MODS AND FIXES
Consolidation conversion Eric Londesbrough adds battery power to Bachmann’s new 2-8-0
In GardenRail 161 I read John Lythgoe’s enthusiastic description of the Bachmann 2-8-0 and was very impressed by the appearance of the model. However having looked up advertised prices, there being no stockist where I could see the loco within sensible travelling distance, and my line hardly needing another large loco, I decided not to invest.
However John’s next article in issue 162 with more pictures and complete servicing instructions renewed my interest and seeing one for auction on a well known website I decided to bid. Fortunately there was not a great deal of interest and I purchased it for an extremely favourable price, boxed and unused.
Everything that John had written about this model proved to be correct and the quality, detail, and performance on a short indoor test track was excellent. One little warning however to potential buyers is that I discovered on measuring the model that it was somewhat wider than any of my other locos. A quick check revealed that both my girder bridges would need to be half an inch wider and one station platform would need moving back or the rails moved over. A day’s work cured these problems.
SIMPLE TO DISMANTLE As my TVLR (having been constructed mainly to run live steam) has no track power, it was necessary to convert the Consolidation to battery power and add radio control. It is always a little worrying to start modifying a new locomotive but this one proved surprisingly easy. The tender is so large and simple to dismantle that it was soon obvious that everything needed would be easily accommodated. The first step involved investigating how to disconnect the power supply lines from pickups on the driving wheels of the loco. The pickups are on all wheels but, as they present so little rolling resistance and would be extremely difficult to remove they were left untouched.
All that is required is to invert the locomotive, either using the original packing box or other suitable support and remove the ashpan cover. This is fixed with four very small, black, cross-point screws – which have a nasty habit of disappearing unless great care is taken. A pair of tweezers, a good screwdriver and a strong light are essential. The cover lifts off easily and reveals a printed circuit board, which distributes power to the motor, lights, etc. It is fitted with a small white plug and socket, and all that is needed is to gently pull out the plug which conveys current to the board from the loco wheels, coil up the wire and tuck it beside the circuit board. It is now available if restoring the loco to track power is ever required.
Anyone wishing to have the benefit of both methods of power could fit a switch in the plug wiring and leave the plug in place. When replacing the ashpan cover, tighten the screws gently and just nip them up. Any great force will destroy the threads in the plastic.
ACCESS TO THE BATTERIES The tender is next for attention. Remove the coal boards at the tender front with their small coal pile by sliding upwards or, when you turn the tender over, this section will drop out. Turn over the tender and remove the two fixing screws at the front of the chassis, which hold the body in place.
Gently pushing the body forwards will release the lugs at the rear end and it can be separated from the chassis. Do this slowly, as the chassis will still be connected to the body by the red and black wires to the LED rear light. I cut these wires and labelled them immediately and later extended them and fitted a small block connector so future removal would be easy. Take care with the small resistor that controls the power to the LED.
With the tender body now separated remove the screws holding down the coal load and set it on one side. Next is the only major alteration that cannot be reversed. Mark out an aperture on the tender top where the coal load was fitted. I made it four inches square and cut it out using a small drill and a very fine modeller’s saw, before finishing it off with a file. My edges were not quite perfect but are only ever seen by me, (and by you in the photograph). The tender body will still have plenty of strength and there will be access to the batteries, which will
ARDEN G Rail 1:20.3 G SCALE
All photos by author
Top: The fireman takes it easy as No 7 on a trial run, with the modifications completed but with its nameplate still to be fitted, coasts down into Dalton yard. He thoroughly approves of the electric system.
Above left: The area cut out in the tender top and the connector for the rear light.
Above right: The complete installation on the tender chassis, with receiver and aerial ready for fixing to the tender sides.
Right: Circuit Diagram – not to scale.
ARDEN G Rail