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Can I wire the woodland scenics lighthub to AC transformer?    I believe I can run transformer directly to each building or get a 24 volt DC power source to the light hub, but I would like to just use transformer power to the light hub to not have to cut off the plug connectors.

Please LMK what will work and what others have used.

Thanks,



GREG in Wisconsin

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The lights have a resistor on the ends that converts 16VDC from light hub to 3VDC. You need a 16VDC max power source into the building to make the lights function properly. If you use a straight 16VDC power source you have no way to dim the lights (ie lower voltage). If you use a DC transformer you run the risk of using too much voltage and burning out the lights. It is best to stick with the light hub and run a 24VDC or 16-20VAC power source to the hub.

If you want to mix WS lights and normal incandescent grain of wheat bulbs (14 to 16VAC/DC in the same building you can purchase a JST to Terminal Screw Connector

https://modeltraintechnology.c...nnectors-individual/

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@Stackm746 posted:

Can I wire the woodland scenics lighthub to AC transformer?   I believe I can run transformer directly to each building or get a 24 volt DC power source to the light hub, but I would like to just use transformer power to the light hub to not have to cut off the plug connectors.



Depends which WS building you have.  As discussed in this old OGR thread, WS used to make buildings that could be directly powered from a train transformer's Accessory AC voltage.  These buildings had what amounted to a "Light Hub" built into the building itself providing brightness control.  See photos in the linked post.

My understanding of what happened is WS went "all-in" with their Just Plug lighting system and their current selection of buildings require a Light Hub.  You will blow up the building lights (LEDs) if you run your AC transformer directly to a building meant to be used with their Just Plug system.

As suggested by @Boilermaker1 you can buy cables and connectors from WS. 

lighthub

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A quick search of Woodland Scenics current O scale buildings verified that they have all been converted to the Just Plug system.  So the question is "Is the circuitry in the older versions of their buildings different than the current offerings?"  Woodland Scenics is not providing much information about this, so I decided to take a look.

Here is the circuit board in the WS Theater.  I bought this second hand a year ago.  I believe this is the older version.  Tracing the board, I found that the input voltage is distributed to 4  female output Jacks in parallel.  Each output has a pair of 1.37K resistors in series.  One LED is plugged into each jack.  So effectively we have a 685 ohm current limiting resistor for each LED.   A 16V DC supply would deliver 20ma to each LED.  I tried a 12v DC wall wart and it lit the building at a comfortable level (note the input wire with the stripe is positive).   It also worked off the 10V and the 14V fixed AC outputs of a Z4000, though this is not a good idea since the lack of reverse voltage protection will shorten the life of the LEDs.

IMG_1915IMG_1914

Woodland Scenics newest release, the Smith Brothers TV and Appliance store uses the same distribution board with single higher wattage 680 ohm resistors in series with each output circuit.  In addition there is a circuit board heat shrink wrapped in 3 of the 4 LED circuits.  John Sethian had previously posted a picture of the board after removing the heat shrink (below).  It has a bridge rectifier and smoothing capacitor to convert to DC, and a 2.7K current limiting resistor.  This allows it to be powered by AC or DC, and safely at the higher voltage of the Just Hub system.  The instructions say that it can be powered with the Just Plug Light Hub or the Just Plug 24V DC power supply or the accessory terminal of a "model railroad power pack."  In both the HO and the O gauge world, this would be an AC source in the 12-18v range.

2 of the 4 circuits supply the flickering LEDs behind the TVs.  The 3rd circuit supplies the light in the fridge and a 5050SMD LED at the back loading dock.  Oddly, the 4th circuit lacked the rectifier board.  It supplied the 5050 SMD LED on the ceiling inside the building. I am not sure whether this was an assembly error or by design.  With the WS 24V DC power supply, this LED will draw 32ma, so it may be by design for maximum brightness. Still, if I decide to power the building with AC, I will probably add a reverse current protection diode.

IMG_1916

So here are the take home messages:

1.  The new WS Just Plug compatible buildings have rectifiers in each light circuit which allow them to be powered by 16-20V AC or 24V DC.

2.  The older WS buildings without the rectifiers should be run on 12-24V DC only (20ma @ 16V, 32ma @ 24V) rather than AC to avoid shortening the life of the LEDs.

3.  The Just Plug Hub powered with 24V DC can be used with old and new buildings and allows brightness to be adjusted.

Bob

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Last edited by RRDOC

According to their instructions, you can splice the hook up wires and run them directly to a transformer.  Back in 2018, after reading something on the forum, I asked WS directly if I could run them on my 14 VAC landscape transformer and this was the response:

Thank you for your interest in our products. Your power source should be 16-20VAC or 24VDC. As long as you do not
exceed 20VAC or 24VDC. If the voltage is lower it may not be enough power to light the building.
Have a wonderful day!
Sincerely,
Ricki Kronk
Ricki Kronk | Marketing/Sales Consumer Service | (573) 346-5555 x323
WOODLAND®
Woodland Scenics ● PineCar ● Scene-A-Rama
PO Box 98 Linn Creek, MO 65052 | WoodlandScenics.com

Last edited by IRON HORSE

Be very careful with the advice you get from Woodland Scenics tech support or posted specs! I just went through quite a difficult time with my recent purchase of their Smith Bros. Television & Appliance store.

