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Railfan Technology > Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?


Date: 09/19/20 12:15
Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?
Author: rrman6

Looking here for some lighting specialists to aid me in my lighting plan

I'm furnishing an old Adlake switch lantern to a local museum for installation at the top of their "branchline" butterfly type trainorder signal which is installed on their railroad depot.  The original burner used a 3/16"round wick that supplied a yellowish flame near 3/4" height.  The bluish/green glass lens and the yellowish flame together produced a true green indication. 

My plan is to install inside the lantern a LED simulated kerosene flame-type lamp, replacing the original kerosene burner.  As a dual-voltage lamp, it provides 10.5 lumens at 9-volts and 16.5 lumens at 12-volts. The lamp would be powered by using a battery of either voltage and a "small solar panel" for charging. The specific lumens and voltage may depend on the battery and solar panel availability.  I know nothing of such solar panels, but would wish to keep it small as possible so as not to detract from the aged era depot.   In place of the solar panel, possibly a 110v. battery eliminator pack could be used.  Also, wired between the battery and lamp would be a "darkness sensor" for actuating the lamp only during the dark hours.

Hope this makes sense to all reading here.  I'd welcome any and all suggestions and meanwhile will await responses!  😃
 



Date: 09/20/20 17:37
Re: Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?
Author: radar

Without knowing details of the lamp and LED, that's seems like a tall order to design and build.  The challenges are having enough battery to run it for the desired number of hours, a big enough solar panel to charge it adequately, and discharge protection for the battery.  On top of that, the photocell control.

The easy thing to do would be to use a 12V power supply (wall wart) fed from a 120V AC outlet wired to an off the shelf, 120V AC photocell.  That's something that any competent electrician can do for you.

Another possibility would be to buy a commercially made lantern, with the characteristics you want, and gut it for parts to transplant into your lantern. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/20/20 17:39 by radar.



Date: 09/20/20 18:37
Re: Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?
Author: rrman6

Considering your input I think the 'wall wart' and photo cell operator is the best idea, and no doubt the less costly.  I have yet to learn more of the lamp requirements related to the power supply.  
Thanks and will keep you informed as I progress.   



Date: 09/22/20 17:09
Re: Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?
Author: skyview

For approximately $60 or so, a landscape controller and 12vcd output with photo eye can be purchased, 12v dc output, with a variety of cycles, ie sunset plus 2 hrs, sunset plus 4 hours, all night, etc, something to consider.



Date: 09/23/20 09:58
Re: Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?
Author: radar

skyview Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For approximately $60 or so, a landscape
> controller and 12vcd output with photo eye can be
> purchased, 12v dc output, with a variety of
> cycles, ie sunset plus 2 hrs, sunset plus 4 hours,
> all night, etc, something to consider.

That's an interesting thought, but landscape lighting is 12V AC, not DC.  The LEDs want smooth DC.  Running the LEDs on AC will result in less than half the brightness.  If the 12V AC were rectified, you'd wind up with about 17V.



Date: 09/27/20 07:58
Re: Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?
Author: skyview




Date: 10/05/20 15:16
Re: Best Solar Means of Electrifying A Trainorder Signal Lantern?
Author: Rick2582

Interesting discussion here.  Would love to have an operating TO signal at our Redding Depot also.
On our operating US&S Style B semaphore at the downtown bus station in Redding, CA, we wired into the street light system which illuminates the bus loading platforms and sidewalks.
The bulb is a standard signal precision 25 watts @ 10 volt single contact bayonet mount type operated on 8 volts. The last bulb was installed in 2007 and is still burning just fine.
The semaphore lights and operates to clear when the platform lights come on at sunset as the power supply is hooked directly to the platform night-lighting system.  The City maintains the platforms lights which operate from one central sensor so we don't have worry about photocell maintenance - and the City pays the electric bill at about 20 watts total demand.
The bulb brightness is a bit less at 8 volts, but the filament gives a more yellowish glow which, as you say, shows more green thru the Kopp glass roundel as intended.  LEDs would be fun to try sometime.
We do have to maintain the semaphore mech with oil and grease as well as the semaphore bearing at the top of the signal.  But that's part of the fun.



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