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Powering Lighting on Layout

James asks:

“How can I use a 9v or 12v to wall adapter to power some accessories especially lighting? Can I use the wall adapter and cut and splice the ends to led lights ? Or splice it to a block and then run from there to my led lights? A little help anyone please. I’ve heard of people using wall adapters but not how to splice them to leads.”

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5 Responses to Powering Lighting on Layout

  • John Wherleysays:

    I found a heavy duty 5 volt DC wall adapter and just ran two wires under my entire layout. Now I can tap in wherever I want. You’ll have to use resistors on any LEDs and it takes a little experimenting sometimes because not all LEDs will use the same. Good luck.

  • stevesays:

    yes you can use 5 volt 12 volt use a block check with meter see if it is dc leds have a positive and negitive must use 1k ohm rist in line before the led , i found led are still bright with it also dont overload you wall adp, check how many ma it puts out led most run on 20 ma each some less

  • Louis van Zylsays:

    Yes you can use a 5V supply, I use 15mA current on LED’s as rule of thump. To calculate the resistor value use the free calculator tool, it gives a value of 333E (ohms) at .075W (watts). A standard 330E 0.25W resistor will work. I included a screenshot of the calculation. There are two methods to dim a LED, using a bigger resistor will reduce the current and the LED will be dimmer, the second method is to use a micro-controller like the Arduino to rapidly switch the LED on and off using the Pulse Width Modulation output of some of the pins.

  • Stevesays:

    Hi this shouldn’t be a problem, just make sure your LED;s can take 12 volts, The LED strips make good lighting for buildings and are 12 volts

  • W Rusty Lanesays:

    If you purchase those rolls of LED’s, they will be automatically paired with a 12 volt supply. They are usually supplied with ballast resistors and you can hook the two ends (+ to + and – to -) as marked on the LED strips. Should you desire to use individual LED’s, then a current limiting resistor is required is on either leg of the individual LED (it does not matter if you put the current limiting resistor on the positive (+) or the negative (-) side of the LED. When I use single LED’s I usually put the current limiting resistor on the negative (-) side of the LED. When using 12 volt dc power supplies I usually use a 440 ohm resistor as my current limiting resistor. You need to know the power requirements of the individual LED’s. I got a 12 volt dc power supply from flea Bay which has 5 amps. I use this dc power supply to power the LED strips since they already have the current limiting resistors (or ballast resistor) built into the strips. With a 5 amp dc power supply, you can power a roll of 300 LED strips with the one 5 amp dc power supply. I think my roll of LED’s can be cut after 3 LED’s, which means it has a solder point after 3 individual LED’s and you have to use 3 LED’s in a row for individual lighting. You can use power strips below the layout and hook the 12 volt dc power supply to a positive strip and a separate negative strip. Then you can run wires from each set of 3 LED’s one to the positive strip and the other to the negative strip. This makes wiring very simple and easy to do. That’s how I use LED’s on my layout for lighting. I think I’ve got enough buildings to warrant another 12 volt 5amp dc power supply to power another 300 roll of LED’s cut up into 3 LED groups to use in buildings. I even got a dimmer and controller to go in-line with the 12 volt 5 amp dc power supply to control (at random) which strip of a group of 3 LED’s will be lighted at any time. Plus the dimmer can be used to dim the LED’s as daylight approaches. It is a very effective type of lighting. I hope this will help explain how to use individual and roll type LED’s for your layout lighting. Works for me. Happy railroading!

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