Hazel Mine Tipple - Construction: Lighting
09/04/2020
I have no photographic evidence of this, but I thought it might be nice to add lighting under the tipple building to shine on the tracks. After all, the mine, at its peak times, operated night and day. I placed the building on top of its foundation and marked where each of the tracks' centers are. I then extended those lines to the underside of the building.
Hazel Mine Tipple
Initially, I had thought about placing two or three individual SMD LEDs above each track. But, when I thought about all the wiring that that would take, including the SMD resistors, I decided to just use some leftover LED strips. Since these strips can usually be cut after every third LED, and to make sure there was even lighting, I decided to cut the strips into 6-LED sections. I then glued those to the bottom of the building with 5-minute epoxy.
Hazel Mine Tipple
It was then just a matter of drilling two holes near the ends of each strip, and soldering two wires, routing them to the interior of the building.
Hazel Mine Tipple
In the interior I routed the wires such that they were as short as possible, and stayed out of view from the windows as much as possible. I routed them over the interior bracing.
Hazel Mine Tipple
The LED strips are designed to take 12 volts. However, the beauty of LEDs is that they can run on less than that, if need be; they'll just be dimmer. LED strips can be quite bright. It had been my intent all along to have the interior lighting be run off of a 9V battery. I am trying to build a layout that does not require that it be plugged into the wall power sockets to operate (e.g. think of still running the layout while the house's electricity is temporarily out; gives me something to do during those times). So, since I planned on using a 9V battery, how was I going to turn the lighting on and off?

To the rescue come reed switches. I use those inside my locomotives to turn their internal battery power on and off. I can just hold a magnet near a reed switch and the lights will come on. The problem with the reed switches I have is that they are "normally-open", which means they don't allow current to run through them, unless a magnet is placed near them. So, in this situation, if I want to have the LEDs be on for a period of time, I have to place a magnet near the reed switch for that entire duration. It would be convenient if I could have the magnet be placed on the roof somehow.

So, I went back to the prototype photos of this tipple and noticed that, in one photo, it shows two exhaust stacks near (what for me is) the front of the building. If you look at the other prototype photo I have in this section of my web site, you don't see the stacks (maybe they are shorter than the top of the roof line, maybe a bright background phased out the stacks in that photo, or maybe the stacks were added later, or removed?). I have marked the two stacks in this photo.
Hazel Mine Tipple
This led me to the idea of having the exhaust stacks be removable, with one having a magnet at the bottom, and the other not. I could then swap out the stacks to turn the lights on or off. So, to implement that idea, I needed a way to mount the reed switch such that the magnet is within 1/2" of that switch. So, I mounted two dowels in the interior of the building where I estimated that the stacks were on the roof. Their placement didn't have to be exact.
Hazel Mine Tipple
After I glued the reed switch down on one of the dowels, I soldered wires to it, and then painted everything not black, black.
Hazel Mine Tipple
I just so happened to have a "shelf" at the back of the building where the opening is to the incline to the mine, to provide support for the odd angles of the various wood pieces back there. The opening in the back of the building is just big enough for me to stick my hand into, and so that is where I decided to place the 9V battery, in a holder. When the battery needs to be replaced, I can reach into the back of the building, pull out the battery (its wires are long enough to allow me to pull it out a ways, replace the battery, and then maneuver the battery back onto its shelf, so that it is out of sight. For a normally stationary layout, this loose placement will not pose any problems. I'll remove the battery if/when the layout needs to be moved, to avoid damaging the structure.
Hazel Mine Tipple
In this "action shot", I am demonstrating how it will work by holding a magnet to the reed switch, the LED lights under the building shine on the tracks. It may be hard to make out due to the ambient lighting in my layout room and the settings of the camera, but, in person, you can tell, especially when there are cars under the building.

The next step in this project is to build the roofing sub-structure. However, I thought I had large sheets of styrene on hand, but it turns out they were only 0.015"-thick sheets, which are too flexible for the roofing sub-structure. So, I need to place an order with Evergreen Styrene, which will put this project on hold for a while. But, I am also ordering the materials I need to build the 44 columns that this tipple sits on, so once I have those, I will be able to push this project on toward completion after that. Stay tuned...
Hazel Mine Tipple