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The Pennsy had a very distinctive style lamp post for their station lights. They looked like a normal gooseneck lamp, except they had two decorative spirals added to the “neck.” You can easily find photos of the prototype on line.  Here is my O scale rendition

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And a close up of the top

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I used Gooseneck lamp posts from “We Honest” on eBay. Their part number is 705sBG.  (They are on Chinese New Year right now, and will begin offering these lamps again after Feb 20.)  They are made brass, and have a surface mount LED under the lamp shade.  They are very close to the overall dimensions of a Pennsy lamp post, right down to two component pole.  So everything is correct, except they lack the decorative spirals.

A drawing of the lamp post can be found in PRR Standard Plan 58756-E. I have modified the drawing to give O scale dimensions, and colored the post and two spirals. The red is the main post, the green is the primary spiral, the blue is the secondary spiral

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(Time out for a word about size:  I have seen photos in which the overall diameter of the gooseneck appears to be bigger than the 18” shown above.  It may be the camera perspective, or it may be Pennsy later changed the design. But in any event, I decided, to coin a phrase: to stick with the plan.  Time in)

As you can see, the primary spiral really isn’t a spiral. It’s a series of four semi circles that decrease in radius after going through 180 degrees.   The values of those four radii, in O Scale, are: .250, .188, .125 and .062.”   Fortunately you can get styrene half rounds in these sizes from Evergreen. So I made a wrapping jig as shown below. The end of the half round is not cut square, but at an angle of about 30 degrees to allow the wire to make a smooth transition from one semi-circular arc to the next smaller one.

Here are the pieces I used, plus one view of the jig.  The hole is to trap the wire as it is being wrapped.

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Here is another view of the jig, with the wire wrapped on it

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Here is the spiral after it is removed from the jig (left) and then flattened (right)

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The secondary spiral is cut from the inner most winding of another primary spiral.

I used 28 gauge copper wire for the spiral. That’s a bit to thick for the prototype, but there is the small matter of being able to see it.  You can also use 28 gauge brass wire, but its not as soft and a little bit difficult to work with--It wants to spring back after being wound, and it is harder to squish flat).  The only 28 gauge wire I had was enameled, so I had to sand the insulation off.  I cut off a length, held the end in a pair of clamp tweezers, and pulled it through a folded piece of 200 grit sandpaper

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I built this jig to hold the lamp in place while I soldered the spirals in place

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Not shown is the clamp that holds the lamp post in place.

That white you see under the lamp shade end is a piece of .020” thick styrene cut to match the inner circle of the gooseneck. This both fixes the gooseneck part of the lamp, and ensures the spiral is at the midplane of the gooseneck.  The styrene is covered with aluminum foil so it does not melt under the soldering. A piece of removable double stick scotch tape is on top of the aluminum, and holds the spiral in place as it is being soldered.  The tape needs to be replaced after each soldering step.

The first step is to remove all the paint in the gooseneck region. I used the edge a #11 blade, followed with acetone on a cotton swab:

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After this, and every other procedure, I make sure the light still works:

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If it does not, there is not a whole you can do about it. But at least you won’t waste anymore time on this particular lamp either. Next, tin the inner surface of the gooseneck. I use Superior No 30 Flux and Kester #245 “No Clean” Solder, 0.8 mm diameter:

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Then tin the primary spiral at the point where it will meet the gooseneck at the top and the secondary spiral:

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Now solder the main spiral in place. Apply flux with a cotton swab, apply a small bit of solder to the tip of your soldering tool, and touch it to the point where the spiral meets the gooseneck. Hold the spiral down with some suitable tool (I used an X-acto chisel blade.)  When the sizzling stops, the solder has flowed.

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I realize this soldering technique is a bit unorthodox and is counter to everything you learned in shop class.  But it works very well because the liquid flux conducts heat very quickly throughout the intended joint, Be quick in this whole process, as you don’t want to melt the wires inside the brass tube.  Test the lamp after soldering,  Solder the secondary spiral to the primary spiral, using the same technique. Then solder the other end of the secondary spiral to the vertical segment of the gooseneck:

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Ignore that stray piece of wire below the supporting spiral, it photo bombed my photo. Trim off all the excess wire and file away the solder where it is too heavy. And with that, you are done:

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Before painting, make any needed corrections to the shape of the wire. Also remove excess solder with a small file.   Clean the entire area with alcohol to remove any flux. I painted mine with Rustoleum Dark Gray Primer followed with a light mist of Rustoleum Satin Black.

In my opinion, these lamp posts really help to "Pennsy-ize"  a scene:

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To power the lights I use the JW&A - 20110 LED Lighting Regulator, designed by Forum regular gunrunnerjohn and available from Hennings Trains. I have four lamp posts on this platform connected to one regulator.   (By the way, I have used these regulators for all sorts of lighting applications).

