Instructables

Dollhouse wiring

Hi All.
I'm a believer in the idea that anyone can do anything with a little info.

But I'm in need of a little help.  I'm building a dollhouse for my niece and would like to add a little higher-tech slant (she won't be playing with this for a few years yet...)  I would like to add LED lights (which I will make but just have to wire for at the moment), a flicker fireplace and a door bell all on wall mounted pushbutton switches.  Feel free to suggest anything else that might be cool for a kid...

The whole system will run on a 12V adapter but since I need to wire this NOW so I can continue to build, I need a drawing or schematic of how to do it.
I've attached a pic of the house and have been pulling apart some of the small flicker Tealights to kitbash into the fireplace.  I have a number of white LEDs with which to make the lights but they don't have to go in right now.  I know I'll need some resistors - where do I place them?  Hide them in the walls?  On each switch?

Anyways - any help is so appreciated.  She'd never get anything like this unless I made it for her - I just want it to be so cool that her brothers are impressed!

Tbird

Picture of Dollhouse wiring
NachoMahma3 years ago
. Run your wires in the wall, ceiling, and floor. You can also use wall molding, but it gets difficult when it's that small.
.  Each circuit will need wires run from the power entrance (I suggest putting a terminal strip and fuses in a closet or attic space) to the switch and from the switch to the light.
.  I suggest placing any dropping resistors at the load (LED).
.  You can find flickering LEDs in "tea candles" sold at many discount stores. IIRC, they are ~$1.50 for two of them.
. PS: 12V is great for incandescents, but 3-6V may work better for LEDs. Someone with more expertise should be able to point you in the right direction.
TBirdy2010 (author)  NachoMahma3 years ago
Thanks NachoMahma -

Do you think I should have the resistor in the ceiling and sort of embed it before the wire protrudes? Or maybe have it in the ceiling light fixture?
Maybe I should have posted this in an electrical forum...

I did get a few pushbutton tealights and bashed them for their switches - I already had some nice bright white LEDs though.

Maybe the terminal strip can be hidden in the base somehow so the house plugs in low on the floor rather than a cable stringing across.

Do you know of anywhere that I could find a diagram and specifics?
. Placement of the resistors is not that important - put the components where it is most convenient for you. For many installations, placing the resistors at the LEDs is more convenient.
. Same with the incoming power - put it where it will be most convenient for you.
. It is all just simple series circuits, so a schematic/diagram shouldn't be necessary. If you need help selecting current-limiting resistors for the LEDs, you can find calculators online or just ask.
TBirdy2010 (author)  NachoMahma3 years ago
Ok - maybe you can just call me a nube but I was thinking a diagram 'would' actually be helpful.
I've been reading numerous sites about circuits in general and more indepth info on LEDs particularly in order to bolster my highschool basic circuitry knowledge 80

I guess why I'm literally looking for some help putting the picture together.
Would it help if I said you could draw right on my picture? lol

Anyways, where I'm not understanding some of the basics, I think, is that

1 I want to wire for more items that I will actually start with. (3 LEDs per room it whatever config - ex. one room might have an overhead light, a table lamp and another accessory - whereas the dining room might have 3 LED all in one lamp fixture. How best to plan for that when I haven't made the fixtures yet.

2 I want to wire solid core since I have lots of it in 28-18awg kicking around here and since I'm building from scratch so to speak - the wires will be routed into the wall - no bumps and lumps to avoid. Should I just run 3 wires in parallel and leave them hanging out (for now) where my best guess as to their use would be?

3 Basic knowledge when calculating, are the circuits deemed to be on or running to all LEDs at all times? I want each LED (or at least each room) to be control by a push button switch on the wall of the applicable room. I've bashed some AMAZING 6mmX10mm switches from those tealights I mentioned. My logic is just failing on this note - or is this because all the examples I've seen running either in series or parallel are only one circuit?

Once I have my list or plan I'm comfortable with all the assembly and tracking down the right transformer - I guess it's just being in charge of the 'design' that makes me freeze...

'OR'

if you can advise a way to post this to another place if I shouldn't be asking here.

or yeah, and lastly, I have a couple of stray LEDs in the bottom of the static bags...no labels no markings - any quick and dirty way to identify them? Is it worth bothering?

Giant and huge thanks to any and all for assistance.
> I was thinking a diagram 'would' actually be helpful.
.  Then use one. It's not a bad idea at all - especially if you are confused.
 
> Would it help if I said you could draw right on my picture?
.  I'll do what I can to help.
 
> 1 I want to wire for more items...
.  With proper wiring at the fixture (series, parallel, series-parallel) and resistor selection. you should be able to drive as many LEDs as your wiring will handle.
 
> 2 I want to wire solid core ...
.  Shouldn't be a problem. For such small stuff, solid can be easier to handle in many situations.
 
> 3 ... are the circuits deemed to be on or running to all LEDs at all times?
.  When sizing your wire, always assume maximum load. If you have 5 LEDs on the same circuit, then design that circuit to handle all 5 LEDs, even if they won't normally all be on at the same time.
.  The switches may be able to handle multiple LEDs. Try  one with the max number of LEDs you will have on one circuit and see what happens.

> if you can advise a way to post this to another place if I shouldn't be asking here.
.  This should be a good place to ask your questions. Others, who are more knowledgeable than I, will probably jump in soon.
 
> I have a couple of stray LEDs ... any quick and dirty way to identify them? Is it worth bothering?
.  You can get a general idea by seeing how much current each pulls at max brightness (you'll probably burn up more than one in the process), but probably not worth the effort.
crapflinger3 years ago
if you're just looking for ideas of neat things:


make a TV that you can turn on and off (basically a box that looks like a TV with an LED or some LEDs inside and a translucent image on the outside)


make a hair dryer in the bedroom. get a soft glowing red LED of an appropriate size, put it in the end of a doll house sized hair dryer, then wire that to a 3.5mm headphone jack that plugs into the wall to turn it on. extra fancy would be to get one of those little sound recorders from radio shack and record a real hair dryer, then when she plugs the drier in it would light up and start playing the hair dryer sound.

heck, you could use the plug idea for floor lamps or anything, then she can move the lighting around as well. though, a 3.5 mm jack might be too big now that i think of it...there's surely a way to either find or make something that would work though. maybe something like a pin header...break it into two pin segments and wire them into the wall to make wall outlets.
TBirdy2010 (author)  crapflinger3 years ago
Thanks - good ideas.
The house has to remain in scale though - which is why I'm trying to do it this way.
well, some of the devices could still be to scale i guess (at least the TV)
TBirdy2010 (author)  crapflinger3 years ago
Now that I think of it - if your blow dryer is glowing red - you might have bigger issues! lol.
Kiteman3 years ago
Hobby stores sell specifically-designed 12V lighting systems for dolls houses.

For instance, this range.
TBirdy2010 (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
Thanks - I did know about kits, but I'm trying to build this with the materials I have in my shop (for the most part)
I was looking more for advise on how to mount the wiring and resistors and such :)
The kits use copper tape rather than wires, so that they can be hidden by paint rather than having to dig conduits into thin walls. You can buy coper tape on ebay.

The fittings pierce the paint and tape with conductive spikes, so you could use the spikes off push-pins.
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