Skip to main content

Based on gunrunnerjohn's recommendation, I installed nGineering Mars light simulators in two American Models FP7s and two E8s. It had bothered me that the lighting effects on the stock models were not prototypical with a single incandescent bulb shining through the two headlight openings on the FP7s and an LED in the wrong, upper headlight position for the E8s. I replaced the incandescent bulbs with LEDs on the FP7s and re-positioned the original LED on the E8s to the proper lower headlight by trimming the body of a plastic ball-point pen and gluing it to the interior to hold the LED in place. I also toned down the bluish color of the original LED with a little clear orange paint.

https://www.ngineering.com/lgh...20the%20railroad.htm

Finding room in the locomotive bodies is no problem--the circuit boards for the simulators can fit in N gauge locomotives--and that poses its own difficulties. I learned that is it much easier to solder the tiny wires that come with the boards rather than attempt to solder the LED legs to the boards. On one board I inadvertently used a warm white LED from Richmond Controls that had a protective diode and capacitor, and this combination caused the light to strobe rather than increase/decay the way it was designed. Removing the protection got it to work properly.

The result is much more satisfying and interesting. Santa Fe operated its passenger E8s with Mars lights operating all the time. The Great Northern did not own FP7s, but I'm not going to point that out to anyone. The video below shows the modified locomotives running on DC with room lights dimmed a bit. If the locomotives were converted to DCC, the Mars effect and headlights could be turned on while they were standing still, but that's an expensive investment at this point.

Terry

Attachments

Videos (1)
American Models with nGineering Mars Lights
Last edited by TOKELLY
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

TOKELLY,

Great effects with the Mars light simulator. I  did not catch John's recommendation, I ordered a simulator from Evans, hope it looks as good as what you did.

I clicked your link on my phone but it doesn't work on the phone, will try on the desktop later.

From what I was able to find the Mars light will go in the upper light in my Milwaukee Rd F- units as well.

Hope to post a video when complete.

Ray

Last edited by Rayin"S"
@Rayin"S" posted:

TOKELLY,



I clicked your link on my phone but it doesn't work on the phone, will try on the desktop later.

From what I was able to find the Mars light will go in the upper light in my Milwaukee Rd F- units as well.



Ray

The % signs in the link are what's causing the link not to work.

Try this LINK

If so equipped, MARS lights always went in the upper headlight bezel and the headlight in the lower, regardless of railroad.

Rusty

Well, I have gotten the Hiawatha completed, TMCC installed and the Mar light operating. The Cruise Commander and sound were installed in the B-unit. I will attempt to ad a short video or will put a link to  YouTube. The Mars light is quite bright, the video  was taken in full room light. This Mars light is from Evans designs.

Ray

Are both the Ngineering and Evans lights multiple LEDs (so you get a sweeping motion with the light output)?  I have a MARS light simulator from Dallee, which is a single LED, so I think it simulates the variable light intensity when viewed from the front but not a 'sweep' (I haven't installed it yet).

Ray - a slightly off-topic question:  you mentioned installing TMCC in your Milwaukee Rd F unit - what did you use - ERR or ?

Thanks, - Rich

Rich,

First off, the Evans simulator is a single LED.

The TMCC that I installed in the B-unit is the Electric Railroad Cruise Commander. I cut the wires from the pickups on the two A-units and only pick up power on the B. I ran wires from the CC to the motors and lights in the A's. I used two different size headers for the plugs so as not to get them confused. I fed the wires through the windows on the ends of the units but, I did have to enlarge those windows slightly to get the plugs through. One other thing I did on the B was to mill off the motor mount to allow added space for the Cruise Commander. I didn't install a program/run switch, but instead used a temporary jumper wire for programming.

Ray

Ngineering does offer a version using 3 LEDs, but if Gunrunnerjohn admits it's tough going to install and align these tiny things, there was no way I was going to try it. The version in the video I posted of American Models' FP7 and E8 is a single LED. Ngineering offers a "wide-angle" LED that I used in the E8s because I could position it closer to the face of the lens than the one in the FP7, but I don't see that it makes much of a difference. Even with a single LED, the slower flash rate and simulated "hesitation" after the light declines and then increases again gives a good impression of figure-eight motion. I debated about using 3 micro LEDs, but I figured I'd only try it once I mastered brain surgery on fruit flies.

Both the Evans and the Ngineering MARS lights are very effective simulators.  You'd swear that as the Santa Fe engine passes the building, the light 'flash' reflected off the building side suggests that there is some sort of "off-axis" light like you'd get with a real MARS light.  Nicely done.

Tom and/or Ray, could you take a close up picture of the way you have the LED positioned in the bezel (from the outside is fine).  Are the LEDs shining through the AM-supplied plastic lens?

@richs09 posted:

Both the Evans and the Ngineering MARS lights are very effective simulators.  You'd swear that as the Santa Fe engine passes the building, the light 'flash' reflected off the building side suggests that there is some sort of "off-axis" light like you'd get with a real MARS light.  Nicely done.

Tom and/or Ray, could you take a close up picture of the way you have the LED positioned in the bezel (from the outside is fine).  Are the LEDs shining through the AM-supplied plastic lens?

Rich,  I replaced the bezels that were in the engine with new pieces from American Models, what was in the shells when they came into my possession was just some round but angled clear plastic pieces, the replacements were a one piece assembly fitting into both openings in the shell, and open in the back into which I cemented the LEDs.

I don't know how to take a pic from outside of the shell, I used a 3mm Evans simulator and put it right into the bezel which I covered with a piece of shrink tube. I then painted the back of the LED  and bezel black and finally covered the part of the bezel containing the simulator with gorilla tape to eliminate any of the flashing showing up in the cab. I fastened the electronic parts of both LEDs to the shell with hot glue.

Ray

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×