Question..

Hello, I am working on a large scale model of One World Trade Center in New York City, and I just placed an order for some starter kits to light my model. I will be using about 16-18 pico lights at the base to light the base of the tower and streetlights, light strips to light the interior of the tower, and another 5-6 pico lights to light the spire. The model will be about 7 feet tall, I was wondering if there was a way to connect all of these lights to one power source, ideally to be powered by electricity and not battery? Any help or tips on how to wire this and power it would be much appreciated. I have attached an image of the project thus far. The tower is just over half way done. 

Best, Greg DiNapoli

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  • Hi Greg, thanks for your posting and for your order!  Your building looks spectacular, even though it is just over half complete.

    Yes, it should definitely be possible to power everything from a single source, and you could use our USB power cable to connect everything to mains power through an iPhone/iPad type charger (we also sell a plug-in "wall wart" adapter as well that works with the USB cable).

    The main challenge in your case will be cables.  We've lit large buildings in the past using only off-the-shelf components, so everything definitely should work.  Here's a link to some photos of a large LEGO city we lit, that had 14ft buildings: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brickstuff/albums/72157659744343032 .  In this case we ran all wires for each building down to the base, then used USB cables to connect everything to power.

    For the interior, are you thinking of lighting just a few windows?  That's what we did for the other large LEGO city.  I'm not sure if the interior of your building is hollow or not.  If it is hollow, you might try using some of our high-power warm white LEDs-- these will light large areas, however there is a limit to 4x of these to any one power source (since they consume so much more power than the standard lights).

    For the base, I'd recommend a USB cable feeding into one of our 1:8 expansion adapters with large plugs.  You could then connect the street lights in groups from there, and use the remaining open plugs to light the strips going up the tower.  We sell extension cables in 1.5", 6", 12", and 24" lengths, so for using strips inside the tower, I'd recommend a mixture of these to achieve the distribution needed.  As long as you don't put too many strips on a string, you should be able to run up to the top of the building.  Basically you'd be using the Daisy Chain lighting method for the strips:

     If the lights at the top ended up being too dim, you could try the Home Run wiring method instead:

     I hope this information is helpful.  Let us know if you have any additional questions.  Good luck with your project, and please keep us posted here on the forum! 

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  • Thank you so much for this. The inside of my tower will be hollow, but I want to light the whole interior as simply and evenly as possible. My original thought was to use the 9 strips in the starter kit and mounting them throughout the tower. Do you think I'd get better results using the high powered lights? Could I use 3 high powered lights with the pico lights all to one USB source? Thanks again.

     

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  • Greg DiNapoli Yes, you could use three high-power LEDs combined with the Pico LEDs into one power source.  We still have your order in queue-- let me know if you'd like to change it.

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  • Thank you for your reply. In your expert opinion, do you think its better to use the 3 high powered lights, or stringing a bunch of the strips throughout the tower to get it lit evenly? I also have another question, as I am new to LED lighting and the brickstuff system. You explained things pretty well above but you mentioned the 1:8 expansion adaptor with large plugs; is that compatible with the pico lights? How exactly would I connect everything with 5 Pico lights at the top, 10-15 light strips or 3 high powered lights down the main tower, and then the 20 or so picos at the base, all connected to one USB power source? Sorry for all the questions. Perhaps you can help me pick the appropriate  products so I can adjust my order today so it can ship as soon as possible.  Thank you again.

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  • Greg DiNapoli It's difficult to say which would be the best option for creating evenly-distributed light without actually seeing the interior of your building in person, but generally the high-power lights will throw off considerably more light than the strips.  We generally suggest using nine strips to light a single LEGO Modular building, which is much smaller than your building, so with just 9 strips, its unlikely there would be enough light.

    As to how everything would connect together, here's another forum post that shows the options for connecting the Pico LEDs: http://forum.brickstuff.com/t/x166pn/options-for-connecting-pico-leds.  Each Pico LED has a 12" cable, and looking at your photo above, I can't really tell if you'd be able to connect two lamp posts together using one of the "Y" adapters that is included with the Pico Starter Kits, or if you'd need additional cables/boards.  With custom builds like yours, the best way is to just start with a kit and see what additional parts you need from there.

    Looking at your order, you have two Pico Starter Kits and one Light Strip Starter Kit.  I might recommend removing the Light Strip kit and adding instead:

    Also, if you'd like to swap the two battery packs in the Pico Starter kits for one USB cable, we could do that as an even exchange.

    This should get you rolling.  Again, it's hard to say if this will be enough or the right blend of parts, but I think it will get you very close.

    Let me know what changes you'd like to make to the order, and I can e-mail you a summary of the price difference.

    Thank you!

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  • Thank you Rob. I think I'd like to move forward with your suggestions. Please remove the strip starter kit and replace with the items you listed, and I'd love to swap out the battery cases with the USB cable. I can plug that into a iPhone charger and directly into the wall correct? You should have my email address from my order, please send me the summary. Is there any chance this will ship today, as I'd love to have for the weekend if possible.

    Thanks again for your help.

