Thursday, November 3, 2011

No posting can only mean one thing, way too busy. Yes it’s been quite hectic here with the new little family member needing constant attention. I have however been able to fit some time in for modelling.
For the past four months or so I have been working on fitting sound to 5 brass locos for a fellow modeller. These were a Classic 19 class (Baldwin tender), Trax 30 class (with P class tender), Bergs 30 Class (6 wheel tender), Trax 12 class and Mansfield 17 class. As you might have guessed these are all small locos and quite a challenge to fit the sound in. Both the 19 and Trax 30 needed full paint jobs.
I begun by completely stripping both the 19 and 30 and removing the clear lacquer in a thinners bath.  Both the locos where then prepared for sound installs by drilling required holes for sound holes (below the speakers), wire loom holes and marker light holes. Both the 30 and 19 have working markers. I then etched primed all the components with self etch black. The other 3 locos are also stripped down and prepared in the same way except for the paint removal process.
All five locos are then fitted with cam chuff mechanisms. I have been using the Soundtraxx Cam Kits. These work really well if installed properly and sound spot on. Four chuff's per revolution. I super glue these to the back of the right side driving wheel. Next I prepared all the bases for the phosphor bronze pickups. I make these from small pieces of PC board tie strips. These are then Glues in appropriate positions on the underside of the Locos and tenders so as 10 thou Phosphor bronze can be run to the wheel flange. I also prepare any Light boards as well. I use these mainly for fire box flicker. I managed to fit firebox flicker inside the fire hole door. Great affect for night running. These are made by filing a groove down the middle of a short PCB tie strip, then filing one of the tracks in half. The 1k surface mound resistor sits on top of the cut in the track. At one end I solder a small surface mound LED. One with a yellow glow works well......or use some Tamiya clear Orange painted on the LED. All the bases and light boards are set aside.

Underside of tender showing holes for speaker sound.

Cam chuff disk fitted to driving wheel (this is on a P class from a different job, but you get the idea)

I next mounted the decoders and fitted the speakers. All locos bar the Trax 30T have had TSU 750 Tsunami Decoders fitted. (D&RGW K class). The 30 T was able to have the 1000 Series. Due to space constraints all the decoders where fitted under the coal load leaving all available room in the tender for the speaker. Believe it or not I was able to fit High Bass speakers to all the Locos. Some slight filing to the sides of the speakers allows them to fit snug between the sides of the tender body. Styrene sheet was used to seal off the speaker creating an air tight speaker enclosure. I used the New 20 mm High bass speakers in all the small ones and the Trax 30T was fitted with 23mm High Bass.

Speaker box in the P class tender

Tsunami decoder mounted in the top of the tender under the coal load

I next installed all the Lighting. I fitted markers to a few of them. I found that 0.5mm fibre optics works best. I drilled a hole through the front of the marker light then directly behind into the smoke box. I then held the tip of the iron just shy of the Optic wire until the optic was bent at 90 degrees. I carefully removed the whole Maker light from the loco and inserted the optic through the Marker. The other end was then inserted through the hole into the smoke box soldering the Marker back into position. I was able to remove the smoke box door and attach LED’s to the ends of the Optic wire. Once all was in and working I trimmed the excess from the front of the marker and Bulb the end using the Soldering iron.
Next was the tedious part of wiring in the decoder and installing all the pickup shoes and Phosphor pickups. After test running, the two Locos where Numbered and weathered. I added tarps to two of the locos. This not only looks the part but provides a dark environment to enhance the glow from the firebox flicker. Here is a rough video of them running on the Exhibition Layout and a few more photos below. The customer was very happy.

20mm high bass speaker squeezed into the tiny 12 class tender. Note the styrene speaker box sides.

Underside of loco showing pickup shoes etc.

Here is the micro decoder fitted in the top of the 12 class tender.

I have added a styrene cover to protect the decoder from the 'wet' coal load.
Here are some of the completed locos.

After a painful 12 months I have finally started on the train room. This is the final stage to the house renovations. Order where to finish the rest of the house first......Probably a good thing. We were planned to start first week In November but Builder Charles Rang last Friday and wanted to start early. An early start Saturday saw the three external frames erected along with a couple of the frames under the house. Unfortunately, Due to council restrictions I have to fit windows to the outside wall. I am however going to cover these in when I start the layout. The entrance will be at the bottom of the stairs through a sliding cavity door. The roof has been ordered for the external section of the room and will hopefully have this early next week. The brickies have been booked for 21st November. We want to have it all locked up before Xmas. I can almost see the trains running.

Keep you posted.



  1. Very nice jobs on the loco installs. Now I know what to do! You make no mention though, of how to complete the electrical circuit for the chuff cams by, according to the instructions, somehow soldering them to the axles (something I singularly failed to successfully do on the one I tried). Any tips on how to do that successfully?

  2. Great update Ian, the extensions are looking good. I look forward to seeing the track plan. Darren