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Thread: Another Bachmann 0-6-0 DCC Conversion

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    Default Another Bachmann 0-6-0 DCC Conversion

    I finally "finished" converting my Bachmann 0-6-0 to DCC. Armed with Chickenhawk's tutorial and some ideas of my own I decided to go ahead and install the decoder. There were some problems along the way but not the ones I expected. Some things that should have been simple gave me fits and the electronic side of things went without a hitch. Go figure.

    I chose a DZ125 decoder for two reasons; first it is very small and fits inside the little slope-back tender and second I got a really good deal on a couple of them!

    I decided to use a "DCC Ready" tender rather than the tender that came with the locomotive. The DCC Ready tender has all-wheel pickup which I figured should make the little 0-6-0 run smoother, especially over my unpowered frogs. Disassembly of the DCC Ready tender is a piece of cake, pry the body up using a small screwdriver or hobby knife and it pops right off. There are two brass strips inside that are the contacts for the pickups. Two nibs on each truck project up through the floor of the tender and make contact with these strips.


    There is a problem using the DCC Ready tender however- its drawbar is much lower than the stock tender drawbar. It won't hook onto the little nibs that hang down from the loco so new little nibs (that's a technical term) need to be fashioned or the drawbar would have to be modified. Since the drawbar is plastic and can't be bent upward to fit the loco I decided to make new nibs. I expected this issue so I was sort of prepared for it.

    I cut off the stock nibs and filed that part of the chassis flat. Next I drilled two small holes in the chassis where the original nibs were. Next I cut a couple short pieced of solid copper wire and dropped them into the holes. The dropped in easily (meaning I needed to secure them in some way). I thought about buying some really small screws and screwing them into the holes to serve as nibs but I didn't have the patience to wait.

    I soldered the wires into place then cut the top of each wire as flush with the top side of the chassis as I could then I filed them smooth. I wasn't sure I would be able to solder them in place but it seemed to work. I let the wires go all the way to the ground so I could cut them to length once I figured out what that length should be!

    The copper wires (the new nibs) form the connection to the drawbar. They also pass electricity picked up by the wheels of the locomotive back to the tender via two small wires on the bottom of the drawbar. Now the little locomotive will have electrical pickup from four of the six wheels and all eight of the tender wheels.

    Now I opened up the tender and soldered the electrical pickup wires of the decoder to the two brass strips inside. The black wire goes on the fireman's side (left side facing forward) and the red wire goes on the engineer's side. I cut the wires for the lights short since I wasn't planning on adding lights (though part of me wants to do it and I purchased a separate loco shell to experiement with). With the electrical pickup wires soldered in the tender means only two wires have to run to the loco.

    I completely disassembled the locomotive, removing the body, running gear (wheels and rods) and separating the body halves. This allowed me to remove the motor and access the two metal pickup contacts that used to supply power to the motor. Chickenhawk removed those pickups in his conversion, I just put some kapton tape over them. If I ever decide to un-DCC the loco I just need to snip out the decoder and pull the tape off and it is re-DC'd. Can't imagine why I'd want to do that though.

    Now I soldered the orange and gray wires to the motor. The gray wire gets soldered to the top of the motor and the orange wire gets soldered to the bottom. I decided not to install a plug in the tender, the loco and tender are pretty much permanently connected now. I could easily open the tender, cut the motor wires and solder them to a plug at any time if I decide I need a plug.

    Now simply re-assemble the loco halves, re-install the running gear and pop the body back on the loco. The wires seem like they could drop right out the bottom of the loco in the slot between the halves and at first I did it that way (the first of my unexpected problems). It turned out that the motor wouldn't seat all the way forward with the wires running out the bottom. It looked like it was fitting OK but the motor wouldn't turn when power was applied. I opened it up again and ran the wires up the front of the motor and along the sides. There is room between the sides of the motor and the cab for the wires. Once I ran the wires that way the motor went in perfectly and turned easily. Except for unexpected problem number 2, lining up the motor shaft bearings and reassembling the halves of the chassis.

    My fumble fingers had a heck of a time lining up the two shaft support bearings (little black plastic squares with holes in them) and getting them both into a loco half correctly. Honestly I spent almost 45 minutes just getting the motor back in! One important thing to note about those bearings- they aren't symmetrical, the holes are offset and are closer to one edge. That edge goes toward the bottom of the loco. If they go in any other way the motor may (or may not) turn depending on how pinched the shaft is but the worm gear won't mesh with the drive gears. Someone with more dexterity could probably reassemble the motor and bearings in two minutes.

    With the motor in place and the halves reassembled the body just slides on and fastens with a single screw through the dome. I cut a small notch in the bottom front of the tender body for the wires to pass through. I stuffed the extra lengths of motor wire into the tender and snapped the tender body in place.

    Finally the tender drawbar slips up onto the two lengths of copper wire I soldered in earlier. I put the whole thing on the track and used a razor saw laying flat on the track to mark the copper wires. I then picked up the loco and snipped the copper wires (new nibs, remember them from way back at the beginning of this?) to length so they wouldn't hang up or short out on uncouplers or turnouts.

    With the loco and tender reconnected it was time for a test run. I punched in 3 on my Zephyr, set the lever to forward and turned the throttle. It worked! The little 0-6-0 ran smoothly around my mainline, not hanging up or stalling on my upowered frogs. Next I hooked up a string of rolling stock, 9 cars plus a caboose, and ran the loco around the layout for about 30 minutes. Sweet. It has more pulling power than I expected. I suspect it could pull 12 or 15 cars around my grade-free layout.

