Clare-Bell Brass Works
Made in Maine, U.S.A.
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These tips are very useful if you are an experienced miniaturist, or are attempting something for the very first time.
1. The wires on the fixtures are usually longer than needed. We want you to practice
stripping and working with the extra wire.
2. Always test your new light fixture before installing and making permanent connections
in your house or project.
3. When attaching the shades to the light fixture use a non-permanent glue to lightly tack
the shade in place. (Use of permanent glues make the "easily replaced" light bulb
inaccessible.) We like household silicon glue in minute amounts.
4. The white lamp shades come with a soft white finish. The shades lift off the supports so
that they may be customized by painting or gluing fabric onto them.
Hint: The rubber eraser on a pencil will hold the shades firmly while you are
5. When drilling holes in wood always clamp or press a scrap piece of wood against
the back where the point of the drill will come through. This will stop the drill from
"blowing out" and making splinters.
6. When installing door knobs put a touch of brown or black paint, magic marker, or paint
stick just under the key hole of the door
plate to add a realistic detail to your project.
Sizing Transformers for Miniature Lighting
Transformers designed to be used in dollhouses and miniature projects convert household electrical voltage to the standard 12 volts used by Clare-Bell Brass Works and most other miniature electrical fixture manufacturers.
Transformers are available in different sizes. They are sized by the power that they can deliver. This power is called watts. The designed output is on the transformer in watts, milliamps, or both.
If you put a great big transformer on a small project with just a few lights it will not be able to regulate the output voltage correctly and you will not get the maximum life from the light bulbs you are using. The voltage will also affect the light output from the fixture and you may not get the effect you are looking for.
If your transformer is too small it will run hot and may (should) cut out on thermal overload.
*Note* Always use a fuse to protect your project.
Fuses are sized by the amperage or amps they can carry.
The fuse should be sized a little more (10%) than the amperage needed for your project, never more than the output of the transformer you are using.
Incandescent lights and fixtures
Incandescent lights are what we commonly refer to as light bulbs. The flame tip bulbs use (draw) about 40 milliamps and the grain of rice bulbs use about 50 milliamps. To simplify we are just going to use 50 milliamps for all the bulbs.
OK, so here we go!!!
1) Add up the number of bulbs.
2) Multiply the number of bulbs (times) 50 milliamps to get the total milliamps.
3) Divide the total milliamps by 1000 to get the total amperes. (amps)
Use the total amps to size the fuse.
4) Multiply the total amps (times) the voltage output of the transformer
(nominally 12 volts)
TaDa! The answer is the Watts.
Your transformer should be sized so that you are using between 50% and 80% of its output wattage. As you add more lights to your project or dollhouse remember to check the watts needed against your transformer's output capacity. You may need a larger one or you can split up your wiring system and use two or more transformers.
LED lights and fixtures
LED's or Light Emitting Diodes are electronic semi conductors that give off light when a current is applied. The have a life of at least 50,000 hours. They use a lot less power compared to incandescent bulbs. LED's will not go out if the dollhouse is bumped when the lights are on. Clare-Bell Brass Works and NovaLyte's LED fixtures use standard 12 volt transformers.
LED lights can be intermixed with incandescent fixtures.
Do not add up the number of lights on a fixture. An actual LED uses almost no power.
The electronic driving board that makes the LED give off light uses the power that an LED fixture consumes.
So here we go again!!!
All Clare-Bell's LED fixtures draw 35 milliamps.
1 light floor lamp draws 35 milliamps,
5 light chandelier draws 35 milliamps.
1) Divide 35 milliamps by 1000 to get amps.
2) Multiply the amps (times) the output voltage (nominally 12 volts) to get the
3) It is .42 watts for each total fixture.
Just add up the number of lighting fixtures multiply (times) .42 watts for total watts.
More electrical information for the miniaturist
Here are a few definitions and helpful formulas for working with electricity.
*If your eyes are starting to glaze over please stop here.
Electrical power is a combination of volts and amps measured in watts.
You can think of the volts like the pressure in a water system. The higher the pressure the farther the water will squirt. The same is true for volts or voltage. The higher the voltage the farther a spark will jump between electrical conductors.
Amps or amperes are like the volume of water in the system. To carry more amps you need larger conductors or wires. As you increase the amp flow in a conductor the more heat will be generated.
To convert milliamps to amps just divide the milliamps (ma) by 1000.
The power or work that electrical power can do is measured in watts.
where: "P" is watts
"I" is amps
"E" is volts
Last modified: 03/02/12