Another 1/350 TOS Enterprise - Attempting custom lighting :-)


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Hi all,

So, after a recent de-cluttering of my display cases and crawl space I took a ton of robots from my Transformers collection and sold them at a local vintage toy shop. After prices were negotiated and agreed upon the owner told me he was short on cash and part of it would have to be in trade. That didn't hurt my feelings one bit with this in the shop. :D


When I got home and started looking at the lighting kit online I about had a hart attack. I didn't realize just how much it was going to cost. With that thing going for more than the model does I decided to try and come up with something custom.

Looking at different options I realized it was not going to be that easy for me to get some of the effects that I am looking to do, and while I am no stranger to a soldering iron I am not that great with designing electronic circuits. I started looking online for a few pre-made diagrams and found a couple that I like.

One of them is a fade in and fade out LED that I would like to use on the some of the NAV lights. I know from reading about the LEDs that I am going to have to recalculate the value of the resistors and maybe the capacitor and transistor for the number and color of the lights.

The next one I found is a random LED flasher that I think I can use in the bussard collectors. This one I may try and find a different flasher that supports either 5 or 10 LEDs, 5 if I do two boards (one in each warp nacelle) or 10 if I just do one board in the secondary hull.

So far they seem very straight forward and something that I can wrap my head around easily enough (I think).

I am going to be picking up some double density LED tape that I can cut up and use for general window lighting and maybe a few other places like the original light kit includes. I have even thought about some fiber optic lighting in the shuttle bay if it will all fit in.

Now, where I think I am going to need some help is with the bussard collectors. I love the look of both the spinning spokes and the rotating lights. One or the other, but not both. I am also not interested in a noisy model, so the motors are out.

I have been looking at the TrekModeler and Trekworks pieces. These are very nice, but just the two bassard light assemblies from one of them are as much as the whole light kit and I am not in a position to be able to spend a lot of money on this kit, so I need to try and replicate the effect on my own.

I really like the way they look and I have seen a few videos with them. They do mention that the cameras are not showing them at their best, but I think the look of these are what I am looking for.

I know this one is the new movie version, but the colors could be changed to give the TOS effect.

I have found a few similar diagrams on various sites. All of them use the 555 timer and a 4017 IC.


From what I understand I can add or subtract LEDs from the sequence and just take what would be the next LED output and send it to pin 15 to reset the sequence. If I keep the number of LEDs to 5 and use the kit supplied bussard plate this should be easy. However if I add to the number of LEDs off one particular pin, how will this effect the circuit as a whole. I would at the least probably have to change the resistor values.

Should I go with diagram A were the sequence would light 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8, 9&10 in rotation then start over giving it a repeating 5 flash sequence.

Or should I go with diagram B were it would light 9 2 9 10, then 3 4 11 12, then 5 6 13 14, then 7 8 15 16, then start over giving it a repeating 4 flash sequence.


I would like to make them adjustable with little variable resistors I can turn with a screwdriver, but I am not sure if it is one of the resistors that control the speed, or the capacitor, and how to modify the diagram to test.

I have ordered a breadboard, the chips, and an assortment of LEDs online. The resistors and the capacitors I'll get locally when I can get the time to start testing circuits.

This is more than likely going to be a slow build giving my work schedule (60+ hours a week) and family, but I hope not to slow. :lol

Any ideas would be grand. :thumbsup

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Active Member
Well, here is my first test for the lights. Not to bad for my first time with something more complicated than light bulb + battery = lighted model.

The lights on the left are for the saucer section. It may not look like it in the video but there is a red and green for the top, and two white lights for the bottom.

The center set of lights are for the running lights on each side of the landing bay, they are both white LEDs.

The lights on the left are the a set of five lights that are chase lights. When I put them in the warp bussards they will chase in a circle. I am hopping that they will give a similar effect to having the motors that the factory light kit comes with, but without the sound people complain about.

All I need to do is wait for my 4026 IC chips to show up and I will try to make the random blinking lights for the bussard collectors.

While I am no stranger to soldering irons or circuit boards, this is the first time I have tried making my own. Hopefully I can find a way to streamline it a little.

The diagram for the blinking lights was found here:

The diagram for the chase lights was the one from my original post.

The only real change I made to the chase lights was to add a 5th LED to the circuit.

Somewhere I read (cant remember were) that unless all 10 LED spots are filled, to add or subtract LEDs from the chaser circuit you just connect the first unused pin on the 4017 to pin 15 in order to reset the sequence otherwise there is a time gap between the last LED and the first.

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Active Member
Cool! Thanks for posting the links to the motors. I had tried looking for some myself, but I just cant get past the noise coming from them. If they were silent it would be different, but I think I am going to just stick with the revolving lights.

I am still waiting on my IC 4026 chips to do the random flashing, but I used the other flashing circuits for the saucer and the landing bay lights to accompany the rotating lights for this test. When I get the final circuits completed and soldered together I'll post the diagrams I end up going with.

