I’ve been considering the different kinds of modern lighting, and ways of replicating it’s various effects on Strathallan.

Starting at the beginning, I checked Wikipedia which has a number of articles starting with types of industrial lighting and details on street lighting, not as boring as you may think, but if you do have trouble sleeping…….

Perhaps more interesting from a modelling point of view, is replicating the starting and running details of these types of lamp, most high pressure types tend to have a warm-up time as shown in this video, also shown is the start-up flicker, most UK street lamps have a single tube, but (as shown here) shorter, wider fixtures often use 2 or three tubes, this flicker can also continue, indicating a faulty tube.

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

Also certain types, mercury vapour for one, change colour slightly on start-up, in this case, from a blue cast to white. Fluorescent lamps flicker on start-up, and when arranged in a row, the characteristic tube dance is briefly performed!

IFRAME Embed for Youtube

I’m still considering ways to replicate these effects, a slow fade is a simple circuit, and is already supported on some accessory decoders, a colour changing fade would need two LED’s in the lamp, and a cross-fade circuit. Random fluorescent flicker on a number of tubes is more tricky, and really requires a micro controller to achieve a truly random flicker. Digirails actually manufacture such a beast, intended for carriage lighting use,  it’s a multi-effect lighting bar, with LED’s, a DCC decoder and power supply circuit. Although invalidating the warranty, it would be possible to replace the existing fitted LED’s with remotely mounted units, (such as those in the storage sheds located in the carriage sidings on the layout).

So far so good, but combining these effects to replicate the first video is most defiantly a micro-controller based project.

At this stage, the ‘project’ is simply consideration and research, it maybe that such effects are too minor to be noticed, but I believe that subtle details such as these can improve the overall ‘feel’ of a model. The next stage is to produce some prototypes…..