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Author Topic: Help with combine interior lights... and another small problem  (Read 6166 times)
onedogtwodog

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« on: December 16, 2012, 11:30:56 PM »

I have a Suwanee River Big Hauler... It is several years old, we use it at xmas and the combine, which is the 9v type lights are inop.  How difficult is it to fix the lights... is there a schematic on this site??? Also  The battery door on my tender has broken, I see the part in the exploded view on the schematic guide on this website but cannot find it as an available part...
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Sleeping Bear

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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 12:08:36 AM »

Your light problem is most likely broken or burnt out bulbs....or bad connection some where....turn the car over and remove the 8 or so screws that hold the body onto the chassis....then , with it still upside down, lift the chassis, "floor" and trucks out of the body....you will see the brass connections between the chassis and the body, on the sides....look to see that they aren't corroded...with the chassis and interior out of the way you can now see the inside of the roof and the light bulbs hidden up there....they are screw in bulbs....a piece of small diameter fuel line can be of help getting the bulbs out without breaking them...just push it down over the bulb and turn the commonly stubborn to remove bulb out.....best thing is to replace with led lights but the quick and easy way to fix this is to replace the bad bulbs .....clean contact points....and put in a new 9 volt battery........
      hope this is of some help.......Later All....and Merry Christmas / happy holidays everyone...............S.B.


P.S.  call service dept. and ask if they have any of that part laying around....or see if anyone on here has one that they will part with......
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 12:14:15 AM by Sleeping Bear » Logged

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Dynamike

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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 04:08:38 AM »

I got tired of switching the battery on and off on my North Pole Express combine , so I converted mine to be powered off the track rails.
The job is amazingly simple and all the materials are already on the combine except for two 5" pieces of wire.
You will need a soldering iron and a small drill or round file.

1. Remove the screw holding the wheel truck on the baggage end of the combine (with the sliding doors) you will need to add some weight later.

2. Push the tabs that hold the battery box in and pull the box out far enough so that you can unsolder the wires to the battery box .

3. With the battery box removed , bend and pull out the 2 metal contacts in the box ,these will be your brush contacts that ride against the wheels.

4. On top of the truck there are 2 screws that hold the outside of the frame together , these will be the hold downs for the contacts.

5. Straighten the batterybox contacts out and then fit them to the top of the truck so that the screws will hold them down and with a 45 degree angle they will make contact with the front side of the wheels. Make sure you you have plenty of pressure against the wheel. (you can tweak these later).

6. File or drill a small notch in the contacts so that they will slip under the loosened screws on the trucks , adjust the contacts against the wheels and tighten down the screws. After I tightened down my screws the contacts had so much pressure that the wheels would not turn but you can adjust these for just the right am out of pressure.

7. Cut 2 pieces of wire and connect the 2 wires coming out of the combine to the contacts on each wheel. You can do this without a soldering iron by wrapping the wire around the screws holding down the wheel contacts before you tighten down the screws but a soldered connection is much better. Before I connected the wires ,I drilled a small hole in a cross member under the combine and passed the wires through it ,you can just tape them up.

8. Reassemble and enjoy.

When I first tried the combine the lights worked fine on the straights but flickered and went out on the curves. I then put 4 rolls of pennies through the sliding doors and the lights worked great with just an occasional flicker (that's why you need to wire the wheels under the baggage end of the combine).

It is suprising how bright the lights are , I wish the engine light was so bright.

Michael Morris
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Dynamike

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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 03:27:39 PM »

I just noticed that Bachmann sells powered trucks (Jackson sharp trucks) $10.
They are constructed. exactly the same way I did mine.
If you want to save money your combine has all the parts you need.
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onedogtwodog

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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 12:59:40 AM »

Thanks for the help... I have usually only jump into this train thing during Christmas-time...so the assistance is appreciated... If I decide to go the LED route do I solder them in place of the incandescent bulbs???
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 01:01:24 AM by onedogtwodog » Logged
veetwelve


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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 02:01:21 AM »

Just my humble opinion... I think the LED's are great for headlamps and reverse lamps, but they are too directional for interior lighting in your combine (unless your goal is to illuminate one spot on the floor of the car).  With one LED, you won't be able to achieve that warm glow through the windows of your car; you would have to piece together an array of LED's to achieve that effect.  The good news is that LED's are quite happy with 9 volts, and your battery will last longer if you stick with one LED.  I just don't think you'll be happy with the light output.

