Another fantastic tutorial from our good friend Kim! This week were’ taking a look at how to turn non-working colour light signals into working ones, and save a fortune in the process. All you need is some thin wire, the right size LED’s and a little time. Here’s how Kim did it…
“Hi Justin. Here’s how to wire non working signal’s with Led’s….
Photo 1 is what you need. You will need a set of non working signals. I got mine on ebay for 4 $4.99 free shipping. The Led’s are also from ebay. I got mine at 20 per pack with resistor’s for 99 cent’s.
The Led’s are 2mm with 12 volt resistor’s that bring the current down to 1.5 volt which is important otherwise you’ll blow them. Also make sure you only solder the LED once so as not to melt or over heat them.
Photo 2 is how the Led’s will sit when soldered. Photo 3 is soldering the wire. Now solder as close to Led’s as possible closer than the photo. Do not over heat or melt the plastic when you do it. Also, when you solder remember the direction the wire goes away from you so it will hang down when Led is installed in signal head.
Soldering Tip! Leave as much un-melted plastic coating on the wire as not to cause shorts.
Do the same solder to the green Led. Now take your signal heads. You will have to drill out the holes just a little. When you do, be very careful do not go all the way threw or you will bugger up the signal front. I hand drilled them didn’t take long.
When you’re done, push the Led’s in until level with back of the signal head.
Now for the ground… Bend the top post down to the other Led ground till it touches the lead post. Snip off the extra. Now bend the other to over lap the other ground lead. Again snip off the extra.
Take your black ground wire and solder onto the negative posts you bent over in photo. Snip off any other leads on the Leds as close as possible to soldered wire to keep them neat and tidy. The reason I solder them before installing is to not bugger up the signal head and is easier this way.
When done it should look like the signal in photos.
I also drilled a hole in the base of the signal tower to run my wires threw. Make it as close to tower as possible to keep the wires in nice and tight to the post. Now run the red wire in the left ladder slot and green in middle and black in the right ladder slot.
To hide the wires, paint them black. Take the ladder that comes with the signal snip part of the ladder top and snap into the ladder slots hiding the wires.
I used phone wire and left the phone connector on it and a foot or two of wire to signal. Leaving the connector on it allows me to plug it in to my homemade power distribution system I set up using phone cables and jack plugs! I will also send in the relay and reed switch you will need to run the signals. Oh each positive wire meaning red and green need a 12 volt resistor added as seen in photo 1.
P.S. Any questions, please post them up in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help. I’ve also included a couple of quick wiring diagrams to show how to connect them up using relays and reed switches so you can have them work automatically as your trains pass over various sections of your track.