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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
I have a Lionel polar express set that I set for for Christmas every year. Each year I add on a bit and this year I picked up a Christmas tanker car. the one with glitter water in labeled wintery mix. Most of my cars are lighted and I would like to add some LEDs to light the water tank up. Adding the lights and wiring to the car I have all figured out. My problem is I cannot figure out a way to pick up power from the track.
I was going to swap a truck from one of the passenger cars but they are totally different. The snap in pick ups if you can find them do not fit the metal trucks of the tanker. I am just not really sure how to get power from the track. Are there any good solutions?
Jim
 

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Hello everyone,
I have a Lionel polar express set that I set for for Christmas every year. Each year I add on a bit and this year I picked up a Christmas tanker car. the one with glitter water in labeled wintery mix. Most of my cars are lighted and I would like to add some LEDs to light the water tank up. Adding the lights and wiring to the car I have all figured out. My problem is I cannot figure out a way to pick up power from the track.
I was going to swap a truck from one of the passenger cars but they are totally different. The snap in pick ups if you can find them do not fit the metal trucks of the tanker. I am just not really sure how to get power from the track. Are there any good solutions?
Jim
I think you mean this car? Wintery Mix Tank Car
Train freight car Rolling stock Motor vehicle Track


Try to always include the item number when asking a question.
That said, catch 22 folks. Flat out, let's all get on the same page, Lionel is REALLY BAD about not listing parts diagrams for new or recent cars and equipment the last few years.
So I first found this slightly OLDER version what is a similar car- because that's the best route right now for these products made in the last few years short of calling Lionel.
Example your recently produced car produces jack squat
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So again, I look up that older item searching google for "Lionel Christmas Tanker Car" searched for pictures to see the types and found one
Wheel Vehicle Motor vehicle Tire Product


When I look up the parts breakdown
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So when I go there
White Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior Bicycle part

So then searching for "9950" since that is the style or series of truck used...
The key there is knowing to switch the top dropdown from item nuymber/name searches to part number or name searches because we now have a series of truck part "9950" we are looking for.
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I'm scrolling to find one with a pickup and ground strap setup and I found this possible white sideframe one that is the correct basic type and has the pickup and would look reasonable IMO.
Cheapest option I'm seeing as viable.

62098950509950 TRK / W/COLL (CPLR 1.79") / WHITE SIDE FRAMES$13.50 Click to view part.

Table White Automotive design Bumper Automotive exterior


Recap of options:
  1. Change the trucks to ones with pickups
  2. Tether to another car with pickups using connectors and wiring
  3. Make your "DIY" pickup mount. Also note, depending on the truck you may also need to pickup ground too if it has plastic bushings in the frame sides.
 

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Semi related topic for a caboose Adding pickup rollers to caboose
I think you stated that version of snap in pickup does not work with the trucks you have.
Here's another DIY solution by @gunrunnerjohn in this post universal 3rd rail wiper for lighting cars
I use Fiberglass or Styrene to insulate a standard roller for adding pickups. Here's a couple of examples. If there are convenient screws around, I use them. I have also just glued the insulator stack on with CA adhesive for those that don't have any mounting screw possibility.

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View attachment 396714
 

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For three bucks go to Walmart and buy the color or white set of lights near the village accessories. The Battery is circular so it may fit underneath in the center.

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It would be worth to try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is that how you navigate the lionel site. I would have never figured that out. I really do like the idea of just changing the trucks out for an easy solution.

now those bottle lights, I wonder if I can cut the battery off and power them from the track. I was going to just add 2 LEDs under the tank to light up the water but if stringing Christmas lights around it is an option I really like that.

thanks Guys
 

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Is that how you navigate the lionel site. I would have never figured that out. I really do like the idea of just changing the trucks out for an easy solution.

now those bottle lights, I wonder if I can cut the battery off and power them from the track. I was going to just add 2 LEDs under the tank to light up the water but if stringing Christmas lights around it is an option I really like that.

thanks Guys
You can, however, you need to first convert to DC filter it, and then regulate it. Also, the bottle lights and the strings tend to use CR2032 batteries which have a neat effective of high internal resistance so they self limit not just the voltage, but also the current. So, it's not just regulating to say 5V, you then also need an appropriate resistor value to limit current. Again, yes, you could run them off track power, but given the nature of them, tricks that work with other LEDs that don't protect against reverse voltage could start blowing the tiny LEDs.
 

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Search eBay for "Fairy LED Lights". If you can wait for the "Slow Boat from China", they're cheap. Here's an example.

The fairy lights do not have any plastic bulb cases, just LED attached to coated silver wire. IMHO, that would be best for wrapping around the tank car - to keep as much of the car visible w/o intruding green plastic cluttering it up.




