13 December 2016

I would like to thank all my customers for your custom this year and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

I have not been on holiday this year so I will be taking a much needed break over the Christmas & New Year period.  I will be on holiday from the 17th December to the 3rd January.

Orders can still be placed through my websites during this period but orders won't be made up and dispatched until w/c 3rd Jan 2017.

I will dispatch orders as quickly as possible from 3rd January but there are likely to be some delays while I clear the backlog.  

Best wishes,

24 July 2016

Lighting Talk at Lichfield Dolls House Club

On Wednesday (20th July) I travelled down to Staffordshire to do a talk / demonstration on lighting dolls houses at Lichfield Dolls House Club.

I arrived a bit early to avoid any problems on the M6 and was very kindly hosted by their president Gaynor.  It turned out to be a baking hot day so not having to sit in a car park for an hour was very much appreciated!

I knew a couple of the ladies already from previous talks / workshops and having done a few of these now I was a lot less nervous than I used to be!

Talking about LEDs.
 I gave an introduction to LEDs and why they're great for dolls houses and other model projects (don't get hot, last a lifetime and very efficient) and then showed quite a few examples of different types of LEDs and how they can be used, as well as some of the advances in technology using programmable microchips that allow for more impressive lighting effects such as my Lighthouse Beacon and remote control switching on and off of lights in a dolls house.

I then gave a demonstration on using one of my kits to light a 1/48th dolls house and I think I convinced a few of the ladies that it's a lot easier than they thought.

1/48th Bluebell Cottage lit during the demonstration
I really enjoyed my visit and would like to thank the ladies again for inviting me and supporting my business.
Thanks also to Paul for taking the photos during the evening.


24 March 2016

Model Railways: Running Flashing LEDs from DCC power

LEDs require a stable DC power supply (Direct current) (apart from a few special LEDs). This means the current only flows in one direction and it’s a very stable supply. Mains power is AC (Alternating Current) and that flows back and forth very rapidly. 

Flashing LEDs have a small inbuilt chip to make them flash and they are very sensitive to instability in current or not enough current so occasionally they cause problems. Typically, they will light up but not flash.
If you find your 12v flashing LED won’t flash I can guarantee it will flash if hooked up to a 9v PP3 battery. This is because battery power is incredibly stable. 

DC output transformers convert AC into DC usually via a full wave bridge rectifier and this is usually sufficiently stable to run flashing LEDs but occasionally you can get problems. This is especially prevalent with DCC power supplies because their output can be less stable and is more akin to AC. LEDs are sensitive to reverse polarity so with DCC is essential to use a bridge rectifier between the power supply and the LEDs to stop any reverse polarity. Bridge rectifiers only allow current to flow in one direction. 

I’ve never used DCC power supplies but a customer found that his Belisha Beacons wouldn’t flash when used with 12v and 14-15v DCC power supplies but when we worked out the problem he provided the following diagram and information for the benefit of others. 

“Most transformers that say they are DC are full wave rectified and produce a saw tooth voltage, which the led does not like. 

The answer is to put a smoothing capacitor across the output, before the led. I found that a 2200uF 35V electrolytic worked perfectly. It smooths out the rough DC to a near perfect straight line and the beacons happily flash away.” 

I hope this is helpful