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Peter's Model Railroading | Articles | Electronics | Layout Lighting
Overhead Light Frames v3


When it was time to work on installing the Tortoise switch machine under my layout, I decided that it might be better to disconnect the modules and put them on their sides, so that it is easier to get to the underside of each of them. In doing that, I realized that I had to take the individual light frames off. Since these lights have become the main and only lighting of the room, I was now in a dark room, having to come up with ways to light it while I continued to work on the modules. So, the idea of creating an independent, floating LED light frame came to mind. I stripped off the pieces of aluminum frames that had the LEDs glued to them, and then bought some new pieces to build the rectangular frame you see in the photo. Small bolts hold the pieces to each other, so, theoretically, I can fully disassemble this frame into just the individual pieces for easier transportation in case of a move.

I was trying to do as little damage to the room as possible, so I installed some cup hooks on the top side of the light frame and routed some twine across the ceiling fan (which I never use). This was a neat, and low-impact, idea, but it just didn't pan out as it was very difficult to find an equilibrium to where the whole frame stayed even. Also, it hung a bit too low, so it was easy for me to hit my head against it (I'm 6'4").

So, I decided to install 8 cup hooks into the ceiling, buy some metal chains, and attach the floating light frame to those. This is my current solution, and I am very happy with it.