For quite some time now, I had planned on using 12V LED strip lights for the layout lighting.
Some years ago, I purchased some 5 metre rolls of LED strips on eBay. I had temporarily fitted these above the Chilcott’s Ck to Kankool section, primarily to provide lighting to be able to work on the layout.
Over the years, I realised that the strip lights were not going to be suitable for a number of reasons.
a) they ran very hot;
b) they used a lot of power;
c) to get the correct colour temperature of the lights, I found I had to use a strip of cool white AND warm white together. I soon realised I would need a hell of a lot of strips for this to achieve the desired result.
Ever since starting work on scenery, especially applying static grasses, I knew that I needed to sort the lighting out once and for all.
Yesterday I finally went into a local lighting shop to ask about “slimline” type fluorescent tubes. I was told “they are old technology now and are difficult to source”. The guy then showed me some LED slimline “linkable” LED lights that came in various lengths; 280mm, 540mm, 840mm, 1140mm & 1440mm. I decided to get a few different lengths to try out.
The other great thing about them is they can be switched between three different colour temperatures; 3000K (warm white), 4000K (cool white) and 5500K (daylight).
The 1440mm was $55, 1140mm was $44 and the 540mm was $29. I proceeded to install them above the Chilcott’s Ck bridge scene as a test.
The lights are supported by small plastic clips and can be daisy-chained together, either with a solid connector, or a short flexible connector that spaces each fitting approximately 130mm apart. This was the method I chose. The fittings were mounted behind the valance that was already in place.
I was pleasantly surprised by the effect once turned on. I have settled on the 5500K “daylight” temperature as it just looks the best compared to the other two. There is a nice, even spread of light.
The other plus is these draw far less load than the equivalent 12V strip lights. They also run very cool.
So to sum up, I think I am on a winner here. I have already done some local shopping around and it looks like I’ll be able to get some quite good discounts on the different length fittings if I buy in bulk. The plan is to use the longest fittings where possible, and short ones for going around curves/corners.
Below are some shots of the fittings in situ, the connector piece, and an overall view of the layout and the specs of the fittings. One thing to note is that they recommend a maximum run loading of 240W, which if you calculate off the figures in the picture, approximate run lengths of 22m, 16.7m, 16.5m 15.2m & 15.7m can be achieved for each different fitting length.
Here is a link to the product page.
Well, over the last few days, I have been installing the workbench and some overhead cupboards, and I’m quite pleased with the end result.
I have installed 2 x 28W ‘daylight’ fluro tubes over the bench, behind a valance. This type of tube was chosen because it’s the colour temperature of the lights on Bowen Creek, as well as what I plan to use on the home layout. This allows me to carry out weathering tasks under the same lighting conditions as on the layout.
Now I can finally start to unpack some of the modelling stuff that has been in boxes for nearly two years!! I am really looking forward to getting back into the modelling, now that I have a place to do it.
The first priority is to complete some weathering of wagons in readiness for the Epping show which is now under three weeks away.
Andrew and I have also been playing around with our recently purchased Loksound Programmer and decoders, but I am having problems uploading sounds to the decoder. Does anyone out there use Loksound and program their own sounds?
Cheers for now.