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Sorry, I'm not sure if the title says exactly what I mean.  I really like attaching various LEDs to the number boards and headlight/taillight lenses.  I mostly use Tamiya masking tape to keep them in place.  However, the lights can and do move around.  If they move, I have to open it up, and invariably something goes amiss.  It doesn't help to have fat banana fingers.  I do have a lot of nifty tools to use, but still....

I had used CA to glue the lights onto the lenses, and of course that made nice strong bond.  However, on one of those the bulb went out for some reason, not sure why.  Getting it off and not destroying the lens took a lot of time.

Does anyone have a preferred method to, say, but an LED behind a headlight lens to replace an incandescent bulb?  I had thought about putting a piece of clear Scotch tape behind the lens, and then using CA to attach the LED to the tape, hoping that I could easily take off the tape if the bulb stops working.  Of course, the tape could fall off after a bit, so perhaps not so good of an idea.

I wouldn't need to be so concerned if there was a ready supply of these things, but there isn't.

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@texgeekboy posted:

Sorry, I'm not sure if the title says exactly what I mean.  I really like attaching various LEDs to the number boards and headlight/taillight lenses.  I mostly use Tamiya masking tape to keep them in place.  However, the lights can and do move around.  If they move, I have to open it up, and invariably something goes amiss.  It doesn't help to have fat banana fingers.  I do have a lot of nifty tools to use, but still....

I had used CA to glue the lights onto the lenses, and of course that made nice strong bond.  However, on one of those the bulb went out for some reason, not sure why.  Getting it off and not destroying the lens took a lot of time.

Does anyone have a preferred method to, say, but an LED behind a headlight lens to replace an incandescent bulb?  I had thought about putting a piece of clear Scotch tape behind the lens, and then using CA to attach the LED to the tape, hoping that I could easily take off the tape if the bulb stops working.  Of course, the tape could fall off after a bit, so perhaps not so good of an idea.

I wouldn't need to be so concerned if there was a ready supply of these things, but there isn't.

I like to use a hot glue, they do make a version that stays rubbery so of you need to they can be removed

Microscale Micro Crystal Clear. Goes on Similar to White glue, dries clear (if thick it may take a few days to fully clear out). It stays a bit flexible, so if you needs to pull the LED out, it would come out. Only issue is that its not an instant bond, so you need to get the LED to sit still until it tacks up.
Don't use canopy glue though, that needs a reaction with the plastic to work, and whatever resin LEDs are made from doesnt react to it.

Regarding hot glue, the trick is to put the LED into the headlight lens, then glue the back side to lock it in place after the LED is installed.  Sometimes its hard to get the glue gun in there, and it makes a stringy mess too.  

Last edited by Boilermaker1
@Craftech posted:

In addition to hot glue, black electrical tape sticks well to plastic and has the secondary benefit of directing all the light out the lens.

Also, black RTV silicone will work as long as you get the flexible kind.

YUUUUUK!

I hate to work on stuff that has black electrical tape, it leaves a sticky mess!

@texgeekboy posted:

@ThatGuy and @Craftech,

So the hot glue dries transparently, or transparently enough?  I have used electrical tape, but moved away from it since it left a lot of residue.  But, I could put up with that if it doesn't destroy the lens.

If you really want to stick it and also block any light back-scatter, consider Liquid Electrical Tape.  I use this a lot for lighting.  Please don't use black electrical tape!

I didn't say this, but based on some stuff the @gunrunnerjohn posted some months back, I have used liquid electrical tape for this purpose.  As he said, it does have the added benefit of blocking light scatter.  It is difficult for me to put on, so I use it only when the situation allows it.  It does have a very, very powerful stench so I cap it quickly.

I use hot glue to hold LED's in place behind lenses. Before adhering the LED I place heat shrink over the end until it's almost flush with the end. Kills most of the light scatter. Liquid tape does the rest but apply it carefully. HD and Lowes carry it in the electrical department.

Flat tip LED's are best for this application.

I'm with GRJ- please don't use electrical tape......

2022-06-06 20.15.00

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  • 2022-06-06 20.15.00
Last edited by RSJB18

@RSJB18,

I like your idea of putting shrink tubing over the LEDs to minimize back scatter.  I will try that on my current project.

I also like using the stinky liquid electrical tape, but have been thwarted on using it as often as I'd like.  I have problems putting it into tight spaces.  To help with that, I just bought 50 small disposable paint brushes from the big online retailer.

I've used the 3M tape frequently as well.  It is particularly useful for holding wires in place along the side, top, bottom of the unit.  I can't quite get it to work well for holding the lights though.

@Quarter Gauger 48,

I've done that with certain lights, but not all seem to fit.  I handcrafted a headlight/taillight combo for the 60 trolley using 5 mm flat top LEDs.  They fit very nicely inside the exterior light frame.

@Craftech,

In an ideal world I want to put a drop of glue on the back of the lens, and then attach the LED to it.  After the glue cures and I turn on the light, I would like to see the light shine through the lens with as much brightness as possible.  Additionally, I would like to be able to remove that LED should a problem arise without destroying the lens.

@Junior posted:

How's the "staying power" with that type of tape @gunrunnerjohn? I don't have any experience with it.

Where I use tape, I've had no problems with Kapton tape sticking.  I use it a lot to insulate tender shells for TMCC upgrades.  I've taken a lot of sticky black tape off tenders that was used for the same purpose!

A big help s installing LEDs that will fit in the light socket. 1mm, 3mm, 5mm and nanos will fit most sockets.  No tape or glue necessary... I recommend Evans Designs for lights.  ALso, they are an O Gauge sponsor'..

I have a wide assortment of LED's in all colors.  Not only do you want the right size, but for round LED's consider the flangeless models, they are the same diameter as the common 3mm incandescent and fit right in.  However, I always secure the bulb anyway, I don't want them sliding out after the fact.

@texgeekboy posted:

I like your idea of putting shrink tubing over the LEDs to minimize back scatter.  I will try that on my current project.

One size doesn't fit all.  I've used heatshrink if it works, if it doesn't, I use alternative means.

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