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Has anyone had any experience in converting Bachman trains to RC/battery? I would like to convert a Bachman 2-4-2 Steam Locomotive using Airwire and battery and I'm a little reluctant as I'm not sure if it is possible and/or what difficulties I might be challenged with. Any ideas would be appreciated.
 

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I have installed Airwire in two Bachman locos, a K-27 and 2-truck shay. The K-27 was pretty easy once I figured out how to do it. It was the first install I had ever done. I used the Bachman electronics and wire my connections to the dummy board. Many had suggested to rip out all the bachman electronics and start over but I didnt see the need. My boeard was clearly labeled and it works great. I put a post in this forum on what I did, with some pictures. But, MLS keeps closing when I try to link it. I found the post on the second page. You should be able to find it.

As for the shay it was a little more difficult, because I was trying to marry the Airwire to an old Phoenix Big Sound 97 chip. I got it all to work but I need to tweak a few things. Airwire is a pretty simple install. I found the instructions helpful in figureing out what wire hooks where.

If you need any help let me know, I'm no expert but I can install it myself so I should be able to help you.
 

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Hi, I converted a Bachmann Anniversary 'Annie' last year and am currently scratch modifying another Big Hauler into a 'Camelback' (see my thread in 'Model Making' ) which will also be radio controlled. I found dismantling the loco more difficult than actually modifying the electrics/tronics using Del T's Railboss electronics! I don't know whether this helps you with Airwire though.

See my YouTube channel (link below) particularly the W&A RR #1 film, to give you some Idea of the 'Annie' operation.

Best of luck
Rob

http://www.youtube.com/user/trainbikefan?blend=4&ob=5#p/u/0/9KQJt_Gn9FA
 

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The conversion of the 2-4-2 was pretty easy. (i.e. I was able to do it!) The loco is simple to disassemble and easy to work on. Bachmann does provide some disassembly instructions with the loco. The PC board has plugs for the track pick up wires, speaker, motor etc so little re-wiring is required. I did rip out the pc board to provide room for batteries and removed the track pick up wipers from the motor black and the pilot and trailing trucks. I also changed the front headlight LED to a white light, and installed a reverse headlight on top of the cab.

There is a speaker already mounted in the coal bin, but it is low quality and well worth the time and cost to replace. I installed Revolution and Phoenix P8 with batteries in the boiler.

The tough part was fitting the batteries in the boiler. I ended up with 10 AA cells but it was a VERY tight fit and different sized cells might make re-assembly a little easier. If you grind out the screw supports inside the boiler (they are not used) you have about 3/4" space to work with above the motor block. I made a stack of 5 cells, two on top, three on bottom, 2 cells long that fits the curve of the boiler top.

The Revolution went into one side tank and the Phoenix card into the other. Charging jack and on/off switch under the smoke box door, programming jack and volume switches under a side tank. Revolution linking button inside the smoke box. I do need to get some lead shot to fill up voids and add some weight on the drivers. Contact me if you have any questions.
 

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Here's a link to an original Bachmann 2-4-2 running extremely slow (slower than prototype I think). It is RC with an external battery car. I've been thinking of putting batteries in the tank but haven't had the time yet. With Back EMF even the older Bachmann's run amazingly smoothly at slow speed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze2J7dilVIo

Sorry, it is a painfully slow video to watch,

russ
 

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Yes, back EMF operation is impressive from an engineering point of view. But in practice, it really doesn't gain you much. I have found that under most circumstances on my railroad with 3% grades, simple PWM motor control provides excellent low end crawl speeds, and no run away trains on the [email protected] url(http://www.mylargescale.com/Providers/HtmlEditorProviders/CEHtmlEditorProvider/Load.ashx?type=style&file=SyntaxHighlighter.css);@import url(/providers/htmleditorproviders/cehtmleditorprovider/dnngeneral.css);
 

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My microcontroller code is focused more on start and slow speed but I was successful at adding a bit of down hill control to prevent a noticeable run away perception. It's not perfect, I didn't include a cruise control as I ran out of code space and didn't feel like upgrading to a new microcontroller.

The thing I like about BEMF at slow speed is that I can haul a consist at slow speed heavy enough to test the locomotive's wheel adhesion. The wheels will spin at (very) slow speed with a long enough trail of cars, kind of like the real thing. This was a personal goal I set for operation, yes it's an engineering point of view but it was pretty cool and it met my design goal!

russ
 
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