Before I purchased it, I confirmed that, as has been detailed above, their Just Plug hub can be powered by AC or DC at or about track voltage, since I didn't want to pay for their IMHO overpriced 24 VDC wall wart and instead wanted to use a surplus 20 VDC wall wart I had at hand. Long story short, the ceiling LED in the piece did not fully light when I got it, and instead only flickered. The nice folks at WS sent me a replacement LED and a replacement four-plug splitter that connects all the LEDs under the piece. No joy -- neither the original nor replacement LED worked with either the original or replacement splitter when everything was connected to one splitter, but I *did* find that unplugging *any* other LED from the splitter, or putting the original *and* replacement LEDs on a separate splitter from the rest, had them *all* working! When I told WS about my homebrew power supply, though, *that* became their only answer, despite the fact that I had by that point tested the piece with track and accessory voltage AC and DC, with exactly the same (lack of) results, and despite the fact that WS also offers a two-nine-volt battery (i.e, 18 volt!) power supply as an OEM option. So, to recap, yes, the Just Plug Hub can be powered by either AC or DC, by any power supply that approximates track or accessory power, but there may be something hinkey going on with the Smith Bros. piece that still remains undiagnosed!

Don't cry for me, though -- I just ran a second Just Plug line from the Hub for the second splitter I used to connect the overhead LED and the replacement LED I installed as a porch light, which can be separately controlled to yield a 'night' setting, and I still have most of a spool of extension wire left over! Here's a short video of the finished piece in action:

Steve

Thanks for sharing your experience.  I still wonder if the WS overpriced 24V power supply actually would have solved your problem. I wouldn't think 20v vs. 24v should make a difference.  What is the current rating on your power supply?  Even a 400ma supply should be enough for the 4 circuits in the building.  

Also, I'm curious:  Does the problematic ceiling LED lack the Rectifier circuit board  that is wired in the other 3 circuits?

I just unboxed my Smith Bros TV and I have powered it up yet.  I am considering Bob's approach of using an old laptop power supply, or even converting an old ATX power supply.

Speaking of overpriced power supplies, my Menards York Hotel requires a $20  4.5V, 5Amp power supply.  That's why I'm thinking of using an old ATX for my several city blocks of buildings.

Bob

@RRDOC posted:

Steve

Thanks for sharing your experience.  I still wonder if the WS overpriced 24V power supply actually would have solved your problem. I wouldn't think 20v vs. 24v should make a difference.  What is the current rating on your power supply?  Even a 400ma supply should be enough for the 4 circuits in the building.  

Also, I'm curious:  Does the problematic ceiling LED lack the Rectifier circuit board  that is wired in the other 3 circuits?

I just unboxed my Smith Bros TV and I have powered it up yet.  I am considering Bob's approach of using an old laptop power supply, or even converting an old ATX power supply.

Speaking of overpriced power supplies, my Menards York Hotel requires a $20  4.5V, 5Amp power supply.  That's why I'm thinking of using an old ATX for my several city blocks of buildings.

Bob

Yeah, the idea that the OEM 24 VDC supply might make everything hunky dory did cross my mind, but 1) I'd first have to buy or borrow one to test the theory, 2) I'd already tested several alternatives to my 20 VDC (as measured) 800 MA supply, all of which also supposedly met their power criteria, without a the slightest sign of improvement, and 3) as soon as I mentioned the alternative power supply, no other explanations would be entertained, a pattern all too familiar to anyone who's ever dealt with tech 'support'. If the Smith Bros. piece truly needs 24 volts, they should have said so IMHO, and they still haven't AFAIK.

Neither the installed LED nor the supplied replacement seem to have any additional hardware, just the stick-on light itself and the wire running to a standard Just Plug plug. Frankly, I'd say just try what you have -- you're in no apparent danger of overpowering anything, and if the problem I experienced was unique to my piece, great. If you *do* have the same problem, see if you can get some free parts (I ended up with a replacement LED and splitter board, and a reel of extension wire) out of them before you tell them of your power supply, because after that, you'll be lucky to get the time of day. Oh, and to solve the dim/ flickering ceiling LED, just wire up an extension from it to a separate Hub circuit, bypassing the installed splitter board, and you should be fine. That's not a perfect solution, especially if it's a long run between the piece and your Hub, and even worse if you don't have an open plug on the Hub.

To be clear, my beef is not really with the piece (I really like it, even with all the hassles) or with WS generally, but with their scapegoating tech support. Arggh . . . 😡

I finally got around to hooking up the woodland scenic buildings with the light hubs etc and a 20 volt AC power source off a lionel ZW.   At first there was nothing but then I turned up the power on the light hub adjustment to full and got a somewhat weak light in the 4 buildings.    When I plugged in a 24 volt DC supply, the lights and TVs were bright and flickering.   I love the flickering TVs and the 20 Volt AC was weak and u had to look close to see the flickering.

So I ended up going with the 24 volt DC supply which is hard due to the separate plug etc.

There were comments in the thread about the cost of Menards 5 amp 4.5 volt power supplies.   I just use a 4.5 volt 18 amp power supply for all the menards and individual Miller signs and it works well.   Others have said to put in 5 amp fuses which I did in case their was a short.   So far its working well.

I ended up powering my Smith Brother's TV and Appliances with an old computer ATX Power supply.  I bought the breakout board for around $8 on Amazon and mounted it to the ATX case on plastic standoffs.  The outputs are all DC  +3.3v, +5v, +12v, and -12V.   If you use the -12v output in place of the common, you can get additional outputs: 15.3v (-12v + 3.3v), 17V (-12v + 5v), and 24v (-12v + 12v).  

It turns out that my building works fine on 12v, 15.3v, 17v, and 24v.  Brightness varied some, but all lights and the flickering TVs worked at all voltages. The grey wire is connected to +.

Bob



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