32 Class DJH model Conversion to DCC

This is a DJH 32 class model I built many years ago. The white metal kit was assembled completely by soldering in the 1980s and was a good runner on DC. It saw service during the ’80s on the old Warrimoo layout in the Blue Mountains.

I converted it to DCC in 2015 using a Soundtraxx Micro Tsunami model TSU-750 #826001 Light Steam. This is a generic US decoder which serves the purpose but lacks a true NSWGR whistle. I can live with some compromises! The USA Reading 6 Chime whistle was my compromise.

These days my preferred decoders are ESU Loksound and there are some local suppliers who can supply one with the correct 32 class sound file.

The first step was to dismantle the loco for access to the boiler and chassis for installation of the speaker and headlight and to replace the motor and flywheel as well as adding additional power pick-ups as below:

The motor I used was a NWSL Flatcan 12 x 20mm Double 1mm Shaft (#1220D-9)
I ordered mine on-line from this company. You may be able to buy one, or similar alternative locally. I added:

    • a flywheel – 1.0mm shaft ID, 10mm OD not countersunk #435-6
    • shaft adapter bushing 1.0mm ID x 2mm OD to provide enough diameter to match the gearbox shaft #10171-9
    • nylon (nitrile?) model aircraft fuel line to flexible couple to the gearbox.

The headlight was a pre-soldered  Warm White 0603 SMD LED purchased on ebay. These have leads which are long enough to go through to the tender. But they are fragile and require handling with care. An 0603 LED is 1.6 mm x 0.8 mm x 0.6 mm thick and seems a good size for a steam loco.

The photo below shows the 32 class headlight – I drilled a tiny hole through the base of the headlight, right through the rear mounting and into the firebox. It needs to be just big enough to take the two wires. The LED was held in place with a speck of canopy glue. The alignment of the drilled hole is shown in red. The wires were held in place within the boiler barrel with small dabs of blu-tack.

It is vital that a series resistor be placed in either feed wire to the LED. I have adopted as standard, a 3k3 (3,300 Ohms) resistor as there is no need for NSWGR lights to be too bright. Remember that a resistor has no polarity ie. can be installed either way around.

The Speaker – I have separate posts to describe fitting a speaker to the smokebox but to save you searching, here is the gist of the 32 class receiving a speaker in the smokebox. Facing upwards towards the funnel which needs to be drilled out. This is the sugar cube speaker enclosure under construction:


The cylinder is cut from a small piece of plastic tube to match boiler ID.
End caps have now been added. The wires should be brown but I ran out!

While the boiler is off the chassis, extra pick ups can be added.


The wipers are phosphor bronze with the front ones the correct size (0.008″) and the rear ones, looking like crow  bars at 0.015″ (they haven’t impeded the loco!). The wipers are only needed on the side with insulated tyres.

To get the wipers out to the correct spacing, a plastic insulating piece was combined with a small piece of PCB (printed circuit board) to make a mounting to solder the wipers and the connecting wire to the tender.

The Tender

Access needed to be provided to the tender space as shown below

A plastic ferrule was glued to a hole drilled just forward of the front bogie pivot – so that the wiring can safely pass into the tender. The other half of the exercise is getting the wiring out of the locomotive

Here we see 8 wires emerging:

  • Orange and Grey – to the motor
  • one pair of Red and Black – to the Right & Left track respectively.
  • one pair (incorrectly) Red & Black which should be both Brown for the speaker
  • one pair of thin and clear LED headlight wires. These are identified by one wire being shorter – this is the Cathode and connects to the White decoder wire. The other wire is a little longer and is the Anode wire which connects to the Blue decoder wire. They need to be marked before the LED is installed and I coloured the end of the Anode wire BLUE with a marker pen.

The tender is where the fiddly wiring occurs. Since there are 8 wires needing to be connected to the decoder, a plug and socket arrangement is difficult. I choose to make those connections via a small pair of home made PCBs. They are shown below

The photos below show handmade simple PCBs made with a small saw and a mitre box. The single sided PCB material can be bought on eBay from sites such as this one. The little PCBs are cleaned thoroughly on the copper side with very fine wet & dry and can then be tinned with a little resin cored solder. Make sure the tracks remain electrically separate.

I made 2 for the tender above so that I could solder the 8 wires from the loco to the 8 wires from the decoder:

Here you can see the 8 connections from the decoder. The resistor (1k – should be 3.3k) is settled behind the LH PCB with one end of the resistor joined directly to the white wire from the decoder and the other end of the resistor soldered to the rear PCB strip. That will be where the Cathode of the headlight lead is soldered.
The other headlight lead (marked with blue felt pen) will be soldered to the strip connected to the blue decoder wire.

