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I have multiple MPC era “Baby” Madison B&O passenger cars in B&O Blue and Gray Colors (e.g., 9517 “Capital City”).

(I am aware there are newer B&O passenger cars but I am partial to this Blue and Gray color. My father was a B&O Passenger Conductor. His crew was typically assigned “The National Limited” or “Diplomat” Trains.” The trains originated in Jersey City NJ with St. Louis as the destination. A Crew change was at Cincinnati where my dad picked-up the train for the run to St. Louis and return the next day. As a 9/10-year-old during summer school breaks I was treated to one round trip with him to St. Louis, overnight, and return. The engine crew would always invite me, on the return trip, to ride in the F3 cab for part of the trip and sound the horn. Hence, I remain partial to this color scheme.)

I want to convert/add LED lighting to these cars and have acquired sets of GRJ’s 20110 LED Lighting Regulators from Henning’s Trains.

I have searched the OGR Forum and found excellent suggestions for various related solutions and have found some threads but none that seem to relate to my questions as follows.

1.  These cars, as designed, have a cardboard insert (with Lionel part number 9500-26) that fits into the top of the car (roof area). The roof is translucent; therefore, any illumination in the car will “leak” and illuminate the roof top and simulated vents on the side areas of the roof. Online research indicates some have addressed this issue by painting the underside of the roof black. Since simulated vents are on the side of the roof careful attention would be required to cover the sides-and not over paint. Others have used duct tape etc.

I tend to operate on the principle of finding a solution that will allow me to “back out-restore” if needed. The above solutions (paint and duct tape) seem irreversible and not desirable for me.

I have explored ways to retain the carboard without gluing the LED strip to the cardboard including the use of foam board cut to size placed under the cardboard. However, I have not found a “good way” to keep the foam board in place.

Summary question - has anyone resolved this translucence issue using a “different/better” solution?

2.  Regarding placement of LED strips, online research indicates placing the LED strip on the floor of the car tends to create “visible shadows” from the wires and larger electronic components (e.g., capacitors). Therefore, placing the LED strip at the top of the car appears ideal. This requires carefully hiding the 20110 LED Lighting Regulators on the floor of the car and hiding the wiring from the regulator up to the LED strip.

Hints on where to physically locate the regulator and orientation (e.g., horizontal, vertical, upside down) will be appreciated and routing of the wiring.

Summary question, has anyone found a clever solution on placement of the regulator and routing of wiring from the floor of the car to the LED strip above?

3. Since my preference is to modify with the ability to “back out restore”, I am interested in adhesive suggestions. Some online users have used Gorilla Mounting Tape. This is a permanent solution and not my preference. Others have used a hot glue gun. I am aware low temperature hot glue melts at 250 degrees F versus 380 F for higher temperature glue. I have used clear Silicone in the past which is reasonably easy to remove from plastic with a sharp tool but perhaps not ideal.

Summary question – I am looking for suggestions/experience on finding an adhesive that has a good bond but can “release” and be “cleaned up” when no longer needed.

4. LED light strips and use of Connectors versus solder. I have an old LED waterproof reel/strip of white LEDs. Since these are waterproof, they are cumbersome to work with and use with Toy Trains. Therefore, I want to replace them with non-waterproof strips. As such, I am interested in suggestions from users related to the latest LED strips. For example. there are now “high density” strips with twice the number of LEDs per meter in LED cool and warm white rated 12 VDC.

Online users have also used connectors to attach wiring from the regulator to the strip. Although convenient, this seems to take valuable space inside the car. I have a soldering station and reasonable adapt at soldering, but the connectors are tempting because they seem “so easy.”

Summary question - Does anyone have experience or suggestions using regular or high-density strips and the use of connectors versus solder as the ideal approach for our hobby?

Thanks for your help and suggestions.

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Personally, I'd solder to the strips and not screw around with the connectors.  It'll be the most reliable method and also the least conspicuous.

As for mounting the strips, consider putting some masking tape on the cardboard and then sticking the strip to that.  I also use a few spots of hot glue along the LED strip to help the sticky back as it sometimes tends to let go.  Typically, you can peel the masking tape off if desired, a little heat with a heat gun releases the tape adhesive.

I see no need for the high density LED strips the 60 LED/meter strips provide very even lighting, and using more LED's wont change that to any significant degree.

I’ve used all of GRJs suggestions with success. One thing I did not see in the above is wire. GRJ turned my on to Kynar wire when working with leds. That helps a lot. I also saw a pic where someone used a small piece of shrink tubing to keep the 2 wires for a connection in essentially 1 strand. In some instances I use that. I wouldn’t bother with the high density either, the normal strand provides plenty of light.

Thanks to all for the valuable experience with the downside of masking tape. I have also found it difficult to remove from surfaces after an extended period and it has “set.”

Additionally, I am having good success with Silicon as an adhesive that has been in place for extended periods. For example, I recently removed a wire/LED I had tacked in place internally (not exterior painted side) to an F3 Shell. It removed cleanly with zero "left over" visible markings or residue.

Therefore, the option I am considering for inside the Baby Madisons is to use silicon to strategically tack things into place (e.g., Foam Board for the ceiling, wiring, and LED strip).

Thanks for the tip on Kynar wire. I have been using simple stranded wire and am not familiar with Kynar. I always attempt to use, flexible as possible, small diameter wire capable of servicing the load.

If you have added details on the Kynar wire, I would appreciate the information. For example, what gauge are you using, flexibility, suppler, etc.

I got 28 awg kynar on the bay.  They come in 100 foot spools for around ten bucks.    I bought 2, and they're different from one another.  The one I like a lot more has a note on it saying it's Brand Rex.

Update, the one I like says the insulation material is kynar, the one I don't like as much says the insulation material is Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF).  I really don't understand those names, but the kynar insulation seems to be higher quality.

Last edited by texgeekboy

It's useful for any low current static wiring job.  The solid wire is not good for anything that moves as it will quickly break.  I use it for internal wiring on passenger cars and lighting in diesel engine shells.

IIRC, John, you also recommend a PTC around 250mA in between the rollers and the input wires to protect them in case of short, correct?

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