Coach lighting

For years, modellers have wrestled with the problem of providing steady lighting in passenger coaches, especially with DC. Most systems,
home-made or commercial, have relied on batteries, either rechargeable or replaceable, and a switching mechanism to turn the lights on and off.
Hattons, Gaugemaster and other dealers are now selling a product from DCC Concepts of Australia called Flickerfree, which uses a small on-board capacitor charged from the rails through wheel pickups; it works with 9-20V DC, AC or DCC. Lights turn on after about a minute on powered track, and will stay on for up to an hour without power. Kits for OO/HO or N scale cost about 43 for three coaches and 78 for six. They include all parts required, with no need of external switches or connections between coaches. LEDs simulating incandescent or fluorescent light can be specified.
The price will no doubt put off a lot off people (including me), but it does offer a solution to a long-standing problem. It may be possible to reduce the price by making some of the components yourself. Parts are available individually, as well as other products including signals, lamps and loco/marker lights using microminiature LEDs.
I have no commercial interest in this; I'm just bringing it to the group's attention. For futher information see the links below, or Google on DCC Flickerfree for other dealers, reviews and blogs.
http://www.dccconcepts.com/index_files/DCCflickerfree.htm - prices in AUD.
http://www.ehattons.com/stocklist/results.aspx?searchfield=flickerfree
--
Martin S.

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On 02/11/2012 3:33 PM, MartinS wrote:

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for six.

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You could try Rapido's Easy-Peasy lighting instead: http://www.rapidotrains.com/light_ho.html
$15.95CAD --> 9.89GBP (today's rate) or under 30GBP fort three coaches.
If interested, mail me off-group at snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca, and I can acquire some for you. Postage at actual cost +$1 for the bubble-padding.
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Wolf K
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On 02/11/2012 4:31 PM, Wolf K wrote:

The unit for 72ft HO coaches should fit 63ft OO coaches.
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Wolf K
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wrote:

But will the lights be in the right place?
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On 02/11/2012 4:40 PM, Christopher A. Lee wrote:

Don't know. I'll order one, and find out (I have a few OO coaches somewhere... oh yeah, they're in the Hogwarts Express set. ;-)
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Wolf K
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BR MK Is?
--
Martin S.

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I looked at those. Certainly cheaper, but they use button batteries and the light spacing appears to be fixed. They have a "magic wand" to turn the lights on/off, which I presume is a magnet operating a reed switch. They may be fine for HO and even OO open coaches, but probably not for OO compartment stock without modification. Flickerfree provides for flexible bulb spacing in increments of 5mm, ideal for older Hornby composite coaches with 4 compartments @ 25mm and 3 @ 30mm. Yellow-tinted LEDs simulate incandescent lighting.
Problem is the lighting costs more than the original coaches. At 78 for six, that's 13 or around $21 per coach. It might be cheaper to order the 6-pack direct from Australia at AU$99 - about US/CDN$102 or $17 per coach, plus postage. Orders placed from non-EEC to Hattons or Gaugemaster are VAT-exempt; I don't know about Australia.
--
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wrote:

Treated myself to a Norfolk and Western Powhaton Arrow coach set from MTH last year which has a system like that fitted. Came in useful when one derailed at night in the dark recesses of the garden loop. Could see it glowing in the undergrowth without searching with a torch. I'm unlikely to get to a such a stage but I do wonder if on a large layout with lots of stock so fitted the current required to start charging numerous capacitor could overload the power available unless power zones are switched in sequentially.

Have assembled some components to have a go,there is some chap on you tube who constructs an assembly while you watch.

Have a couple of his Cobalt point motors and decoders. His other products seem to have been introduced at a relatively fast rate and a lot of thought seems to have been put into them. However the Australian economy seems to have been more resilient than some to the recession so the AUD to Pound sterling rate isn't as good as it once was which means though the products are probably good value they are not something I can just purchase on a whim. Hopefully enough people can so the investment can be recouped. When you see a small trader expand quickly it sometimes mean they can overstretch themselves,hopefully they won't. And in a public forum such as this I emphasize that is just an observation on many small businesses in general and not just that one.
G.Harman
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Nothing new there, the circuitry is straightforward. The major problem has always been retro-fitting pickups. There is or was a product called super-rollers (I think) available in the UK.
MBQ
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The idea isn't new, but I think the miniaturisation is. The 200,000 micorfarad capacitor will fit in a typical OO toilet or vestibule, and the lights are 1.8mm LEDs. LEDS as small as 1mm are available. The pickup system of springs rotating freely on axles should also minimise friction. No current pickups are visible externally.
I may just try a single pack with LEDs I already have to see it working.
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Martin S.

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wrote:

I want to collect from the axle possibly using that method,some of my wheel sets have metal wheels with insulated bushes at both ends so I need to bridge a bush at one end. Initial thoughts are to use conductive paint . As leds take less current than the lamps of old it should only take a sliver. Has anybody any experience of doing similar. Initial experiments with std solder weren't promising.
G.Harman
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

Conductive paint is the suggested method. There's also conductive epoxy.
You can buy the springs separately in a pack of 48.
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It's the littlest things ...
I have made my own battery powered coach lighting system - just as a trial as I have shed loads to do and I didn't once consider using a capacitor, seriously it simply never crossed my mind. I suppose that's one of the pitfalls of being a lone modeler and not being the member of a club where knowledge travels faster ...
... but thinking about it the circuitry will be far simpler. Next time I have a soldering iron in my hands I'm going to have a go at building a capacitor based system myself. I'm damned sure that I can do it far less expensively that 43 for 3 coaches.
--

All the best,

Chris
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You can buy a single capacitor unit with a set of pickup springs for 12.95 (AUD16.95 on the website). It might be difficult to make one yourself that small (9mm x 18mm x 15mm high) but maybe you could copy the design.
--
Martin S.

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A big consideration is that I can knock pickups together out of scrap I have lying around, likewise wire, strip for busbars, springs etc etc etc ... the only real cost being the capacitor itself (even then I have no doubt that I'll find some lying around in my electrics box) and of course not being part of a kit I can stick it anywhere ... just my 2ps worth ... I'm still sulking about never having thought of it before.
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Chris
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hat

ave

he

If you are using DCC then you will also need a resistor to limit the inrush current when the caps first charge, otherwise the booster will see a short and shutdown if you have too many carriages so equipped.
MBQ
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Nah, I use real 'leccy non of this new fangled modern rubbish ;-)
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Chris
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The Flickerfree units are voltage regulated for that reason, DCC or DC.
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That's not quite the same thing, depending how the regulator is implemented.
MBQ
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All is revealed on their website. There's enough information there to build your own if you are so inclined.
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