Over easter during an unplanned "stocktake" i unearthed two new Bachmann Spectrum DCC Ready Ballast Regulators that i purchased sometime in the last year or so.
If my memory serves me correct these units were used as "fillers" in a large box of stuff i purchased from the USA & were extremely cheap at around $40 or $50 per unit when purchased in concert with the bulk of the order.
They closely resemble those locally used & while there are few track maintenance vehicles on the market....most are static & the rest are not indicative of local prototype.
To balance my mind from layout building duties...i thought these may prove to be an enjoyable conversion to DCC & sound over the coming cooler nights.....Yes i know this may surprise a few but Goulburn does get a bit cooler in winter...
Mind you, like most of us, i have way too many UFOs ( unfinished objects ) laying around...but hey why not add another.
I decided to dissassemble the unit last night with a view to getting a feel for what i might need to complete the conversion & will outline my findings here...
Well for starters the instructions that come with the model are largely useless...the exploded diagram would be some help if assembling in the factory..but nil use to the end user. The reference to wiring is again useless.
The box says DCC ready...maybe they mean the box???
DCC ready is largely a misnomer. Sure there are some solder tabs hanging off the circuit board....but in this day & age i feel that DCC ready should mean almost plug & play....otherwise don't use the term in the first place.
Then again in hindsight i should remind myself that during my very short apprenticeship in decoder & sound installs, all of the projects have required rewiring etc etc.....
So with apologies to Mr Bachmann... where to from here..... well for starters i will need to source a very small decoder & matching speaker setup.....Anyone got any ideas???.....Maybe i need to look at N scale...
Either way i think that at least one of the end cabs will need to house the decoder setup & until i research out speakers i have no idea on placement.
Lighting will be another challenge & i need to research prototype lighting & possible use of a strobe???
I feel confident in the wiring conversion although i am not sure i am comfortable with the track pickup style from the "B" end & may get rid of the bare pickup wires that travel from the circuit board to a wiper plate on the underside of the "B" end bogie... This mod would require running new wires & camouflaging them inside the unit's frame.
Well i am now committed to this conversion....if for no other reason than the challenge...& will report back on progress...
Time to ring The Craftsman i feel!!!
Any advice would be gratefully accepted... as per usual.....
|Shot of the power bogie with circuit board visible & rear pickups dissappearing out of shot to right|
|Shot of the vehicle with power bogie removed..of note is the lack of concealed room for hiding decoder & speaker|
& the rear bogie pickup wire arrangement.