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Train-Tech Custom Smart Light

Image of STUART JORDAN.STUART JORDAN looks at this useful new light module.


The Train-Tech Smart Light is one of the technological breakthroughs of the year – initially it was only available with specific effects; Disco Lights, Random On/Off House Lights, Emergency Vehicle, Fire Effect, Arc Welding, and Television Flicker. These modules are only 1cm square, so can fit inside buildings or models.

TTSL100 Smart Light.

This is a video that Train-Tech themselves have created showing how to install the Emergency Vehicle Smart Light, which shows just how small it is.

How to fit Train-Tech SL30 Emergency Smart Light.

Train-Tech has now made available a custom version of the TTSL100 Smart Light, which is a blank canvas for the creative modeller. This version allows you, by way of a DCC controller, to program different attributes of the lights – fourteen different colours, eight different effects, and nine different brightness levels. Don't let the fact that it can only be programmed by a DCC controller put you off if you are only running an analogue set up, I'm sure your local model shop will help you programme it with their test rig – but make sure you call and ask them first!

Once you have programmed the Smart Light it will remember the choices made until it is reprogrammed, even if you remove it from the DCC bus and power it from an external source. It can be powered by 9v -16v DC, DCC or a 9v battery.

The colours that are available are as follows: Red, Orange, Yellow, Light Green, Green, Bright Green, Cyan, Azure, Blue, Dark Blue, Violet, Magenta, Rose, White, and a mode which cycles through of all of the colours. This gives you a wide array of choice to combine with the different effects.

The effects available are:

  • Constantly on
  • Flash light on and off every second
  • Fade light up for 1 second and fade down for 4 seconds (think lighthouse)
  • Triple quick flash (for emergency vehicle lights)
  • Random on and off between 20s - 2mins (random house lights)
  • Fade up, stay on, fade down (20s cycle)
  • Fade up, stay on, fade down (5s cycle)
  • Flame effect flicker

The brightness can then be changed from 10% to 100%, depending on your preference and how you want the light to look.

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Custom Smart Light with 9v battery.
The Custom Smart Light can be run from a 9v battery (as can all of the Smart Lights).

So how easy is it to programme? I'll be honest with you - I'm not the most model railway tech-savvy person in the company, and I found it incredibly easy on the Gaugemaster's DCC02 Prodigy Advance2. The way it works is simple - The Custom Smart Light itself effectively acts as three accessory decoders. To set up an address, connect the Smart Light to your DCC controller's power bus (while power is off), and then short the two contacts on the top of the module. The LED will flash white once to show that it has entered address mode. Enter your desired address (e.g. 60) and then press the < or > button on the controller to set the address. The address you enter (in this case 60, the value suggested in the instructions) will turn the module on and off, and it will automatically populate the next three addresses to allow you to change the configuration – the colour setting will now be Main Address +1 (e.g. 61), the effect setting will be Main Address +2 (e.g. 62), and the brightness setting will be Address +3 (e.g. 63).

Emergency Vehicle lighting - Red flame flicker effect (projected on paper to show it better) - Lighthouse effect.

You can now use the addresses and the function 1 key to cycle through the different options until you get to your desired colour, effect, and brightness. As mentioned before, you can either keep the Smart Light wired to the DCC power bus and control it via the DCC system, or add it to a separate DC supply – or even use a 9v battery for a bit of flexibility if you want to add the Smart Light to something far-flung on the layout, or even something that moves... This is definitely a product that will get the creative juices flowing, and we are looking forward to what the modelling community come up with!

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