Thursday, March 30, 2017

Use LED lighting quick and dirty simple step by step

LED Quick & Dirty Step by Step

Explaining how to use the Light Emitting Diode

Make an LED Ring tool


Quick & Dirty LED's...

Using your power pack, you can connect the DC or AC or Track Power DC to a string of LED's and get them to work reliably.

Make an LED Ring Tool so you don't have to memorize how to do LED's and have a tester for brightness.

We're going to keep it as simple as possible. If you can get these things, you can light up your LED's in a matter of minutes.

Tools needed:
1. Solder Pencil/Iron/Gun - a simple $10 solder pencil from the auto parts store (or Home Depot, Lowes, Menards) will work for most things you do.

2. Solder - electrical rosin core is what I use (Home Depot, Lowes, Menards) about $4

3. Rosin Soldering Flux Paste - I use RadioShack, at Grainger it's $2. You CAN use most kinds of flux, but rosin is best for electrical.
We'll explore different kinds of flux later, for now get what you can to make this project work today.

4. Bridge Rectifier - Radio Shack (if you still have one) or ebay or Amazon. You might luck out and be able to find one at some other store near you. on ebay $7 for 10 600 volt, pretty good deal.

5. 1k resistor - online or some auto parts stores, on ebay 100 1/2watt are $3.48. Sometimes I use 1 watt and sometimes 1/4watt, if you pop an LED, then you know it was the wrong resistor.

6. LED of your choice. Brightness is measured in MCD. I have some that are 700mcd, 7000mcd and superbright at 24000mcd, almost like a surefire flash light. We'll play with brightness later.

We need to make this ring so we can test LED's to see if we like them in our projects.

Once you have a working ring, you can then add new LED's to see how bright they are compared to others that you already know.

Here is a useful note: A 5mm led is just a little too big for an Athearn blue box Trainmaster headlight and a 3mm is too small.

Make the ring:
1. Tin your parts. This is where you pre-solder the parts leads so they are easy to join to another part.

2. Join the "+" lead (which is marked on the bridge rectifier) to the resistor. The GOLD STRIPE IS toward the next part. You are soldering the "+" to the side of the resistor without the gold stripe.

3. Look at the pictures below - inside the LED is a big piece and a little piece, solder the gold stripe side of the resistor to the small side of the LED.

4. Put more LED's in the same direction, small side always points back to the gold stripe.

5. Solder a black wire from the big side of your final LED to the "-" lead on the bridge rectifier.

6. Connect power from you power pack and light them up.

I like yellow for the inside of building and some headlights. You can use the AC accessory on your power pack to do this.

Remember those old power packs you have somewhere? You can use those to light city blocks.

In locomotives without DCC, you can use this LED ring to do you lights. DCC already has circuits that deal with lights, so this isn't for use in that situation.

Passenger cars, EOT - end of train, all that is possible from this.

This is only the beginning. You can get much more complex but adding other things to your ring, but you'll always have an example of the basic working LED.











Saturday, March 25, 2017

HO Scale Bachmann Pancake Motor Rebuild Part 3

HO Scale Bachmann Pancake Motor Rebuild Part 3


1980's U36B motor restoration


Here's the final part...  The motor works, the gear repair holds and we get it up and running again...


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rebuilding an HO Scale Bachmann U36B pancake motor Part 2

Rebuilding an HO Scale Bachmann U36B pancake motor

Part 2


Pancake motor rebuild


Here's the next episode....


Rebuilding an HO Scale Bachmann U36B pancake motor

Rebuilding an HO Scale Bachmann U36B pancake motor

Part 1

another total rebuild of a pancake motor


Here are the first 2 parts of a short series of rebuilding a pancake motor from an old Bachmann U36B.  I like doing these because they are good practice for building the skills you need for more complex rebuilds.  You can really dig into these projects without fear of ruining a $300 locomotive...


Friday, March 17, 2017

Repairing Cracked Gears with Baking Soda and Super Glue

Repairing Cracked Gears with Baking Soda and Super Glue

HO Scale Bachmann Old School Pancake Motor Repair


I've been advocating gear replacement a lot lately.  That is the preferred method, but sometimes you just need to repair and existing gear.

You may have heard the legend of the baking soda and super glue repair method.  If you haven't, then it goes like this:  you can combine baking soda and super glue into a paste that can be used to repair gears that are impossible to find a replacement for....

That is mostly correct, but how you actually do it is to fill the crack with a fine dusting of baking soda and apply a tiny drop of super glue and it will create a super strong weld.

