Lamp Wiring - Wire colors for hot and common

Not sure if this matters.  I have installed all of my electrical with wire colors gong to proper hot or common terminals.  This is a little more problematic with colors not being red and black, or labeled.  For example, Woodland scenic building, the hot is white and the common is black.  Lionel Street lamps use red and white.

1 question, is Lionel's red supposed to be hot and white to be common?  Does it make a difference connecting streel lamps   I intend to power an MTH terminal block off the transformer and feed the individual streetlamps of the output terminals.

I intend to run the street lamps solely on a channel on my ZW-L.  That way I can isolate the street lamps and vary only their brightness with the voltage output from the transformer.

Bryant

TCA 18-73717

Original Post

In the US world of electricians, white is neutral and black is load.  In the Lionel world red is hot and black is common.  This makes no difference at all for light bulb.  For your own good pick a color for each and stick with it, you will find it makes troubleshooting at lot easier down the road.

Dan

Danr posted:

In the US world of electricians, white is neutral and black is load.  In the Lionel world red is hot and black is common.  This makes no difference at all for light bulb.  For your own good pick a color for each and stick with it, you will find it makes troubleshooting at lot easier down the road.

Thanks for the info.  FYI, Woodland Scenic did not get the memo on US World of electricians.  They told me that for them white is hot and black is their common.  If Lionel is black for common and red for hot, they must have run out of black, because they use red and white on their street lamps.

I can use a meter on there light bulb socket and determine what their color scheme is.  It can get confusing if you want to do it right.

Bryant

TCA 18-73717

Light bulbs do not care about polarity.  In AC power, the + - waves change positions 60 times a second.

LED is sometimes (usually) dependant on a correct polarity to DC. (we change the ac to dc before power reaches the led; called "rectification". We flip the - wave into a + wave and the end result is pulsed dc, close enough)

 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Don't count on the colors always being what you expect with electrical.  Specs vary by mfg. and uses.  Household, control wiring, your car, various mfg., etc. all conform to different standards. Assuming a color is a given will bite you eventually, and black & white are two colors to be especially watchful of.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Danr posted:

In the US world of electricians, white is neutral and black is load.  In the Lionel world red is hot and black is common.  This makes no difference at all for light bulb.  For your own good pick a color for each and stick with it, you will find it makes troubleshooting at lot easier down the road.

I’m with you on the LIONEL colors!  I have always used “BLACK” for Common & “RED” for Hot!  And you are right, for light bulbs it doesn’t make any difference, it’s AC.

Fredstrains 

Red is normally "hot" and variable for new Lionel equipment. (Some units were built out of phase; again assuming bites)

It doesn't even apply to the old stuff though    #1, #2, #3, A, B, C, D, & U

And U might be common or hot depending on a single or muti-throttle unit.

Some used U as the common, some used U as the varible.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Adriatic posted:

Red is normally "hot" and variable for new Lionel equipment. (Some units were built out of phase; again assuming bites)

It doesn't even apply to the old stuff though    #1, #2, #3, A, B, C, D, & U

And U might be common or hot depending on a single or muti-throttle unit.

Some used U as the common, some used U as the varible.

Really makes things a little convoluted.  If the intent is to keep commons together to keep ac "In phase" don't we defeat the purpose if we hook up a light backwards?  Just trying to do this right.  After 14 switches and 25 different power points I don't want to waste the time I spent trying to keep common separate from hot.  FYI, the switches are powered by a Lionel Brick.  These street lights will get their voltage from the transformer operating the trains.

Bryant

TCA 18-73717

On layout railpower connections I use white as Common and colors including back for Hot. On Tortoise 12 VDC turnout motors use yellow and blue, on Switchstand Lights orange and purple, on structure lighting and accessories brown and green.  

Over time I got use to white neutrals and black/red hot wires in residential.

A&Y RY[NC's Southern/N&W connector].

On my 3-Rail Gargraves layout both outside (common) rails are white insulated wire soldered to  a bare copper buss wires that are connected to the transformers negative posts. The center rail (positive) block wiring has black insulated wire individually tagged with identification.  The wire, insulated or not , is a conductor, the wire insulation in residential home use is white, black and red  the  wire insulation colors you choose in model railroading are your choice for track wiring, accessory power or wiring of  a caboose lighting, passenger car lighting or locomotive electronics boards or lighting. What I recommend is that whatever wire colors you choose use these same colors when wiring like circuits on an additional caboose  or locomotive, this helps the trouble shooting process.

I used a bare copper 8 gauge buss wire for all common wire soldering of track feeders, just clean off the copper oxide if it should occur, before soldering. 

  

 

Bryant Dunivan 111417 posted:
Adriatic posted:

Red is normally "hot" and variable for new Lionel equipment. (Some units were built out of phase; again assuming bites)

It doesn't even apply to the old stuff though    #1, #2, #3, A, B, C, D, & U

And U might be common or hot depending on a single or muti-throttle unit.

Some used U as the common, some used U as the varible.

Really makes things a little convoluted.  If the intent is to keep commons together to keep ac "In phase" don't we defeat the purpose if we hook up a light backwards?  Just trying to do this right.  After 14 switches and 25 different power points I don't want to waste the time I spent trying to keep common separate from hot.  FYI, the switches are powered by a Lionel Brick.  These street lights will get their voltage from the transformer operating the trains.

