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DCC'ing A Bachmann Street Car
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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 02:05 pm
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Mark R.
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Greetings everyone !

 

Seems to be a lot of folks here using the Bachmann On30 street car for powering their projects, so I'm hoping for some insight on the product.

I'm looking to install DCC and sound in one of the 4 wheel street cars as is. My short-coming is getting the thing apart ! I've installed DCC and sound in numerous engines, so I won't have any problem once I can figure out how to get this thing apart.

The screws appear to hold the mechanism in place, but I'm a bit stumped with the body. Bachmann's exploded diagram shows the roof as a separate piece, but it sure isn't obvious to me how it comes apart. (?)

Any tips or tricks would really be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Mark.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 02:15 pm
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W C Greene
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Howdy Mark and welcome to Freerails. I don't have experience with the streetcar but Bachmann USUALLY has the top held on with tabs. Look carefully along the roof ine to see if there is a place to stick a razor blade or #11 between the body & top and work it around. You may have to slightly bend the sides out some to release the tabs. But then, a 12 year old Chinese girl might have glued the thing together! Good luck, maybe someone with some direct experience will chime in.

Woodie



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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 04:36 pm
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Huw Griffiths
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Yes - the roof is held on with tabs - 3 on either side.

They're rather awkward, too (and can be fragile, if you're not very careful when you remove the roof).

About 12 years back, I opened one up for an attempt at interior detailing / painting.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures (some cynics might suggest that this could be fortunate for me ...) - and I haven't seen any shots on the internet which show the underside of the roof.


In case they're any help, here are some links to shots elsewhere which give some idea where the tabs are:

Side view (roof on), on RRline - the tabs are moulded to the roof - and clip into the back of the window mouldings, behind the uprights between the 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th and 5th/6th windows on either side. You can't actually see the tabs in this shot - but the bodyshell sides and roof look slightly different where the tabs are.

Angled view of roofless bodyshell, showing some of interior - the roof tabs clip into small, rectangular, holes in the side window mouldings. (There's one strip of moulding for each side - and they're arranged so they press each other outwards, holding them against the bodyshell). The holes are just about visible between the arched tops of the windows.

Clear moulding, which fits below roof - the rectangular slots along the edges give some idea where the tabs go. Just for information, the large circular hole in the centre of this moulding provides clearance for the trolley pole assembly to swivel. The smaller holes, about 1/4 and 3/4 of the way along the centre line provide clearance for 2 small lightbulbs. The threaded holes at the ends (with pairs of pegs "outboard" of the holes) are fixing points for wires from the chassis to a lighting PCB which fits between this clear moulding and the roof.


From memory, I believe the tabs on the underside of the roof look a bit like hooks (they clip into the back of the "window" moulding).

To remove the roof, slide a thin edge (end of a 6" steel rule, or tip of a small flat screwdriver) into the gap between the roof and bodyshell, next to one of the tabs. Move the screwdriver along slightly - and slide the end of a wooden coffee stirrer into the space where the screwdriver was.

This sequence needs to be repeated for the other tabs along 1 side - and this edge of the roof slid up slightly, to release the tabs on this side from the slots in the window moulding.

I can't remember whether you also need to do the same with the tabs on the other side - or whether it was possible to swivel this side of the roof upwards enough to allow its removal. (Let's face it, this was about 12 years back, but I hope this will give some usable pointers.)

What I can remember, though, was that the tabs wanted to snap - and I couldn't find any other way to remove the roof.


I also believe that the slatted floor in this model is screwed in from underneath the bodyshell - and the seats are fixed to the inside of the bodyshell using tabs, which look like they might have been melted in place using something like the tip of a soldering iron.

I also seem to recall that the window mouldings have a rim running around the inside of each window - unfortunately, on the inner side of the mouldings. I say "unfortunately" because, if this rim had been on the outer side (or, better still, on both sides), it could have been painted to look like a wooden window frame.


Anyway, the one thing that probably is worth taking note of here is the stuff about being very careful when working on the tabs, to remove the roof.


Regards,

Huw.

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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 04:50 pm
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Mark R.
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Thanks so much for the information. I'm sure that will help immensely. I'm hoping to retain the bulbs in the roof and the LED headlights when I install the decoder.

Do recall offhand what voltage the bulbs in the roof are ?

Mark.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 04:59 pm
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Huw Griffiths
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Mark R. wrote: Thanks so much for the information. I'm sure that will help immensely. I'm hoping to retain the bulbs in the roof and the LED headlights when I install the decoder.

Do recall offhand what voltage the bulbs in the roof are ?

Mark.

I think they were 12V nominal (certainly would have been if they were connected in parallel - as I can't remember any resistors, diodes etc in series with them).

