Saturday, 21 June 2014

LED Lighting:

On the diorama I built between houses I experimented with RGB (Red, Green, Blue) LED strip lighting. This worked very well. On all white it provided sufficient light to work on the layout and the various colours could be used to simulate various times of the day. 
I purchased all the LEDs and controllers and transformers from TheLEDLighting in China and they were very helpful. Delivery took a few days via DHL.
Some lessons learnt and photos to show the installation.

1. Purchase all the strips at one time as batches and suppliers LEDs despite to the same specification can vary.
2. Wire up and check all the strips before installing. I found one bad solder joint which was easily fixed at the workbench but would have been difficult once installed behind the valence.
3. I have one controller and a remote infra red manual switch with the various colour options. You can automate the colour change sequence and there are some good articles on doing this on the web and from NMRA conventions.
4. Check you have sufficient power and don't overload a circuit. I have almost 30 meters of strips and each 10 meters needs a 10amp transformer at 12 volt DC. 
5. Paint the back of the valence white to reflect as much light as possible.
6. Like all lighting consider the viewing angle and hence the size of the valence and amount of cover needed to hide the direct globes from general view. At my height I can barely see any of the LED strips but shorter people can look up to the valence and see the strips from end views.

This would be a day time light sequence.

Here is a slightly bluer sequence.

Here is a strip mounted behind the valence.
Here are two pictures of the transformer and the infra red controller and a transformer and the amplifier. An amplifier was needed after every 10 meters , so for 30 meters of lighting I used two amplifiers. With the amplifier the four leads from the leading RGB line feed in one side and the four leads of the output plus the DC inputs are on the right hand side in the photo.

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