Also visible in the above photo is another little PCB pad which will carry the phosphor bronze wipers to the tender bogies on the insulated wheel side.

The photo above is actually a 36 Class tender bogie but you can see how the principle is the same. Similarly, the photo below is of the front of the 36 class tender showing how the little PCBs were fitted to this slightly roomier space.

 

Spray Painting Booth

  • A fairly basic setup for spraying models. The key component was a stove hood with a working exhaust fan and built-in light (tested before taking!)
  • A simple 3 sided structure holds the hood and it is supported on a rudimentary table at standing height for the user.
  • Air is supplied from a 9kg ex. bbq gas bottle. There are multiple YouTube sites showing how to do that safely and correctly.  The bottle is re-filled from my workshop compressor.

A simple bracket for an Iwata double acting air brush.

The hood was thoroughly cleaned to remove the old grease buildup. It has a protected fluoro light and a multi-speed fan that shifts a whack of air on the high speed setting.
I replaced the filter material with some obtained from a local auto spraying company. They gave me a small offcut.

An adaptor was cobbled together to carry the exhaust air outside the workshop. It has a self closing flap on the outside to keep unwanted visitors out. I also added and old flouro desk lamp to get a bit more light on the subject.

A nearby cupboard holds the necessary bits and pieces.

I use a technique described by Ian Dunn at a Modelling the Railways of NSW event.
The rolling stock or loco holder sits high enough so I can spray under it and it rotates to allow coverage of all surfaces. It can also accept track power so that the drive train of locos can be carefully sprayed while it is in motion (hence the elastic bands to keep the model in place).

Here is a mate’s Fleischman loco getting ready for the mechanism to be painted.

Speakers for DCC

SPEAKERS FOR DCC

This post combines new material with some hidden away in other posts. The photo below was of a common speaker such as those supplied with Loksound decoders. They are quite suitable for large body diesels and other larger models that have enough room.

This was the 25mm (1″) 4Ω  1.5Watt speaker and enclosure used for a 42 class diesel project. A silly but important point is make sure you solder the speaker wires to the speaker terminals before you seal it in place!

It is very important to make sure that the enclosure is fully SEALED around, and behind the speaker. The bigger the enclosure, the better but we are usually stymied by lack of space. See below for using Canopy Glue for sealing.

One of the best speakers I have used is the so-called “Sugar Cube” speaker. With even a small enclosure, they are remarkably compact combined with good sound quality. The ESU version is 12mm x 14mm and 5.5mm thick:

This is a sugar cube speaker with wires attached and ready to have an enclosure wrapped around. This enclosure is a little deeper than the depth of the speaker to improve the bass response.

I prepare some styrene strips equal to the height required and use a small machined metal block as an aid to assemble the pieces using a styrene cement.

The next photo shows one of the best TIPs that I have. If you are using super glue for assembling anything, use a small piece of teflon bearing material (or even thicker plastic) and drill a small depression into it. Put a drop of super glue in to the recess and it will last up to an hour or more without going off! It also helps when applying styrene cement. [PTFE teflon sheet can be purchased on eBay by searching for ptfe sheet]

To seal the speakers into their enclosure, I prefer to use “Canopy Glue” as it is sticky and remains in place, plus, it dries clear. As with the super glue, the best means of applying it is with a thin applicator such as a T Pin or a tooth pick:

THINK OUTSIDE THE SQUARE:

The speaker enclosure doesn’t have to be rectangular – consider a cylindrical one to fit inside the smokebox of a steam loco. I have fitted them to brass steam locos including 30 class, 36 class and whitemetal 32 class. Like this:

The curved part has been cut from a small section of plastic pipe which needs to be filed flat as in the previous photo. Two end plates have to be shaped to fit.

The benefit of the smokebox speaker is that the sound is coming from the correct part of the loco. The photos below show a 25mm speaker fitted to a custom housing in the tender of a 36 class brass loco. The sound was brilliant – but it was clearly radiating from the wrong end of the loco.

Fitting the cylindrical speaker can be difficult. In my brass 30 class (small) loco, the smokebox door was loose so I was able to remove it. For the larger 36 class boiler, I was able to insert the speaker from the firebox end of the boiler tube:

THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS

This is an iPhone 4S speaker purchased from eBay. In this case I have split the speaker to see what was happening inside. As I understand it the chamber on the right is an acoustic cavity to improve the sound. The port where the sound exits is shown with a pink arrow, just below the speaker itself.

