Menards/Woodland Scenics Building Electrical Compatibility

I've got a pigtail left on my Menards 3 way 4.5 VDC power adapter. Is there any way to use it with a Woodland Scenics built-up building for powering lights? This would be more convenient than powering the W.S. building (General Store)  from the track, running wire from the accessory buss or buying the W.S. plug-in system.

I'd like to take advantage of the offer from new forum sponsor, Crocodile Train Store, because they're showing great discounts on Woodland Scenics buildings.

 


In no particular order; Aviation (Pilot), Golf, Amateur Astronomy & Cycling (when it's nice out) and Trains (when it's not).

Original Post

I don't think there's a cheap, practical way to do it because one provides 4.5vdc and the WS uses 12-14 vac, I believe.

Not sure what transformer or power supply you have, but one "trick" I like is to run 14vac to a 12/24 terminal distribution panel  like the ones made by MTH and then you can hook up a lot of accessories right off that panel.

xrayvizhen posted:

I've got a pigtail left on my Menards 3 way 4.5 VDC power adapter. Is there any way to use it with a Woodland Scenics built-up building for powering lights? This would be more convenient than powering the W.S. building (General Store)  from the track, running wire from the accessory buss or buying the W.S. plug-in system.

I'd like to take advantage of the offer from new forum sponsor, Crocodile Train Store, because they're showing great discounts on Woodland Scenics buildings.

 

Richie is somewhat correct. Menard's buildings use 4.5VDC while woodland's "Just plug" system uses either existing track power (cheap option and the route I take with my WS buildings) or buying WS Just Plug system which for the US is 24VDC. In any case you CAN NOT power both WS Buildings and Menard's buildings using the same PSU.

I mean you can but I would only imagine 4.5VDC from the Menard's PSU will barely light the WS Building.

DO NOT TRY TO POWER ANY MENARD'S DEVICE WITH TRACK POWER UNLESS YOU USE A CONVERTER/REGULATOR TO CONVERT YOUR TRACK POWER (AC) TO 4.5V (DC) THAT THE MENARD'S BUILDINGS USE.

Hope this helps!

P.s. others have discussed how to power Menard's buildings w/o using the 4.5V PSU they sell. It is worth a search if you are interested.

Daniel Gonzalez

As I understand it, WS has (at least) two types of pre-lit buildings.  One accepts track/accessory voltage AC or DC and had internal brightness adjustment controls for each LED.  Here's a photo swiped from this OGR thread

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Another type uses a Just Plug Light Hub which is external to the building box for brightness adjustment.  The Light Hub also accepts track/accessory level voltage.

LEDs operate at around 3V DC.  So if you are starting from "only" 4.5V DC from a Menards adapter, you don't need the relatively large voltage reduction function of the above two methods.  I'm not aware of any plug-and-play boards/modules that have the correct connectors and voltage reduction function.  But the electronics of such a reduction could be as simple as a 5 cent resistor...or a 25 cent variable resistor if you want brightness adjustment.  This involves working with small components and in all likelihood soldering which is not in everyone's comfort zone.  But this DIY approach can be discussed further if there's interest.

When rolling your own, having the right connector is always handy.  On the Menards side, you can get screw-terminal adapters so you don't have to splice into the plug wiring.

menards adapter

On the WS side, there are wiring accessories that have the LED / Light Hub connectors.

ws wiring

 

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Well folks, thanks for the replies but this subject is now moot. Yesterday morning the vendor was listing unbelievably low prices for their W.S. built-up structures and I almost jumped at it. By the end of the day they had changed. Apparently they were initially advertising their built-ups at kit prices and then must have realized the error. I'll end up getting the Menards "City Block". It will work well with my little town center I'm creating. 


In no particular order; Aviation (Pilot), Golf, Amateur Astronomy & Cycling (when it's nice out) and Trains (when it's not).

Stan,

I don't know about anyone else, but I would be interested in hearing a bit more on the DIY approach.  I'm not up to the "let's light the buildings" stage yet but would like to consider options to optimize.  I was considering using Arduinos to control building lighting.  But would like to get better educated on options.  

THanks for your post.  Very informative.  If no one else interested, I'm sure you have better uses of your time.  Thanks for all of your posts.  You and John make this site very educational.

Ron L

 

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