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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Quest For Tiny LED's

I've been doing DCC Decoder, LED and Lamp installs for years and one of the hardest things to light up are the Ditch lights on a SD70M and other Ditch lights that are running board mounted.
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I am constantly upgrading and downsizing my LED's. Most people are used to LED's like the 5MM and 3MM sizes. I have used 2MM Tower LED's and turn them down to 1.5 MM for Athearn BB locos, gives them a super sharp and clean look! The New LED's that I just got are 1.5MM long 1.28MM wide and .69MM tall. or 1/16" long 3/64" wide and 1/32" tall.
I use 30 AWG single strand wire to hook them up.
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They are as bright as the larger LED's.
The major advantage is that LED's when properly installed will out live a Lamp 1000 fold, and are not subject to loss by vibrations and jarring like lamps.
 

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perspective

Thanks for the info and the perspective.
 

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Thanks for the new tip Sean! Would love to see a step by step install! I have a couple N scale locos like that with working ditch lights, how the heck do they do it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Usually with N scale they use light pipes (acrylic rods) that lead to LED's on a board inside the body. I have done it with fiber optics to remote LED's.
As LED technology gets better and smaller it will lead to all sorts of possibilities and advancements! I have even smaller LED in blue and yellow that I'm working on setting up onto the top of work and emergency vehicles.
One of the limitation is not only the size of the LED's but also the Resistor that are needed for them, I have those in the same smd packaged resistors too. It takes a very steady hand to solder wires to those super tiny LED and resistors.:eek:
 

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John if you plan on pursuing the ditchlights I would try another brand of decoders other then Digitrax. I've been messing around with two of my engines and the leds just don't work well. Online reading has the same conclusions and on that note. TCS decoders seem to give the best results when using leds. Next week I'm going to order some incandescent bulbs and give them a try.
 

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Sean,

I've seen the light pipe technique used for hood mounted lights, but not (so far) for running board mounted ones. Maybe I need to look closer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would try another brand of decoders other then Digitrax. I've been messing around with two of my engines and the leds just don't work well. Online reading has the same conclusions and on that note. TCS decoders seem to give the best results when using leds. Next week I'm going to order some incandescent bulbs and give them a try.
What problems do you have?
I have use LED for years with no problems.
 

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Sean it is only with the N Scale plug and play boards that I am aware of. There is a lot of talk about it to, on the web. What happens is the leds never really goes out, so it looks like a blinking light. Silly me never believes anything I read unless I try it first hand ;) I tried different resistors and lowering the CV output but over all, the results are just ok. A rivet counter would have a field day on the looks. I tried some mix match bulbs that I had and it looks a lot more proto-typical. The light will go out then back on. Problem I had I forgot their voltage rating and guessed with the resistor size :laugh: you know what happened :D Sadly I have to wait until pay day to buy a 2 dollar pack of bulbs :( such is life :cool:
 
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