On The Bench 52: Enterprise B/Excelsior Project part 4 by Don Matthys

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I have finally gathered up all the lighting components I need. This Bench Cam installment and a few following will chronicle its installation. A final list of lighting parts and electronics will be compiled at this phase’s end.


  • 1 DLM /LED Flasher circuit. One IC555 circuit at faster speed for
  • Navigation Strobe Lights, (R2 @ 33K ohm)
  • LEDs 3 white. micro-mini
  • Lamps: 5 grain of wheat
  • Light Sheet; 1 power pack LDX10 with (2) 8.5″x.5″ Light Sheets, (inside of Warp Engines) (1) .5x.5 for the Navigation Main Deflector
  • Fiber optic strands in .010,.020, and .030
  • POWER SUPPLY: 6 volts @ 600ma.


First feature to get installed is the power jack and plug. This is located at the bottom of the Engineering hull, at the spot where the kit model base is located. A new display stand IS made of brass tube with a power plug (male) mounted on the end placed onto a unfinished wooden jewelry box from a craft store.

Parts Used:

Coaxial DC Power Jack , 5.5mm O.D. , 2.1mm I.D. Radio Shack #274-1569A


Coaxial DC Power Plug , 5.5mm O.D. , 2.5mm I.D. Radio Shack #274-1573A

For appearance purposes I wanted the Power Jack to fit well into the hull. A hole was opened up and a corresponding hole in the kit hanger bay part.

Note: The location of this power connection point is where a Navigational Strobe flashing light is located on the USS Enterprise. Any other modeler who wishes to construct an Excelsior/ Enterprise “B” with a different display mounting system and operating lights should take this fact into account should they wish to build and display the model in another manner.

The Hanger Bay parts are a problem that has to be solved before installing power plugs, wiring and electronics. The area just below it is my desired connection point for the power plug and support stand. Another problem is that the inside walls of the Shuttle Hanger Bay is that of the kit interior wall and how to have the Hanger Bay lit up with a soft ambient glow of light. So this is tackled first:

I carefully cut a shape of Evergreen fine scribed pattern styrene sheet stock. It is bent and trimmed to conform to the Hanger Bay opening aft of the Engineering Hull. If you wish to do the same with your model use the provided JPEG as a pattern. The hole is to allow fit of the power jack.

On the AMT USS Excelsior kit I trimmed the part # 9 Hanger Bay away from the edges of the Engineering Hull walls interior. Enough of the plastic is left in place to notch into the ribs on the interior hull walls for strength and support. All was test fitted successfully. There is just enough room to fit the LightSheet LDX-10 Modal (15/16) (23mm) on its side (pins face aft)

On the AMT USS Enterprise “B” modifications were much more drastic. Rather than notching away part #9 a support strip of plastic was glued to the edges. The pattern for the interior wall is very much the same as Excelsior’s but a little shorter. This fits in just right. A little hangup was noted in the kits interior ribs so that was trimmed down a bit. All was test fitted successfully and then detailed. All was test fitted successfully

But there is NOT enough room to fit the LightSheet LDX-10 Modal (15/16) (23mm) on its side (pins face aft). The length of the Main Deflector tunnel kit part # __ is longer by 1/8 inch ( (3mm). The modification required is to chop the length of the Hanger Bay #9

With photo information provided by Pete Savin’s “Pedro’s Shiporama” Web Site more rib detail was placed in using Evergreen strip plastic and patterned sheets. So using these photos as a starting reference and the Sheppard Paine term of “Creative Gizmolegey” detailing proceeded on…

The Shuttle Bay was then painted a light gray. Opaquing the kit plastic was not done in this instance because I want the Shuttle Bay area to light up. So in this instance light leaks are encouraged! Then the coaxial power plug was threaded on to the hole cut into part #9.

An important point to remember about the power plug installation to the hanger pay kit part #9 that this is the load bearing point and component of the entire model. Not the models exterior hull. Not only does part #9 and the interior plastic bay walls must fit properly it must withstand the forces of gravity and the stress of connecting the Power Plug/Base Stand in. So further reinforcement to the glue joint of the part #9 Hanger Bay is a must. Extra strips of Evergreen styrene were placed in places not to interfere with the lighting aspects cemented in with styrene cement and reinforced with super glue.


