October 25, 2012

It is lit and fits!

Even temporarily clamped up the LED Light strips do a good job illuminating the layout.
I did some furniture rearranging in the basement and made room for the ACWRR Road Show to fit along the back wall. This includes all five sections. Having all the sections set up will make the track laying and valance fitting easier.

This also confirms in my mind that if I want to expand my USMRR Aquia Line layout, the perimeter wall around the basement can be used with relatively little intrusion into the TV viewing area. My long term plan is to build custom bookshelves along these walls. The book shelves would house the AV equipment as well as have storage space for media, books and some glass encased areas for displaying models. The shelves would have a flat space about 48 inches off the floor that would used for future layout projects. Whether it will be an expansion of the current layout or a completely new project I haven't decided.  Three possible expansions of this layout include extending the Burnside wharf to this area, adding a completely separate scene depicting Alexandria and connected by car float, or expanding the layout under the starirs and relocating Falmouth to this space. Or building a completely unrelated layout. Two themes that are possibilities are a steam era steel mill or a layout depicting the Alexandria waterfront and shipyard in WWI.

Virginia Shipbuilding Co in WWI

The whole layout fits along the back
wall of the basement.
But back to the road show, I took delivery of the LED strips yesterday. I tried some low current power supplies I had on hand and they did not do a good job of lighting the LEDs. So I hooked up the higher rated power supply that I ordered along with the LEDs. That required me to fabricate a 110V power cord. I had one on hand so it was a simple matter to hook it up by adding some spade connectors. With this power supply providing 12V and sufficient current, the LEDs are brightly lit. By using two strips of LEDs the layout should be well lit. The LEDs weigh next to nothing. They come with ballast resistors installed, so hooking them up is a snap.

Thinner and slightly lower valance panels

I also tried using a thinner valance panel and lowered it so that the top was flush with the valance frames. I think this look better and will make adding a top panel easier if we decide to do that. The thinner lower valance creates an opening 14 inches from water surface to valance bottom. It will make the sections a little less bulky.  I think it creates a more finished product, as the valance won't protrude like a false front in this configuration.


  1. Glad to hear you weathered the storm OK Bernie.
    Now that you've had some time time to look at it for a while, I'm curious to hear your thoughts about the lighting you selected for the road show. It looks like you went with the bright white LED's as opposed to something softer? I am also at the stage to install lighting on my exhibition layout, so I'm very interested to hear your experience with the LED's.

    Thanks, Darel

  2. Darel, you should use the 5050 led strips with warm light and 60 leds per meter (=3 foot 4 inch). They give a good bright light. Also, use a dimmer with them so that you can bring the brightness down as wished.

    I myself bought the leds and installing it now. I use 2 strips on the front, a white and RGB (colour) strip. Another set goes towards the background so that my modules are lighted out in a overall way. The RGB is voor effects in the colour so that it is possible to simulate evening sky.

  3. We havent installed the light yet. I will post results once we do.