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  • Greg DiNapoli Sounds good, I'll tally the new total and send you an e-mail.  Yes, you can use the USB cable with any standard iPhone/iPad type charger.  I'm packing a lot of orders today, but will do my best to get yours out today!

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  • Hello,

    Not sure if you remember this thread but I'm still working on my Lego One World Trade Center and the image attached shows it lit entirely with Brick Stuff lights. I was just wondering, I currently have 3 high powered LEDs in the tower, and 16 pico lights in the base (street light/accent lighting) and 8 in the spire all connected to a single power source (iphone usb charger). Is it safe to add any more lights? I was thinking about adding more to the spire, but I just wanted to make sure my current setup (especially with the 3 high powered lights) will support that. Thanks so much!

    Greg DiNapoli

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  • Hi Greg, thanks for sharing that photo.  All I can say is WOW!  It looks so realistic.  Were you happy with the way in which the high-powered LEDs illuminated the interior?  From the photo, everything looks evenly lit.  Again, just a fantastic job.

    Regarding adding more lights, as long as you're adding more Pico LEDs vs. high-power LEDs, you should be ok.  Though I might recommend adding the new Pico LEDs to a new "home run" from the main power supply, just so you don't end up with dim lights at the end of your existing daisy chain.  Hopefully this makes sense-- let me know if you have any additional questions.  Thank you!

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  • Rob Klingberg Thanks so much. I still have about a foot to go for the towers height, and so far I am pleased with how the high powered lights illuminate my design. Using 3 of those high powered lights, is there a limit of pico lights that I can use? As I said I already have about 24 in the chain. I'm trying to make the spire stand out more and I just want to make sure I don't overload anything. Thanks again!

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  • Greg DiNapoli The power supply you are using is fairly robust.  You won't burn out any of the LEDs, so you won't need to worry about that.  If the additional Picos toward the end of your string start looking dim, you should run another home run down to the main power supply for the Picos in the spire.

    Good luck!  And keep sending those great photos.

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  • Rob Klingberg  hi again, I was wondering if you make any custom parts? I'm in need of 2 pico lights with about  a 1.5 inch longer cord than the stock pico lights. Was curious if that's possible? Thank you.

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  • Greg DiNapoli Thanks for asking Greg-- yes we do custom orders all the time.  The only challenge if you need Pico LED cables *longer* than the standard 12" cables is that we don't have cables with the Pico connector longer than that length.  We can do cables up to 24" and we can connect them to Pico LED boards for you, but they will have standard-size connectors/plugs (like on the extension cables), not Pico plugs.  If this will work for you, I can make you some and invoice via PayPal.  Let me know, thanks!

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  • Rob Klingberg  thanks for your quick  reply! Yes that sounds good. Would 2 24" picos with the standard cables be expensive? 

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  • Greg DiNapoli They'd be about $5 each plus shipping.

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  • Rob Klingberg thanks that sounds great. I appreciate your help.

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  • Rob Klingberg hi again Rob, actually after some thought that won't work, as the plugs on the standard cables won't fit through the hole in the legos that I need them to. There's no way to extend the pico wires an inch or 2? If not I'll just have to get a couple of the pico to standard adaptors and figure something out.

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  • Greg DiNapoli Hi Greg, while it sounds like an easy fix to extend the cables, in practice is means ordering 1,000 of them in this new length-- we need to order everything in bulk from our suppliers. One option would be to use a pliers to clip off the tabs on the large plugs-- this does allow them to pass through LEGO stud holes. Might that work for you?

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  • I completely understand as I am in that line of work too. I wasn't sure if you guys were cutting the lengths or if you got them in at that size. I need the plug to fit through the stud hole in a 1x1 lego cone and a 2x2 circular brick (See attached), would clipping the tabs off allow it to fit through them? If so then I'll take 2 of them. 

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  • Greg DiNapoli Hi Greg, I just tried with some of my own parts and a clipped-end cable.  It does fit through the 2x2 circular brick but not the end of the 1x1 cone.  I had another idea: I could splice together two Pico cables and make one longer cable.  The splice wouldn't be larger than the Pico connector plug, so it would still pass through all the same holes as the plug would.  Cost would be $6 each for those, and you could have any length between 13" and 23".

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  • Awesome! This would be a great help! Can I get 2 at 18"?

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  • Greg DiNapoli Sure.  I'll send a PayPal invoice later today.  Thanks!

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  • Rob Klingberg Hi, I haven't received an invoice for this yet, just making sure I didn't miss it.

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  • Greg DiNapoli Thanks for the reminder!  It was still in "draft"-- just sent it.

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  • Rob Klingberg Hi, I recently added 12 lights to my chain to light the top (the spire) of my build. I tested it out and it worked perfectly. I then took it apart, and built more around the lights, finished the build, and reconnected the lights to the chain. When I plugged it into the wall, the new lights did not light, and the light closest to where I plugged in the new lights to the existing chain did not light. I'm kinda bummed because I went through great lengths to hide all of the wires in a very small space, (see attached images) and I'm afraid I have to take it all apart to fix it. What could be the cause here? Did I crimp a wire by accident or something, making the whole upper part of the chain go out? Help!

    Thanks so much.

    Greg

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