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Turning Off LED Coach Lights When Train is Sitting at a Siding or Station – How?

Russell posted this question:

“I figured how to instal an LED strip light in a passenger coach and power it from the rails on my DCC layout without using a decoder, but I can’t figure how to turn the lights off without taking the coach off the rails or using an isolated track section. I thought this would be a handy detail when the coaches are stationed at a platform or on a siding waiting to be put into use, but am not sure how to achieve this. Have you done this? How?”

6 Responses to Turning Off LED Coach Lights When Train is Sitting at a Siding or Station – How?

  • Dalesays:

    Put a magnetic switch attached to the inside of the car’s roof. Then use a magnet to turn the lights on and off. Small magnetic switches are available online.

  • Docsays:

    In reality, the lights would still be on while placed at the station awaiting passengers. For the storage siding, I would block control that section with an on-off toggle. More costly, would be an inexpensive 4 function decoder in each car with all having the same address.

  • Gene Jsays:

    I’d be interested in your approach to light the car from the DCC rails. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  • Dan Ksays:

    DMK says:
    Docsays has the answer! In my train staging area, I block control track power with a toggle (on-off switch) for 6 side tracks and do the same for the 3 side tracks in front of my Union
    Station. If you know how, you can install a LED to indicate power on or off.

  • nelson t stahlsays:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the question. Thinking about your problem leads to a far more realistic operation of these lights. I’m going to use esp32 with wifi and control all with a computer. Individual lights on sleeper car windows.Still a work in progress but will be less than $10 a car.

  • Frank Bsays:

    1) Electrically: Isolate the siding track with a simple switch. (As already mentioned.)

    2) Magnetically: a normally closed reed switch underneath the car, activated by a small magnet between or below the rails in the siding.

    3) Manually: a very small slide switch can be fitted discreetly underneath the car body.

    4) Remotely: Small DCC accessory decoders with just a few on/off functions are available at moderate prices.
    Then you can separate and turn off the light in the men’s room when vacant (really prototypical !)

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