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Japanese Level Crossing Lights

After seeing how small surface-mount LEDs have gotten, and how cheap, I decided I'd grab a few from our local Jaycar Electronics Store and build a Japanese level crossing signal/light.


  • Red SMD LEDs
  • Metal tubing, hollow, for the main pole. I used brass from the local hobby store.
  • Copper 'winding' wire. Used since it's already insulated.
  • Soldering equipment.
  • Thin cardboard

The process

Firstly cut a length of the metal pole and then grind a hole in it behind the area where you intend on soldering the LEDs.

You can see I've run the copper wire through to make sure there are no obstructions. Be careful when doing this as you may well remove the insulation where the wire will rub on the metal pole.

Next rotate the pole around and then solder the LEDs into place. Make sure that one LED is reverse polarity!

Also solder a wire to the base of the main pole.

Run the thing copper wire from the tabs on the LEDs into the hole and then out the bottom of the main pole. Do this after all soldering to avoid melting the insulation.

Cut some thin strips of cardboard and glue them as the cross above the lights.

Apply some paint, I was a little sloppy.

Add your favourite flasher circuit. Make sure that it swaps polarity to only have to use two wires.

And that's about it... Signals next.

Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Nice! What size brass tubing did you use? What size magnet wire?

    • Don, the tubing was 1.0mm (or 1.2mm, definately less than 1.5mm) and the winding wire was 0.6mm. Forgive me for the arbitrary figures, I’m unable to get near the actual model for a while.

  2. Wow. Beautiful work. I did something similar for some basic track signals, but nowhere as nice as these. Thanks for sharing your wiring diagram as well, this could be very handy! :-)

  3. buenisimo cuando lo tenga el material lo empiezo a hacer.

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