Here we have a 40 class diesel look-alike modified from a Kato RSD4/5 model. I like this model as it is well engineered and very smooth and powerful with 2 large flywheels. The tight space in the narrow hood filled with mechanism and weights meant I couldn’t easily fit a sugar-cube speaker but and iPhone 4S speaker sat nicely on top of the motor.
A close up shows the sound port on the RH end of the speaker.
Here is a sound file using an iPhone 4S speaker with an ESU V4 Loksound decoder programmed with an ALCO 12cyl 244 (FT) #73401 sound file. The loco sound volume is quite low and would be deafening if run at full volume.

I note that iPhone 4S speakers are currently (24/3/19) available on eBay from as little as $1.58 ea (+ GST) and with free postage.

For an even smaller loco, consider other iPhone speakers. The first 3 work but you would need to experiment.  The iPhone 5 speaker may be a good option for a small loco.

Solder directly to the contact springs.

iPhone 5 speaker showing the parts that can be removed.

If you have had any interesting success with speakers, I would be happy to post that on this blog (with acknowledgement). Rick

Servos for Points

Points /turnouts on my layout were initially operated manually using a wire-in-tube mechanism. There are currently 44 points on the layout and I started converting to servo control about half-way through.

The wire-in-tube (WIT) method I used worked very well and is shown to the right.
The mechanism is relatively easily fabricated and the cover is removable with one screw to allow easy adjustment of the point blades at the fascia.

It will handle a second wire to allow push/pull operation of 2 points in a crossover.
If there is any interest, contact me and I will add a section on the design and fabrication of the WIT method and the fascia mounted lever frames..

I changed to servo operation for the following reasons:

  • with this type of mechanical operation, control panels would not be able to operate the points (there are 4 mini panels on the layout).
  • the system selected allows precision adjustment of each point blade; variable speed of movement; position indication
  • servos can be installed from the top of a 50mm (+) foam layout
  • points can be controlled from a central position; a local panel; by a computer; as a route by changing many points at once and other options.
  • the system I use is based on the UK MERG model. Circuits vary from simple to complex.
  • Plus – I like working with electronics.

2019 UPDATE
(23/3/19)

I have had some of the servos become very noisy in operation which I believe may be due to their being relatively poor quality CLONES. This ARTICLE sheds some light on the differences between “counterfeit” and original MG90S servos.

I will report back on my findings.

The photo shows the basic setup. The servo is located to the side of the point/ turnout and connected to it with a short “L” shaped wire. I use 1.2mm steel wire running through a short guide tube. This connects to the servo arm via a “Quick Connector”. The servo cable exits under the layout. SEE PHOTO
The mounting slot in the foam is formed by drilling 12mm holes through 50mm foam to fit a micro servo … SEE DRILLING HOLES IN FOAM
The guide tube I use is a short piece of bicycle bowden cable outer – used for gear selection from memory. I just bought a metre or so length from the local bike shop.
The servos I use are Tower Pro SG90 style or my preference Micro 9g Metal Gear Servo.
Shown above is a “Micro 9g Metal Gear Servo For Futaba Hitec HS-55 GWS walkera RC HELICOPTER GA” as described on eBay.
Here is a LINK to the eBay site I used but check other sources for a possible better deal. The current cost is $4.87 (16 July 2016) with free postage to Australia. There are cheaper plastic gear models but I have found these ones to work more smoothly and to be much quieter. As you can see, they come with a variety of servo arms (aka servo horns) and any will work in this application.
To connect the servo to the point/ turnout a “Servo Quick Connect” (shown above) is very good. I bought a set of 20 for $4.12 !! ($3.83 in June 2017)
That’s a little over 20c each. They were sold as “Durable 2mm Aircraft Stopper Servo Connectors Connector with Screws – Set of 20” and one eBay supplier I used was at this LINK . These things are TINY. The Allen Key grubscrew is 3mm.
This what you get for about 20c (Aust). A beautiful piece of micro engineering.
I use any of the servo arms supplied. Select the second hole from the pivot point of the servo arm and drill a 2mm hole in there to take the servo quick-connect. The point needs to move less than 3mm (HO) and initially I went for maximum torque by using the first hole and that is what is shown in the very top photo of this post. That hole is too close to the hub of the servo arm and some fiddly trimming was needed. I discovered that there is no need to use it as there is plenty of torque when using the second hole as shown above.
Assembly order is shown for the quick-connect. It needs to be free to rotate in the servo arm and the nut is best secured using a tiny bit of thread locker. The grub screw allows positioning adjustment but the travel and end points need to be set by some electronics.
This servo is being retrofitted to a turnout on EPS foam. As the control wire to operate the point was already in place, an additionally longer access slot was needed to allow the servo to slide in under the actuating (control) wire to the throwbar. The brass foam “drill” can be seen on the right.
Shown above – 2 MERG boards in use on my layout. The left hand one controls the servos (8 of them) and the right hand one handles the switches controlling the servos operating the points. This system was devised by the MERG group in the UK – see their Website MERG.  The operating system uses a CAN bus (2 wires) to distribute control events around the layout in a manner similar to that used in modern motor vehicles. You still need a distribution bus for DCC (plus, in my case, sub buses for the yards etc) and a bus for 12V DC to operate points and the power the CBUS boards.
This is a MERG design for TESTING SERVOS with the left hand one designed only to test servos – in this case I use it to test new servos and to set them to their midpoint.
The right hand one is, in effect, a stand alone method of controlling one servo & its point with a switch. The 3 blue components are variable resistors used to control the speed of the servo and distance it moves Left & Right. I also use it for testing the servos.

