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Connecting the N8035A Lighthouse Beacon Simulator
(for a single white LED)
Installing the N8035A is very straightforward. Because the module has circuitry on both sides, care must be taken to be sure that the components or wires soldered will not make contact with any metal object which could cause a short circuit.
Included with the module are two 6” lengths of #32 insulated wire. If necessary, these can be used for power input wires. If used, we recommend the blue wire be used for the + DC connection. It would be connected to solder point 1 as shown in Fig. 1. This wire could also connect through a switch to the + DC connection for remote control of the lighting effect. The other (green) wire should be connected to – DC and to solder point 2.
Any well regulated DC power source can be used to power this module providing the voltage is at least 6VDC and doesn't exceed 18VDC. Our N3512 and N3518 Power supplies are ideal for this use. Also, due to the very low power consumption, this device can also be powered by a battery, such as a standard 9-volt.
Important note: A low-wattage iron with a pointed tip should be used for connection of wires. Too much heat or solder can easily damage the wires or module and void the warranty.
Also, all connecting wires should be pre-tinned before soldering them to the module. This will make connection quick and easy and ensure excessive heat is not applied to the solder points.
Using Track Power
While it is always preferable to use track power exclusively for things running on the track, there may be situations where it is necessary to tap into track power to drive various stationary devices. All of our Simulators require a clean DC voltage of known polarity for their power source. Track power is typically provided in one of two forms. DC voltage (analog), or DCC.
Analog track power has been around for more than 75 years. Simply put, a DC voltage is applied to the two tracks with one being +DC and the other, -DC. Increase the voltage and the electric motor in the locomotive spins faster making the train go faster. Unfortunately, stopping a train requires the track voltage to go to zero. If you were to tap into track voltage to power this simulator, every time the train stops, the lighthouse would go out. It is best to use a separate DC power source.
DCC track power is such that to devices requiring plain DC voltage, it looks like AC power. That is because voltage levels on each track go both + and – continuously. The DCC decoders in locomotives “descramble” the track signals and provide correct polarity so their motors can function normally. It is this process that will allow multiple locomotives to go in different directions on the same section of track, at the same time (a feature not available with analog track power). Once again, our Simulator needs fixed polarity and it needs to look like DC voltage.
Due to our Simulator's very small size, there is insufficient space to include additional circuitry and components necessary for proper power conditioning when direct track pickup is to be used. There are two solutions to this problem and both are inexpensive:
When connecting the LEDs, proper polarity must be observed. LEDs are “polarity sensitive” and will not function if connected backwards. The N8035A is configured for the connection of one 20 ma white LED with a device voltage of 3.3-3.6 VDC to be connected to solder points 3 & 4. The LED described covers all of Ngineering’s white, yellow-white and incandescent white LEDs, as well as most of the white and golden-white LEDs available. The N8035A has on-board current limiting resistance to protect this LEDs so no external resistor is required.
Using wire appropriate for the size of the LED and its placement in the structure, connect the white LED cathode (the – connection) to point 3 on the module and its anode (the +) to solder point 4. See Fig. 4 below for a schematic layout of LED hookup.
Once again, be sure to use a low-wattage soldering iron when connecting wires to the module.
This completes hookup of our N8035A Lighthouse module. We hope the added realism it provides enhances your enjoyment of the hobby.
© 2008 Ngineering