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Author Topic: GraFar Electric DCC fitting  (Read 364 times)

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Offline MarshLane

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GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« on: March 09, 2020, 11:18:00 PM »
Evening all,
I have now acquired three Graham Farish electric locos, a Class 87 and two Class 90s.  I am looking at options for fitting them with DCC chips.  None of course are DCC ready, so all will need some work.  The Class 90s especially have an open space under the cab floors and as  I am hoping I might be able to come up with some way to fit lights, that will need filling with plasticard or something.  My usual DCC manufacturer is Zimo through and through, but electric sounds on Zimo are in short supply, from what I can see so it looks like a small ESU with Legomanbiffo audio.

My query, being has anybody attempted DCC sound fitment to either type of model before?  If so, what were your thoughts? Some of the metal chassis is going to have to be filed away to create space for the decoder, which is something I haven't done before, so any advice is welcome.  Obviously I'll hard wire the decoder into place.

Rich

Offline jpendle

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2020, 12:40:39 AM »
Hi Rich,

I haven't tried it. All my early (for me) Farish stock is slowly being donated to my grandson for his DC Kato train set.

I'll solder a decoder to a DCC ready PCB, but that's the limit as far as I'm concerned.

I'll be looking forward to seeing how you get on though.

Regards,

John P
Check out my layout thread.

Contemporary NW (Wigan Wallgate and North Western)

https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=39501.msg476247#msg476247

Offline MarshLane

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2020, 01:28:14 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement John.

I am thinking Iíll start with the Class 90 first, that way if I do mess up the chassis, iíve a good chance of acquiring a spare!

Having been sat pondering over this for the last hour or so, I am thinking that tackling the lights first may be the easiest bit. My thought is some covered LEDs with some fine fibre optic thread running to the head, marker and tail light areas on the body and then threaded through some fine holes, may be the way forward.

Rich

Offline msr

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2020, 08:32:03 AM »
There was some discussion about the difficulties of doing this on another site. A lot of milling will be required, it would seem. Here's the link; look towards the bottom of the page:
https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/381-graham-farish-split-chassis-dcc-guide/

Offline MarshLane

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2020, 09:15:28 AM »
There was some discussion about the difficulties of doing this on another site. A lot of milling will be required, it would seem. Here's the link; look towards the bottom of the page:
https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/381-graham-farish-split-chassis-dcc-guide/

Thanks, yes the chassis looks very similar. So I had come to the conclusion that it needs part of the chassis block cutting away, unfortunately. Having come up with a plan (I love it when a plan comes together! He says going back to TV of my youth!) for the lights and cab base, I am starting to think it will be best to sort the decoder first, as there is no point in dealing with the lights off the decoder cannot be fitted.

Rich

Offline Nigel Cliffe

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2020, 09:37:03 AM »
I've fitted lights to a few things over the years for various people, though not the class 90. 


Approach 1:  Try to keep all electrics on the chassis.
 
Fibreoptic for the actual light lens, which can be slightly domed at the end with a bit of heat before fitting.  Bring the optics through the body, and try to group similar coloured lights together (bit of glue to hold them).   Remember, unless running light engine, you won't need red tail lights!

On the chassis, try to arrange a box with a slot, which the fibre optic will go into.  The slot so the chassis can be pushed into the body.
At the back of the box, a small bit of thin PCB with a surface mount LED+resistor on it.  With a bit of temporary wiring, this can be tested with about 12v DC as the power for the LED, select a resistor which gives appropriate brightness. 

This arrangement gives reasonably simple dismantling, without lots of wires connecting body to chassis. 



Approach 2:  Fix electrics to shell, minimum wires to chassis.

This needs similar fibre optic ends of lights as the first approach, but the PCB carrying the LED is fixed to the body shell.  The decoder is also fixed to the shell (as is any speaker), and wires run glued (or varnish) to hold them against the shell.   

Four wires need to come from shell to chassis, ideally with a plug/socket which can be broken for maintenance purposes.  ( I use small turned pin strips to make connectors).   This can get into a tangle over wire lengths linking body to chassis. 
 In an ideal world, I'd come up four sprung contacts which meet (a bit like the contacts on newer Farish diesels / DMUs from cab-end lighting to chassis), but its a difficult thing to make as a one-off and achieve reliability plus certainty of not causing a catastrophic short. 



- Nigel



Offline MarshLane

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2020, 02:37:54 PM »
Nigel,
Many thanks for the reply and the info, that's much appreciated.  It also confirms, I am thinking along the right lines for the lights. While I'd prefer option 1, I am thinking that because of the cab in the cab that needs to be sealed, that option 2 is the better bet.  I have some 1mmx0.5mm miniature pre-wired LEDs in red and white that should be usable, and some 0.5mm fibre optic thread, so we'll see what I can come up with!

I'll post the results.

Rich

Offline njee20

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2020, 03:21:56 PM »
A friend has a class 90 he had lights fitted to. By all accounts it was an absolute bugger to do!

Lengthy workbench thread here.

Adding sound too sounds like an utter nightmare. You can get a YouChoos class 90 project on a Zimo decoder. Always been impressed with their offerings. Given the crudity of the base model I'm not sure I'd bother though. I remain hopeful of a new one at some point. Probably once I finish one of the 4 in various stages of upgrade!  :doh:

Offline MarshLane

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2020, 11:18:55 PM »
A friend has a class 90 he had lights fitted to. By all accounts it was an absolute bugger to do!

