Model train led lights

Rod’s been in touch with some good advice on model train LED lights:

“Hi Al, you say you enjoy updates, well not much to report here but I have been adding some LED platform lights and a first set of 12v DC streetlamps.

They had to be wired in pairs to keep the intensity and the heat under control, these have been deemed a success so I shall have to get another pack for the rest of the layout, luckily the Italians are fairly sparing with their streetlights.

However I am rather sorry now that I didn’t make provision for adding lights in some of the buildings, it would be too much of a faff now they’re done and installed I fear.

I am just now trying to fathom a mystery cross feed in my fiddle yard sidings, every now and then I get a train moving when it should be isolated by points, resulting in some “interesting” (ie alarming but not really expensive so far) sideswipes.

I suspect it comes of stock with metal wheels bridging gaps somewhere, but to identify it I really need a full wiring diagram.

Like an idiot I didn’t do one as I was going along, thinking I’d remember. Blowed if I do!


model train LED lights

You can see Rod’s full layout here.

And if you can help Rod, please leave a comment below.

Now on to John:

“It’s been 20 yrs in the making, just never had the “gumption” to do it.

I always thought that because of the seasons we have that the maintenance would be a real pain.

Now that I’m retired what else do I have to do but put the effort in. Really, my adult son’s doings, I think they want to keep me busy !

I’ve shared what you have sent me on all the projects under way and that got them psyched. So my wife and I went away for a brief vacation and the boys went to work.( I’m still trying to figure out what they did that I haven’t found out about ! lol lol )

I will send you progress pictures and videos as we go. Awaiting for some what will be nice additions, Bridges and more rolling stock. Waiting till it all gets balanced and secured before we break out the real expensive toys.

Really a big work in progress every time I speak with the boys there always either a slight change here, siding there, new track coming for extension areas, I never know.

This I do know it will be a triple bridge extending over the pond stream, a tunnel which was planned years ago when doing the pond, a small rail yard and long runs with limited switches although there are a few manual/ powered.

So I guess you can call it an “Over under 8″. Hope to have track laid in beds this weekend ? Lot of rain is to be coming for the next three days as well as a holiday so I’m not sure why that does to the schedule.

Keep the ideas coming !


Lastly, on to another John:

“Dear Mr. Lee…

Thank you for sharing my cardstock boxcar…

I have now done a locomotive…

A few details need to be added…

Sincerely, John from Cali..


Chatsworth California USA”

model train locomotive

model train locomotive

If you missed John’s last post, it’s here.

That’s all this time folks!

A big thanks to both Johns and to Rod for sharing his model train LED lights advice.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

12 Responses to Model train led lights

  1. Steve Hudacko says:

    Like your work. The overhead wireing looks great. I haven’t been doing a wireing diagram either. When I first started to do the wireing I said how tough could it get. Well halfway through the wires are going everywhere. I still car figure it out but it is getting harder and harder. I may even pull some of it out and do over just to make it easier. At this point all I can say is don’t rush it. Take your time and plan it all out and stick to the plan. Lesson learned. Lucky I am retired and have lots of time.
    Steve goon Toms Rivet

  2. ? I have too HO street car and it needs a three rail track all the wheel are brass and no line on the too make it rum you have to touch the wheels one lead and the body with the other so does this need a special track?

  3. tom says:

    To Steve Goon!!!! You took all the words right out of my mouth. I too am retired and have the tangled wire mess, also thinking of redoing. Every time I think I`m done I have to add something else. Dealing in HO. Good luck Tom in Payson Arizona.

  4. Eric says:

    Rod. Nice looking layout.. I have the same problem with the points not fully isolating when a train runs across the Peco points I use it can link through onto the spur line and doing what you said in getting sideswiped. The only cure is to isolate one track in the spur and add a another power link through a switch so you flick the switch to open the spur power. It is annoying.
    Power I run from the controllers to a separate point on the board or under it and colour code the wires so you always know which pair of wires is for which track or for your lighting, much easier to trace that way.

    Eric (Leeds) UK

  5. Rod Mackay says:

    That HO streetcar might be set up for collection off the trolley wire and all wheels returning current, like the real thing. If that’s the case you might find that none of the wheels are insulated from the chassis in which case it would be a lot of work to alter it, however if the wheels ARE insulated on at least one side of the model, you might just be able to rearrange the motor feed wires to collect/return from separate pickups either side.
    My own overhead on the Diano Marina layout is electrically dead as it would have been too much trouble and expense to wire all the roads in the fiddle yard, offstage.

  6. paul Otway says:

    What you could is install an isolating track in your fiddle yard.

    Hornby makes one that is controlled by a green lever frame. Very simple to use.

    I like the locomotive body.


  7. Robin says:

    Read your post all the time. The people who send in their layouts give some great ideas Been out of commission for the last 18 months. Hoping to start my la-out soon. I find that your cut out buildings are all American how about some English ones. I am also retired.
    Thanks for the advice.
    South Africa

  8. Susan Cannon says:

    John – Lovely loco!!!

    Rod – I am concerned when you say that you are concerned with heat while using LEDs. The big attraction for LEDs is supposed to be that they do not give off much heat at all. I have found this to be the case using LED bulbs in my home. What is generating the heat in your system?

  9. Always nice to see lights on a layout , but as said LED `s dont get warm …Dangerous Dave

  10. Dan Hulitt says:

    Rod, has LED and 12v DC lamps, and the 12v lamps are the ones with the heat issue.

    Nice work, guys.

    Mn Dan

  11. Rod Mackay says:

    Susan and Dave, sorry not to have responded sooner, it is as Dan says, the platform lamps were LEDs and didn’t get hot, but the type of streetlights I needed were only available in 12v dc at the time, hence wanting to avoid heating when they might be on all day at a show. I have since found some replacement LED columns in the same style – pairs of globe lights supported by curved brackets below – so have replaced some of the dc ones already. They are rather a pain to do, as the wires are so fine they’re hard to see, let alone solder, or trap under the securing screw of a chocbloc connector. I’m just getting old, aren’t I?

  12. Erick says:

    Wow. that’s great.

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