Good lighting is a key to enjoying our hobby. We create scenes, add details, and expect crew members to read car numbers. Without decent lighting our efforts suffer. The El Paso layout room had a ceiling fan with five light fixtures as a central light source. This was augmented with a couple of clamp-type shop lamps on temporary poles for operating. The light was just above average. The new Tennessee hobby room has poor lighting in comparison. I’ve set out to improve the situation in this rental home. Click on any image here to review a larger size.
As this is a rental home, installing permanent fixtures is not possible. I have a number of clamp-type shop lamps and decided to try an old idea from years ago. Using dimensional wood, lighting poles were created with a cantilevered arm near the 8-foot ceiling to move the light source just beyond the layout edge.
Here’s the first implementation of the light standard. The pole is a 2×2 and the arm is a 1×2 with a quarter-inch plywood gusset. The pole is anchored to a layout leg using a couple of lumber scraps and screws.
The arm extends 30-inches from the pole with the clamp hanging near the end. A screw was added near the end of the arm as a safety. The lamp cord is wrapped around the arm to follow the pole to a light duty extension cord. This set up seemed to provide a large pool of light for the team yard.
We are never satisfied with a first result, right? The next light standard followed a similar construction. Another screw was added where the arm meets the pole to direct the lamp cord. Plastic cable ties were used to keep the cord along the arm piece, rather than wrapping it around. Another cable tie was added on the pole to keep the cord tight and out of the way. In this version, the lamp was clamped to the end of the arm and over the safety screw.
As each light pole was put into service, some freight models were positioned to set the light angle. The first few light standards were working well but the next one would be complicated by a 45 degree angled roof line over a portion of the layout.
There comes a time when we need to revisit our high school geometry class from years ago. Adding a couple of light poles required a bit more effort to fit the angled ceiling. I was lucky as the angle is very close to 45 degrees and a dormer accommodated one of the regular light fixtures.
I cut the 2×2 at a 45 degree angle and used a pair of gussets to secure the two pieces. The 1×2 arm had a 45 degree angle cut on one end and it was secured to the angled pole with a similar gusset. I was elated when this light pole fit perfectly into place. The yard needs two of these to provide adequate light.
LED lamps were used in these fixtures. Osram is the manufacturer and these are marketed under the Sylvania Ultra LED brand. They are rated at 5000 Kelvin with an 800 lumen output, which is a 60 watt equivalent, and a color rating index (CRI) of 83.
These aren’t a perfect lighting solution, but the Wheeling Freight Terminal is in a short term rental home and the improved lighting has already inspired me to get some things done. The next layout will have lighting issues tackled earlier for a permanent space.
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