MERG sells kits for the above 2 projects and they cost just £1.55ea  +postage from the UK for MERG members. Almost all of the more sophisticated CBUS kits are based on professionally manufactured Printed Circuit Board (PCBs) and usually kits of the necessary parts are available or you can buy the parts locally.

There are other alternatives:

The device shown to the right is a ” MegaPoints Controller” by a UK company and could be very good for those people not confident in building PCBs themselves. I have not used it or seen it in operation but it comes ready to connect to 12 servos and has 12 corresponding switch inputs. Here is their Website and here is a YouTube Demo There are 2 videos in sequence. Cost is said to be £50 in the UK.

I also notice that DCC Concepts have an “above board” system that looks interesting for someone not interested in a DIY approach – Cobalt SS.

WiFi Throttles & USB

Fitting a USB charger to your layout?
PLUS   WiFi THROTTLES – using old iPhones!

  • they are  handy for charging a lot of “devices” these days – phones; tablets; pads; cameras etc.
  • or in my case it has a specific purpose – to charge my WiFi throttles.

I have become a convert to using mobile phones as throttles. I first tried Android phones but lately I have become convinced that old iPhone 4s models are the go!

This post is supposed to be about USB chargers so here we go:… wait a moment!
The setup below is out of date now!
A bit disappointing I suppose. But on the right is a little 2 port USB outlet powered by the 12V DC bus which runs around my layout. It is a something I picked up from a marine supplier.

It now looks like this:
and the charger is a more powerful model by Jackson and purchased from Jaycar Electronics. It still only just does the job, rated at a total 3.1Amps. If you can find a higher output unit, go for it.

On the shelf there are still 3 very old iPhone 4S mobile phones and my old Android phone which has … “carked it!”

The iPhones are ancient in the modern world of devices and each phone above  was donated by friends and family who had them stuck away in drawers and cupboards. They have the old 30 pin connector and nothing uses them these days. I did my research first and discovered that I could buy the USB to 30 pin cable for peanuts on the web. Get this:
On eBay of course and the cost? ……. $5 for 5 complete cables including postage!!
If you don’t believe me look at the eBay site. Back to the phones.

You need to get them to Erase All Content and Settings. This can done by:

iPhone:

  1. Going to Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  2. Then remove the SIM card as it has no use in a Throttle.
  3. Or best of all – look at the explanation on this site.

Android:    Look at the explanation on this site.

THROTTLES: you need to load an app into the phones:

Wi Throttle Lite on the iPhone
or
Engine Driver on the Android

(this will still be possible via WiFi using your App Store or Play Store.

This is what they look like used to look like when running on the device:

The people who kindly develop
Wi Throttle for iDevices have made a couple of significant improvements.

iPhone 4SWi Throttle Lite – this is what the “Address” screen looks like.

It is showing the Roster obtained from JMRI Decoder Pro which must be running in the layout room. The phone connects to this by WiFi and displays several screens. This the one shown as “Address” (lower middle).

I have scrolled down the list and selected 4201 then “Set” that selection. Next I will select Throttle circled in RED.

 

 

You can now select from 4 sub menus:

  • Recent selections
  • Keypad entry if you know the engine number
  • Roster of entries for selection
  • A list of Consists (ie previously coupled together locos)

It now looks like this – this one being the “Recent” list.

