Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

Make Your Own Realistic Model Farm Structures

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.”

Add your comment below.

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)


Model Train DCC HELP

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

Download Your Free Catalog

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Model Train Help Ebook


FREE Tour Inside Club

Take a FREE tour inside the club.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Model Railroading Blog Archive

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.