Using LEDs to light model train layouts

snipped-for-privacy@mtholyoke.edu wrote:


I recommend that everyone that is building a layout have a multimeter. The usefulness of one of these for electrical work and troubleshooting can't be ignored. You can get a rudimentary one in the $20-30 that will probably have all of the functions you'll need for most hobbyist work, including a diode check function. The easy way to visually identify anode and cathode on a normal LED is to hold it sideways. If you look through the lens the cathode is normally the lead attached to the little "cup" in the center, and the anode is attached to the wire that comes out of the "cup" to the other lead. Anode is + and cathode is -. SMD or other packaged LEDs are harder to determine without a meter with a diode check, though many will have some type of marking that a manufacturer's data sheet will help you identify. A good source of data sheets if you know the part number of an electronic component is www.alldatasheet.com. I use it nearly every day at work trying to find information on components in equipment I'm repairing.
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Rick Jones
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