The other three lamp posts are at the other end of the platform:

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Last edited by John Sethian
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Wonderful!  This creative rendition certainly credits your Layout with another innovative detail that separates it from the humdrum. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to see a figure resembling Einstein leaning against a lamppost— unless we accept the moment in time to be early ‘55. I wonder if he most often walked, rode the Dinky, or preferred cycling to the Station?

Wonderful!  This creative rendition certainly credits your Layout with another innovative detail that separates it from the humdrum. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to see a figure resembling Einstein leaning against a lamppost— unless we accept the moment in time to be early ‘55. I wonder if he most often walked, rode the Dinky, or preferred cycling to the Station?

SF Forbes,

Your post is amazingly prescient.   My layout IS set in 1955.   In fact, a close up of the newspaper vending machines for the New York Times and the Daily Princetonian show the exact date is April 19, 1955:

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Last edited by John Sethian

Nice job as usual! I wouldn't give up on the inop LEDs though. I have been having some success with 0402 SMD LEDs and 32AWG magnet wire.

I am slightly suspicious this golden era of cheap Chinese eBay stuff is sort of drawing to a close. I have been getting a lot of cancelled orders due to items being out of stock lately.

Norm

First, as an admirer of your work, I appreciate the comments

Second..the failure mode was not in the LED itself..the insulation is thin and melts in the gooseneck if you allow it to get to warm  during the soldering.   And there is no way you can pull the wires out as they appear to be inserted before the tubing was bent

I share your concern about Chinese suppliers...

I surmised that's what happened.

It's worth mentioning I do seem to have a fairly high rejection rate on these Chinese SMD LEDs from my recent experience with them. Some percentage of them seem to want to strobe despite being driven correctly and some seem to be a bit off in color temp. I suspect the components one can get from eBay aren't quite Grade A quality but good enough for hobbyists. They're also cheap enough that the rejects are more amusing than annoying.

In any case, I'd try gouging the led out of that shade and yanking the leads out. When I make my own lamps I dip the LEDs in a puddle of CA after soldering the leads to insulate them and to provide a bit of strain relief.

The Pennsy had a very distinctive style lamp post for their station lights. They looked like a normal gooseneck lamp, except they had two decorative spirals added to the “neck.” You can easily find photos of the prototype on line.  Here is my O scale rendition

And a close up of the top

5181

I used Gooseneck lamp posts from “We Honest” on eBay. Their part number is 705sBG.  (They are on Chinese New Year right now, and will begin offering these lamps again after Feb 20.)  They are made brass, and have a surface mount LED under the lamp shade.  They are very close to the overall dimensions of a Pennsy lamp post, right down to two component pole.  So everything is correct, except they lack the decorative spirals.

John,

I have been admiring your PRR-styled lamps for a few months now! I meant to post this picture a few weeks ago but forgot, this is an original PRR lamp at Cheyney Station on the West Chester RR (former PRR West Chester Branch). Your lamps are spot on!!!

I'm working on a model of Haverford Station (on the Phila-Paoli portion of the mainline) and you have inspired me to order the same lamps from "We Honest" on Ebay. I think I will end up leaving mine as stock after I was at Haverford the other week and found an old lamp there; note it does not have the decorative spirals.

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Last edited by Prr7688

Thanks Prr 7688!  Your photo did not come through on your post, but I did check the link that showed the lamp post in two photos.  I also saw your station build thread. It's coming along really well!

Photo should appear now. You're too kind on my station build, it pales in comparison to all of your works! Eventually I want to do catenary (1915 style) and will be using your threads as references.

Last edited by Prr7688

Thanks for making the photo visible.  That Lamp Post looks like it was built following the PRR Standard Plans.   So you provided photographic verification of what I built!

John...this was an excellent thread that you started!  Sure wish it would have been submitted to the magazine as I would have been more than glad (and I am sure Allan Miller would agree) to have paid you handsomely!  After being published in the magazine, we could have posted it here.  Anyway, thanks for such a fine "how-to".  I really enjoyed it!

Alan

Thanks for the kind words.

Regarding publishing in OGR:  I do submit articles somewhat regularly, and in fact, I have one coming out now.  And I will submit more in the future.   I didn't think this one would be of general enough interest...I have heard that there are many folks who don't model the PRR

Yes, you do submit some wonderful material for the magazine!  I have considered just getting a separate rubber stamp with you name on it to make the check writing a little easier ... LOL!

As far as this lamp how-to, PLENTY of folks could use this technique to make lamps for their layout no matter what railroad they model.  You are a talented guy!!  Thanks!

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