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chris

HST and Class 66 Lighting Improvements

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Flush with the success of the improved headlight on the Network Rail MPV, I'm moving on to similar work on locos.

The Hornby HST Power Car suffers from the same problem as the Bachmann MPV, the headlight is about the same brightness as the marker lights. I will add a new "nano" LED to the headlight in each power car to fix the problem (same as the MPV).

The Bachmann Class 66 has a fine headlight, but does not have the left and right marker lights (it does have the top). On the prototype the marker lights are the same lamp as the rear lights. There are now LEDs that can light as either red or white. I could have used these as replacements for the red ones on the model, but these nano LEDs (SMD) are tiny and thus very fiddly. I'll leave the red in place and add white ones next to them. They will both shine down the same lens.

I've ordered the required LEDs, along with some more for future projects and I'm hoping for delivery tomorrow because I have a free weekend.

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The LEDs didn't arrive yesterday :(

I have a quiet week ahead so I should be able to get on with the upgrades on Monday or Tuesday.

In the mean time I'm adding a head lamp to Toby the Tram. It was a simple drill out of the lens of the moulded lamp and pop in a 3mm orange LED. Solder the white wire to the front LED and yellow to the rear. 1K ohm resistor between the blue wire and the LEDs anodes.

I'm now waiting for the glue on the LEDs to dry before I put the motor back in the body.

This afternoon I think I will make my DCC kit more mobile. It is "installed" in the shed. This means I have to go to the shed to test everything. On a lighting project this can result in many trips up and down the garden path...

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The LEDs arrived. Big boxes for small packages!

I tackled the easiest one first, the HST Power Car dummy. As always it was fiddly in places, but the wiring was simple. Put the thing back together was a bugger. I've left it 'til the morning.

I had a go at chipping Sarah's new tram. I've got a tiny decoder, but the wires are annoyingly think so it's difficult to run them through the cable routes. I've put it to one side until the morning...

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Always good to "sleep on it".

Remembered the correct way to re-fix the drivers chair to the cab moulding and in the calm light of the morning the dummy power car was put back together, re programmed for the new headlight and finished.

108b2b4540e2cfc0ee413ec106e66d03.jpg

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unmodified and modified.

The tram was an issue. In a moment of stupidity I decided that my soldering skills were good enough for me to solder on the decoders tiny PCB. They weren't. I bridged the solder between both of the motor outputs (orange and grey) while trying to solder on a thiner grey wire. While trying to to break the bridge I touched the solder pad for the red wire and that came loose.

At this point the air turned blue and I was sure I was going to have to buy another £25 chip.

But I pushed on and got everything back where it needed to be. A quick test showed that I had the yellow and white wires the wrong way round. No need for the iron, a quick re program and it was all sorted.

On to the motor car of the HST. Hornby don't make this simple. The circuit board it completely different form the dummy car, it doesn't need to be. It took a while to workout how to connect the green wire. But having already fitted the nano LED to the dummy car, that part of the process was a breeze and I managed to refit the cab without breaking the drivers chairs.

I popped it on the test track and the rear lights had stopped working.

I've left that puzzle for tomorrow.

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I think I may have developed a problem on the decoder :(

I may have to swap it out to a loco that doesn't have any lights :!:

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Cracked on with the GBRf Class 66 today.

This model had a headlight, a top light and a pair of rears. It was missing the left and right marker lights.

The prototype has LED lamps which can shine white or red, these are becoming quite common on the railway (DCC Concepts now sell LEDs which copy this and shine white or red in the same lamp, I've got some to use on a future project) and I needed to recreate this for the rear/marker lamps. The surface mount LEDs are so tiny that it is possible to place a white LED next to red LED and get them to shine though the same lens. This is the approach I went for.

It wasn't a smooth run, it rarely is. The first problem was I that I stuck the LEDs on facing the wrong way. They didn't emit much light. I'd used Glue 'n Glaze so they were easy it remove and reaffix. The next issue was the white LEDs shorting with the adjacent red ones. The reds run on a lower voltage and resistance so if they shorted, the red came on and the whites went off. They had to be close, but not too close.

I got there in the end. They results are good, it now looks right, but marker lights don't have the same wow as adding a nice bright headlight.

My next challenge with tiny fiddly nano lights is to to add amber lights to the sides of my DMUs, the ones that show when the doors are unlocked. I haven't chosen't which model will be the first to receive the treatment.

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I recently bought a New Measurement Train, and notice that the dummy car is squealing really badly, and has a very high running resistance. The train's been boxed in the shop for the last 4 years (I've kept looking wistfully at it every time I went in), so I oiled it according to the instructions, assuming any factory lubrication would have dried out by now. I also gave it an hour's running in for each direction of travel, but the squeaking persists I notice from a YouTube video that someone had to adjust the over-tensioned pickup springs on the wheels to rectify this:

The other problem I've found is that the tension lock coupler on the cars has a big black plastic "nibble" moulded just above it. I think this is catching on some of the Lima Mk3 coaches I tried pulling with it, and causing the whole thing to de-rail. I just wondered if any of you had experienced similar problems.

Next on the agenda is to get the mk3 measurement coaches. I watched a bid end for £90 on ebay last weekend for the two coaches that Hornby released with the cars.. I might buy some ex-Lima coaches and modify them instead as it'd be cheaper, more fun, and I found a pretty good guide:

http://s374444733.websitehome.co.uk/class-43nmt/index-coaches.htm

Cheers,

Pete

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Martin's guides are excellent, I've been following one today.

Hornby do have some more coaches for the NMT in their 2014 catalogue, so if you can wait a couple of years :roll:

One detail about the NMT, the coaches do have some significant variations in their shades of yellow :!:

Today I put together a little test rig for DCC decoders. From time to time I do wonder if a chip is faulty and to test it I have to put it in a working loco, which means taking the chip out of the working loco first, and returning it afterwards. I've soldered a 8 pin socket on to a pice of veroboard and then some resitors and LEDs to test the three lighting function wires. I've attached a phono lead to the track inputs so this can plug straight into my DCC controller, which has phono outputs. I still need to add a test for the motor outputs. I may use an actual motor, or a line of LEDs wired to come on in turn as the power increases.

I hope it will have a duel purpose, in that it should also be able to supply handy outputs when I'm working on a lighting upgrade project.

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The decoder in my HST motor car has developed a problem. One of the function outputs is stuck on. As things stand its the rear lights I can't turn off.

I've been mulling this over for a while and I thin I may have finally come up with a solution. It's an obvious solution, but not as straight forward as it sounds. I'm going to use one of the other functions to control the rear lights.

Rather obvious, yes.

It would be simple, desolder the yellow wire, solder in the green wire. But there are no wires on this chip, it has the 8 pin socket build in. The extra complication is that Hornby wire their lights in a strange way with a common negative, rather than the usual common positive (only on the motor car mind, the dummy car is fine). It's going to take some faffing around to get it to work.

I will do a factory reset on the chip first in the home that fixes it.

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That didn't go well.

I blew the decoder. I think the short circuit protection on my DCC system is faulty.

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That "nibble" above the big tension lock coupling is I think a representation of an auto coupler. I had the same trouble on mine Chris so I snapped them off and now no trouble at all. They used to derail the Lima (now Hornby) MK3 coaches as the Lima coach coupling bar would strike one side and being unable to move further to the other side it would just derail the coach.

If Hornby was REALLY serious about the coupling then they would have installed NEM coupling pockets on the power cars and coaches to enable one to use Kadee couplers. As it stands it's a detail that not noticeable when the train is running unless you have a real life OO man with a video camera sitting on the coupling bar. :lol:

Roy.

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