Lengthy workbench thread here.

Adding sound too sounds like an utter nightmare. You can get a YouChoos class 90 project on a Zimo decoder. Always been impressed with their offerings. Given the crudity of the base model I'm not sure I'd bother though. I remain hopeful of a new one at some point. Probably once I finish one of the 4 in various stages of upgrade!  :doh:

Thanks for that. I seem to recall that thread in the dim and distant past, but have just spent the last 30 minutes re-reading it. Thanks for pointing it out as I hadn't realised Pete Harvey does a Class 90 etch, and its still available.  Reading through that thread has also given me some thoughts on other improvements that might be worth looking at. Bravo that man!  Can anyone tell me what's on the detail sprue that is included with the Dapol 86? I am wondering if it might be worth getting a couple of spares from DCCSupplies.

I had a feeling when I took the body off the first Class 90 that it could be a bit of a swine ... lack of space and thin plastic.  Somebody, possibly Bernard, on that thread makes the comment about swapping the bogies round on the Poole versions to get them to the right centres.  Does anyone know how you tell a Poole manufactured example from a China loco? 

I am also thinking that the plastic buffers need changing - does anyone know who does brass ones? I *think* these are OLEO style, rather than round ones?

Rich
« Last Edit: March 10, 2020, 11:49:14 PM by MarshLane, Reason: buffer note. »

Offline njee20

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2020, 09:11:41 AM »
You need to look at your specific proposed model. As delivered they all (I think) had round buffers with two flat edges. These could be locked at 90 degrees in the recessed position to enable the rubbing plate to work when propelling push-pull services. Flat slides vertical = recessed, flat sides horizontal = extended.

Some still retain those, whilst others have much shallowed 'squared oval' buffers.

The Dapol 86 kit includes dummy screw coupler and some brake pipes IIRC. There is a class 90 body on Shapeways which is a far better shape than the Farish one. I've got one on the go, I think I'd probably do that rather than the PH Designs kit, much of which is seriously fiddy!

The biggest improvements are mounting the airdam to the body, sorting the lights, and a better pantograph. I really wish someone did a decent BWHS pan aftermarket. I'm sorely tempted to send a 90 to Mercig, as his examples are stunning. Clicky.

Offline MarshLane

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2020, 09:55:07 AM »
Thanks for that. I did see the 90 on Shapeways and yes, agree that the general shape is far better, the finish just looks a bit too rough for my liking tho, although it could be that whomever painted it, didnít rub it down properly of course. For £20 it might be worth getting one and just seeing what comes of it I guess.

It may make the lighting aspect to the DCC chip easier. But thanks for the info, I had forgotten the buffers were retractable.

Funny you say about Mefcig. Iíd had similar thoughts last night!

Rich

Offline njee20

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2020, 10:05:23 AM »
I think these days most have lost the retractable buffers, possibly all except the Anglia ones which still do push pull.

The finish on the Shapeways body does need a bit of effort, I've got one in Smoothest Detail Plastic, and it's had a couple of coats of primer and been sanded, it's acceptable certainly, and (IMO) the shape is markedly better than the Farish one. I think the picture on Shapeways is just let down by the paint job full stop, with the best will in the world!

I got Ian to quote for a 90, it wasn't unreasonable! He's doing a 37 for me at the moment, I suspect a 90 will be next, given Farish seem to be staunchly refusing to announce a shrunk one!

Offline MarshLane

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2020, 01:37:42 PM »
Thanks,
I may take the plunge on a Shapeways body then and see what the outcome is, although I agree with the paint job, but there again I may be talking about of turn as I might not be able to do any better!!  I tend to agree about the shape being an improvement tho.

Thanks for all the input.

Rich

Offline njee20

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2020, 01:58:42 PM »
You'll need to respray with the PH etches, so worth getting that up to scratch regardless ;)

No problem. Look forward to seeing the outcome.

FWIW if you're just doing "normal" DCC conversions all of mine just have a pocket filed in the top of the chassis for the decoder to sit. Think they may all have Digitrax DZ125s.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 01:59:57 PM by njee20 »

Offline MarshLane

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Re: GraFar Electric DCC fitting
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2020, 11:35:51 PM »
You'll need to respray with the PH etches, so worth getting that up to scratch regardless ;)

No problem. Look forward to seeing the outcome.

FWIW if you're just doing "normal" DCC conversions all of mine just have a pocket filed in the top of the chassis for the decoder to sit. Think they may all have Digitrax DZ125s.

Thats true :) I have got a Class 33 body here that I acquired for a few quid from a Toy & Train Fair, my plan was to paint that up to start with, then strip it and paint again!  Could have the first Intercity Mainline liveried 33  :o

I am undecided on the standard or 'normal' DCC to be honest.  While it makes the control a bit easier, I dont know if its worth the hassle.  If I am going to the trouble of DCC'ing locos, then it seems logical to go the extra mile (or should that be 10 miles!) to put sound in as well.  I suppose even with normal DCC and a small stayalive, the running quality would probably be improved?  I have a Digitrax system, but have generally preferred Zimo chips in the past - what do you think to the DZ125s?  I presume they've been replaced by the DZ126 now? https://www.digitrax.com/products/mobile-decoders/dz126t/

Rich

 

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