Saturday, October 1, 2016

Bachmann Ten-Wheeler Restoration: New Headlight

This has absolutely nothing to do with the layout, but since I need more materials before I can move on, I thought I'd share it. As you all know, I once had a garden railway and as such have lots of G Scale equipment. One loco is this Bachmann 4-6-0 lettered for the South Pacific Coast Railroad. I received it for my tenth birthday and, being a 10-year-old boy, I played rough with it. I dug her out of storage and she wasn't a pretty sight. So I decided a full restoration was in order.

Tonight, I started that restoration by replacing the headlight. The original filament bulb burned out decades ago. Seriously, I hasn't worked since Hootie and The Blowfish "I only wanna be with you" was in the top 40! Anyway, instead of another fillament bulb I opted for an LED. Here's how it went down:

The LED is a bright white 3mm with presoldered resister. These can be scored off eBay usually from Chinese seller for dirt cheap prices.

The headlight bezel needs a larger hole to accomodate the LED. Bother wires and the resister can fit through the existing hole in the top of the smoke box.
The wires from the headlight lead to a small switch on the back of the smoke box front. I clipped these wires about an inch or so from the end and stripped them. Then, I used a pair of alligator clips to temporarily connect these wires to the leads from the LED. Since polarity is crucial with LEDs, I applied power to the locomotive and made sure the headlight illuminated while the locomotive was running forward. With correct polarity determined, I spliced the wires, soldered them and covered the joints with Kapton tape. I reassembled the locomotive and called it done.

The headlight is quite bright, perhaps maybe too bright. But still, it's nice to see it lit once more. What's more, despite sitting in storage for nine years and having the crappy white plastic gears Bachmann used in all it's mid-1990s models, she still ran. She will need her gears greased and moving parts oild before I really run her for any length of time, but I think I'm on the right track.

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