Suitable for simple flashing lights on spaceships, aircraft and cars.

This circuit has as its heart, a 555 integrated circuit, (operating at DC voltages between 3 to 9 volts,) as a clock or a stable multi vibrator. In digital electronics this refers to a circuit that provides a continuous series of pulses, the frequency of which can range from one per second to over a hundred per second. The output of a clock circuit is usually in the form of a square wave. This circuit has no input signal, and in that sense it operates as an oscillator; a device that generates its own signal. When the square wave peaks or bottoms out it generates a pulse of current to light up a LED .

When pin 3 (the output pin) on the 555 IC goes low (negative) the LEDs (D1 & D2) will light. (Current flows from pin 3, through R3, the two LEDs, and on to the positive power source.) When pin 3 is high (positive) the LEDs will not light. (Now the anodes and cathodes of both LEDs are high and without a difference in charge, or voltage, no current can flow.) Thus in this circuit a series of high-low-high-low… outputs on pin 3, alternately turns the LEDs on and off, on and off, ect.

The frequency of operation (flashing rate) is determined by the resistance / capacitance, or RC circuit. This circuit is made up of resistors R1 and R2 plus capacitor C1. The larger the values of resistors and capacitor, the longer it will take for C1 to charge and discharge. And it is the charging and discharging of C1 that produces the highs and lows on pin 3 of the 555 IC. Simply increasing the values of resistors will slow the flash rate


  • Circuit Board ( I designed and had some etched)
  • C-1 47uf Capacitor
  • D-1 to D-3 Light Emitting Diodes (T-1 type, White) for Navigation Strobes
  • IC1 555 Integrated Circuit
  • R1 4.7k ohm Resister (yellow- purple- red)
  • R2 33k ohm Resister (orange-orange-orange)*
  • R3 220 ohm Resister (red-red-brown)

*Note: Changing the values of R2 in the 10-40k ohm range will slow or speed the flash rate.

A 6 volt, 700ma power supply was used for the entire lighting system. This is plugged into a wall socket. The power supply is then run into a wooden base that has a switch for on and off power to the model. The power is run up to the model through a brass tube with a power jack plug which fits into a female power jack mounted on the bottom of the model. The brass tube itself conducts the negative polarity of the power circuit.

When installing a lighting system keep all of the wiring as low as possible to the bottom of the kit interior. This will clear the space for maximum interior light transmission throughout. Use Super glue to secure wires and circuit boards to the model interior. The LightSheet electronics Module was glued to the bottom interior center of the Hanger Deck kit part . The wires then run out up to the Warp Nacelles through the pylons.

Lamp are placed in the Engineering Hull to flood the area with light. I located them on the sides of the hull and near the aft end Control Island.

After the wiring and lamp are installed Fiber Optic strands are inserted into the round ports. .030 in diameter fiber optics are used. First a .030 diameter drill bit is run through the previously drilled our holes. Some times a small tapered

The end of the Fiber optic is slightly flared with a heat source like a soldering iron and then sniped away from the FO strand. Lengths of about about 1/2 inch is used for the most part but some lengths are longer to get the strand near the vicinity of the lamps so they it will pick up light. The FO is secured from the inside with use of plastic cement or super glue.

Then moving onto kit part #__ Fiber optics strands are also placed. At the back of the part where the DLM Clear Resin part “Control Island” is located some trimming of the part is necessary to allow fit of the Hull pieces. A motor tool sanding drum is used to remove material.

Then the control Island is glued in place

Also to low fit in this area trenches were burred into the kit plastic to fit the fiber optic in this very tight area. A messy job but it had to be done to insure a proper fit of the hull pieces.

To reflect the light better or bounce around the interior some foil tape was place above and below the lamp. Its reflective properties also guard against heat build up of the kit plastic from the lamps.

Finally a test was made of the Engineering Hull electronics.

Even a test in darkness!!!

On to part 5

On The Bench 57: Enterprise B/Excelsior Project part 5 by Don Matthys
On The Bench 42: Enterprise B/Excelsior Project part 3 by Don Matthys