects boards. That means the wires can't be soldered to it.  Magnet wire is very difficult to reliably attach (and re-attach) to most available connectors, so it makes more sense to use with that can be used with connectors.

And that doesn't even address the problem of soldering magnet wire to picos and nanos in quantities I deal with. 🙂

 For ease if install, I run the magnet wires to a "junction" PC board under the vehicle, then run regular insulated wires (sometimes a ribbon cable) to a connector which then has a plug that connects to the effects board. Yes, doing it in commercial quantities, can be a problem.
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