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Thread: Separate Headlight and Mars light on a Con-Cor GS4

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    Default Separate Headlight and Mars light on a Con-Cor GS4

    Hey all – I converted the single LED headlight in a friend’s Con Cor GS4 to a headlight and Mars light setup and I figured I’d try making a tutorial out of it. This is my first tutorial, so let me know if I leave out any obvious steps in the how to part of this all. Some of these pictures I took after I did the install, so you may see extra wires peeking out.

    So you start with your ConCor GS4, which has a single LED behind a plastic light pipe.
    IMG_2780.jpg
    The light pipe has 2 cylinders that slide into the smokebox door and fill the headlight/Mars lights holes.
    IMG_2749.jpg
    This arrangement won’t due because I don’t like wimpy amber LEDs but I think Mars lights are the bees knee’s!

    Begin by pulling the shell off the Tender. Turn the engine over and spread the tender shell by gently spreading the toolbox tabs outwards. When spreading the shell apart, gently pull up on the rear coupler and the shell will pop off. You only need to remove the tender shell for decoder installation/wiring, which I am not covering in this tutorial but I thought I should include it here because why not take it off I mean we don’t want the engine mechanism to feel uncomfortable being all naked and whatnot and this sentence is now entirely too long.
    IMG_2779.jpg
    Turn the engine back over, and gently pry the boiler shell sides away from the mechanism just under the firebox.
    remove boiler shell.jpg
    This will clear/free the tab on the mechanism and the boiler will slide up and off.
    Boiler shell tab.jpg
    Now you will have a mostly naked GS4. I forgot to take before shots of the old light board in place, but it will be where the arrows points to. If you have not already modified your headlight for DCC control there will not be any wires running to the light board. Pull the light board out, and put it in your random parts box to be used as a robot hat.
    IMG_2748.jpg
    Last edited by Sdynamo; 20th Aug 2014 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Left out the word out and a million other things.

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    Default Separate Headlight and Mars light on a Con-Cor GS4 part 2

    Pickup the boiler shell you just removed and gently wiggle (technical term) the smokebox door off the front. The light pipe will be inside the door and can easily be pulled out the back of the door.

    With the light pipe on your workbench, use your favorite hobby saw/chain saw/+14 Vorpal Blade of model railroading to separate the individual light pipes from the square hunk of plastic. You could just slice down the middle of the square to separate the lights but I wanted extra space behind the smokebox door.
    Cut lights here.jpg
    Next cut 4 pieces of 1/16 black heat shrink tubing to about 10mm. The black heat shrink is used to control light leaks and create a 2 piece light pipe + LED assembly. This makes taking the boiler shell off in the future for service much easier (I have a Kato PA that Im never getting the shell off of but it has a Mars light!).

    Now slide one of the two individual lights pipes back into the smokebox door. Slide a piece of heat shrink over the back of the light pipe until it hits the back of the smokebox door.
    IMG_2755.JPG
    With the heat shrink loose on the light pipe, push the light pipe out from the front of the smokebox door being careful not to dislodge the heat shrink tubing. I discovered later that a drop of CA inside the heatshrink keeps it from falling off.
    Grab your hot soldering iron (I did tell you to turn on your iron right) and shrink the tube down onto the end of the light pipe.
    Pipe plus shrink tube.jpg
    Repeat the process for the second light pipe. I found for the lower/smaller light pipe cutting a 45 degree angle on the end of the heat shrink helped it sit better against the back of the door.
    heat shrink 45.jpg
    Now grab your LEDs of choice. I used 1.8mm Warm White LEDs from Bill at LED-Switch (http://www.led-switch.com/1.8mm%20LED.htm). Grab the other 2 pieces of heat shrink tubing rolling around your bench and shrink a piece over just the end of each LED. Dont shrink the portion in front of the LED yet.
    IMG_2753.jpg
    led shrunk.jpg

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    Default Separate Headlight and Mars light on a Con-Cor GS4 part 3

    You now have 2 light pipes with heat shrink sticking off the back end, and 2 LEDs with shrink protruding from the front. The tube sticking off the light pipes slides inside the tube on the LEDs, creating a “light leak proof” (pat pending) sleeve that allows us to separate the wired LEDs from the boiler shell in the future.
    The heat shrink was cut to 10mms as we have approximately 20mm clear inside the boiler once the light board is removed. The first 2 images below show the heat shrink sticking off the back off of the light pipes. The third shows the tubes do not protrude into the light board area of the boiler shell.
    IMG_2757.JPGIMG_2758.jpgIMG_2759.jpg


    Now back to the tubes. Slide one of the light pipe heat shrink tubes inside one of the LED tubes. Use your hot iron (is that a bad band name?) to shrink the two tubes together just a smidgen (again technical verbiage). You want the tubes to be snug together but you still need to be able to pull them apart. You want to end up with something that looks like this:
    tubes.jpg
    Repeat the process for the other light pipe. Now you have 2 complete tubes (hurray). Pull these tubes apart (dang nabit) and solder the LEDs to your decoder wires. You can use a single wire for the positive (blue wire) connection to both LEDs. Typically you would use the white wire for the headlight LED (lower light) and the green wire for the Mars LED (function 1 on most decoders). You can use whatever function outputs your decoder supports so long as you can remap functions on it. Coat the back of the LEDs with liquid electrical tape or CA. You could also put Kapton tape on the mechanism just in front of where the old light board was.

    IMG_2768.jpg

    Slide the light pipes back into the smokebox door and set the door aside. Run your LED wires back along the mechanism and into the tender. Since ConCor did not have wires going to the original light board, they left the worm gear nice and exposed, ready to chew on your lovely new wires. I used some blue painter’s masking tape to create a little cover over the gear. I also recommend taping your wires down to the top of the motor. I used scotch tape for this as Kapton tape does not seem to stick to anything other than itself.

    IMG_2771.jpg

    Thread your LEDs out the front of the boiler and slide the shell back down onto the mechanism.
    IMG_2772.jpg
    Now pick up the smokebox door and slide the LED tubes over the ends of the light pipe tubes. Carefully fold your wires back into the boiler shell and re-install the smokebox door. You may need to tilt the door a bit to get the back of the lower LED to clear the ridge behind the door.

    tubes.jpg

    Just to the left of the head of the arrow is the ridge in question:
    IMG_2748.jpg


    Now wire your LEDs to your decoder with an appropriate resistor (I use 1k, 1/4w) or your brand new Mars light will have a very bright and very brief life span. Program your decoder so that the function output you chose for the upper LED is a Mars light and bang! Super awesome blinky light.

    Here’s a link to quick video showing the lights. Youze izs enjoy, I’m going to get a beer.


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    Awesome..

    I'll just send mine to you to get done properly

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    If you want to pay the freight I'll do it

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    Would be worth it, fit up DCC while ya at it :P

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    That was a great tutorial! Although I do not run steam I think it was very well put together and the photos were great!

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    Very nice tutorial. You make it look so easy.
    Hold my beer and watch this.........

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    You have a PM.....

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    PM Received & Replied to.

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    PM received and Replied to too..

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    So you think its DCC? I'll check the other 2 tonight now!

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    I am trying to do this on mine and I can't seem to get headlight light post to come out of the front of the firebox. Any thoughts? Do you have a picture of the decoder installed in the GS4?

    thanks!
    Arthur

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