And this one – the Roster list.

 

 

The next Throttle screen looks like this:

This is the major improvement: in this version, to see multiple control (Function) buttons, you had to swipe sideways which was a little awkward.
NOW, the function buttons now scroll UP and DOWN which seems more intuitive

The selected loco is shown with a green background.

The throttle is a slider on the right.

Direction can be predicted by the arrow pointer at “Idle”

The BEST BENEFIT – you don’t have to remember F numbers and what they do!
The Functions are in text on the buttons (albeit abbreviated) and you can put them where you like.

 

The next screen is now revealed by a swipe UP and shows more Functions. As below.

 

 

This is the second page of Functions.

You can have more if you like, on another screen!

To be quite honest, I now rarely use the command station throttles on my NCE system.

 

 

Android Option called Engine Driver.

Once WiFi has been established, this is the next screen.

When you press “Select” a Roster list appears and you select the loco.

 

As below:

 

 

 

 

 

This screen lists the locos in the roster obtained by WiFi from JMRI.

 

Touch the loco to select it.

 

Previous locos are retained in a “Recent” list for convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

The loco is now selected and the window shows the loco number, directions with the current selection in green.

This throttle is a horizontal slider.

Both throttles have a few options in preferences.

Speed steps shown at top right.

The Plain language buttons are a feature and there is room for plenty of them .

 

 

I have only lightly covered the interface between JMRI and Wi throttles. Perhaps another blog post??  (if there is any interest)

Regards – Rick

Layout Lighting – using LEDs

The photos above typify what my layout looked like in the past. There were small pockets of light and large gloomy areas.

My plan has always been to use LED lighting above the entire running surface of the layout. This has been achieved with low cost products available on-line or locally.

The first step was to build a lighting pelmet above the layout with the front surface directly above the fascia board around the layout. This was attached to the walls (or window and door architraves) as shown below:

Clearly this is a corner section above the room entry door.
Here you can see what the sectional profile looks like at a later stage when all the sections were painted The pelmet face is down. and the reinforcing rib is up.

The complete surface which will be facing the walls has been painted gloss white for maximum light reflection. Back to the preliminary fitting:

This is the only corner which requires fitting to a wall. To facilitate this I have attached a mounting plate to the wall spanning a bit more than the distance between two (steel) studs. The right angle joins have been made using pieces of slotted gal. angle from Bunnings (Metal Mate Galvanised Heavy Duty Slotted Steel Angle  38mm x 38mm x 1.8mm angle  x 900 long …$11 AU June 2018)
I used timber (hoop pine) which I had on hand to a finished size of 170 x 17mm but those dimensions aren’t critical.

The LED self adhesive LED strips were obtained on-line from Oatley Electronics at Ettalong Beach : Check the Website
I purchased 4 x (SB-5m long 24V -NW-PW) Pure white LED Strips at a total cost of $36 inc GST [so a 5m strip costs $9 excluding postage]

If you want to see the pics full size – Right Click on it & select “View Image”

OR                                                             Double Tap on an iDevice

For testing purposes I also bought  a KC24 24V/1Amp power supply but it was not up to the task when I tried it on a 4m length of LEDs. The non ventilated plastic pack couldn’t handle the load and overheated as expected. This is explained fully in the PDF Oatley makes available on their website:  PDF

Some of the strips they supply are 12v but they would not have been bright enough for my

This is the power supply but you would need to purchase a proper 24V ventilated unit to run LEDs in a room such as mine. I used 2 units rated at 5Amps – each one to power two 4m strips. They were purchased on eBay.
Here you can see a corner bracket and one end of a strip of LEDs which have a self adhesive backing.
This corner feeds power to 2 pelmets and this is one of the 5amp supplies I purchased. The other supply is fitted under the layout:
The supply to the other 2 led strips is in the diagonally opposite corner to the one mentioned above and instead of mounting the supply at the pelmet, I fed 24V DC to from the supply mounted under the layout. I had the screw terminal strip on hand, but you can buy a 2 way one from Jaycar Electronics for $3 (HM-3167).
The reinforcing rib has a top surface also and I am considering adding a blue LED strip to that side. With a dimmer to shine towards the ceiling it might provide night effect?