Good luck!
Jay
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JerryB

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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 06:55:08 AM »

I got tired of switching the battery on and off on my North Pole Express combine , so I converted mine to be powered off the track rails.

<snip>

It is suprising how bright the lights are , I wish the engine light was so bright.

Michael Morris

Michael:

A nice conversion, and your instructions are very clear.

One potential problem: I believe the reason your lights are now so bright is that they are running on a higher voltage: The original battery was 9 volts. Track power can be significantly higher (as much as 12 to 14 volts or higher), dependent on the power supply and the speed of the train. This means a significantly shortened life for the bulbs.

One solution to that is to add an inexpensive voltage regulator with the output set for 9 volts. The circuitry is slightly complicated by the requirement that the regulator be able to accommodate polarity reversal.

The simplest solution is to replace the 9 volt bulbs with some rated for 12 to 15 volts, but those bulbs, with a physical configuration that matches the factory bulbs might be difficult to find.

Note that LEDs will also require a resistor to limit the current to the rating of the LED. Again, a voltage regulator (set to the voltage the LED can tolerate) can be used to provide a simple version of (almost) constant brightness.

Happy RRing,

Jerry
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Dynamike

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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 03:23:38 AM »

Thanks for the very nice comments and update Jerry.
After Christmas I plan to look into some 12v automotive dash bulbs.
I 'am ashamed to admit that I'am just a token rail roader but I look forward every year to watch the train run around the tree.
Merry Christmas to you and to all in this forum.

Michael
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Joe Satnik


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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 10:57:21 AM »

Dear All,

This LED passenger car lighting scheme will tolerate (and give light in both directions) running variable DC, or running DCC:

(It would also run on any kind of 3-Rail-O control system.)

track1 -------------->l-----------------WWW------------track2
                  l      LED         l           2.2KOhm resistor
                  l                    l
                  --------l<------
                          LED

Disadvantage:  Twice as many LEDs needed.

Repeat (the 2 LEDs and resistor) in parallel between the track1-track2 buses.

Lower the resistance value of the 2.2KOhm resistor if brighter lights are desired. (1.8K, 1.5K, 1.2K, 1K, 820, 680 are standard resistor values.)

Raise the resistance value of the 2.2KOhm resistor if dimmer lights are desired. (2.7K, 3.3K, 3.9K, 4.7K are standard resistor values.)

Note that LEDs have to reach a minimum voltage to fire, often greater than 3 volts. 

This means that for variable DC operation,

you may have modify the loco wiring to slow down (reduce the voltage to) the motor to force higher track voltages.

Hope this helps. 

Sincerely,

Joe Satnik 
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armorsmith


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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 11:24:25 PM »

I have been working on lighting my wooden passenger cars with the flicker leds from the votiff candles that are sold at Walmart at the holidays.  I am setting up a 2 battery pack for each car to run the lights.  I may later on go to track power, although with switching to battery power on the locomotives that may not happen.  Just another suggested solution for your issue.

Bob C.
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Sleeping Bear

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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 02:45:15 PM »

I still run the standard lights in my cars(for now) and off battery power.....I have however put one of those flickering leds inside the wood stove in each car that has one....just cut the little squares out in the bottom of the stove...real neat effect when the lights around you are off you can see the fire flicker inside the car...even more so when interior lights are off in the car....have also put one in a breakmans lantern...as I believe Kevin did...think it was Kevin...might have been Jeff/NM....any way...search for the post ...has a link to a vid of his guy with the lit lantern...
                     Later all....Merry Christmas                 S.B.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 02:47:27 PM by Sleeping Bear » Logged

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Sleeping Bear

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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 07:35:09 PM »

 and here it is.... it was NM/Jeff........http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Fox1NPXIc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

              enjoy.....Later all.....S.B.
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