Adding LEDs and sound to your model railway

Here’s another gem from Dave.

This time he shows us how he adds LEDs and sound to his layout.

You can get the LEDs for next to nothing on ebay – check out the ebay cheat sheet.

Leave a comment below to ask any questions.

And a big thank you to Dave – again!



31 Responses to Adding LEDs and sound to your model railway

  1. Chris Rohrer says:

    Another brilliant clip from Dave. I only wish my building skills were as good as his.
    I am going over to L.E.D. lighting on my layout, as you can pick them up for about 4p each + 1p for a current limiting resistor from e-bay. Just make sure you have either a DC supply or a supply of 1N4001 silicon diodes.
    As I am currently building a few kits, the Factory , Warehouser & Gatehouse Complex from Metcalfe Models, they do look spectacular lit up. 8 in the warehouse, 6 in the factory, and 4 in the gate house which is as much as I’ve built.

  2. TOM says:


  3. Martin Wood says:

    Daves layout is but just a fantasy for most of us. He is a very fortunate man to have enough space to create such a layout & the funds to allow it. Fair play to Dave. Just noticed that his A4 loco in the shed has got it’s handrail detatched…needs a repair on that Dave!
    Keep up the enjoyment and sharing it with us, it is appreciated.

  4. Tom Jones says:

    Just wanted to say, you’re a true craftsman and I really enjoy not only the layout, but the creativity reflected. Every time I look at your vids, I see something else in the layout that’s worth replaying. Looking forward to the day I can begin construction. I’ll have the laptop at the ready to bring up some of your tips.
    Thanks !

  5. Ed Reiffer says:

    Looks great ! but, why not PUSH the cleaning tank car instead of pulling it – that way the engines wheels get cleaned while the cleaning fliud is still wet, that way the engines don’t have to run over the tracks agian by themselves. (time saver)< just a thought – Ed

  6. Del says:

    It is a very nice setup an was intertested in seeing how to do the leds. But, what was missing was the how toos. What is needed to hook up to the led before suppling the current to it. Do you need resistors – diodes – an in what series are they soldered. If you could show that it would be much easier to use the leds. Thank you so much for all the help you give us.
    Thanks Dennis

  7. TimC says:

    Unbelievable detail….did I see a “hobo stove” in the dark that had a fire in it?

  8. Ben Zalewski says:

    A resistor of 560 ohms could be used to connect a LED to a 12 volt source.
    Here are 2 websites which can be used to identify resistor values:
    If the LED is connected to an AC source, it will light half the time. (Very few people have eyes which can detect a “flash”.)
    If the LED is connected to DC source,, it’ll need to be connected properly. (If it doesn’t light, switch the two wires.)
    Thanks for the fine videos, Dave.
    –Ben Z

  9. Len Lainsbury says:

    Another cracking video of immense use and inspiration. Am quite prepared to experiment until I get it right but, like quite a few of your devoted followers, would love to have more detailed instructions on powering up. As they say `a picture is worth a thousand words`, but a drawn schematic plus a few printed words would not go amiss either.
    More power to your elbow Dave (no pun intended).

  10. Roy F says:

    Very good – I’m jealous.

  11. Ted Miller says:

    Great layout Dave. Curious as to what make and model rail car camera you used in a previous video? Looking for something small that has both audio and video.
    Keep up the good work and keep the videos coming!

  12. dave says:

    Those strips of Led`s that I buy , (plenty on E Bay) are just connected direct to a 12 volt supply, again a separate 12 volts transformer can be bought very reasonably on e bay , and you can connect a lot to the one supply

  13. Bob da Grouch says:

    Great layout Dave. The night time lighting effects are beautiful. I couldn’t help but notice your breathing on the video. I smoked for 40 years, so I know what it is to have to put a little effort into breathing. It took 40 years for me to get smart enough to quit. Keep on chugging, as it tends to irritate some folks. Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke. Right ?

  14. Andy Lampmann says:

    LEDs Are fantastic. The place looks fantastic

  15. Derek says:

    Hi Dave,

    Are you running DC or DCC, either way I notice you have no coaching stock lit up with your strip lights, obviously better with DCC as would be lit all the time



  16. Joe Wallach says:

    Dave’s stuff is impressive, including this latest addition. I just love the railroad yard

    Thanks for all of this information. I am still learning and trying to put things together. Would it be possible to know what the dimensions are of Dave’s layout?

