Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

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Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby roattw » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:57 pm

Hope Im posting to the correct area. I just obtained a Safetran 4 light crossing light setup. I have no idea what volts to feed it or which of the terminal posts to use to feed it power. Any ideas so I dont fry it would be helpful Have a nice Cullen bell that goes with it, but got that working. Any and all insight welcome.

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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby FarmallBob » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:04 pm

Assuming your lights still contain the original 18 watt signal bulbs they need 9 - 10 volts, AC or DC. (Don't exceed 10 volts or the bulbs will burn out quickly!) Each bulb requires about 2 amps.

If you don't have a suitable 10 volt supply you can swap the signal bulbs for #1156 auto turn signal/backup light bulbs. These operate on nominal 12 volts. Now you can power the lights from a suitably sized 12 volt battery charger. Any auto parts store will have #1156 bulbs for about $2 apiece.

Can't help on the terminal connections. Should be a simple matter to trace the individual wires and figure it out however. Or join the "Railroad Signals" group on Facebook. There's lots of signal collectors there who can help you out.

...FB
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby roattw » Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:51 am

This is very helpful information. Thank you very much. Will report back.
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby roattw » Mon May 23, 2016 11:04 am

Sorry for delay! I finally got some testing done. Here is what I got.

Original bulbs that came out were 20W. I used 10 watt for testing.

An old timer railroad guy told me to just send 100 thru it, it "should" be able to handle it. He might have been too old - naturally fried the bubs ;^)

Had trouble finding any power supplies so I bought this Tekpower Linear Power Supply 15V @ 2A that I could increase power slowly until it lit. Worked well. But left me with these questions and this situation:

I couldnt get both sides to light (left right). If I set the PS to left terminals, at max 15v setting, I could get both bulbs to light dimly. Or if I removed one bulb I could get one bulb to light well. Same on the other side I connected to terminals #1 or2 below, or #3 and 4 for other side.

I couldnt get both side to light even if I used #2 and #3 below. And I thought the wire #5 would feed both sides.

I know 20 volt was recommended but I could find one. Think that extra 5 volts is whats missing? And when I ever get them to fire with correct power, how do I wire both sides? Thanks for any insight.

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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby Windseeker1 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:13 pm

Once you do figure out how to get power to both sides, the lights will be on all the time...you need a controller to get them to flash.

I found it easier all around to take the old wire out, replace the light bulb sockets with candelabra size light sockets, wire in a "Lights To Go" flasher module (https://www.trafficlights.com/decorativ ... g-flasher/) and simply connect the module to 120v power. Working lights without any hassle.
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby roattw » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:24 am

Thats the hardest part, getting power to both sides. By virtue of wire #5 above, should power be automatically carried over between sides? So close, yet so far. I like the idea of plugging the entire light right into a wall plug 11.
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby Windseeker1 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:50 pm

I am no expert and without tracing the wires to the sockets, it's hard to say.
But, if 5 is a pre-existing original wire, I suspect that is the common ground wire. I would think there would be two energized wires running up the pole from the shed housing the controller....one would connect to the left and one to the right. One power wire would not cover both sides.

Again, hard to trace wires in your photo but, if 5 is a common ground, whatever terminals it connects to should be considered a ground. Are you grounding your power supply? I think grounding your power supply to the ground terminals and applying power to the other terminal (on both sides) should cause the light to light.
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby Windseeker1 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:49 pm

OK, I blew up your photo and I think this is what you have to do:

Connect the negative from your power supply to either #2 or 3. It really doesn't matter since wire 5 is connecting them together.

Connect the positive from your power supply to #1 and the left light should light. Connect it to #4 and the right light should light.

If you want them both on, you need to create a jumper wire between #1 and 4 just like the one between #2 and 3.The RR would never have both lights on at the same time that's why there isn't already a wire doing that for you.

To get them to flash, you will either have to get the proper electronics (ebay is the only place I know to find them and I am not even sure what the proper name of the unit is) or try a DC flasher from the link I provided earlier.
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby Windseeker1 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:30 pm

OP, did it work?
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby roattw » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:37 pm

Sorry for delay! Wife, three kids and work - my time is never my own ;^) Havent had a chance to try it yet. I get these very brief windows of opprotunity. I now have the correct power supply, got some 14 gauge wire, just need to try it out! Will attempt tomorrow and report back.

Here is my PS: https://www.amazon.com/NES-350-12-Switching-Power-Supply-110-240/dp/B007K2H0GI

Dumb question. I took a plug off an old appliance to feed the PS. From that wall plug to this power supply, where do plug wires go - White to N/Neutral, black to L/Hot? Then on this PS, which of many V+ / V- terminals then feed the railroad light terminals?

Sorry if inane questions, but this all new to me. And while Im not smart enough to grasp the electronics quickly, I am smart enough to not guess ;^)
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby Windseeker1 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:04 pm

Yes, black to "L", white to "N", if there is a green wire on your cord, it goes to ground (the upside down Christmas tree symbol.)

On the DC output, connect to any one of the three negative terminals and connect the other end to either the #2 or #3 stud. (You can connect to the studs directly on top of each respective terminal, you don't need to connect to the stud with all the wires already on it.)

There are two ways to connect your positive wire(s).

Option 1: Connect to any one of the three positive terminals on the DC power supply and connect the other end to either #1 or #4 stud, then run a jumper wire between #1 and #4 studs.
Option 2: Connect to any positive terminal on the DC power supply and connect the other end to stud #1. Connect another wire to either of the two remaining terminals and run it to stud #4.

Either way, you will now have power to both sides of the lights.

If you plan on displaying it as a static display with both lights lit at all times, I would go with option 1.
If you plan on adding a flasher later, I would go with option 2 as you will need that second longer wire later when connecting to the module.

Good luck!
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby roattw » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:43 am

I know its been awhile, and that is rude. But just now getting back to this. And still grateful for all the help!

Set it as you suggested Windseeker. No lights. However, the cord I sacrificed and used had no ground. Your description and reasoning make complete sense - should work. Im wondering if the Mean Well power supply has to detect a ground or it wont function, Im hoping. Going to try a cable with a ground to rule that out. I used a voltmeter and the plug is delivering 120V to power supply. Its just not coming out. Could be the PS I guess but its brand new. Will try a grounded and report back.
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Re: Need help restoring a RR Crossing light

Postby roattw » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:51 am

Sweet baby Jesus! We have light! The power supply needed a ground. Thank you all very much. Although windseeker got me wondering why Im even messing with it and not direct wiring it like he did ;^)

Ironically, I just acquired a union switch - no idea what all those posts do but did this essentially serve as the flasher switch?

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