The end result below is the effect I am after with most of the light restricted to the layout only. There is a problem visible here …

In the corner above, I should NOT have taken the LED strip right through to the wall near the blind as I am getting a doubling-up effect with a super bright pool of light. The LED strip can be cut at 100mm intervals as shown below:
You can see that it is marked 24V and the bottom side is marked “-” for negative, just below the DC24V. These strips can be cut with scissors but only at a line marked across the strip of copper. Because the LEDs are wired in parallel the supply voltage to the SMD (Surface Mount Device) LEDs reaches each one. The SMD resistors are already in place. How good are these little strips for lighting building etc. however 12V ones would probably better on a layout.

I suppose the question is DOES IT WORK?

It’s getting there. The layout surface is now well lit and you can see OK to uncouple wagons. The white ledges around the lower fascia will disappear when painted green. But – the decision to paint the pelmet flat Old English white is wrong I think. Various advisors suggested other wise …

What I was trying to achieve was something like a continuous “stage” effect. I think the pelmet should be painted Brunswick green, the same as the fascia. Here is trial run with Photoshop to see what it might look like then.

As is:   “A”

How I think it should be:(it’s a shame I took both pics with the main overhead room light on. What do you think????
Option “B”

There may be a bit more as I finish it off … Rick

Workbench Update 2018

Movable workbench  2018.

Never static, always something to be added as can be seen in the previous setup above. This configuration was temporary until the layout nears completion when the bench part will be divided into 2 sections, both of which will wheel under the layout for storage until needed (that prediction proved to be incorrect).  Storage drawers will then reside on existing shelves under the layout. Note the suitcase vacuum cleaner under the bench – perfect for servicing the table saw above.

What prompted me to recently implement the storage of the work area below the bench work was that the central work area, whilst convenient in the early construction stage, became a TOWERING MONOLITH in the room. It was becoming impossible to get around it to operate the layout.

Out with the old and in with the “new” (so to speak). Some of the gear has been attached to the rolling workbench and the magnifying lamp will lay flat and clear the layout.

The legs of the original desk were sawn off to a level where, with castors added, the whole thing would slide under the layout. Two of the castors have brakes, but I have found it unnecessary as it doesn’t move too freely.
It does fit under the layout. The work height is a little low but the chair (to the left) adjusts down to the workbench level.

A lot of the tools and equipment now reside in the green drawers to the right – I must paint the darned thing a different colour!

What is added the work bench:

This ends holds (L to R) a 12V DC power supply; the stand for the maggy lamp; a VHF CB so that I can talk to the house; and a small vice.

The other end:

This end L to R: 12V DC banana sockets; soldering iron; super sharp scalpel mounted in a small piece of PVC pipe for blade safety; a brush bottle epoxied to the shelf; & a small set of screwdrivers. On the ledge below is the battery Dremel; its charger; and 6 240V power outlets.

The little blue gadget on the side shelf at top right above is a USB powered low wattage soldering iron for delicate electronics.

Lots of trays on the top hold all the tools and bits and pieces you need within reach.

I have still got to build my “Dalek” to house all the sets of small drawers that I have. It will mount on a lazy susan turntable with the whole gadget on castors so that it too, can roll under the layout.

Thanks for looking in.

Lima 42 Remotor + DCC

The old Lima 42 class diesel has been around my layouts for decades and I am not too proud to run it mixed in with all my more recent and highly detailed models. It ran well on DC and even better on DCC with a LokSound V4.0 decoder coupled with a replacement pancake motor and pickup on all wheels.

The motor shown in the top 2 photos was purchased on eBay as a specific replacement for the 42 class and other similar models. It satisfies the requirement of isolating the motor from the frame for DCC and runs well.

I always try to achieve pickup on all wheels or as many as possible. In this case it was easy. I added two small pieces of PCB to form solder pads. They are clearly visible attached to the two sideframe brackets with epoxy and carrying the RED flexible feed wire and the phosphor bronze pickup wires.

Note the holes shown in the bottom of the chassis to the top left. These are for the speaker shown in later photos.

A thicker piece of copper wire connects the 2 pads and one carries the p/bronze wires for 2 wheels and the other for 1. The photos show the setup.

The photos above and below show the decoder attached to the roof of the body shell with Blu Tack and small piece of strip board (Veroboad) used to carry the series resistors (1k – 1000Ω) for the front and for the rear headlights. Notice the “interrupts” cut into the tracks under the resistor. These were made with the tip of  a small drill. This isolates both ends of the strip. Normally the resistors would be mounted on the other side of the board but this method works  just as well

In the photo above I have removed most of the interior glazing except the sections for the front and rear windows. The portholes are glazed with Butyrate 15 thou strips held in place with tiny spots of Canopy Glue. [K & S Clear Plastic Sheet #1308]

In this model I used a 5mm (front) and 3mm (rear) yellow glow LEDs with ends of the LED filed flat and then polished. To avoid light appearing from other than the headlights, I carefully painted all but the front of the LED flat black.

