Model Railroads/Street Lighting

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Question
I recently purchased 12V street lights to install in a village. I received the street lights and they each have two wires coming out. What is the procedure to install these in a miniature village? I will be putting about 10-15 of these along the streets. I know I need an electrical supply, etc. Can you give me instructions or point me to where I can get instructions on how to install these? Thank you.

Answer
Hi Keith,

Providing the lights are of a conventional light source (filament type lamps) not LED's.
Here's the typical solution to lighting them in the manner you're looking to do on your
model railroad project.

Step one: check all light sources on a low voltage power source, making sure they all work before installing on the layout.
Step two: depending on the length of the wire leads coming off the street lights, you might need to add extensions of equal
length to each street light. Best wire to add on will be stranded wire 18-20 awg size.
Step three: Buy a few terminal strips from Radio Shack. Get the ones with jumpers included in the package.
Step four: Attach one wire from one side of the lamp to one of the terminal strips. Repeat this process from each lamp.
Step five: Take the second wire from the other side of the lamp and attach it to the other terminal strip. Repeat process from each lamp.
Step six:  Get some 16-18 awg stranded wire for power feeds. Attach one feed on to one of the empty terminal post. Red wire.
Step seven: Repeat process on second terminal post  with a black wire.
Step eight: You now should have a set of feeder wires on each of the terminals. Attach each wire to you power source.
Step nine: Attach to power source. You might try the accessories terminal on a train transformer.  If the power supply is too weak, then attach it to the DC variable voltage connection. Slowly turn the  rheostat up. Set to an appropriate brightness. This will be your primary power source for the street lights. Try it and let me know. Don't burn them too bright.

Good luck the project. You should consult with a hobby shop for power supplies. And make sure you practice good electrical hook-ups.

John Schaub
www.modelrailroadsbyjohn.com

Model Railroads

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John Schaub

Expertise

I can answer the following questions: Almost anything about the hobby, except complex electrical questions. Anything about table construction, model kit building, layout scenery, weathering and painting, adding lighting to structures and scenery. I cannot answer questions about the value or appraisal of an item through an e-mail question. The only true method to valuation is having the item in front of me. I will not answer any questions about complex wiring for signals, DCC, or switch motor installations.

Experience

Model railroader since childhood. And that's quite a few years ago. My experience includes: Planning, Design, Benchwork Construction, Trackwork, Conceptualizing the placement of the basic scenic shell and future structure placement. Developing a "vision" of what the layout' them will be. Historical research. Model builder. Painter, Detailer and Weathering. Scenery Artisan, Model train room decorator. Freight car builder. Engine detailer. Turned my passion for model railroading to a full time career in 1998. I now design, build and construct model railroads. Focusing my skills on planning and design, model kit building services, scenery and structure installations, painting, weathering and detailing.

Organizations
Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Rutland Railway Association.

Publications
Classic Toy Trains, January 2013

Education/Credentials
Self-taught Model Railroader turned professional consultant New York Institute of Technology, Communication Arts Degree C.W. Post College, Computer Graphics-Desktop Publishing Certificate Program Molloy College, MacIntosh Computer Studies-Certificate Program

Past/Present Clients
Sorry, I can not reveal their names. I will tell you that my clients range from 5 year olds to 75 year olds. My layout commissions are in private homes, hobby shops, hotel lobbies, libraries, museums and historical societies.

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