Flicker free lighting makes all the difference
N Scale passenger cars have made great progress in the last forty years. Slowly, the ability to light the interior is catching up with the quality of the exterior. Gone are the days of a single 12V grain of wheat bulb changing brightness in proportion to the train's speed, flickering like crazy across dirty track, and going out completely when the train stops.
The godfather of cool lighting is Jim Hinds of Richmond Controls. I had an article in N Scale Magazine about one of his products in the late 90s. I put a very high tech flicker free lighting board with rear marker light in a Con Cor smoothside observation car.
Rapido offers battery powered Easy Peasy lights. These use a magnetic wand to turn on/off and require a periodic battery replacement. Walthers has lighting boards for their passenger cars, but they are fairly low tech. A couple of new companies are offering light boards, too. You can take a look at Volt Scooter and Streamlined Back Shop for a variety of interesting products.
I have always been fascinated electronics and have had a number of classes over the years, including part of my physics degree and as an Army Signal Officer. The idea of making my own light boards has intrigued me for some time. Thankfully, I speak rather good German. I've found some really interesting sites:
- A great video - shows the effect of adding one component at a time
- Scroll down for some amazing SMD soldering work (In German, but look at the pictures)
- A simpler design
- This is incredible work! Take a look.
- Flicker free internal lights and marker/end lights
- LED Circuits
- More incredible work, out of Poland, but in English
- A great video on N scale interior lighting for passenger cars.
Please help me find some English language sites with the same content. I understand the German just fine, but I'd like to have resources useful to others as well. Thanks!
One helpful visitor has suggested an interesting page in Australia. The circuit depicted on that page is a good compromise between the simple brute force of just a resistor and some LEDs and an integrated circuit setup providing constant current; I'm likely to use something just like this. Thanks, Jim!