I couldn’t find an appropriate and cheap socket to accept the 8pin decoder plug on the LokSound V4 so I made my own from a machined pin DIL (Dual In Line) IC (Integrated Circuit) 8 pin socket (eg Jaycar part# PI-6452 or on eBay).

The first step is to carefully cut the socket into 2 parts…

… as shown here.

Clean up the cut edges – the ones below need to be filed, but it’s not important as the correct spacing is achieved by gluing the IC socket back together on the smooth faces…

… as shown below with the prepared pair stuck in a blob of Blu Tack. Rough the surfaces a little and bond together with a spot of epoxy.

For this installation it suited me to bond the lead weight into the chassis with silastic and epoxy the prepared socket to the top of that. I have an old plug cut from another hard wired LokSound decoder that I can use as a guide to indicate which coloured wires need to be soldered to the rear of the new socket.
Note that installing the socket this way means that the off-centre plug can only go in one way around (good).

The mounting position of the speaker is shown above requiring some holes to be drilled in the bottom of the chassis. The speaker (which is not my preferred sugar cube type but was one of a number of spares I had in the workshop) is mounted just clear of the surface to allow sound to escape into the body shell. The speaker fits within the its housing but importantly, needs to be very carefully sealed into the housing. I use Canopy Glue on a toothpick to carefully seal every gap around the edge of the speaker, keeping it clear of the speaker cone. Also seal the spaces where the wires exit the housing – silastic may be better here.

This was the 25mm (1″) 4Ω  1.5Watt speaker and enclosure used for this project.

Here is a short video:

“Charles” Gets a Decoder

A project with a difference – PART 2.
A friend has a Fleischmann™ type 4028 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive which he would like to use as a “proving” loco for his under-construction Wolgan Valley layout. It’s a sort of a recycling exercise. This is the next exciting episode – Charles gets a decoder!

The decoder is a LokSound V4.0 running the ESU sound file: 54413-LSV4.0-Dampf-BR80-R5      It sounds like this:

Very Germanic!! But it will be OK for the purpose, assuming that the NSWGR may not have bothered changing the whistle.

This is where the LokSound decoder will reside. For a tank engine, the Fleischmann 0-6-0 has plenty of room. After a little testing, it was least obtrusive in the cab roof and is held in place with Blu Tack.

There are other things to do with DCC sound installs one of which is the Speaker and more details will follow. This is one is my favourite Sugar Cube speakers in my favourite mounting area – the smokebox. That way the sound comes from the right part of the loco! [post coming on fitting a sugar cube into the smokebox of a brass 30T class loco]

The motor, especially in this ringfield type requires special attention to make sure that it is isolated from the frame.
There is excellent technical advice on this in an article I obtained on the “All Aboard” Mittagong website – except it doesn’t seem to be there any more. The original PDF file I downloaded from “All Aboard” is however available HERE.

The replacement Isolated Motor Shield is shown below fitted to the mechanism. It is sold as Fleischmann replacement part # 50 4730 and is available from All Aboard as a spare part (not shown on the web site).

Here you can see the wiring from the decoder to the motor – Orange and Grey to the motor and Red and Black to the track pickups (loco frame and wheels). Some other wiring is visible and is described below.

The decoder has a number of unused function wires and they are held captive by the (yellow) kapton tape. Two extra simple PCBs are also visible. Simple PCBs are described in THIS POST.
The one on the LEFT has 4 strips – 2 carry the brown wires to the speaker (in the smokebox) and 2 carry the wires to the front headlight.  The bottom strip can be seen to have a connection via a resistor to the WHITE function wire (headlight).

The value of the resistor is 3k3 (3,300Ω) indicated more clearly on the board to the RIGHT where the colour code is ORANGE, ORANGE, BLACK, BROWN, BROWN which is 3 3 0 (1 nought) and (1 percent tolerance) ie 3300 Ohms ± 1%  This value is higher than most people use but it provides a more prototypical yellow glow in the Warm White LED.

Image© courtesy eBay

Incidentally the LED is a tiny pre-wired device where the LED size is 1mm x 0.5mm and is available in Warm White, Bright White, Red and Green & available on eBay for ridiculous prices.

Sold as: Pre-soldered micro Litz wired leads Warm White SMD LED 0402

They will fit into the smallest headlights on a loco but must be handled with care.

