Brightness Lighting
for Model Railroad

New Photographs!
Again, please excuse my photography,
but here's an Alco!

The Alco Gets a Workover

Well, I took to the new Atlas Great Northern Alco RS-3 "Classic" with a view to brightening up those pinpoints called headlights. Even with the tiny twin headlights these Alcos have you can get ample light to create a spectacular effect. The original locomotive has a 3mm yellow LED at each end. They are non-directional, and do not emit enough light to see externally in daylight hours. They are standard brightness yellow 3mm LEDs, emitting less than 5mcd. Look below to see what that headlight looks like with 5600mcd white LEDs in place!

Keep in mind these LEDs run completely cool, no heat is generated. The locomotives previous LED lights were fitted on a small circuit board, and there was ample room to fit the chip, resistor and LED. I gave the LED a light sanding to square it up a little, as it was larger than the original 3mm LED. I then coated the circuit in epoxy resin to insulate it against the chassis. The component's leads were stiff enough to directly replace the circuit board contacts and hold the LED in place.

Locomotive Details

The loco is N-Scale, measuring 10cm (4 inches) long and stands less than 3cm tall (or slightly taller than an inch) from the bottom of the trucks to the top of the cab! Of course, this does not mean the circuit would not suit a HO or other scale locomotive. Most scales, HO and S included, use 12 volts (nominal maximum) to drive the models. The circuit can take up to 20V without a problem. While there are twin headlights at each end only one LED was used to illuminate each pair (as was the case originally). The headlights are very small (< 1mm diameter) spaced close together and there is a halfway decent internal light pipe/ lens.

Photos of the Atlas Classic Alco RS-3


end transmission

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