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You can, however, you need to first convert to DC filter it, and then regulate it. Also, the bottle lights and the strings tend to use CR2032 batteries which have a neat effective of high internal resistance so they self limit not just the voltage, but also the current. So, it's not just regulating to say 5V, you then also need an appropriate resistor value to limit current. Again, yes, you could run them off track power, but given the nature of them, tricks that work with other LEDs that don't protect against reverse voltage could start blowing the tiny LEDs.
I just put two street lamps in front of a small AF tinplate station I expect to take variable track power. I was going to go with a AC-DC voltage regulator. In the end I took the easy route. I used a diode and 510 ohm resistor. At 14 V AC (pic), they're fairly bright. I expect they'll take a postwar transformer's max 16 V from the track w/o issues, especially with some voltage sag running a train that fast (Yes, I do it all the time). Not sure what will happen if I use the max 21 V AC from my VW.



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This assortment will enable you to "dial in" a resistance that best suits the tank car's lighting at common track speeds (e./g., voltage). A these diodes will do the trick. You'll wind up with stock of parts that can add lights to more cars and/or buildings in the future. My similar stock enabled me to add the lights to the tinplate station. Shipping from China they may not be here for Christmas. But there's always next year. You can add an box of capacitors for $5. Added to the circuit, they'll remove flicker as the train traverses the track.

You biggest expense will be a truck with a roller.

EDIT: After doing some calculations, you need 2W resistors for a string of LEDS. Not the 1/2W I previously referenced/

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Search eBay for "Fairy LED Lights". If you can wait for the "Slow Boat from China", they're cheap. Here's an example.

The fairy lights do not have any plastic bulb cases, just LED attached to coated silver wire. IMHO, that would be best for wrapping around the tank car - to keep as much of the car visible w/o intruding green plastic cluttering it up.




View attachment 571483

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You can buy those at Walmart too. Mine run on 4.5v or three AA batteries. There is also a timed setting on the box that will light them for 6 hours and then turn them off. In 18 hours the cycle repeats. There is also constant ON and of vourse OFF
 

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You can buy those at Walmart too. Mine run on 4.5v or three AA batteries. There is also a timed setting on the box that will light them for 6 hours and then turn them off. In 18 hours the cycle repeats. There is also constant ON and of vourse OFF
Yep. I have a set purchased for $2 at, of all places, Mandee's shopping with a girlfriend. But just manual on-off. They currently encircle the Christmas wreath on the front door. I looked at them for car lighting. But the battery holder is just too big to mount under frame, especially for something like the tank car - obtrusive. The LED string can be used. The hard part is power from the track.

In fact, I'll take a trip to Walmart and pick up a few to light my Lionel 316 postwar trestle bridge; Christmas green and red. Thanks for the idea.
 

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Yep. I have a set purchased for $2 at, of all places, Mandee's shopping with a girlfriend. But just manual on-off. They currently encircle the Christmas wreath on the front door. I looked at them for car lighting. But the battery holder is just too big to mount under frame, especially for something like the tank car - obtrusive. The LED string can be used. The hard part is power from the track.

In fact, I'll take a trip to Walmart and pick up a few to light my Lionel 316 postwar trestle bridge; Christmas green and red. Thanks for the idea.
I've used several of these with a 100k resistor and tested with track power. They look good. I haven't yet mounted them in my ABe 4/4 III yet though.
 

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I've used several of these with a 100k resistor and tested with track power. They look good. I haven't yet mounted them in my ABe 4/4 III yet though.
Double checking -100k ? That's around 100 micro amps divided up among all the LEDs in the string. I would have thought 100 ohms; ~5 milliamps each in a 20 LED string.
 

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Let me double check. It might be 100. It was eight of the LED's, not the entire string.

Yep. 100 Ohm.
 

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I found these lights at my local Dollar Tree after Christmas a while back. They are usually sold in bulk. But for the Holiday season they are usually sold in the stores for a dollar each. I picked the ones I got for $.50 each on clearance after the Holidays. Might be worth a check it out drive if you have a Dollar Tree close buy. Heck the battery holder is worth a dollar. Hmm sales tax probably but no shipping charges.



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Bulk Christmas House 10-ct. LED Light Strands | Dollar Tree


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I previously listed a low-cost source for resistors & diodes. The resistors were 1/2W. After some calculations, you need 2W resistors for a string of 10 to 20 LEDS. This source has those resistors, albeit, not an assortment. I would suggest ordering 100 ohm, 120 ohm and 150 ohm (20 piece lots). Select each type, add to cart, then click continue shopping to add the next resistor value. The shipping charges will not multiply by three. All told, less than $3 for the 60 pieces.
 

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Why would you need such large resistors? That would only be necessary if you paralleled them all, but that doesn't make any sense. I'd like to see how these are wired and what calculations are yielding 2 watt resistors!
Assume ...

A 14.5 V AC feed (e.g., conventional track power). You must drop 10 V for a 4.5 V LED string (runs on 3 AAs). 10 LEDS in the string at 10 ma each - 100 ma total. A 50 ohm resistor yields a 10 V drop at 100 ma (because half the AC waveform is negated by diodes). That's 1 W of power dissipation. All the numbers are subject to debate - chosen for calculation for convenience. But it gets you in the ballpark on size.
 
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