    Next it was onto the programming track to change the address from the default number 3. Programming went flawlessly and I now have a nice little DCC steam switcher! I still need to use a black marker to color the wires to make them less noticeable and I still have that itch to install lighting but that will have to wait till I get some other projects done.

    --Sherman
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    You have some things that I suggest you fix for the loco to run a little better. The bronze wiper is outside of the wheel on the 3rd driver instead of behind the flange which is going to cause a lot of drag (see the 4th picture below). The shell is also not seated in the back which can put a strain on the motor and cause the worm gear to bind.

    There are two ways to do the drawbar that don't require you to grind on the tender like the previous tutorial or remove the drawbar post such as shown here. I wrote an article for the N Trak Steam handbook about this loco and adding a Spectrum tender was one of the sections of the article.

    Here is the finished product....



    Here is the easy drawbar.....





    This one is basically the same except that the drawbar is shorter and the styrene fabricated piece puts the drawbar at a little better height.



    I love these little loco's and they run great with a little tune up. I have a half a dozzen of them currently because they are the only loco currently produced that is actually accurate for B&O. It represents a USRA 0-6-0 which B&O classed as a D-30. They wore many tenders, unfortunately, not the ones that the Bachmann 0-6-0 comes with. It is a little closer if you purchase the prarrie and remove the lead and trailing trucks, or pickup one of the short USRA spectrum tenders for the 0-6-0 version.

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    Skipgear, thanks for the suggestions!

    I just noticed the wiper myself this morning and I'll have to fix that today. I had the thing test fitted so many times as I was determining the best way to run the wires I guess I just forgot to check the wipers on the last assembly! Right now it runs great and pulls far better than I expected.

    I decided to leave the drawbar alone and change the nibs on the loco that it connects to. I was a bit worried that my new connection wouldn't turn freely enough and might cause derailments on curves and turnouts but it has worked fine. After seeing your drawbar I think you have the better solution, soldering new nibs onto the chassis was a bit of work (the chassis is a big heat sink). If I do another one I think I'll do the drawbar your way. I still have the original tender with that type of drawbar (minus the contact wires of course) so I could experiment with it.

    Next up for the loco is to change the dummy knuckle on the tender for a Micro-Trains.

    --Sherman

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    good info .... got 2 of those still on dc

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    Can you do this with any brand steamer in N?

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    Quote Originally Posted by StrasburgNut View Post
    Can you do this with any brand steamer in N?
    If you can isolate the motor power connection it is technically possible, how easy it is... well that's another story. This little Bachmann steamer is a pretty easy conversion.

    With DCC there is some power applied to the track all the time and the DCC signal is embedded in the current. The current and signal go to the decoder which determines, via the DCC signal, what setting you have applied (throttle, direction, lighting, etc.). The decoder then feeds the proper power to the motor and any other function items you have (lights, horn, bell etc.).

    So to convert to DCC you need to be able to take the current picked up from the rails and feed it to the DCC decoder without also having it go to the motor. I used kapton tape on the two copper tabs that normally supply power to the motor directly from the rails. Then the motor wires from the DCC decoder have to be somehow connected to the motor. In this case I soldered the wires directly to the motor.

    So, short answer is you have to look at the setup of the loco to see if it is possible to isolate the motor.

    --Sherman

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    Thumbs up lighting

    Any luck with lighting projects on this 0-6-0? I'm about to do a DCC conversion on one and was hoping to try, but it looks really tight. There are metal rails running along the outside of the boiler so maybe that could help?

    Also there seems to be a custom 0-6-0 on ebay right now with lights, but that's a different Bachmann model without the split frame which might have made it easier.

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    If you move the traction tire equiped drive wheel to the rear position it will considerably increase the pulling power of this little loco. Have fun, Mark.

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    Mark, that sounds like a job for people like me with faint of heart! I read somewhere flipping the drawbar helps for better connection.
    " Its a whatle?!I think, a Diseaseal!" Bill and Ben, Thomas and Friends

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    CSXT,

    It isn't that difficult. Take some pictures of the excentric gear before you do it. If you don't get the excentric gear positioned correctly it will bind up when you try to run it. Just make the before and after pictures look the same. The center traction tire equiped driver is not connected to the rods. Gently remove the crankshaft from the rear driver, swap the two drivers, and push the crankshaft into the hole on the traction tire driver that is now it the rear position. I drill out the hole with a pin vice on the traction driver before I put it back in. Use a drill bit that is the same size as the hole, you don't want to make the hole bigger, just clean it out. The 0-6-0 has the advantage that the front driver wheel is not connected to the internal gears and is turned by the rod. The center driver wheel is not connected to the rod. This means you cannot get it out of quarter. Of course it looks better if you take the time to quarter it visually. The newer ones with the nubs on the copper wipers under and slightly forward of the cab are significantly quieter than the older ones with the screws on the sides.

    Have fun, Mark.

    P.S. Skipgear if you could post some close up pictures of the ash collecter under the cab I'm sure all would appreciate it. That is a great way to cover up the silver motor screw on the bottom of the loco. Thanks, Mark.

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    Tony Hines

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    Skipgear, is that drawbar homemade from a bit of PC board? Or is that the drawbar that comes with the DCC ready tenders?
    "Do Not Hump!?!?! Does that mean what I think it means?!?"--Michelle Blanchard

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    In the pictures above, the stock drawbar modified with different pickup wipers.
    Tony Hines

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    Skipgear, do you have the headlight working?

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    Nope, haven't got around to making a working headlight yet on that one.
    Tony Hines

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