Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Lighting Up The Cauldron Shop........Another New Challenge

While I am in total agreement that all the best dolls houses should have lighting I have always found installing it an absolute disaster. 
A little while ago I made the decision to only install LED lights in all my future projects. With this in mind I ordered everything I should need from my favourite supplier, Small World Products
 For the first time I am having a mix of LED lights and more traditional bulbs because I am going to attempt to light up all the fireplaces. This also meant I needed to obtain the materials for making the leads longer on all bulbs as they are sooo short.
This another of my big moans about lights. Why do they always come with such short wires?!
Well this is the main kit: a transformer (starting top left, down and across), a 3LED light strip, a dual unit connector (more on that later), a flicker unit (for both lights and fire places), extension wire, shrink tube and single LED lights. 
 I have also bought a heat gun that is used for paint stripping for the shrink wrap.
 Wire strippers to expose the ends for connecting each length of wire.
 Lots of red and amber lights for the fireplaces
Phew, seems like an awful lot of stuff for one small shop!! I have already installed the longer LED strips on the ceilings of the shop too.
The LED light strips do come with much longer wires than normal lights so I won't have to mess about with them thank goodness.
 The first thing I had to do was strip the wires on the red bulb. It has the normal two wires and I have to say this is the hardest job of all. No matter how careful I am my wire gets shorter and shorter as I accidentally cut straight through the blooming wire! Patience and a very gentle hand are needed here. 
The extension wire has to be carefully spilt down the middle and then pulled apart to make two wires to match the bulb wire. 
This has to be done at both ends of the extension wire for finally fitting to the power unit/flicker unit.
 You should end up with something like this at each end. 
You need to have quite a bit of metal wire showing to make the next stage easier.
Next step is to cut a small length of shrink wrap tube, slide in over one of the wires and then join each piece. You have to wind the ends together quite tightly as you want to make sure you have a good connection.
The shrink wrap tube then slides over the join.
Last but not least comes the heat gun. A little blow over the wires shrinks the tubing and forms a very firm join........
I have never attempted soldering so I have no idea if this is an easier technique or not but it seems pretty pain free if fiddly. I will try and do a whole buch in one sitting I think as the wire stripping gets much easier with practice.
Now all I need to do is test the bulb.
More on that tomorrow


  1. I am so impressed LOL. I can't wait to see all the fires under the cauldrons, this is going to be worth all your hard work. I hate doing lights with a passion, I hope this works out easier for you.


  2. Hi Victoria. It is a damnable job isn't it. I will keep you posted on how it works out. So far so good though.

  3. Hi Janice...I had the same problem with stripping the LED wires until the lady at the website I bought them from told to melt them off with a soldering iron. You just touch the plastic insulation with the hot iron at the point you want the wire exposed and as soon as you see it melting, pull the wire under it to the end. It took only one try for me to get the hang of it. Then it worked excellently! No accidentally "cut too short" wires. And the soldering iron came clean with no trouble.

    Even if I solder the wires (which I often do though the shrink tubes alone are supposedly quite secure), I use the shrink tube to insulate the wires from each other. Wouldn't want a short in the system and ruin the lights.


  4. Hi Janice, you did a great purchase of items for lighting. I appreciate the tips for extending the wires.

  5. Wiring is so beyond me. One wishes it could just be easy some how!

  6. Wow, this post could not have come at a better time for me as I was just thinking about requiring some mini bulbs. I don't know about others but soldering is not as easy as it looks.

  7. Janice,

    Lighting is a pain, but worth the look in the end!! I'm having both normal lighting and LED's.

    I did hope that you'd illuminate your fires and you have! YAY! :o)

    The LED's that I bought you had a choice of either 8 or 14 inch wire (and different sized/colour bulbs too) and of course you could buy the extra wire to further extend it. You could try a soldering iron to melt the wire off. :o)))

    I did wonder why you were only using the shrink tube on one light wires when you had many to attach...I read down and saw why! :o))

    My LED's can run on either 3v or 6V to 12v) or power (AC/DC). I have some flashing ones, which mean I have to attach them to a different battery from the other non flashing ones (you'll know why once you see them all in action).

    I'm buying a proper little LED fire set (it consists of 3 LED's) and I want to use if for the should be too hard, should it?!!? lol

    Will email asap!
    Looking forward to seeing it all lit up!
    Michelle xxx

  8. Hi Tabitha, I think you are right the wires will still need soldering to be doubly sure.
    I keep telling myself it will be worth all the trouble!

  9. Hi Sans and Dale.
    LED's are a very simple way of creating light on any scene. Lengthening the wires just makes it more complicated and fiddly.
    Railway modellers have been using them for quite a while now I think.

  10. Hi Michelle, there are so many different types available now aren't there. The strips are my favourite as they are so easy to hide.
    Wiring all on hold now as you will see from my latest blog!


I really appreciate all comments that readers take the time to leave. I try to reply to all of them.