A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

March 17, 2014

LED, follow or get out of the way?

Some of the original lights from 10 years ago. This is the
site of Falmouth on the layout now.
Several years ago, before I was building the O scale layout,  I installed some inexpensive shop lights and low profile under-cabinet lights to illuminate the layout. The layout has changed a couple times, but the lights have remained. In fact I have added more.

But, most of these have failed at one time or another. This week I replaced four more. Replacing the under cabinet lights isn't too hard. The shops lights are more difficult as they are over parts of the layout with deeper bench work. I am phasing them out with smaller fixtures so they are easier to replace. 

I am seriously considering removing all the fluorescent lights and going with the LED strips like we used on McCook's Landing.

While I was in the layout room I fired up the locos and ran some trains. It was gratifying to see everything run without problem. Even the DCC locos ran great, an impressive achievement as I hadn't cleaned the track in about a half a year. 

I have noticed that every winter the wood contracts in the layout room. Some of the turnout stub switches get tight. But tonight that wasn't a problem. 

Actually, not everything ran great. The battery in the engine Fury is not charging. I knew that before I started so I didn't try running it. A few months ago I sent it out for inspection and they said it checked out fine. But now it won't take a charge. I suspect the battery is bad. I have replacement batteries, so replacing its battery is now on the do list.

I am itching to get working on the layout, but I have backlog of custom models to build for clients. 


  1. I'm curious about why you feel it would be a lot to do? The hardest part I think would be ripping out the old fixtures, which you need to do anyway to replace them with the smaller ones. As you know from working with the LEDs on your portable layout it's as simple as peeling and sticking them up. From my experience one strip of 5050, 300 per 5 meter should be more than bright enough for each section though you could double it up for deeper sections.

  2. Paul was over tonight. He thinks the LEDs will not be bright enough for the ceiling mount.

  3. I think they would be. You can put one strip then add one or two more if the first isn't bright enough. Prices are so ridiculously low since the last time I purchased them from my HK supplier it would be inexpensive to test a section to see how it works out. http://www.ebay.com/itm/5M-300-LEDs-5050-SMD-Pure-White-Flexible-LED-strip-lamp-/320655344866?pt=US_Car_Lighting&hash=item4aa88c44e2