  17. Ralph (Eureka, MO USA) says:

    Dear Dave,

    I have looked at a number of your videos and didn’t realize until now that you can stand in the openings of your huge layout to control the trains, lights, fix derailments, etc. How do you get along the floor in order to reach an opening? Crawl on hands and knees, or is the entire layout raised so that you can walk under it?


  18. John Stevens says:

    I get my lights from: – this dealer and although they are in China, delivery is usually only four or five days. They state on their site the voltage of each item and if needed will supply resistors free of charge. I have at last found a use for some of the power supplies for electric razors and answerphones which I have kept in case I need them one day ! My 12 volt lights run off a 9 volt supply. This lowers their running temperature and gives a warmer, less sharp light … just like the street lights I remember as a kid. LEDs will only work one way round, so if you connect them up and they don’t work, change the polarity. There … the sum total of my electrical knowledge !

  19. John Dyson says:

    Hi Dave…looks fab all lit up..thanks for the tip re the lights…but the ‘sound’…of course that’ll be from a DCC module I assume…can’t afford to ‘go that way’ with all my own stock (!) But I do notice it is very ‘loud’ on the video clip…is it really that loud??? (As your own voice seems quite low)…doesn’t it drive you ‘nuts’ being that loud..? :O) was talking to some guys exhibiting at one show (O gauge, DCC sound etc) and even though it was excellent…they said, it’s ok at home..but when you’re here for three days and it’s on all the time it drives you crazy!! Haha…Luv JD x

  20. Mario Beaulieu says:

    Excellent work, looks beautiful and realistic.

    How about somme info as to the wiring, power source etc.



  21. skip says:

    I know its been a while since u make this video but where do u get the TANK CLEANING CAR? I live in MD USA, all my looking Ive never found one or anything like it. TKS FOR THE VIDEO

  22. dewaine says:

    light stirp is $75:00 a roll i think its 10 feet in nova scotia canada.

  23. Roger says:

    Best way to clean track as train is jerky neads a help to move

  24. DaveB says:

    Wonderful stuff but, you’d better start fitting lights into your road-vehicles for and “driving after dark” – the fines for ‘no-lights’ can be exorbitant !

    Can I detail that bludy Airfix Thatched cottage ??? Drives me mad that and ruins the ‘ride-around’ every time we pass !

  25. robert says:

    it’s a great layout. Keeps getting better. Have seen a number of pictures, and videos. is there a drawing of this layout. would like an idea of how this all flows.

  26. dan o wiseman says:

    its the best once again , I really an a train running guy not a house building one or display I like tracks hi low bridges home built more than buildings does any body else have the same ideas we need to start own area , the train runners instead of artist ………

  27. Bob hazard says:

    Dave. Enjoy your comments and information , but I’ m new to the hobbie and have my layout just about done, but started changing already. I love the g scale and wondering if you have information . I love some or the building that you show and wondered if they come in g scale. Thanks. Bob

  28. Darrell Smith says:

    Incredible detail Dave…. Love your videos and highest regards for your layout. the lighting makes one feel you could walk down the streets at night. Another Great Job !

  29. Tom mckague says:

    Subj: led lights.

    The video whilst entertaining did not give any instruction on physically installing lights to say a signal box?
    Can we have an instructional video please?



  30. Brett Ratcliffe says:

    Dave’s lighting is superb . . . if you are modeling post-1960 so that you have bright mercury vapor lights. But for pre-1960 layouts, how do we get the more yellowed, slightly dimmer lighting of incandescent bulbs? Do LEDs come in a color to simulate older style lighting?

    Conversely, if you are VERY modern, mercs are being replaced by more efficient sodium vapor lights that are a putrid orangish color. Could LEDs be obtained in that color to simulate current practice?

  31. NJ Mark says:

    Thanks for the great lighting tips. I am a long way from doing anything like that but you have shown it isn’t as difficult a task and I will keep it in mind. Cheers! NJ Mark

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