Getting into those pesky coaches to get them lit up!

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Keith M, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Since my tutorial on Coach lighting, it's been pointed out that sometimes the real problem is actually getting into coaches in the first place! Point taken, so I'll go through the coaches that I have on my layout (this is 00 gauge, so unfortunately I can't offer any help to other gauges folks may be running, but they may be similar). One of the likeliest first culprits will be the early Triang/Hornby coaches, and one of the easiest too as they're probably the best part of 50 or so years old and represent early production line techniques long before the advent of clip together parts. Upending the coach, you'll see a couple of brass screw heads central in the underside, remove these, then looking at the "corridor connector" at each end, near the top lip, you'll see a small slot with a tab protruding from it. Gently press in each tab in turn, and the roof pops off, then the sides fall away to reveal the basic chassis. After removing the seating/partitioning assembly, under this on the chassis is a fair sized rectangle with a small metal weight. I find that most rolling stock of any description is way too light, so I normally add a suitably sized piece of lead roof flashing, removing the moulded bosses from the roof fixing screws as I tend to glue on the roof after modification, as (assuming you make a decent job of the soldered joints on the lighting setup) you won't need to remove the roof again. Since you are adding lighting, it follows that you will notice the interior of the coach much more, so it makes sense to paint or similar the seating/partitions etc and add passengers. I then glue the sides back into position as this adds strength to the whole assembly, before doing the lighting setup (see my How-to on this) and finally gluing on the roof after of course testing the lighting operation. I use exclusively 'Kadee' couplings on my layout, so as part of my modifications, I fit these, which can be easy if the coaches have NEM pockets (well done, Bachmann), but you may need to experiment with older coaches which don't have NEM pockets.
     
  2. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Next in line are probably Lima coaches, a 'Budget' range rather like the Triang/Hornby early ones, and very similar to work on, roof removal being simply by a tab near the top of the "Corridor connector" (no brass screws here!), and you're in! As before, I'd advise adding weight where possible, and you can often use small pieces of lead flashing (it's VERY useful stuff to have a supply of!) cut and fitted under each individual seat on the underside of the interior moulding, and you can choose to either glue or clip the roof back on as you wish. I would always advise that before adding the LED lighting strip to the underside of the roof of ANY coach, that you first glue a strip of white paper to cover the whole underside of the roof moulding. The reason for this is twofold, firstly to help reflect the light from the LED's downwards, and secondly and most importantly, you'll find that some roof mouldings are on the thin side, and coaches would look a bit odd with roofs glowing in the dark!
     
  3. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a rake of half a dozen Bachmann Mk1 Pullmans which are slightly different in disassembly than the Non-Pullmans I've just received, having only two self-tapping screws securing chassis to interior, one screw just inside the inner end of each bogie. After removal of these screws, you will need to unhook the wire 'plumbing pipes' which come down from the roof to either side of the coach ends, two wires at one end, only one at the other, before the roof will come off. I'd suggest the same procedure for adding weight, painting and passengers as before, and due to the more sensible roof fixing method, you won't really need to glue on the roof unless you really want to.
     
  4. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    This afternoon, I received the five Bachmann Mk1 coaches I've just bought, so I set about dismantling the first one ready to start the upgrades. These coaches have three screws holding the interior to the chassis, and it's necessary to remove the two bogies to access the screws at each end, although the middle one is fairly obvious. In my pic, I've poked a cocktail stick into each screw hole to illustrate where they are, as it's not easy to show this due to the dark chassis. IMG_1274.JPG

    Although a weight is fitted as in other coaches, I still find these weights on the light side, so this too will be replaced by a strip of lead flashing. In my experience, it helps the smooth running of rolling stock as it tends to stay on the tracks better, especially if you have tight-ish curves! Luckily, these coaches have the NEM pockets, so fitting Kadee's (No 20's in this case) is a doddle.
     
  5. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    This pic illustrates a couple of the "plumbing pipes" which come down off the roof and hook into holes in the coach ends. To get the roof off, you need to disengage these wires, obviously replacing after internal work is completed.

    IMG_1275.JPG

    The observant amongst you will then have noticed in the previous pic....."Ah, but these bogies don't have a handy rivet with a sizeable hole in it holding the bogie on, so how does he get the pickup wires through to the interior from the bogie???"
    That's where a bit of thinking is called for! You may see that the actual pivot for the bogie is on a raised circular boss, so what I do is to drill a series of about 5- 2mm holes close to each other in a "C" shape around this boss, drilling a similar and matching set in the bogie, blending the holes together into a slot, which then allows room for the wires to pass through to the bogie pickups whilst still allowing the bogie itself to pivot without binding. It's sometimes necessary to do this with certain of the later Hornby Pullmans, making sure that the coupling assembly, which is spring loaded and moves sideways on curves, is not obstructed.
     
  6. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I recall that a member mentioned that his coach had no interior. There are coach interiors available (Ebay???), but why not do as I did on my elderly Triang 2BIL EMU which had no interior, and build your own from Plasticard, Balsa, maybe even cardboard, seating too is easily fashioned, best to make up a complete assembly on a Plasticard or similar base, and just fit the whole lot in after painting? Once passengers are added and the whole lot put back together, only a very close inspection would reveal the 'home-made' interior.
    Any other queries, then just ask and I'll help if I can, maybe other members also have good ideas and methods, if so, just share them with us.
    Keith.
     
  7. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    A further thought occurred to me regarding perhaps being able to switch on/off the internal lighting. One method would be to use a 'function only' decoder so you could switch on/off at will, but this would likely add around £15/£20 to each coach cost, but you could fit a small slide switch under the coach, drilled through the chassis, which would do the same, but much cheaper. The only disadvantage to this would be the need to remove each coach from the track to operate the switch, then replace on the track, which might be a bit of a 'faff'.......or maybe you have cracked this already, if so, do tell!
    Keith.
     
  8. Mr Porter

    Mr Porter Failure is always an option. Full Member

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    At Layouts4U they produce a kit to fit a latching reed switch for lighting so you can switch it on and off by passing a magnet over the coach. Bought one recently but not fitted it yet.

    http://www.layouts4u.net/coachlighting.html

    This is for a battery powered version but I assume it will work the same with track power.

    :headbanger:
     
    jakesdad13 likes this.

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