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Like the title says, when it comes to lighting my LEGO sets, I'm a total n00b!
I know (from both experience of seeing in person, and from the multiple pieces of advice I've read) that lighting is one of the things that can really had a tremendous amount of pizzaz to a LEGO build at a convention. Well, now that my convention is getting closer, I'm thinking more and more about adding lighting to my huge Pirates display that I have in the works. The problem is three-fold:
1) I have zero experience with adding lighting to any LEGO builds
2) If I'm going to add anything it needs to be easy to add to pre-existing builds
3) It needs to be a relatively cheap solution - all of my money is mostly tied up in the actual LEGO product
So, this means none of the dedicated LEGO lighting kits will really fit my needs, mostly from a cost point of view. So I'm just throwing this out to the ether to ask for opinions on possible solutions.
I don't think I need to add a ton of lighting, at least at this point in time. Perhaps just a few highlight areas. Obviously lighting up all of the lanterns and interiors along with some cannon fire would be ideal, but I don't think that's realistic for me to accomplish between now and March from either a budget or a time standpoint.
I welcome Amazon links to possible solutions or anything else anyone has to offer on advice.
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Honestly, I'm in the same boat, but with my winter village. I likely just need to start investing in light kits...but the budget is already spent elsewhere.
(Just checked out gameofbricks...I might need to push through a few orders as the cost seems fairly reasonable compared to other kits)
Take one of these,
and sprinkle in some of these,
and plug them in with 24V 2A with a cheap wall wart. (something like this)
total $47.94 (not including shipping) from the cheapest parts I could find.
This might be a worthwhile test!
Thank you again a bunch for the suggestion @Cyberdragon!
Considering I can get two of these sets for less than one of the other known aftermarket lighting kits, it doesn't seem like a crazy risk.
If I like it, I'm sure I'll end up doing another order to incorporate into my layout. The price is super reasonable compared to the other places I'd looked, like you said. I'm already looking at all of the options available here and starting to think what I might want to grab.
For individual components, would people assume I need the following to make it work: a light element, an expansion board, and a USB connection cable?
I assume the expansion board has to have a "power out" port of some kind. Otherwise, there isn't a way to connect a light element directly to a USB connection cable from what I can tell.
Some of the component kits seem to be wired to a USB connector already. But the individual lights/bricks/plates are different based on the pictures.
Again, whether you have Game of Bricks experience or not, I assume some of this is standard wiring knowledge (even if not MY standard knowledge).
That said, I'm guessing that you are correct in your assessment.
However, some of the set kits, especially from certain brands, are hardwired with one or the other, and you can't easily swap the power source out.
I will be interested in the battery pack vs. a power bank. My current power bank has two different output ratings. I assume the lesser one should be sufficient? I don't want to burn out the kit from the get-go!
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Bummer to hear about the non-LEGO bricks used. But, in the end, I guess it does make sense considering the prices.
I'll be interested to hear what you have to say.
Having no other company to compare it to, I can't say the quality is greater than or less than, but it met and even exceeded my expectations in nearly every way. The online instructions to install the pre-built kit were very easy to follow. And, aside from issues of fat fingers making it more complicated, it was overall fairly easy to install on a completed set.
Now that I have the kit in hand and understand how it functions, I think I may expand into some of the individual components. As my current plan is to move to a MILS style base, it will be easy to hide the wires. First order of business will be lighting my street lamps.
My recommendation would be to consider the remote version instead of standard as, once it's in place in my village, it's harder to reach the battery pack.
I'm curious, for those maybe "in the know" on electrical stuff, in theory, how many lights should I be able to run off a standard USB power bank? I'm looking at the individual components and wondering if there is a way to daisy chain the light strings and connector boards back to a singular USB cable. Or, at least break my entire village up into maybe two or three segments. I'd hate to think I'd need an additional USB plug for each building.
I certainly don't plan on running 200 of them off a single string. But it will help my planning a bit to have at least a general idea.
I must say that I am again impressed with the quality of the installation instructions, the product itself, and the end result.
In the case of the Hogsmeade Village kit, the end result is absolutely fantastic. The only change I'll make is a color-changing LED that is added on the top of Honeydukes that isn't really necessary. The Elf Clubhouse is also very good. The flashing, color-changing LEDs under the main roofline are perhaps a bit distracting and make it look a little like the elves are having a rave. But, why not spice up Santa's village?
I'll continue to buy existing kits over the coming months for other buildings I have as well as some individual components. But I certainly give this company my stamp of approval.
I imagine you'll get them before the end of March. It's more if you'll have enough time to install them all!
I've found a pair of fine nosed tweezers to be very helpful with the installation/handling process.
I only have the expertise that comes with installing three lighting kits so far, but if you have any questions on things, I'd be happy to share my experiences.
I've run into a number of frustrations early on but am learning and adapting my plans quickly. Getting all of the torches lit up has proven to be a bit more of a pain than I originally imagined it being. The main cause for headaches is that I'm super nervous about breaking wires between bricks so putting a tiny LED under a 1x1 round plate in a torch just isn't working for me like I'd hoped. I'd love it if LEGO had the 1x1 round plate with open stud in trans-yellow, that would make my life a lot easier. I feel like taking the (for me) drastic step of modifying some LEGO pieces by cutting small grooves in them is the best long term solution, but I'm not willing to take that step just yet for this convention. I may be experimenting with that for round 2 though sometime down the road.
That said, I did make a significant amount of process in figuring out what I'm doing with the lighting over the weekend. I think it's actually going to work!
On the downside, one of the components I ordered was missing from my order - a pretty vital one, the USB connectors. Contacted CS and they're supposed to be getting it out to me. So fingers crossed the shipping goes quickly for those. I also ended up ordering some more lights that I'll need.
No pictures because frankly my build/display table is a disaster right now with figuring this all out. But progress is being made and excitement is high!
What components did you end up getting? I'd be curious about some of the individual elements and how they integrate into a display piece. I have a lot of plans in my mind, but am not sure they'll actually work out.
Looking forward to seeing the pictures!
Other than that, it was just expansion boards and connecting cables.
Even with what I would consider to be a relatively simple setup, it still is a lot! The order itself was nearly $200.
I'm really, really pleased with how it all came out in the end. I certainly see much, much room for improvement, but for coming into this so new and with such a time crunch, I'm satisfied.