Here is test #2 with a piece of milk jug plastic in front of it.

Off to the hobby shop to get the spray frosting and some other paints. :D:thumbsup

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OK, so here is my progress so far with the warp engine lights.

So far I've left this on for an hour or more without any issues. While building the board I had some issues with resistors getting blistering hot so I had to increase their values witch in turn changed the capacitor that I had to use. I am new to the whole building circuits thing, so this was a couple hours of frustration. With it all built and inside the closed up area of the warp engine there is still a little warmth to it, but nothing I would be concerned with or would not expect from a motor left on for the same amount of time. I really wish there was a way to run the wires from the secondary hull to the warp nacelles, but I don't know what wire to use. I am going to look into some 30AWG wire and see if that would work, I would really like to just have one circuit board control everything than one in each section of the ship. My mail thing is the limited space in the pylons. I would need a wire small enough to fit 13 wires through the pylons (1 12 volt wire for the LED tape, 10 2-3 volt wires for the bussard lights, 1 3 volt wire for the end cone light, and 1 ground), but good enough that it would not have any issues with being hooked up to the 12 volt 1 amp power adapter I have for use.

I am looking at this stuff at my local Radio Shack, but cant seem to find a clear answer to my questions.

Also see some people using some really thin wire for some LED is their projects. What wire is this? You can see it at about 6:15 in this video.

Wondering if I can put 13 of those through a pylon?

More reading I guess. :)

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Active Member
I'll add some pics of the boards here in a bit. The wife has me going to Lowes for supplies to build a chicken coop. :rolleyes



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Hey Avolow,
looking very good! Regarding the thin wire, you should be able to find it in just about any electronic store that you can buy LEDs & Co at. It Looks like it is bare, but it is actually coated with a transparent lack that can be a $%&?$ to clean off... being that it is transparent, you cant really tell if you have sanded enough or not... if you dont get enough off, you get a bad soder connection at the contacts, if you sand too much chances are that wire will break. But, yes, it is excellent for channeling through small pieces like the pylons, I use it in just about all my electronics, regardless of whether I have space restrictions or not... it just keeps everything looking neat and tidy.

Can't wait to see more.


Active Member
Chicken coop built....


Back to the model. :D

OK, So I burned out my original bussard lights when I accidentally connected them to the 12V direct instead of to the outputs from the 4026 and 4017s. :cry Oh well. Remade them. That's why I bought the big bundle of LEDs on eBay, figured there would be some problems along the way.

Had some issues with a couple of the resistors I was using. They would get blistering hot in a mater of a few seconds. After doing some reading I found that while the values were correct to the diagram, I was using 1/4 watt resistors and I needed ones that could handle a bit more power. Further reading said I could just step up the resistance to handle more heat. What I didn't know at the time is that doing that would change the way the capacitors acted. Trial and error with different capacitors brought back the desired effect and eliminated the heat issues. This was after building three separate boards and a lot of head scratching. :rolleyes

The wire I finally used was this stuff from the local Radio Shack. (While they are still in business anyway)


This stiff will hold up to about 800 milliamps, so it should do fine since everything I have hooked up right now only pulls a fraction of that. I got this in Red, Blue, and white. Wish they had a few other colors.

20150322_213312_zpsq1snimvu[1].jpg 20150322_213323_zpsa04vab1q[1].jpg

I started out by lining up LEDs with the different ports in the bussard plates. I put all the amber colored ones in the short towers and the different colored ones in the tall towers. They didn't line up perfectly with the holes in the breadboard, but after some bending and coaxing they fit pretty good.

After getting them were they needed to be I flattened all the grounds down and soldered them together with a ground wire. I cut a rounded piece of styrene and put a small hole in the center for the ground to poke through and flattened down the random light positive leads and put one piece of wire to each one. Then put another rounded piece of styrene with a hole in it for all the wires to go through. Finally flattened down the positives to the amber chase LEDs and gave each one a wire.


Did this for each bussard and light blocked the front assemblies the go in then put them together. I like the way the light radiates through the plastic plate the lights fit in so I didn't do any light blocking past the back of that plate getting a coat of black. Since the domes will be frosted and the inner domes will have a light application of clear smoke paint I am not going to paint the face of the plates.

Now to power the lights I can run the chase lights off of the same circuit wiring one to rotate opposite of the other with no problems, but since the randoms have red LEDs (that take more power than the other colors for some reason) I will need to power each warp engine with its own random circuit. This is why this video only has one of the random ones working.

I am going to have all the wires running down into the secondary hull were they will connect with the final board once it is together.

