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Author Topic: Lighted passenger cars on dcc system  (Read 3460 times)
Sammi

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« on: February 20, 2011, 11:08:15 AM »

What mods do I have to make on 85ft lighted passenger cars to run them on a dcc system and if any how do you disassemble the cars?
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Doneldon

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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 10:39:39 PM »

Sammi-

Depends. What cars are you trying to light? Do you want to use track power or batteries? Do you want to be able to turn the lights on and off with DCC? How about switches on the cars? Do you want incandescent or LEDs? Give us a little more information about your question and we'll do our best to come up with some answers.
                                                                                                                          -- D
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Sammi

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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 05:21:03 PM »

I have a Bachmann 85ft full dome passenger car and I am running a dcc system, MRC Prodigy Advance2 dcc system. I do not find anywhere on the car that indicates that it is a switch nor do I know how to remove the shell from the chasis.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 12:38:35 AM »

Sammi-

You have several lighting options, from inexpensive to very expensive, with different features for each solution. As a general rule, the number of advantages increases with cost and the amount of work decreases with cost. Only you can decide what's best for you.

I have no Bachmann passenger cars but the various passenger car shells I've seen usually come off either by removing four - six screws from the corners and mid points of the floor or by spreading the sides slightly and separating the floor from the sides.

The cheapest way to go would be 3 or 4.5 volt bulbs fed by two or three AA or C batteries. You'll definitely want a switch to avoid exhausting your batteries with just one use. Next cheapest would be 14 or 16 volt incandescent bulbs, two or three per car, wired to the wheels for electrical supply. This way is fairly easy but it requires some time to hook everything up (particularly the track power lights) and you could end up with a good deal of heat in your cars.

Next choice: use LEDs instead of the regular bulbs. This will relieve the heat problem but require you to insert resisters (try 800-1000 ohms) to keep from blowing the LEDs.

Next, think of inserting a switch into the system. Here you have three options: a micro slide switches installed on the bottoms of the cars, reed switches installed under the cars' roofs, and inexpensive DCC decoders. The reed switch will permit you to turn the lights on and off by passing a magnetic wand over the roofs of the cars. The DCC decoder will let you turn the lights on by DCC, either one at a time or all at once, depending on how you name your cars' addresses.

From here it's a big step to prefab lighting circuits from Miniatronics or the Easy-Peasey product from, I think, Kato. These are easy to install but they are very pricey, possibly costing more than you paid for the cars. On the other hand, they are easy to install LED units and can be turned on and off with a magnetic wand. The Easy-Peasey units use batteries so you don't have to worry about pulling power from your tracks, but the button batteries are expensive. However, the LEDs draw little current so the batteries do last a while.

Before you do anything, however, double check your cars. Just about all current Bachmann passenger cars, including all full length cars, have lighting already installed.
                                                                                        -- D
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Sammi

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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 09:28:48 AM »

The cars are already lighted by Bachmann and I just need to know if they are safe to run on a dcc system. If not how can I make them usable or should I give them to someone that runs a dc system?
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ripvanwnkl


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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 06:08:48 PM »

I have many lighted Bachmann Spectrum heavyweight passenger cars on my HO layout.  I use MRC Prodigy Advance Squared Wireless DCC system.   Cars are very bright on DCC but so far no burnouts after many hours of use. 
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Dave
USAF (Retired)
Doneldon

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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 10:25:50 PM »

Sammi-

Oh! Sure, you can run them on your DCC system. The one worry I would have would be that DCC puts a little higher voltage on the track than DC so your bulbs will burn out a bit faster. A small resister would attenuate that but I wouldn't worry about it unless you start needing frequent bulb changes. And it will cost very little -- way less than $1 per car -- if you need to do it. As RVW mentioned, the lights will be extra bright. If that bothers you, use the resister trick to both prolong bulb life and dim then a little.
                                                                                                                                                -- D
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Sammi

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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2011, 01:46:20 PM »

Thanks, I will attempt to run without adding a resistor as these cars seem to be very hard to disassemble, ie the shells are glued on the chasis. Again, thanks to all who replied.
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