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> Western courier, dcc conversion
peter wilding
post 13 Sep 2014, 17:29
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Good Evening Hello
New member Pete reporting for duty
Hopefully, somebody might be able to point me in the right direction,
I would like to try to convert a 35 year old western courier to dcc.
It runs quite nicely on 12v dc pulling 250ma.

any thoughts

Thanks Pete
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SRman
post 14 Sep 2014, 01:33
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Hi Peter, and welcome.

I think that before anyone can properly answer your question, we need a little more information on the model.

I assume you are talking OO scale and therefore the Western would have to be either Hornby or Lima. The DCC conversion would differ slightly depending on which manufacturer we are referring to and also, particularly with Hornby, which version of the motor bogie is fitted (they kept modifying the design of the pancake motor slightly, so the electrical paths can differ between variations).

Of course, if you are referring to any other scales then the answers will again be different.
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peter wilding
post 14 Sep 2014, 09:04
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Oh dear, sorry, it is 00 gauge, manufactured by hornby, I bought it in 1979.
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SRman
post 14 Sep 2014, 12:38
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OK. There were a few variations on the Hornby 'pancake' motor bogies, some of which had one of the brushes grounded to the metal frame, others had the brushes isolated from the frames. I did all this with a Hornby class 92 with the 'grounded' brush type of motor, but the principles are the same for all Hornby 'pancake' motor bogies, both 4-wheel and 6-wheel types.

If it is one of the 'grounded brush' type, you will need to insulate the brush/brush retainer that is grounded. Usually, the metal screw goes right through to the metal frame on the far side of the motor. I replaced the metal screw with a plastic one from an old K's kit - you will have to try to find a way to do this. Once that has been done, the instructions are basically the same for all types.

Check that those brushes are completely isolated from any electrical feeds from the wheels and track.

It is advisable to remove the capacitor between the brush retainers for better DCC running, although some decoders don't seem to care if it is there or not.

Trace the wires from the electrical pickups. These need to be connected to the red and black wires on the decoder - convention says the red one should be the one connected to the right-hand rail, but in the case of a Western, it is up to you to determine which way is 'forwards' (I still have difficulty remembering which end is the 'front' on my Heljan and Dapol Westerns!! biggrin.gif )

The orange and grey wires should be soldered to the brush retainers.

If there are any head or tail lights, these need to be connected to the white (front head and rear tail), yellow (rear head and front tail) and blue (return) wires.

If you doubt your abilities with any of this, I would suggest using a cheap decoder initially, with a 9-pin JST connection. You can then easily replace the decoder with a better one later, once you are happy that it all works.

Another possibility is to solder in an 8-pin socket - same wiring as before - which then allows you to plug in an 8-pin decoder, with the ability to change or upgrade the decoder at any time (even adding sound if you so desire).

One other thing I would suggest is rigging extra electrical pickups so that as many wheels as possible are picking up power from the track.

I would also suggest NOT using Hornby's cheaper decoders as their peak loading current may not be sufficient, and they don't have any overload protection, meaning it is fairly easy to let that magic smoke out of them!



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peter wilding
post 14 Sep 2014, 13:32
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Thank you Srman, that is exactly the info I was hoping for, I will give it ago, once again thanks a lot
Peter
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SRman
post 14 Sep 2014, 22:36
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Good luck with it, Peter. It isn't difficult, just fiddly.
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peter wilding
post 15 Sep 2014, 16:04
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Hello again, having some difficulty with this, managed to take the body of the chassis and found 1 connection attached to the motor housing and then on to one side of the bogie, the other connection is on the bogie at the other end different side of course........does this make any sense?
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SRman
post 15 Sep 2014, 22:39
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Yes, that's quite a common arrangement. The wheels of the trailing bogie are picking up on one side only, hence the single wire to the other end.

The motor bogie may or may not have double-sided pickups. The wire on the motor bogie will most likely be from the pickups on the insulated wheels. The otehr side of the bogie, metal frame and all, may be live and returning current through the uninsulated wheels, which will also probably have traction tyres fitted.

It is important to make sure the brushes are completely insulated from the live frame. The diagonal, split pickup arrangement is also why I suggested rigging extra pickups. As it stands, your locomotive is most likely picking up on 6 out of the 12 wheels, possibly eight or nine of them but two of those most likely have traction tyres (not conducive to conduction electricity!).

As I cannot see your particular model, and don't have a Hornby Western, I can only guess at exactly what you have. As I said before, there are quite a few variations in the way Hornby set things up over the years.
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peter wilding
post 16 Sep 2014, 18:35
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Ok I think iget it now, I appreciate the time you have taken in attempting to educate me, thanks a lot
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Jack Rouse
post 18 Sep 2014, 06:15
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I've done this with a similar engine, to isolate the brushes is quite easy, one of them will already have a section of isolating tubing over the tension spring, simply cut this in half nd slide over each end of the spring to isolate both brushes, saves having to try and find some thing lying around to do the job.


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peter wilding
post 18 Sep 2014, 15:50
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Thank you Jack , cannot do this at the moment, need new glasses , can only just make out the brushes, getting old does not come on its own
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