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Hi, I'm looking at fitting LED lights in my 'O' gauge Autocoach, it will be used on DC but I don't want them to dip or go off, is there any way of fitting a capacitor for power storage.


Nigel :dontknow:

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Have you tried searching the RMWeb forums, try typing in 'coach lighting'. I believe there have been discussions on this subject and I certainly remember one for DCC lighting. Obviously you need details for DC.


A simple capacitor will not work. It is polarity conscious and your dc supply will alter polarity depending on the setting of your controller. your voltage will also vary from nothing to the maximum set by the controller. Fitting a bridge rectifier between the track input and capacitor will solve the polarity problem but even with a very large capacitor, both in size and value the charge will be unable to sustain your LEDs for more than a fraction of a second.


You do not say how many LEDs (size & current) you will be using to illuminate the coach. The more you fit the more current will be taken and hence the on time for a given size of capacitor will decrease.


As it is an 'O' gauge coach space to mount components should not present an insurmountable problem. I am assuming you will need to install suitable pickups on the bogies.


My suggestion would be to fit a small rechargeable battery to give say a notional 3V to drive the LEDs together with a small switch to turn off the LEDs when the coach is not in use. It might be possible to use a constant current source powered from the track to charge the battery at times when the track voltage is high enough.


Each LED would need a series current limiting resistor and each LED/resistor combination would be wired in parallel across the supply from the switch.


If the battery(s) could be made easily removeable you could recharge them when necessary using a suitable plug top charger or you could fit a small hidden socket to the coach to plug in an external charger.




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This may be a silly idea, but might some of the cheap solar powered garden lights be adaptable? These have a led, battery and charging circuit ready made. If the solar cell was replaced by a reduced voltage feed from the track, it might save some circuit building.



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