While rebuilding another pancake motor from a Bachmann U36B, I did discover 2 cracked gear and decided that it was time that someone demonstrated the legend.....

Here is a video demonstrating:


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rebuilding old Bachmann HO scale U36B Part 8 finishing the handrails video

Rebuilding old Bachmann HO scale U36B Part 8 finishing the handrails video

handrails installed

Finally we got the the handrails installed and some white safety stripes painted here and there.  This build is now operational, anything else we do from here is just an improvement.

Check out the final handrail video in this series:


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rebuilding old Bachmann HO scale U36B Part 7 the handrail videos

Rebuilding old Bachmann U36B Part 7 the handrail videos

making HO Scale handrails from scratch out of brass....the videos


I've made a video that is so long, that I'm already on part 4 and over and hour and still not done uploading it all.

But while you're waiting here are the first 4 parts....

Part 1 The Introduction for only the newest of n00bs

Part 2  Stanchions

Part 3 Endrails
Part 4 First Solder and Shape

We'll finish up in the part 8 with the final videos.....

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Rebuilding old Bachmann U36B Part 6 Brass Handrails

Rebuilding old Bachmann U36B Part 6 Brass Handrails

making new handrails from brass wire


We're at the point where we need some handrails for our U36B project and they way we're going to do this is with brass wire and solder.  We'll be using K&S wire #8159 .020in from Hobby Lobby at $1.49.  4 Pieces will be just enough to do this without wasting the wire.

In the old days, I used to do this out of piano wire which is even cheaper, but much harder to bend.  I don't know how I ever had the patience to bend that stuff, but it can be done.  Piano wire is pretty tough to solder also.

We aren't going to do a lot of measuring to make these handrails.  Remember that our goal here is to finish a model good enough to go on the "C" list.

The A list is all your rock star scratchbuilt super detailed contest winning most excellent pieces.  The B list is your customized factory super detailed $300 locomotives that you don't feel comfortable about throwing into a tub of pine oil.

Then there is the C list.  These are your supporting cast members, the extras, that 3rd or 4th locomotive in the consist during a photo shoot.  It's one of the workhorses in an operating session.

Being a workhorse means having handrails that are more durable than the latest slippery plastic scale handrails. Those handrails don't take a lot of abuse and seem to always be wavy somewhere...

First let's measure up a bit, here's a pic of a prototype that will guide us in the employment of our Mark I eyeball....
This photo shows us that the handrail should cross by the rear grill and the top of the rail in front should be lined up nicely with the words on the front.  Using the ruler, that means a rough hieght of .5 inches above the deck, but we're still going to do this be eyeball and stay away from the ruler as much as we can.

Once we make a rail, then we can line it up on the cutting board and copy it using the ruler lines on the board which is much easier.

First we need to drill some holes for the stanchions.  I'm going to use a drill bit that by eyeball looks real close to the size.  I could have gone to the Hobby Store and got a matching drill and wire set, but we should really try to use what we have on hand.  The dental pick is used to make a mark where to drill.  That's really important to prevent the drillbit from breaking.  I could have also used the drill press or dremel, but the pin vise is almost as fast with no danger of melting like a dremel.
Now we need to drill 28 holes and check to see that the wire fits....it does: 
Using the prototype picture and an alcohol marker and steel ruler ($4 on ebay) I determined the .75 inch stanchions were more that long enough.  We need them to be just a bit long so we can shape them later. 
 Now the stanchions are cut, so lets bend a foot on 20 of them, leaving 4 vertical stanchions for each end.  The end stanchions go straight into the anti climber from the top.
When all are bent it should look like this: 
 Now we take a long section and bend the back end first.  Put the foot on it and then make a mark where to bend it for the long section.  Make the bend and check to see if it's good.  It probably will be off a bit so unbend it and do it again.  You'll get it and then you can make a mark where that short bend goes near the cab.  It may take a couple tries, but once you have it, you can trim it and then we'll get ready to copy it.
 Here's just a check look to see if what we've done is roughly what we had intended...
 Next, we aren't really repeating the process for the other side, we're copy the bends on the cutting board using the blue lines then checking them on the shell.  Way easier than doing another totally from scratch again.
 Starting to look pretty good...
 Same technique in the front.  You can make as many fancy bends as you want here, right now I'm just doing the basic bend.  Once ready, we copy it for the other side.
 The front looks pretty decent, we can copy it on the cutting board for the rear.  At this point you should be getting pretty good at marking spots to bend and making a good bend.  If it's wrong, you straighten it and do it again.  It's ok if the wire gets beat up without breaking, it actually gives it a bit of character.
 The parts are made and now we can move to the soldering bench...