Looking for fiber optics for lighting

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by ghostconductor, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. ghostconductor

    ghostconductor New Member

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    Happy Gobblers to you all. Today I'm sittin in my chair thinkin over my ho loco and how neat it would be to install lights into all the right places by running strands of fiber optics to the areas- steps, deck, etc.

    George
  2. theBear

    theBear Member

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  3. KCS

    KCS Member

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    Hey, get an issue of the December 04' of Model Railroader. Vol.71 issue 12. on page 98 there is an article on how to use bright white LED's for head light's using fiber optical strands. The article show's how to file off LED's and hook up fiber optical threads. I thought about the same thing your thinking of myself. I looked threw this article and thought about it for a bit and figured why not get a LED big enough to run more than one optical thread off of? well this may be a trick task, and i have not pursued it yet but I'm thinking if you can get a bundle of them on one LED, you might be able to run small threads down across (away from the motor of course) the frame and out to where the porch's, steps, decks, etc. now i do have 2 locomotive's that i have installed tiny red LED's into right on top of the control stand's and painting them black until only a tiny rectangular red strip of light appears this give's the effect of the red digital board that has "locomotive in slave, unit 1" I'm not for sure what this digital board actually says but it's something along that line. i love it. i looks really nice in the dark and gives it the real prototypical look i want when the lights are turned off and the room is dark.
  4. ghostconductor

    ghostconductor New Member

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    Wow, KCS! You are on the right track! Bundle of strands going to each area...i like it- can picture it already! Thanks...I'm George, and we'll keep the lights on for ya!

    George
  5. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

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  6. docsnavely

    docsnavely Member

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    What about those old wands they used to sell at theme park kiosks (the big house of the mouse comes to mind) that were just multicolored flashlights that had strands of fibers coming out of it? I always thought of using one of those for a fiber-op project. The strands are about 6-8 inches long, so you would be restricted on how far you could go with them, but it's also another cheap alternative for say a house or factory on your layout!:thumb:

    -doc
  7. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

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    Jeff,

    What you did was awesome man !!! How many strands did you use? What color is your source light? Did you enhance the photo in any way? Looking forward to the details.

    Regards,
  8. up_santafe

    up_santafe New Member

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    Using Led & Fiberoptics

    I've experimented with many of my locos and have now installed LED lighting in almost all of them.

    On my Athearn F7A's I have installed a green 3mm led (round with a flat end that I got at Radio Shack) inside at the rear and run a double strand of fiber optics to the front classification lights. I believe it is 2mm, (I can't find my ruler on my workbench right now, buried somewhere under all these couplers and stuff.)

    Anyhow, after drilling out the class lights with a 3/32 bit you have to carefully heat and bend the fiberoptics to come up behind the windshield and go across the ceiling to the led to clear the motor and gearboxes. I purposely did it this way after breaking a couple that were too close to the front of the engine to allow some bending without snapping off. Some fitting and rebending a couple times was necessary to get a good fit. I left about 3/8 inch stick out the holes until I got every thing mounted inside.

    I used a piece of shrink tubing to hold the led and fiberoptics together instead of gluing. That way if I ever have to take off the shell, the led will come out of the tube without disturbing the fiberoptics. (Sometimes its a real pain to get it back in, but it is worth it)

    After everything was mounted and lit up satisfactorally, I cut off the tips of the fiberoptics down to about a 1/16 inch. Then I carefully heated the ends with a soldering iron tip so they would "mushroom" and form a lens. I pushed the "lenses" in tight from the outside and put a very tiny drop of CA on the inside to hold them in place.

    Man, did they turn out great. The led is bright enough to make them really visible in the day, yet at night they are not overly bright. Very prototypical. And they still have a "domed glass" appearance.

    The fiberoptics will also allow a slight glow into the cab at night, so it looks like there are instrument lights on.

    I plan on cutting out the numberboards and lighting them also, as soon as I get up the courage to decide which engine is going to be the "guinea pig".:eek:
  9. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

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    Here is another site to pick up cheap fiberoptics. American Science & Surpluss It pays to check bacl with them periodically as their inventory changes fairly often. Also lots of other bits and pieces that come in handy.