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Thread: What LEDs to get for Headlights

  1. #1

    Default What LEDs to get for Headlights

    Looking at a locomotive project that I can put a LED in to replace the old Athearn bulb with. But I need to know, what brand, size and color do y'all recommend for replacing Athearn BB bulbs, or just headlighting in general?

    Ethan
    Ethan Lawrence
    Founder and CEO of the Iantha Branch.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    2,112

    Default Re: What LEDs to get

    Ethan, TCS and Soundtraxx both sell Golden White LEDs. Litchfield Station sells them as well as Tamiya Transparent Orange Paint which can be used to paint white LEDs to make them give them a yellow-ish tint (I highly recommend this solution).

    In the past, I have purchased from this merchant on ebay:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-pcs-3mm-...item336b8cb4e4
    Note that the vendor includes the resistors needed for 12v or 5v operation.
    These LEDs are what are called T3 LEDs; they are round, dome shaped 3mm in diameter. There is a larger size T5, 54mm in diameter that don't fit as easily in tight places.

    LEDs are fine for older locomotives where there is a large plastic piece that feeds light to the headlights from inside the shell. Atlas is known for this type of setup. The newer Athearn locomotives use 1.5v, 1.2mm, 15ma bulbs like those that are from Miniatronics. For the best price for them, I buy them in 20 packs.

    The T3 LEDs can be mounted in a hole drilled into the back of the plastic light pipe assembly to light number boards as well as the headlights.
    Li
    Last edited by klrwhizkid; 10-13-2011 at 10:11 PM.
    Keith Robinson
    KC, MO North
    Southeast...........Southwest
    Ship It on the Frisco!

  3. #3

    Default Re: What LEDs to get for Headlights

    Ok Keith, I will keep that in mind. I've been using the minitronics bulbs for several installs now. But I wanted to do something with LED's.

    Ethan
    Ethan Lawrence
    Founder and CEO of the Iantha Branch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 1971
    Location
    Topeka
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: What LEDs to get for Headlights

    To each their own, but I only use pure white LEDS for headlights. I use a 2mm Tower White LED from China. Google 2mm Tower White LED and it will take you to the Ebay supplier, you get 50 LED's for about $12.00 with resistors. The 2mm Tower LED will fit into the dual beam headlight casting on HO model Diesels. Wire them in Parallel Long Lead to Long Lead to Blue wire in DCC decoder. Wire short lead to short lead to a 1000 Ohm resistor then to White or Yel wire in DCC decoder. If needed, reem out headlight casting with #46 Drill Bit.
    Richard E. Napper
    Frisco Northern Model Railroad
    Modeling the Northern Division and Sheffield Steel in Kansas City, MO and Coal Mines in Missouri

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    St Louis (Saint Ann)
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: What LEDs to get for Headlights

    A modeler's note: painting the inside of the body flat black will help reduce the "body shine thru" to help with realism.
    Craig Fletcher


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 1971
    Location
    Topeka
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: What LEDs to get for Headlights

    Craig,
    An excellent point which I follow.
    Richard E. Napper
    Frisco Northern Model Railroad
    Modeling the Northern Division and Sheffield Steel in Kansas City, MO and Coal Mines in Missouri

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