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Maybe I am the only person who finds the Miller Engineering signs confusing to set up and power, though it doesn't help that I've lost the sheet of instructions. I could not find anything useful on their website. Evidently, they don't come with support stands, at least the ones I purchased did not, and there's only a battery pack. I assume they need some regulated DC voltage? One person told me no more than 9 volts DC, and another said 12 volts DC. Miller sells a 4.5 volt adaptor, so I am confused.

I have new Bryers and coffee signs, and two used signs that came on a Railking building, the latter owner of the building had to cut some serious holes the structure to accomodate the wiring harness, a shame to ruin a structure for the wiring, but apparently that was the only way to install them?

Thanks.

Paul

Last edited by Paul Kallus
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If you click the "Accessories' link on their website you will find wall warts and converter modules (to operate multiple signs and from even track power) which will power the signs w/o having to use batteries. Each sign uses 4.5 vdc.

The larger size signs come with support stands, so it just depends on what sign you get.

The only reason to "ruin" a building would be if you want the wiring to be hidden and not show on the outside of the structure. Not sure what Miller could do about that. I typically just cut a small slot in the roof with a Dremel wheel. If you don't mind a little extra soldering you can also just drill a small hole in the roof; cut the wire in half; feed the wire from the sign through the hole; and then re-connect inside the building with a little soldering.   

Hello Paul. I feed accessory voltage (~16V) to their converter module.  (https://microstru.com/collecti...4-converter-module-1).  

I feed the output from the converter module to their distribution board and power multiple signs from it. (https://microstru.com/collecti...r-distribution-board).

The O scale billboards come with supports. They are also sold separately if your missing them. (https://microstru.com/collecti...0-billboard-supports or https://microstru.com/collecti...roadside-support-kit)

I love their signs and have a bunch of them. It does take some modification to buildings to install them, but it’s worth the effort. All the different flashing sequences - including some that look like the sign is flickering/failing - are fantastic.

Paul, I have 4 Miller Engineering signs that I recently converted from battery packs to a common feed, using a buck converter.  If you do a search on the forum I think you'll find better explanations on how to do that than I can provide.

There are options as to how to mount your signs.  Picture below shows all 4 of mine.  Upper right and mid-left, Zippo and Sauers signs, sit on top of boxes I made out of foam board, to hide the control boards and wiring.  Wires from those signs to converter underneath train board run outside of buildings.  I hid those in painted straws.

Top middle of picture is an Acme sign.  Made a small wood frame for it and mounted on the fascia to rear of train room.

Bottom left is the theater sign.  Sign is flexible and each end is fitted into slots that I dremeled into the building front, control board and wires are inside the building.

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Hey thanks everyone, it's a good thing I didn't power them at what someone suggested (9-12 volts); it seems 4-5 volts is the key (DC that is). I suppose doing multiple signs requires a stronger transformer, but the voltage should always be < 5volts, or 4.5 to be exact, if I understand these things right.

I prefer not to cut holes in buildings, so will explore other options for the new signs.

Paul:

Believe me, these great signs are addictive! I now have 16 installed on my (sort of) small 9’ X 9’ layout!

I used 2 of the 4.5 V DC wall worts sold by Miller and the distribution panel to provide power to the signs.

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There are quite a few ways to install the signs and I have used several of each. Cutting a slit in the top of a building is my favorite, but the stand alone frame provided with some of them works well also. For some I built a support using left over block wall materials:

Here are some (most) of mine:

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Hello Paul. I feed accessory voltage (~16V) to their converter module.  (https://microstru.com/collecti...4-converter-module-1).  

I feed the output from the converter module to their distribution board and power multiple signs from it. (https://microstru.com/collecti...r-distribution-board).



Ahh, now it makes sense...after reading Rider's tip above regarding converter module a second time, I think the chap who told me to power with 12 volts AC does compute, after all. The caveat is you need to use the converter .

BTW: do I understand right that if using the sign as a billboard, you "cut" off the back connector strip (orange strip in picture) with scissors, leaving a stub? Or, do you simply peel it off (from picture below it looks like it's held on with adhesive)? Or, can you just plug in the main connector (shown in white strip) and leave the back orange connector on in case you change your mind and want to flush mount the sign against a building?

Thanks for all the pictures showing the signs...great displays you all have.