Personally though, I'd probably be inclined to replace them with orange LEDs (and series resistors) - I don't think it would be too hard to modify the "roof" PCB or replace it, possibly with stripboard.

Huw.

Last edited on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 05:00 pm by Huw Griffiths

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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 05:02 pm
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Mark R.
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Thanks Huw. I'll probably tear into it within the next week or so.

Mark.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 09:12 pm
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Huw Griffiths
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Mark,

A few minutes ago, I retrieved the streetcar I had a go at - and I'd remembered things correctly.

The bulbs in the ceiling are connected in parallel with each other - directly to the pickups and in parallel with the motor. (At the time, I wasn't too worried about this, as I was more interested in looking at my model than running it.)

The chassis can be removed without touching the roof (or anything else above the solebar):
  • Underneath the bodyshell, there's an assembly to represent the truck sides and the lifeguards. It's made of a flexible plastic which doesn't particularly like paint - and held together by a tiny Philips screw at each corner.
  • Thankfully, you don't need to touch these screws. There are 3 round lugs per truck side - a bit like cylinders, with slots running lengthwise straight across the centre line - they can be found at the centre and at the corners.
  • If you insert a small flat screwdriver next to these lugs, the truckside / lifeguard assembly can be eased out - revealing a Philips screw at either end of the chassis assembly (previously hidden by the lifeguards).
  • Removing these screws allows the chassis to be removed complete. You'll then be able to see a circuit board, which carries connections to the yellow LEDs (headlights) and the bulbs (interior lights). There are 2 tracks which run the full length of the PCB - these have "lands" joined to them, which rest on the phosphor bronze contacts for the pickups and motor. There are no breaks in these phosphor bronze contacts.
  • The tracks running the full length of the PCB are connected to the "interior light" bulbs on the ceiling, via red wires at either end of the body. These wires are channelled through rectangular sections in the end glazing mouldings - and are far too visible for my liking.
  • Once each red wire reaches the top of the glazing moulding, it's then connected to a phosphor bronze tag with one end bent up to make contact with the ceiling light PCB. The solder tags are held in place using Philips screws.
  • The headlights at either end are yellow LEDs. They're actually fitted into boxes under the cab floors - with their light being channelled to the outside world through clear plastic mouldings, concealed by black mouldings which look like controllers.
  • Each of the LED boxes under the cab floors is held together by a small Philips screw, driven into a plastic boss moulded onto the underside of the floor - the LED leads are twisted around these, with a blue wire and a black wire running to the PCB. One of these wires is connected (via the PCB) to a motor / pickup spring, while the other goes via a resistor on the PCB.
  • The mechanism itself is nothing too exotic - a motor with a worm and plastic reduction gearing at either end - the whole mechanism is contained in a painted metal block, with a plastic cover to protect the gears. This plastic cover is held in place by the 2 Philips screws which are accessible without removing the truckside / lifeguard assembly - chances are you won't need to touch these.
  • The only strange bits about the chassis are the wheels - on the front, they look like discs - on the back, you can see holes which look like they might have been designed to take bolts. This makes me wonder if they might have been thinking of using the same chassis (or at least the same wheels) with coupling rods.
  • Other than that, the bench seats and floor inside the car body might be interesting (how interesting depends on the initial colour scheme) - I believe they start off the same colour as the bodyshell moulding (before it was painted at the factory). If I recall correctly, this might not be too much of a problem with the "Hershey" version of this model (black, or dark brown) - but mine was one of the "United Traction" ones (very pale cream). I think the benches might also have a bit of a notch at one end.

I hope this helps,

Huw.

Last edited on Fri Feb 1st, 2013 09:22 pm by Huw Griffiths

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 Posted: Fri Feb 1st, 2013 11:01 pm
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Mark R.
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That helps a lot Huw - Thanks. I'm accustomed to working on HO scale diesels, so this was a new arena for me. I'm sure once I get it tore down, the break points to install the decoder and lighting will be rather apparent based on your description.

Thanks again for helping out.

Mark.



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 Posted: Sat Feb 2nd, 2013 07:54 am
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Huw Griffiths
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No problem.

Regards,

Huw.

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 Posted: Sun Feb 10th, 2013 01:11 am
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Mark R.
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Just wanted to update ....

Everything came apart just as you described with no problem. I installed a Digi-Trax decoder and speaker along with a custom trolley sound file. While I was in there, I also replaced the yellow LED headlights with warm white LEDs and also replaced the bulbs in the roof with "frosted" 3mm warm white LEDs as well. It was a pretty tight fit getting everything installed without having anything hanging below for all to see, but it turned out really well.

Thanks again for all your assistance.

Mark.



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