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Author Topic: Battery Power  (Read 3162 times)
Sourdoh

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« on: December 22, 2007, 08:35:13 PM »

I sent the following message to the Bachmann Customer Service, but I have heard nothing. Zero. Zip, Zilch!

I have 2 of your 2-truck Shay locomotives, 1 Consolidation, 1 3-truck Shay and am awaiting delivery of a K-27. My question is: Can I run these locomotives on battery power using your remote control system? I don't want to have to tear the locomotives apart to change wiring and such any more than I have to.

Can I have a reply now?

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Kevin Strong


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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 10:13:16 PM »

Well, for starters, Bachmann doesn't make a remote control system. So the simple answer to the literal question is "no."

To answer your question on the next level, the answer is that you'll have to rework the locos to varying degrees depending on (a) the locomotive--the 2-truck Shay and 2-8-0 have different circuitry than the 3-truck shay and now the K-27 (b) the remote control system you plan on installing--each has its own ideosynchracies, and (c) how much functionality you want to have the controller operate. For instance, if you want the sound system or throttle to control the firebox flicker, you'll have to rewire the LEDs in the firebox to that board. Otherwise, it's sufficient to run +14v (or whatever battery voltage you install) to the stock circuit board and let it do its job. If you want directional lighting, you'll have to rewire the lights to the throttle. Otherwise, keep things as they are.

In theory, the socket in the K-27 is designed so to make rewiring for R/C installations a bit easier. As they're just beginning to show up, it's unknown how successful this is at achieving that goal. That doesn't help the older locos, so plan on doing a bit of gutting in that case.

The good news is that there are plenty of people on this board who can help you through that process. We've done it and survived. In truth, I think your original question would be far better answered by forum members than the service department anyway. They don't do R/C installs, they just fix what's broke.

Later,

K
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Sourdoh

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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 01:05:05 AM »

Thank you, Kevin. I have asked on several boards, for help on this and there has never been an answer. I kind of knew that I would probably have to do some gutting, which, with the locos I have seems really hard. I don't know why the different remote system companies (AirWire, etc.) don't provide instruction packages for popular locos like the Shays and the Connie. I think more people would do conversions if it wasn't such a mysterious operation. Just pulling a Bachmann loco apart a little bit is very difficult if you don't have the step by step instructions. I guess I'm just too worried that I'll screw things up or end up wit unintentional spare parts. Smiley
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Kevin Strong


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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2007, 01:28:58 AM »

It does take a bit of detective work to take these locos apart. The expolded drawings do help a bit, but Bachmann has a habit of hiding screws under caps and using REALLY TINY screws that can be hard to see (both on the model and once they break the time/space continuum as they fall towards the floor.) Coincidentally, my next GR Basics column talks about taking locos apart for painting, so I'll refer you to that for some tips.

I'm in the camp of using as much of the original electronics as possible, so I'll generally tap the battery voltage straight to the main circuit board where the track power would tie into it. This gives me constant lighting to the headlight and firebox. My locos are all pre-electric lights, so I don't have back-up lights, cab lights, or anything fancy like that. I do remove the Bachmann noise supression boards, as they don't particularly like to work with the RCS throttles I use. I don't know if that's the case with all R/C or not. I also remove the smoke units, as I don't believe in them. They drain batteries and barely resemble real steam anyway.

Later,

K
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"Trainman"

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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2007, 02:57:43 AM »

Sourdoh,
I have converted two Bachmann 2-8-0 Consolidations over to AirWire battery control. It is much simpler just to remove the factory electronics and wire them straight to the new control board. The front of the 2-8-0 pops off to reveal the circuit board and the back part has two small screws to be removed. The ash pan has four small screws. That is all the disassembly required. One pair of wires to the headlamp, one pair to the motor and one pair to the chuff contacts. These go thru a connector to the tender where all the gear is installed. You can install batteries there or in a follow behind battery car as I have done.

Mike
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Sourdoh

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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2007, 12:28:48 PM »

Thanks, Guys. It all seems simple when you explain it. BUT ... I will have to give it a try after the Holidays.
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calenelson
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2007, 01:29:53 PM »

Sourdoh,
I have converted two Bachmann 2-8-0 Consolidations over to AirWire battery control. It is much simpler just to remove the factory electronics and wire them straight to the new control board. ........ One pair of wires to the headlamp, one pair to the motor and one pair to the chuff contacts. These go thru a connector to the tender where all the gear is installed. You can install batteries there...

Mike

I use the RCS Brand of RC control, and I basically do the same...remove what I don't need and install components in their place...works well....for some ideas about installs, check rcs-rc.com for a few photo tutorials posted by Tony.

It's really not as hard as it may seem...I've done a few and have a few left to do.  The folk from RCS have been invaluable-Dave (TOC) and Tony.

Cale
« Last Edit: December 28, 2007, 01:52:33 PM by calenelson » Logged
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