All layouts need good lighting. Here I will tell you about how I plan to light up my new layout using LED-strips and controlling the lighting using cheap LED-dimmers with DMX-protocol and free PC-programs to set up the lighting and the sequence to animate night and day lighting on the layout.

Its under development, but some of the pieces have been tested.


LED DMX Controllers installed

5 LED Controllers for DMX are installed on the layout. The testing has begun of the software to use, PC-Dimmer. The layout lights(Warm white and blue) and the room lighting are installed. 2 RGB LED strips to be used to create the sunset effect are installed. All controllers have a total of 15 DMX channels, where 9 channels are in use at the moment. The testing gave some promising results on the layout lighting part.

Layout Lighting using LED and DMX

The last days I have done some testing using DMX-equipment to control the lighting and the sound on the layout, with promising result.

Earlier I have decided to use LED-strips for the layout lighting, WarmWhite bright LED-strips for the main layout lighting, a Blue LED-strip for the night-"light" and several RGB LED-strips to create the change between day and night + many other effects, like thunder and lighting. And I want to use a PC to control it and sync light and sound.

I have done some test with a RGB-driver using PC serial port and my own software, but have now started to look into use product using the DMX-protocol. DMX-equipment is widely used in Theater and show business to control lights, but the price can be a challenge. But, eBay is your friend and when searching for shops in Hong Kong and China, I have found exactly what I need, cheap RGB-controllers. Combined with many free software options, I have started to play with it. Example items on ebay: DXM > RGB LED Controller, PX24506Type2. DMX > USB interface.

I am in the process checking different software, and at the moment the most promising is PC-Dimmer2012, which let me setup different shows, controlling light and sound. Another good solution is DMXControl, but it crash at the moment on my PC. A few other I have tested and work with my USB to DMX interface is the following: StageConsole, Freestyler, AbueLites ++. I will also test JMRI to be used with DMX.

My testsetup with the USB to DMX interface, a RGB LED-controller and a LED Strip, all controlled by PC-Dimmer.

The layout will have the following light channels(for now :-) ):

• DMX LED controller #1 12V/6A
  Channel 01: 1 channel UV LED lights/black light
  Channel 02: 1 channel strobe control, ligthning effect
  Channel 03: 1 channel spare
• DMX LED controller #2 12V/9A
  Channel 04: 1 channel layout main warm white LED strip
  Channel 05: 1 channel layout main blue LED strip
  Channel 06: 1 channel layout room lighting warm white LED strip
• DMX LED controller #3 12V/9A
  Channel 07-09: 3 channels Backlight Group #1 between backdrop and layout - RGB LED strip
• DMX LED controller #4 12V/9A
  Channel 10-12: 3 channels Backlight Group #2 between backdrop and layout - RGB LED strip
• DMX LED controller #5 12V/9A
  Channel 13: 1 channel lights inside buildings
  Channel 14: 1 channel backdrop window cut out lights
  Channel 15: 1 channel street lights