Converting Bachmann fleet to Battery & RC

maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
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Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Max, you said: "

I have never seen a live steamer with a sound card fitted."

no specification that it had to be 16mm... nor is it the wrong scale for standard gauge.... When you make a general statement, you get a general answer...

Be careful with "never", "always", etc.

Anyway many people made fun of it, but turns out that you cannot get a prototypical chuff or whistle from a small model. It actually sounded pretty neat.

If one wants to be pedantic, yes, I said I had not seen one. That does not mean I was not aware one existed. Max
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Just giving you a bit of a hard time when you ran off at 16mm.... some of us are indeed mainline standard gauge (which is also what the Aristo is)...

all in fun... although the penchant for using the word pedantic is perplexing and puzzling perhaps...

Greg
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Just giving you a bit of a hard time when you ran off at 16mm.... some of us are indeed mainline standard gauge (which is also what the Aristo is)...

all in fun... although the penchant for using the word pedantic is perplexing and puzzling perhaps...

Greg

My entry into this hobby was a USAT GP38-2 in a warbonnet livery 18 years ago. I was pretty much all 1:29 USAT/Aristo till a Bachmann "Connie" showed up from a St Aubins close out sale. Oh, and I got over the mental barrier of a £300 limt for a loco and bought a 16 mm "scale" Lady Anne about the same time. The rest is history Max
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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So you are all now (at least US prototypes) narrow gauge?

And yes, some of the Bachmann locos have a double lead worm, which can indeed spin the motor, but most locos are single lead, which do not work "backwards". Disconnecting the track pickups, and ensuring they do not touch each other for the opposite rails ensures that you cannot create a short on someone's layout. Ripping out all the wiring does not give me the intense pleasure that it apparently gives some of the battery folk.

Greg
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
So you are all now (at least US prototypes) narrow gauge?

And yes, some of the Bachmann locos have a double lead worm, which can indeed spin the motor, but most locos are single lead, which do not work "backwards". Disconnecting the track pickups, and ensuring they do not touch each other for the opposite rails ensures that you cannot create a short on someone's layout. Ripping out all the wiring does not give me the intense pleasure that it apparently gives some of the battery folk.

Greg

Yes all my US stuff are narrow gauge prototypes and 15 mm scale (Fn3) , or so it says on the boxes. And all my UK/Colonial is 16 mm scale, with the same caveat. There is a 1:24 interloper in the form of a Madrid tram built from an Occre kit with a USAT motor block. I run live steam and electric in both scales. I still miss my Aristo' Mallet (though about doing a cab forward conversion kit for it) and the USAT 6 car Daylight set and matching ABA locos. Even if the cars didn't come the correct articulated set up. Max.
 
Fred2179G

Fred2179G

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20 Apr 2017
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I have never seen a live steamer with a sound card fitted."
Accucraft Countess, set to 45mm, with Tony's "Lyn" sound module and speaker plugged in to the RX. (Sound starts at 0:39)

Here is my line up of TX's - Saturn XR-4, Spektrum DX6i x 2, Planet T5 x 2, E-Sky (no model #), Exmitter EX7.
Yes, I was like that too. Still have a couple of locos with old 27Mhz radios that will be tough to convert. The rest, though, are now all converted to DSM2 protocol, with one RCS handheld (2 knobs, + buttons. I must get a spare/backup.) The Planet infuriated me by being proprietary, so that was the first to go. I buy DSM2 RX on Aliexpress - here's a selection. (The bottom one works fine and is really small - for a helicopter I believe.)

20200617_103449_3-dsm2-rx.jpg
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Accucraft Countess, set to 45mm, with Tony's "Lyn" sound module and speaker plugged in to the RX. (Sound starts at 0:39)


Yes, I was like that too. Still have a couple of locos with old 27Mhz radios that will be tough to convert. The rest, though, are now all converted to DSM2 protocol, with one RCS handheld (2 knobs, + buttons. I must get a spare/backup.) The Planet infuriated me by being proprietary, so that was the first to go. I buy DSM2 RX on Aliexpress - here's a selection. (The bottom one works fine and is really small - for a helicopter I believe.)

View attachment 276082

The sound unit for the Countess seems to be whistle alone. That is probably quite a useful idea in the context of live steamers. The live steam whistles, including the one on my RH VoR when I owned one. all have seem to have a problem with having to "clear their throats" of condensate when initially triggered, reducing their effectiveness. The Accucraft Countess was available in an electric version - that qualifies for a full on sound card :) Like my GRS L&B Manning Wardle has. Max
 
M

miniboB

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I have very similar engines to what you have. I have settled on li ion 3.7 packs. Better to go same voltage. for ease of recharging. I use 3.7v times four in series /parallel. K-28 large pack form. Cvp. K27 i use 8 18650 in series parallel. 45 tonner i use 16 AAA 3.7v in series parallel. C-19 I have 8 AA 3.7v in series parallel. Working on climax. It's a challenge. two truck shay 4 18650. All use CVP RC. Pheonix sound in steam. Work great!
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
I have very similar engines to what you have. I have settled on li ion 3.7 packs. Better to go same voltage. for ease of recharging. I use 3.7v times four in series /parallel. K-28 large pack form. Cvp. K27 i use 8 18650 in series parallel. 45 tonner i use 16 AAA 3.7v in series parallel. C-19 I have 8 AA 3.7v in series parallel. Working on climax. It's a challenge. two truck shay 4 18650. All use CVP RC. Pheonix sound in steam. Work great!
Could you explain some of the terminology you are using, e.g. "series parallel" please ? The cell sizes, are these are regular AA, AAA ? There is also the one for the K-28 I do not understand. What are costs like for specialized charger and the risks associated with the li ion technology ? A link to your vendors site would be useful.

