Monday, March 17, 2014

Evolution of LED lighting for layouts

From the first time I saw a bright white LED in a locomotive I have been fascinated with the idea of using them to light model building interiors, street lights, vehicle head lights, or anything else where a light bulb would be used on a layout.  Another area that I have wanted to use these is for layout lighting.

With this layout being in a garage without any air conditioning, I was really concerned about any waste heat being generated by the room and layout lighting.   The technology is hitting main stream lately with the products becoming more practical and more affordable.  The room that the layout is in is lighted with 3 LED light fixtures with great results.  To light the layout itself, here are some products I've experimented with.

It must have been about 10 years ago now that I picked up this set at Ikea for about 35 dollars to use under some cabinets to light part of my California Northwestern layout.

While this did work rather well to light up a small part of that layout it were not practical due to cost.

I got this 18 foot long LED rope light for about 10 dollars at Costco last year.  The price was better but a single rope was not going to give off enough light so it might take several of these running side by side to light an 18 foot section of the layout.

Looking for LED replacements for the interior lights in our travel trailer I found this product on ebay. There are a total of 48 LED's on a small circuit board with a 2 pin connector.  The kit includes 3 different types of automotive bulb type bases with connectors.  After buying a few to try out they seemed very promising so I bought a larger order and was able to get them for about 2 dollars each.

In my next post I'll show what I've been doing with these to further determine their sustainability for lighting my layout.

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