The fitting of internal and external lighting to a Bachmann Class 170, the Express Models lighting kit has previously been fitted to this model.
I have obtained a Legomanbiffo Class 170 sound decoder to add to my fleet, I am installing it into my CrossCountry class 170. I also intend to fit saloon & cab lighting as well as bodyside indicator 'hazard' lights. An Express Models lighting kit has already been fitted to this model, I probably did a write-up of that on the old, old, old RMweb but that is long gone!
I also am looking to use conductive couplings to share track pickup between the three vehicles and to share the speaker connections. I have both the Roco and Fleischmann 4-pole coupling and and going to use one type on the 170 and the other type on my 159. The 170 should be incredibly reliably powered because, with the conductive couplings it will have all wheel pickup which gives me 12 wheels per rail for contact. See below for why I am not sharing pickup wires through the couplers.
For the speakers I am going to use iPhone speakers with one speaker in each end vehicle, both fed from the LokSound 4 in the centre power vehicle.
I started looking into installing the bodyside indicator 'hazard' lights (BILs). The Bachmann 170 (original version, not the 201x retool, which I believe will have working BILs anyway) has pieces of painted glazing poking through the BIL holes which should make this nice and easy. I've removed the glazing pieces and filed the paint off so they are translucent.
I purchased some amber LEDs from RapidOnline in the hope I could use these but it turns out they are a little (a lot) too red for my needs although this doesn't show very well in the photo! I think I'll add these to my electronics part box to be used another time. At about 1.20 for 40 LEDs though I don't mind not using them.
I also have some DCC Concepts micro LEDs, these are pre-wired surface mount LEDs, which have a good colour for my needs. I have used these on my 142, gluing them on to the bodyshell. However, these are smaller, and hence more expensive, than they need to be for this project. I've had a look on eBay and I can get some 1206 Orange LEDs, these are surface mount LEDs that are a bit larger than the DCC Concepts LEDs and are also pre-wired. They are the same as the LEDs I used in my 'OFF & RA Indicator Project', they are quite a bit cheaper than the DCC Concepts option as they are larger.
The first major task is shuffling the couplings about. I previously swapped the bodies around so the motor was in an end vehicle so that I could run it as a 2 or 3 car set. I have now reversed this so that I only need three decoders throughout the train. Then I removed the corridor connection moldings so that I can replace them with flexible card versions to achieve a closer couple provided by the conductive couplings. I have bought some cardboard corridor connections for the 170 from Modellers Mecca, I will add these when I move on to the centre vehicle.
(This photo still shows the Kadee couplers, the Roco conductive couplers will close the gap by 1-2mm)
The function decoders are mounted in the end of the end vehicles, with the wiring for the previously installed express models lighting kit running on the roof. I have used black electrical tape to cover the vents in the roof to stop them from glowing and installed veroboard strips to provide internal light and BIL indicators with power.
As I was looking at the conductive couplers and deciding the best way to wire them I came to a terrible realization; as the couplers are pushed together, the wrong contacts would touch before mating correctly. This means that I could end up with a short, it also means that I could blow a speaker and the decoder a lot more easily than I'd like - all I would need to do is couple on live rails! Because of this, I have decided to stick with just speaker wires running through the coupler and to stick with all wheel pick-ups on a per-vehicle basis.
The internal saloon lighting is simply achieved using 'warm white' LEDs from TruOpto. I like these LEDs as they give a very nice colour which is very similar to full scale warm lighting using incandescent or LED lighting. I find that CrossCountry do tend to use a warmer light than other TOCs, I will be buying many more and using them in my 220 & 221 for the same warm lighting effect when I eventually get around to them, my workbench queue is growing exponentially!
Wiring (WARNING: I'm not the tidiest at wiring, mainly because I struggle to neatly strip the thin wires I have used):
Generally, I am happy with the lighting. I will need to add two more LED's to even out the light and I will need to get the paint out - all of the patches that look like reflections in the photo are patches of light bleeding through the body. There is also bleeding around the BIL beacons, I will also paint around them with black paint and use white tack to seal the LED.
So here we are with lighting take two, I need to add some 'White-Tack' around the Express Models lighting board to remove some of the excessive glare from the cab, there is also a little bit of leakage around the windows, for now I will leave the windows alone but the solution could simply be to glue them in to close the gap. Other than that I am much happier with this.
Opening this vehicle up for the final time I am fitting the iPhone speaker into the floor space and wired up to the conductive coupler. As I am using the four pole coupler I am wiring the top two contacts to one side of the speaker and the bottom two to the other side of the speaker, this will be the same in the other driving car. The two speakers are wired in parallel. This means that the speakers will be in-phase whichever way I couple up the vehicles (if you want to find out more about speakers being in or out of phase, search for 'Phase Cancellation' to learn about the phenomenon). Only a small amount of work was required to make the speaker fit under the seating, I also drilled a hole in the engine mold to let some sound out. This space is from where I removed the original weights however the combined weight of all the added parts makes it just a little heavier than it felt before.
Also, it is time to put some passengers in the vehicle. I have both standing and seated passenger figures, I bought a bag of 100 of each from Model Signs via eBay. My three year old helped with this but, she was a little distressed that I had to cut some legs off as they were a little to tall/long. She was a little concerned that they wouldn't be able to get off the train without their legs.
Now I just have to repeat the same again before I move on to the centre motor vehicle. Then I'll have a finished 170, keep a lookout for Part 2