The Climax installation I am working on, assuming NiMH AA cells, involves a 12 cell pack split 3 + 3 + 6. The 3 cell units would be Velcro-ed to either side of the cab roof and the 6 pack likewise to the top of the oil bunker, modified with the 4 internal redundant cast metal lugs removed. That should leave enough room for the Sierra, ESC, RX & SSI-9 to be installed on top of the standard PCB. I might have to add a small skirt to the bunker to add a few mm headroom. It's still just in the feasibility checking stage. I have a late model Climax that already has a speaker fitted and inputs terminals for the ESC's output. We shall see if it can be done this way. Max
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
OK, things are staring crystallize - First loco to get its conversion will be a "late model" Bachmann Climax. The set up will be a rechargeable battery pack, 12 x 1,2 v AA NiMH, arranged 3 + 3 + 6. Located as noted in the previous post. Looking at the documentation that comes with the loco it seems I can retain the standard DC PCB. So I will have the Sierra Card, RCS SSI-9, ESC and RX to go in the bunker, or thereabouts. All will be suitably insulated from each other than any necessary connection between them. The ESC will input into one of the pair of Battery terminals on the Bachmann PCB, as the manual seems to instruct and the speaker leads, factory fitted ready plugged into a socket on the PCB, will be re-installed as indicated on the Sierra card. The SSI-9 will take care of the "stay alive" on the Sierra as well as sort out the PWM voltage being fed to it by the ESC and will be installed as per its manual. I may dispense with the Sierra's remote volume control on this one loco as the Sierra card will be readily accessible by lifting off the dummy oil bunker. Before everybody screams, "disconnect the pickups !", I have been informed by someone in the US who does installs like this professionally that this version of the Climax has a reliable track pick up isolator. The chuff will be triggered by reed switch/magnet as shown of George Schreyers pages. Apart from any conjecture on the pick up scenario am I right so far ?

I am thinking, like the Accucraft K-27 conversion I did, that inputting the variable voltage through the battery input terminals on the std DC PC that all the directional lighting/flicker functions and smoke unit will behave as they would have done if receiving a variable voltage via the track pick ups. Can it be that simple ? On the K-27 the ESC input side had a 2nd set of fly leads that onward fed the battery voltage to a voltage regulator that fed the keep alive functions on that loco's Sierra, Again a 2nd set of leads were provided on the ESC's output side, one feeding direct into the loco's motor, via the K-27's simple terminal buss, and lighting circuits the other to a PWM - DC converter that fed the Sierra's voltage controlled functions. I appreciate that the SSI-9 may change exactly how the wiring is arranged but that's the gist of it. Max
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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It's probably easier to add a reed and magnet than using the internal chuff trigger stuff. The only issue is where are you going to put the magnet(s) and reed?

What is shown on George's climax pages is the wiring issues with the old style loco's chuff switches, not applicable to yours, nor are there magnets involved in the original one, so what reference on George's site are you using?

Personally I would find a way to use the chuff circuitry provided to you, perhaps it might need the logic inverted, but that is a single transistor solution.

Greg
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
It's probably easier to add a reed and magnet than using the internal chuff trigger stuff. The only issue is where are you going to put the magnet(s) and reed?
What is shown on George's climax pages is the wiring issues with the old style loco's chuff switches, not applicable to yours, nor are there magnets involved in the original one, so what reference on George's site are you using?

Personally I would find a way to use the chuff circuitry provided to you, perhaps it might need the logic inverted, but that is a single transistor solution.

Greg

Here you go - Bachmann Climax Tips . Hopefully it will open up at the right section. My K-27 is done the same way, but off the tender wheels and not the driveshaft, as on the Climax. The Sierra card being used is the one labeled "Climax". It remains to be seen if it still only needs 2 magnets to chuff at the correct rate.

That last sentence will require translation :) o_O:) I am trying to keep things simple if possible. Ripping apart the loco and fishing around in its innards will be avoided where humanly possible. But as they say....If needs must. Max
 
Tony Walsham

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,188
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Casino, NSW
Here you go - Bachmann Climax Tips . Hopefully it will open up at the right section. My K-27 is done the same way, but off the tender wheels and not the driveshaft, as on the Climax. The Sierra card being used is the one labeled "Climax". It remains to be seen if it still only needs 2 magnets to chuff at the correct rate.

That last sentence will require translation :) o_O:) I am trying to keep things simple if possible. Ripping apart the loco and fishing around in its innards will be avoided where humanly possible. But as they say....If needs must. Max
Hi Max.
You should be able to use the factory chuff connection and not have to worry about reed switches and magnets.