"In phase" only refers to multiple power sources.  It normally does not refer to any accessories.  But don't confuse "phase" with polarities, such as positive and negative, or hot and common/neutral/ground.  Which you still need to adhere to with many items.

Filament light bulbs are one of those simple accessories that do not have any "phase".  There is no "backwards", or polarity, to them.  You are perfectly safe in hooking one wire to hot, and the other to common, regardless of insulation colors.

That being said, if two different wire colors are used with light bulbs, I will arbitrarily select one color to be the hot, and the other to be the common.  Then carry it on through with all like bulbs.  Mainly for neatness and conformity, if nothing else.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

Lionel has a great Youtube video on " phasing two transformers to be used together".

It's linked all over the forum and an easy search on youtube.  

I highly suggest watching it even you never plan on using two together.  Mike does a great job on a very simplified sine wave expaination of phasing.He is easy to listen to also

The sine wave pictures make it easy to understand a few things about the raw basics of AC.  If I was training another random 16yr old for coin-op gameroomt assistant  I'd make watching it a requirement.

(an oscilloscope picture is just a  real time graph. They may look intimidating but it's just up or down volts and how fast. )

An interesting note, a bulb may run cooler and last longer on ac because the voltage is closer to, or at zero volt for a fleeting "rest period" at 60hz  (60 waves per second)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Bryant Dunivan 111417 posted:

Not sure if this matters.  I have installed all of my electrical with wire colors gong to proper hot or common terminals.  This is a little more problematic with colors not being red and black, or labeled.  For example, Woodland scenic building, the hot is white and the common is black.  Lionel Street lamps use red and white.

1 question, is Lionel's red supposed to be hot and white to be common?  Does it make a difference connecting streel lamps   I intend to power an MTH terminal block off the transformer and feed the individual streetlamps of the output terminals.

I intend to run the street lamps solely on a channel on my ZW-L.  That way I can isolate the street lamps and vary only their brightness with the voltage output from the transformer.

I don’t think my question was clear.  If you spend time phasing multiple transformers and you hook up light bulbs on the output, with hot going to some filiments and some to the threaded portion of the bulb sockets, are we now out of phase?  Or does it matter since this is the output?

Bryant

TCA 18-73717

Phasing will make the commons of two or more transformrs truely common. They can be combined into one main common post among multiple transformers.

Some outputs would not use that same common however. Those power taps should (still) be kept 100% isolated from any other posts, i.e., they still function as usual.

   Doing careful voltage checks there are workarounds for sometimes using these odd acc. taps with leg on 'main comm', but positions become more crucial to do it, and you might loose another tap or throttle to use some taps as a "main common".

Out of phase can double voltage or cancel itself out by messing with the "timing" of opposing waves.  Phasing syncs the taps we wish to use. The lionel video kinda assumes what taps you wish to use, but the theory can really be applied elsewhere. The video gives the important base theory; it applies everywhere. Even knocking down 440 to 220 to 110v, do it out of phase and you have issues.

 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





  Now bulbs. 

I suspect your thinking along dc rules and that our comm. has something to do with earth ground safety or something; it doesn't.   We should really almost be calling "hot&comm" "variable or constant & return(s). 

 I can apply almost every question and statement made to various scenarios. So either your question isn't clear in context, moves subjects without notice, or your missing something, or more precise, expecting something that isn't there.  You haven't spoke much on what you DO know, so we don't know what your missing or what's wrong.   

 Phasing is for transformers. Don't skip it unless you like 50v-60v on your layout. Nuff said on doing it, MARK IT when done.  (new ones wont even turn on till this is done )

 Now focus on how to draw what you need. Some conditions may call for odd phasing....But, once pre phased, that just means unplugging a transformer, flipping the plug and plugging it back it. 5 seconds. You just learned how to test. Change your choice of common can be done with more tests.

If you want to learn, focus on the thoery part of the lionel phasing video. Then the mechanical aspect becomes easy. (or stick to exactly what they tell you how to do)

If you mean a bulb used in a phasing test somehow you didn't say so, and the question & your example needs some rephasing 

 Colors:   

A bulb is nothing more than a burn out resistant wire in a vacuum to make in even harder to burn up.(no oxygen)  It doesn't care if the power moves left acoss the filement wire (lets say thats dc+) or right across the wire (leaves dc-); or if it moves Lft then Rgt really fast (thats ac)

That said, wire color may matter for a socket design.

red & black comming off a bulb socket is sometimes oriented to CALL attention to the orientation of the socket's 2 contacts to a mounting screwor bracket.  Or  to match a system "all pretty" (think of some of the uneeded efforts you see for a "pro look")

  Real reasons are also likely to be a mechanical based preference more so than any electrcal reason alone. E.g.--if mystery wire #A rubs raw on surface #B, will there just be bypass, smoke, or a fire?

   There is not, nor has there ever been a common, two contact, wire in vacuum incandescent light bulb, that cares about ac polarity; because in ac, polarity changes.   (doesn't count on all 3+ terminal bulbs, just some.)

   Now, a model light post's platform base is often part of power delivery to a bulb and there are concerns to be talked about if that base isnt on the main com. but bumps a main common (or other tap)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Not to muddy the waters here, but the question about "phasing" bulbs may stem from the idea that if you have polarized LED bulbs being driven by AC or half wave rectifiers, you want to balance the load by having half polarized each way with the result of half of the bulbs being driven every peak and the other half at the valley of the cycle (vs all the bulbs firing on just the peak or valley resulting in an imbalance).

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