The pcb to the RIGHT is shown in detail below and feeds the rear headlight and the 3k3 resistor is on one strip which has been interrupted under the resistor making 2 isolated pads.

The common wire is BLUE and feeds to both small PCBs. The YELLOW wire is the function output to the rear headlight.

The speaker used is a Sugar Cube which measures 12mm x 14mm x 5.4mm thick (bare). This is one being prepared in an enclosure.The following speaker is ready to go in:More about speakers in a separate Post.
And to save you scrolling back up – the photo below is repeated and shows the sugar cube sitting in the Smokebox and under the chimney which has been drilled out so that the sound is coming from the front of the loco both top and bottom. I will go to any length to try to get the speaker OUT of the tender and into a more realistic place. You can detect the difference in a passing HO loco.

If the speaker enclosure is mounted on the chassis it is inconvenient to wire as a plug and socket arrangement would be needed. Instead, I have located the enclosure to the inside of the body shell by the simple of expedient of a blob of Blu Tack in the top of the body which “grabs” the speaker when you assemble the two parts.  [Yes, I know … there should be a plug connecting the decoder and the motor/pickups but I got lazy]

Here is another loco with homemade plugs and sockets so that the body mounted  speaker can be separated from the chassis:The 2 brown speaker wires from the decoder are connected to the speaker via a 2 pin plug. The body and chassis can then be separated. This loco is a 73 class shunter.

The next episode will cover painting into NSWGR “colours” but in the meantime, here is a preview of “Charles” making some noise! Deutschland Über alles!

“Charles” Gets a Makeover!

This is a project with a difference. A friend has a Fleischmann™ type 4028 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive which he would like to use as a “proving” loco for his under-construction layout. Sort of a recycling exercise.

He decided that a hypothetical, but possible scenario had occurred with his Wolgan Valley railway: “the NSWGR had decided to import a German 0-6-0 class loco for evaluation. Part of the process involved a repaint into NSWGR colours (or lack thereof) and a later sale to the Commonwealth Oil Corporation, Newnes for use on the Wolgan Valley line.”

Here is “Carl” pretty much as he arrived at Brolgan Road, with the exception of the Kadee couplers which have been fitted as described below.

My task was to implement that conversion on the model and convert it to DCC with sound. This is the story of that conversion of “Carl” (which name appeared on the side tanks) to “Charles” on its rebirth on the Wolgan valley line. I believe it will carry a NSW “X” number.

It is a little over the NSWR loading gauge but squeaks past my platforms. Wheel flanges are a bit gross but have been filed a little and now run through my code 75 points OK. As it is also to be a test bed for DCC it is an interesting exercise. The model itself is beautifully constructed.

Step 1 is the fitting of Kadees to match the rest of the rolling stock.
And in the process give it a good run on DC to make sure that the project is feasible. As you can see in the lead photo, it is running just fine on my layout under DC and it proved to be quite powerful and relatively smooth.

I am impressed by the engineering in this model but not surprised due to its West German origin. The chopper coupler keeper is easily removed by unscrewing the buffers.
That releases the keeper plate, chopper coupler and the centreing spring strip (latter 2 not used).
Tap the metal chassis with an 8BA thread (or to your choice) to suit a standard Kadee plastic machine screw.
As pointed out earlier, I found the existing hole in the front of the loco to be a little large and tapped the hole throught the plastic foot plate under the smokebox door. That means that the front coupler now needs to be unscrewed to remove the body.
The hole in the keeper plate needs to be enlarged to take the Kadee screw – I achieved that with a small file.
The screws are quite long and need to be cut to length (sprue cutter or similar) and the end filed smooth.
The chosen Kadee was a #149 Long Overset Whisker coupler to get the coupler jaws down to an acceptable height. The draft gear box fits within the existing housing and the mounting hole can be aligned with the original holes by trimming the back off the draft gear box.
The #149 coupler needs to be trimmed to length as shown below. You can see here why they are called “whisker” couplers.

The bottom plate is glued in place (I used Faller Expert Plastic Cement which has a nice fine delivery tube).
You can see here how the top lip has been cut and filed flush
The coupler height is still a fraction high – if it is a worry a small styrene shim could be added above the Kadee.
And here is “Carl Charles” happily coupled to a small freight consist. Still running DC.

The next post will cover conversion to DCC using a Loksound V4 decoder with sugar cube speaker in the firebox. Then the re-paint and a video of him chuffing happily away to his new home in the Blue Mountains.