Just solder a wire to J1-5 as above.
As long as the R/C is using the same battery to power the electronics, there will be an automatic connection to ground.
Just connect that black wire shown to the Sierra chuff trigger. Do not connect to ground (-).
 
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phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Not intending to question what you're up to, but my track power DCC sure seems a lot simpler and straight forward to me!;) Then again, I'm not running R/C live steam either.
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Hi Max.
You should be able to use the factory chuff connection and not have to worry about reed switches and magnets.



Just solder a wire to J1-5 as above.
As long as the R/C is using the same battery to power the electronics, there will be an automatic connection to ground.
Just connect that black wire shown to the Sierra chuff trigger. Do not connect to ground (-).

Thank you Tony. That is very helpful. I can see J1-5 on the DC PCB although there is another PCB mounted above it, that will make it a tight squeeze with the soldering iron.

Looking at the Sierra master wiring diagram terminal #11 is the one that the wire from the DC PCB position J1-5 goes to. I assume that the Sierra's terminal #12 is the "ground -" you referred to. As I am using one of your SSI-9's in this installation then the whole installation, RX/ESC/Sierra, and by default all the other electrical components on the loco, will be using the same battery power source. Have I misunderstood anything ?

20201116_094417.jpg 20201116_092201.jpg

P.S. What is this mythical "plug and play" and "non propriety" that Bachman speak of in their manuals. I have never seen a product that claims these properties. The term "plug and play" reminds me of the term "user friendly" that was all the rage at the dawning of the home computer age some 40 years ago (40 years ago ! ). I still remember, after all these years, one sage reviewer on a BBC program dedicated to this new "fad" commenting on how to interpret vendors' claims for their products, "Yeah, user friendly. Yes, about as user friendly as a cornered rat". But I digress.
 
Tony Walsham

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,188
48
Casino, NSW
Hello Max.
Yes the wire shown does indeed go to terminal 11 on the Sierra.
Yes. the Sierra terminal # 12 is indeed ground.
The PCB in the way of soldering that additional trigger wire is actually the mythical "Plug'n'Play" idler card used so that the whole system works when not using a P'n'P decoder. You can temporarily remove it to gain access for soldering. It will only go back in one way around when replacing.
 
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beavercreek

beavercreek

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Yeah Max, the non-propriety socket is a great term. It was Bachmann's spin on a similar facility that Aristocraft had on some of their locos. In fact it was supposed to be the same but between the two companies the wiring for the socket was slightly different and could give interesting results when adding a DCC board or something like the plug in Airwire RC decoder.
QSI made DCC sound decoders that could plug into the non-propriety' socket. Everything was fine except that the front and rear headlight were reversed and had to be rectified with CV programming.
It was a good move for Bachmann as the erratic nature of their wiring (especially colours of cables), even though that got better in the last ten years, meant that having a plug in board solved the faff of checking the whole wiring nest when adding DCC or RC.
 
Tony Walsham

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,188
48
Casino, NSW
Hello Mike.
Before the PnP socket was introduced much discussion took place between interested parties, the end result was what is now the Bachmann version.
Aristocraft screwed up the implementation by accidentally reversing the image in the production facility.
Digitrax made the first DCC decoders to use with the "socket" and followed the original correct design adopted by Bachmann. Thus there were problems when used with Aristoctaft locos fited with their version..
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,918
554
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Not intending to question what you're up to, but my track power DCC sure seems a lot simpler and straight forward to me!;) Then again, I'm not running R/C live steam either.

Ah, the problem for me is I see DCC as the work of the devil and a devil to work. I, like a lot of the human race, suffer fro various irrational fears - DDC and heights are the two principle ones that affect me. Joking aside.........

As I might have mentioned elsewhere I have yet to be convinced DCC will offer any real benefits, at least in the way my line is operated, in the larger scales given the costs and setting up entailed. Also, as my line in mostly in shade or semi shade it results in, what some might consider, quite a lot of routine work to maintain its electrical integrity. I also like the idea that with an RC/Battery set up each loco/powered vehicle is a neat self contained unit. Cost wise I do not perceive one to be at an advantage over the other.

I do possess a DCC enabled loco but it is a tiny Bachmann WWI NG Baldwin OO9 scale/gauge product. It is fitted with a fully featured 18 pin Zimo sound card that sits within the loco's body, as does the speaker, without any need for compromises in the loco's fine detail and appearance. Something of that nature could only be conceived and executed in a DCC environment. And it has proved to be truly "plug and play" - pop out the DC idler chip, pop in the Zimo, assign it an address on the Piko DCC handset and off you go. I just had the print a little label reminding me of all the locos functions, 1-26, to put below the handsets's display - the Piko system can only display 10 functions at a time so you have to scroll through 3 layers to access all. Max
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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User friendly pah user antagonistic is the realistic term. Have to say that 26 sound functions takes things way too far.I have long felt that 3-4 is more the enough to be fiddling when driving a train. Whistle, Short Whistle, Bell and blow off. Most of the others are just gimmicky in my view.