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Discussion Starter #1
I learned how to wire up the 596 water tank that has been sitting around for over a year (I know, it has been too long) as well as adding in a couple end buffers (the ones with the red bulb in them) that are green in colour. I found a couple of spare red bulbs to put in and thought (especially for the water tower), shouldn't these blink?

Well as it turns out, yes, the red bulb in the water tower should blink. I did a quick search on eBay and discovered that yes, you can buy bulbs specifically for this purpose. I was just wondering what is different about these bulbs that would make them flash versus regular 14v bulbs that work but remain solid.
 

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if they are incadescent bulbs, they probably have a bimetallic contact strip inside them, when it heats up it opens ..
 

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That is correct, in real life the bulbs on top of the tanks flashed, in American Flyer Land they were a solid red.
 

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I have 3 of those 596 Water Towers scattered around my lay out. All have the solid red light. I have a black leg version, a light gray legs and a darker gray legs versions. All have the metal spouts although a wooden one is listed as Type I, 1946-47. Always wondered why Gilbert didn't market them with blinking red lights. I have wanted red blinking bulbs but never knew how to achieve that feature. 2 of the tanks are the same color while one is a different shade of Tuscan or whatever the color is called. I read somewhere that was variation so I checked. Sure enough 1 is a different shade. Dumb luck since I didn't know or notice there were different shades until I read it.

Kenny
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My apologies, I thought it was supposed to be a flashing red light but as correctly pointed out, it is solid. Like AFGP9 pointed out, I wonder why AF didn't allow for them to blink. I was also wondering how someone would change these things. I haven't looked at it very hard but it doesn't look like the top opens very easily. If it burns out, what do people do? Can the top come off?

To add to the question, I also have a crossbuck that has the two red lights in it but haven't wired it up yet. Are these on solid all the time as well?
 

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The top of the 596 is just a friction fit, it will lift off with just a bit of effort.
The 760 Highway Flasher uses one or more 696 track trips to flash the bulbs. Put one to each side of the grade crossing. The wheel flanges cause the two bulbs to turn on and off as the train cars actuate the trips. Not especially realistic but the bulbs do flash.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I received the flashing red bulbs from the eBay order and tried them out in the water tower. Turns out that it actually can simulate the flashing bulb effect. When you activate the action button it draws on the power making the brightness lower but you can actually make the water tower bulb flash if you wish.
I have made public a couple videos I took (one with the cover on the water tower and one off). Sorry on the size of the videos but pictures don't do it justice.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hlysyudm785rw8i/flashingbulb1.MOV?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kqhyfe0r5mmxz0c/flashingbulb2.MOV?dl=0
 

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Nice. I wold wrap a small piece of aluminum foil around the sides of the bulb. It will eliminate the light leakage around the top of the tank and direct more lumens out through the lens making it brighter.
 
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