Congratulations to the Italian team who pretty much played us off the field.
It seemed ages ago, well probably was ages ago that I promised Hannah W a clearer tutorial on how to install your own LED spotlights from scratch. So this is how I do it
There is a tutorial HERE , which shows a step-by-step guide to soldering wires onto led's. Please don't feel overwhelmed buy the technicalities of dollhouse wiring. In simple terms, power supplied through a 12 volt adapter plug (unless you have an older dollhouse that runs on a lower voltage), runs in a big circle (circuit) through every lamp you have installed. The power needs a conductive material to travel so dollhouse builders use either copper tape or insulated copper wire. With both methods, you have either two strips of copper tape or two wires...one positive, one negative. All the 12 volt adapter does is reduce the amount of power coming in from your full scale house socket into your mini house. If you pass a 12 volt supply over an LED lamp with a much lower rated voltage and without a resistor, the bulb tends to burn extremely bright for an extremely short time and then dies. Not good =0(
So, any lamps you buy to install into your dollhouse wiring...whether they are
make sure they are suitable for the power supplied to your miniature house.
The first thing you need to decide is where you want them. This is best done before you have glued any walls or floors into place but whilst your dollhouse is dry-fit (in other words, put together without glue). Once everything is glued into place it is very difficult to alter. Try to imagine what areas you would like to light. Maybe you are going to have a galley kitchen and want to run lights along either side to illuminate the work surface...or maybe a pub that requires light above the bar area. Once you have decided, you could sketch out a plan so that you can visualize where everything needs to be.
For the most part, lights are installed onto the floor of a room and the lights hang down into the room below. You can install them into the ceiling side of a room, but this is slightly harder to do because the wiring and lights need to be suspended in a way that prevent them from dropping down. I did the 'ceiling side' method recently in a shop I am building but purely because I needed to keep the floor surface as flat as possible. If you intend to put down floor boards or carpet, then you don't need to worry. The flooring will cover the wiring or copper tape used to power the lights. For this tutorial I'm going to run wires along the floor of the room above, to illuminate the room below. Make sense?
Whilst the building is dry-fit, use a pencil to mark the area of the ceiling by drawing where the walls and the ceiling meet. Take into consideration any coving that you intend to put into the room because that will reduce the ceiling area. You can put the lights pretty much anywhere you like. In the template below, I've measured a ceiling area and split it into equal parts so there is equal amounts of light for the room.
I guess 6-9 white led's are sufficient to illuminate a 12 x 12 inch room. You may want more or less depending on your own taste, what you're building and the size of the room.
Just a side note on LED colour ~ warm white gives off a creamy coloured light akin to regular household bulbs. Bright or Ultra bright white LED's have a blueish tinge to them which seem more appropriate to modern businesses or showrooms. Your choice =0)
If you buy LED's pre-wired, make sure they're small enough to fit into the thickness of your floor.
The picture below shows a pre-wired LED that has a resistor soldered close to the lens. This means you would need at least a 25mm thick floor to put it into.
The next picture shows a pre-wired 'Can' LED's specific for scale buildings from Novalyte. As yet, I haven't seen anything similar in the UK but I'm sure in around twenty or so years, we'll catch up.
Okay, so for this tutorial I have a piece of scrap mdf which will act as my ceiling/floor. I'm going to install three bright white 3mm led's which are rated at 3 volts each. Now the 3mm LED description is a bit misleading. The 3mm refers to the width of the lens and not the overall width. Measure whatever light you have because you need to drill a hole big enough to accept the whole LED. I've measured mine at just under 5mm so I'm going to use a 6mm drill bit to give it a little leeway. Drill a hole vertically at each point where you want your light to be.
Between each light and to an exit point you need to cut a channel into which the wiring can hide. This is so the wires don't sit above the floor and cause a big lump under the carpets or flooring. The exit point I mentioned is the place where the wires lead, (normally), to the exterior of your dollhouse and connect to a power supply. Most people run the wires through the back of the house so they are least visible.
To cut the channel for your wiring, you could use either a Dremmel/rotary tool, Stanley knife, chisel or similar. You can cut separate channels for each light or, as I have done, make the channel wide enough for three sets of wires.
If you've followed my How to wire an LED tutorial or managed to buy some miniature 'Can' lights you will have three...or however many lights you want to install, wired and ready to go. I've mentioned before that LED's can dissipate a lot of heat from the back, where the wires are soldered on. As long as you use heatshrink or some sort of insulating material to cover any bare wires, the heat will not affect the wood of your dollhouse. Heatshrink is basically an insulating, plastic tube that shrinks when heat is applied to it. I've used 1mm heatshrink to cover the connection on each individual wire and then 5mm heatshrink to cover both wires snug up to the base of the LED lens.
Put each LED into a hole and carefully place the wiring into the channels and out to the exit point. The wires can be held in place with a dot of super glue or a small piece of double sided sticky tape.
The wires leading out of the exit point need to be connected to your dollhouse power supply.
The rest is basically decoration. You can now lay a floor over the wiring without any of it showing. The ceiling side can be painted or papered. To finish off the 'spotlights' I've glued three eyelet's into place to mimic a chrome light fitting, but you can use all sorts of things.
This is what the ceiling looks like...painted and with the power on,
These are the spot lights I installed into a miniature building.
Hope this helped Hannah.