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Converting a GF Railcar to DCC

4314 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Raider
I've recently purchased a second hand Graham Farish Railcar with a view to converting it to DCC.

On taking the body off and having a prod with a meter it looks as though the pickups are via a pair of wipers on each bogie, 1 of which goes to a strip underneath the chassis and the other goes directly to the chassis.

Does anyone have any suggestions / experience with the conversion of this model that they would be able to pass on?

Thanks in advance

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If your model post-dates the Bachmann takeover then several sites post moreorless the same procedure, which I can confirm is a bit fiddly but by no means impossible:

(railcar will have a different chassis length and a different number of wheels!)

If it doesn't look anything like that then it's a pre-Bachmann model. I don't know anything about these but does it look a bit like this one?

The digi-hat mentioned is available from
It looks more like the second one than the first, so I'm guessing it's an aged model.

Having another look at the loco it looks like I need to use 2 digihats as both contacts are held in with a metal clip (top and bottom)
May be possible to remove the wipers and hard-wire the bogie direct to the decoder? I've heard of this being done with Class 20s, but you need to be sure that the chassis (still connected to the motor) can't come into contact with the live parts of the bogie or with the track.

The Class 20 is the only Bachmann/Farish diesel still in production with the original Farish chassis. The lack of DCC fitting instructions on the web for the rest of the original Farish diesels suggests that the best way forward may be to buy a Bachmann/Farish version instead.
That certainly looks a cheaper option than the digihats and should work pretty well, as long as the area can be insulated (I'm thinking a thin piece of plasticard would do the job, or maybe some tape)

I'll pop the top off again later and see how easy it will be to solder the wires to the bogies.
i did a conversion of the old type 47 chassis and didn't solder wires to the bogies cos i thought the drag would restrict the bogie movement, but you end up with a chassis block that is live to the bottom brush on the motor all be it on the grey or orange lead, but you may end up with that anyway. what i did,was on top of the actual bogie on the outer end of the gear tower i soldered a brass pad the full width of the bogie middle the gears and axles fit in. i then drilled the chassis dead centre above where this 'pad' now was and fitted a sprung plunger like the type used for current pick up on O gauge models usually but they may have been a 4mm version?? ( it was years ago ). the other feed from the inner of the towers was isolated from the brush it usually feeds. then you basically join the 2 plungers to red or black, the two from the inside of the towers ( little nuts on top of the black plastic top to the chassis to the other decoder feed ( red or black). the actual spring retainers for the brushes have the grey and orange wires soldered to them as necessary. all tickety boo. what i did find ( may have been the old DN r DZ 14 whatever i used ) but the speed control was poor ( i didn't try or use speed tables back then ) it would take a bit to get moving at a walk,a couple of clicks later it would go to about 1/3rd to half speed!! nothing in between. i decided at the time that the mechanism was very draggy with friction, or the farish motor just didn't like the output from the decoder. i actually removed the decoder and just wired it back to run on DC with all the chassis and pickup mods still in place. it would be a simple task to try a 'new' decoder in it and see if things have changed.
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Does the interior look anything like this?
Well, thanks for all the replies - the loco is now fully operational on DCC.

I went for the soldering thin wires to the bogies as this seemed to be the least work and it worked fine. Control, even without tweaking the decoder, is silky smooth and it will run at a crawl very nicely.

The interior didn't look anything like that last link from poliss, sorry.
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