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Active Member
Thanks. :)

Well, I am at a point were I need to start thinking about painting the outside. I still have quite a bit left to do with the electronics, but I would also like to get the engines completely done before moving on to some of the other parts. While the paint on them shouldn't be to hard, the paint on the saucer and the secondary hull is confusing me when it comes to the windows and running lights. I have watched a lot of the build videos on YouTube and see a lot of people pre-painting parts before assembly, but how do they get rid of the glue seams after without getting fresh paint all over the finished paint? Any way I look at it I am thinking I am going to have nightmare masking sessions with the windows and lights. Just scared I'll end up with paint all over the windows that I will have to try and remove after. If anyone knows of any tutorials or videos an this part I would love to read/watch them. I cant seem to find what I need, maybe someone else knows what I am looking for. :D



Well-Known Member
The windows do look like a challenge! I am going to apply liquid mask,(if I'm too cheap I might go with white glue)

What do you mean about the seams? my engines are built and seams filled when my electronics are finally done I will run the wires through the pylons and then do the seams there and attach the two together same with the rest of the ship. This way the seams won't be noticeable at the component junctures?

Btw, what electrical circuit did you end up using?
I can't get any of mine to work.



Active Member
I found this video by Trekworks on YouTube. This is kind of what I was looking for. Every part of the model seems to have been pre-pinted in the final color before any assembly was done. After the model is assembled, seams taken care of, and blocks of windows are taped off I guess the trick is light coats sprayed away from the tape and not directly at the tape edges that would end up collecting at the tape line.

Trekworks also has a good video about sound insulating the bussard motors to try and quiet them some if you are using them.

By seams I am pretty much just saying the glue seams all over the model. Anywhere on the model two parts get seam filler putty. I think the paint is going to be tricky, but I just want to make sure it doesn't get on the windows or lights.

For the Random Lights it is just the video from my first post.

I followed this one to the letter and it worked first shot. This one works with any number of LED from 2 to 8. At first I was going to put one circuit board in each engine, then my ideas got a little more grandiose and I started adding a few other lights that I thought looked cool, but were not part of the show. When those lights were added I decided to just run both engines off one board mounted in the secondary hull. The circuit for my rotating lights easily handles two lights per used IC chip lead at the voltage each light uses. For the random lights though I had to split up the reds. So on the random circuit I have a lead that runs 2 green LEDs, a lead that runs 2 blue LEDs, another lead that runs 2 blue LEDs, a 4 individual leads that run one red LED each. The two greens are synchronized, 2 of the blues are synchronized, the other 2 blues are synchronized, and the 4 reds are independent.

20150411_143906_zps7sqgltxg[1].jpg 20150411_145304_zpsozpceydw[1].jpg

The set of chips on the left are the spinning lights. These are a 555 Timer and a 4017 IC. I used a 47uf capacitor 390 ohm resistor.

The set of chips on the right are the random lights. These are a 555 Timer and a 4026 IC. I used a 10uf Capacitor and a 51K and a 10K resistor.

The white blocks on the board are some connectors I found at work. I have pin plugs on my wires that just plug right into them for an easy hookup while assembling.


For the navigation lights I have the same circuit twice.


The saucer lights (bottom) have 4 LEDs. 2 clear, 1 green, and one red. The green and clear have a 1K ohm resistor feeding them, the red has a 390 ohm, and a 22uf capacitor controlling the blink rate. The secondary hull lights (top) are 2 clears with a 1K ohm resistor feeding them and a 6.8uf capacitor controlling the blink rate. Outside of adding a second resistor for the red LED, both these lights are done the same as described in the YouTube video I used.

Going to finish doing some light blocking in the motors and start putting glue to plastic hopefully this weekend. :D

Sithman66, let me know if after trying the two videos in this post for your navigation blinkers and random bussard blinkers you are still having issues. Mybe we can Skype to see what the problem is. Do you have a breadboard setup like in the videos to prototype the circuits on? Also, these circuits are run on a 9 volt battery in the diagram, but the motors you posted are 12 volt. Unless you run separate power for both or re-calculate the resistor values so the LEDs are not getting over what they are rated for, you will be burning up LEDs. I have a small graveyard at the moment. Still seems I have to replace one every so often. Before I button everything up I am going to have to just let the LEDs run externally from the model for a week or so to make sure they don't burn out. Even still, I am going to make sure I can get to them somehow after the model is done so they could be replaced should they need to be. Also the circuits as shown, if run on 12 volt power, can make the resistors get blistering hot. I have had to step a few of them up a time or two to the next value until they still had the brightness I wanted, but were not so darned hot.

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Well-Known Member
Thank you for your assistance.
I do have 2 breadboards and try as I might, I just can't get it to work so tonight I will follow these videos exactly and to the letter and see what happens.
I built the motion picture light up Enterprise years ago and don't remember how I did the windows, I do remember though that I put the electronics in the components then filled and sanded all the seams then put the components together and painted it in that order and it turned out pretty good.
judging be your electronics I don't think you will have any problems with seams or painting!

Keep up the good work!

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