I am looking for small bulbs, low wattage, both 12v and 24v. 12v are
easy, and cheap at 20p each, but I'm having problems locating 24v ones,
because I don't know what they are called. I thought they were BES, but
could be MES? The type and size of thread is what you would expect to
find in a torch, or, for the old'uns like me <g>, behind the dash panel
in any car from the 60s, be it indicator bulb, high beam warning light
etc., they were all the same physical size, and thread. If I know what
they are called, I can search for the 24v equivalent of the 12v ones I
Also known as E10 or E10/13 (10mm diameter, 13mm long base).
The 24V (and 28V) ones were quite fragile. I presume this is
used so the lamp is dim on a 12V supply and doesn't dazzle
you? An alternative would be to use a 12V lamp with an
appropriate series resistor.
Excellent - thanks. I'm actually looking for bulbs to run on two
separate circuits, one 12v dc, which isn't a problem, and the other 20 -
24v ac, which isn't so easy (or cheap). The 12v bulbs are readily
available at 20p each, but 24v are more expensive. The 'fragile'
comment causes concern. The 24v bulbs are for the front of old O gauge
electric locos :
The bulbs are readily available in the US, but I'm hoping to find a UK
supplier, as there are many others apart from me who are looking for
Interesting. My father has an old model railway (I can't tell you
what guage it is, but it's a Hornby with a 3-rail track, centre
rail carrying power). I think the power is 20VAC, but I could be
wrong. The front lamp on that train is MES, but it's a special.
Rather than being a spherical bulb, it is flattened (as though
the train ran into something and flattened it, although being
glass, it was obviously made this way). The glass is silvered
at the back to form a reflector. Your picture looks like your
train is supposed to take that same type of bulb.
I've never seen these for sale through electrical/electronic
outlets; I would imagine you would have to go to a model shop,
but I've no idea if they would be obtainable at all now.
Seems like it might be an FAQ in a model railway group though.
Probably O gauge? Width of track about 1 1/4 inches. Possibly OO or HO
(literally Half O) which would be 5/8th inch. O gauge electric Hornby
would be pre war, and should have a little gold emblem saying Hornby
Series, Meccano Limited, Liverpool, or words to that effect.
Perfect description :-)
Indeed it is, but bulbs like that are like the proverbial hen's teeth.
There are (or were) all sorts of weird and wonderful bulbs for various
applications, and I have a few, but don't like to keep using them, as
they'll blow eventually. I'm happy to substitute any modern replacement
for everyday running.
12v bulbs are very common, even in the age of white LEDs, but other
voltages are less popular. Special bulbs are available to order, but
expensive, which is why I'm looking for 'everyday' bulbs that will be
fairly cheap. Thanks to both Daves for suggesting lorry bulbs - I have
investigated, and they tend to be expensive, or too high a wattage, or
both, although my local garage may have just been trying to get rid of
Bob's suggestion (CPC) seems to be the jackpot - both 12 and 24v, at 23p
per PAIR, which is wonderful. I've ordered some of each, and will
One thing I have seen done by a friend with similar attention to
detail with his models is to take a glass envelope from a failed real
bulb by carefully removing the wires or screw cap. He then fits
into place using a clear epoxy a microminiature white LED, but because
it is too white compared with tungsten, an amber one as well driven
through a higher value resistor to drop the output a bit.
The result is pretty good and virtually indistinguishable from the
real thing unless you look extremely carefully into the bulb itself.
On the actual locos it is extremely good and certainly looks the part.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Yep. He scribes around the globe near the base with a fine glass
cutter, taps and the globe comes away. The LED/resistor assemblies
are then fitted in. This is done by digging out the base material
and drilling through the bottom and the side of the base using a
dental drill. The assembly is then soldered and epoxied into place
using an epoxy of fairly liquid consistency, fitting the pieces
together at just the right moment during the curing stage.
I should add that he is a dentist who specialises in root canal work.
There is quite a similarity between the two exercises.
I would have thought he wouldn't have wanted to do fine work as a
hobby as well as a job but he views his model railway hobby with as
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Many years ago, I made some discharge lamps using the outer bulb
from 300W and 500W mains filament lamps. I removed the outer bulb
by filing a line around the base using the edge of a needle file,
and then touched the line with the tip of a soldering iron with
a blob of solder hanging on it. Usually, but not always, a clean
crack would propagate along the filed line. I had already released
the vacuum by breaking the seal, although that won't be so important
with a tiny bulb.
There is another method, which allows some amount of 12v/24v
intermixing, a square wave regulator. When runing a 12v bulb off 24v
it gives a duty cycle of apx 25% to the bulb. This way you can run
your 12v lighting on 24v.
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