Fiber optic cables are used in all Dwarvin Lighting Systems.
Purchase all Fiber Optic Cables and Connectors here.
We use Mitsubishi ESKA fiber made in Japan. Other brands tend to be dimmer and more prone to breaking.
All fibers in the Dwarvin lighting system are lit with:
- A Lamplighter (used for billboards, lamps, and building lights)
- Or Lamplighter DFL (Used for the railroad crossing, block detection, and turnout signal systems).
Check out how it works and all the types of Dwarvin Lighting Systems we offer.
All of our fibers and connectors can be found here.
Here are some helpful tips and tricks when it comes to fiber cables
What size fiber to use?
Dwarvin fibers can be used for all scales, but we recommend the following sizes for the following scales.
1.5mm Fiber Cable - HO/O
The 1.5mm diameter fiber is the usual first choice in developing your lighting system. This is because it is 2 1/4 times brighter than the 1.0mm diameter fiber and, therefore, typically provides the right lighting for a house on the layout using only one fiber. Larger buildings will require more fibers if all of it is to be lit inside. This size is well suited to both HO and O scale structures.
1.0mm Fiber Cable - N Scale
The 1.0mm diameter fiber is ideal for street lamps. This is one that we incorporate into the Dwarvin lamps. Some customers want to create their own lights, for which this fiber is the most recommended. This size is well suited to N Scale models.
0.75mm Fiber Cable - Small Accessories
This fiber is good for applications such as car lights or lighting in trees. Compared to a 1.5mm fiber the 0,75mm fiber will provide only 1/4 of the amount of light per fiber.
0.50mm Fiber Cable - Small Accessories
This fiber is good for applications such as car lights or lighting in trees. Compared to a 1.5mm fiber the 0.5mm fiber will provide only 11% of the amount of light per fiber.
How many fibers can you fit into the box?
- For HO layouts we recommend using 1.5mm diameter fibers to light buildings, and 1.0mm for street lamps.
- For N Scale layouts we recommend using 1.0mm diameter fibers to light buildings, and 0.75mm for street lamps.
- For O Gauge layouts we recommend 1.5mm fiber for both buildings and street lamps.
- You can use 0.75 and 0.5mm for lighting trees and other applications.
How do Fiber Optic Cables Really Work?
We've all learned that light travels in a straight line. So how do we make light travel wherever we want?
Refraction in Fiber Optic Cables
Refraction! This is what happens when the light goes from one density of the material to another. As light takes the shortest path through a substance, this results in the bending of light as it goes from a material of one different optical density to another. This is called ‘refraction’. To go into the detailed physics of this is beyond the scope of this article.
A helpful term is ‘Refractive Index’ (RI). It is a measurement of the change in the speed of light, although we often think of it as describing the density of the material the light is going through. For example, you experience this so-called refraction when looking into the water
What does this have to do with fiber optics? When you shine a light down a plastic fiber the light will bounce off the internal surface of the fiber and carry on down the cable. If the angle of the light is too large, then the light will ‘leak’ out of the fiber and be lost into the air.
Maximum Bend Radius in a Fiber Optic Cable
How steep a corner can the light be bent around? When a fiber starts to bend, the light starts to leak out as the bend exceeds a critical level.
The bend radius should be greater than 10 times the fiber diameter. For a 1mm fiber, the maximum bend radius should be 10mm, or just under 1/2”, and for a 1.5mm fiber it should be 15mm, just over 1/2”.
For a 1.5mm fiber, the figures are:
Likewise, for a 1mm fiber, the figures are:
Connecting Fiber Optics
There are times when you will need to connect fibers together.
There are a number of factors to be considered in reducing light loss and thereby providing optimal connecting of fibers. Most come down to how clean a cut has been made to the fiber end, and how close the fibers are to one another. Use our Fiber Connecting Kit for the best results.