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Last edited by Paul Kallus

Paul, I’ve never seen the orange strip.  The O scale signs I have all plug into the module through a ribbon cable connected to the main connector in your photo.  

As to power, I cut the battery supply off and wire it to the distribution block as I described above. I use low voltage wire to extend the cables back to the block.

I have unopened signs waiting to be installed, along with an unopened converter and distribution block. Let me know if you’d like me to post a copy of the instructions for any of them (the signs are all the same).

@Paul Kallus posted:

BTW: do I understand right that if using the sign as a billboard, you "cut" off the back connector strip (orange strip in picture) with scissors, leaving a stub? Or, do you simply peel it off (from picture below it looks like it's held on with adhesive)? Or, can you just plug in the main connector (shown in white strip) and leave the back orange connector on in case you change your mind and want to flush mount the sign against a building?

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It could be inferred that if using the bottom connector you can cut/trim the orange (flush to the building mount) ribbon connector based on Miller Engineering's Rexall sign page: "When mounted flush the regular supports and lower contact are trimmed off."  Personally, I wouldn't try to peel off the back ribbon tape and risk damage to the sign's internal contacts. Rather, I'd try to cover the ribbon connector (possibly w/ black tape) in the event you ever wish to change the sign to another location on your layout if the business decides to relocate.  The sign should operate with or without the extra connector.

I successfully wired my first Miller Engineering sign "into" a building. It was not easy for me and took much longer than I anticipated. The sign is a small one as these signs seem to go, and needed to be cut into the building - something that doesn't sit right with me as I had to Dremel a slot in the wall to position this sign to work. I purchased the converter module as Rider suggested. Unfortunately, the sign only has graphics on the one side...and will try to position this building such that the graphics show, but my city is far from done. Hot glue is necessary as I found out. I have a few more signs to incorporate. Thanks everyone for your help.

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Here is a Miller Engineering Barber Pole I fitted to an older building I had. The building had a perfect place for the back connection piece and with a dremel tool, I opened it up enough to get the connector in it. Since the connector showed in the window and door, I used some venetian blind material to cover just where the connector came through. The electronics part I glued in the second story.  While this video uses the battery section for power, I discarded it and connected it to the Miller supplied power strip shown in and earlier picture here. Renato's BS is where I have been getting my hair cut for years and the boys at the shop loved seeing it.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/4YsNktUUW67cpXAx9

i am beginning to add Woodland Scenics street lights and lighting WS buildings on 'Main Street'. I have a bus wire running from a WS 16 volt ac power supply  and have connected multiple  WS light hubs. Every thing is functioning properly at this point. I am considering adding a Miller Engineering sign to one of the buildings. My question is will this set up work?  Miller Engineering states their products require 4.5v DC. I have searched for the output of the WS light hub with no success. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks, Mike

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Hey Mike, excellent diagram you have. I am far cry from an electrical engineer...I loathed circuits class in college...what I can tell you is that the Miller signs require 4.5 volt DC, whereas the WS items you mentioned require AC. What I learned thanks to the guys on this thread is that Miller sells a AC to DC converter. I just bought three of them from Miller Engineering - and you can run up to 6 signs from one converter with input voltages to the converter less than or equal to 17 volts, AC. You would install the converter in the diagram right before the Miller sign.

Last edited by Paul Kallus

Step down converters are a must.  I use them everywhere with LEDs, miller signs etc.  I power them with 12 VDC wall warts then step down the voltage to what I need.  I found an old 4.2 VDC wall wart and was able to power two Miller signs with it.  The step down converters are on eBay for $6.00 each.  I also have AC to DC converters that I have used off the accessory side of the transformer.  Since I have a bazillion old wall warts laying around from old electronics,  I use those to power all my lighting,  I buy LED in bulk off eBay,  White, yellow, red etc.

Think of it this way with a 1 amp wall wart.  That is 1000 mA.  If my LED bulb is a 30mA LED then on that 1 amp wall wart.  1000mA/30mA = 33 LED lights.  But I dont max out the wall wart at 33.

Miller signs draw 95mA so on a 1 amp wall wart you could conceivably get 10 signs.

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So, since I already had 16 Miller signs on my somewhat smallish (9’ X 9’) layout, I thought I was through until that is I saw a For Sale post here for Miller Signs.

Of course I couldn’t help myself and bought an MTH sign to add back to back with my Miller Lionel sign installed on top of a Lionel Train store building.

I am quite pleased with the result:

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