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Bachmann B1 Sir William Gray - DCC?


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My late dad’s name was Bill Gray, so having discovered the Bachmann B1 model no 31-711 Sir William Gray existed, it has a sentimental attraction. But I run DCC. Every model (pre-owned) version I’ve seen for sale doesn’t mention DC or DCC, so I assume the former. As DCC Ready is not mentioned, am I right in assuming this is an earlier model with no DCC socket?

If so, how much work/cost might it be to add a decent quality chip to it? Is it possible? I probably wouldn’t do it myself, but if anyone has experience of changing this model (or I guess a different loco of same class and production model) over to DCC, I’d be keen to hear about the task and results, as obviously wouldn’t want to buy one without being confident I could get the result I’m after.

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20 minutes ago, ikcdab said:

On hattons, they say "DCC incompatible. Split chassis - OO"

 

So I guess that's it.

 

There are NO locos which cannot be converted.  BUT there is a lot of difference in the complexity, and thus time, to do a conversion.  Old split-chassis OO models are more time consuming, and one gets into cost-value issues:  they're old models, in many cases the old model doesn't run well before conversion.   

 

Taking the view that sentimental value makes the cost worth pursuing, the next question is how well does the model run on DC.   If its a good runner, then a conversion may be fine.   

 

This article, on another forum, suggests the work isn't particularly difficult - a bit of clearance on the motor-to-chassis contacts, tidy installation of decoder wires onto motor, and then attach to chassis for pickup.  ( I'd be using a different, newer and better decoder (and might be looking to put a stay-alive in the tender),  and I'd do the pickup wires a bit differently - no need to solder wires to a screw for example if a suitable tab-washer was used.  That said,  all the key matters seem to be covered in the article. )

 

https://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=18743

 

 

- Nigel

 

 

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I've done Mainline split chassis locos and the main thing is finding space for a decoder as the chassis blocks (two halves) almost fill the boiler space.

Whether it's really worth it is another matter.

I've still got a DCC converted Manor, but is doesn't perform too well so is rearely used.

A GWR Mogul now has a Comet Chassis and is much better.

 

Alternative buy a new DCC ready B1 (31-717, according to Bachmann) and put new number and Name on it

 

https://www.Bachmann.co.uk/product/category/152/lner-b1-1264-lner-lined-green-(revised)/31-717

Edited by melmerby
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I have converted several old split chassis Bachmann locos with great success. As has been said, they need to be good DC runners first and doing a stall test is worth it to assess the amps requirement. On my Lord Nelson and N class I needed to grind a bit off the chassis to make room for the decoder.

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Further to above suggestions, because the current Bachmann B1 body is a very slightly modified version of that on the split chassis models, it is simple to transplant an old body onto the current DCC ready mechanism. Comparison of the body shells from the underside will reveal the required slight alteration to the securing points.

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8 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

Further to above suggestions, because the current Bachmann B1 body is a very slightly modified version of that on the split chassis models, it is simple to transplant an old body onto the current DCC ready mechanism. Comparison of the body shells from the underside will reveal the required slight alteration to the securing points.

Is it a proper solid chassis on the later ones?

Bachmann, to confuse things,  haven't altered the catalogue number group from the older split chassis versions unlike previous updates of split chassis models.

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8 hours ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

Further to above suggestions, because the current Bachmann B1 body is a very slightly modified version of that on the split chassis models, it is simple to transplant an old body onto the current DCC ready mechanism. Comparison of the body shells from the underside will reveal the required slight alteration to the securing points.

Hate to say it but this is news to me.  I have put 5 old bodies onto new chassis and they line up perfectly.  I have encountered only two issues, 1) the piston slides on some new models is way off horizontal, can be corrected but a bit of a faff and 2) a fair amount of additional  weight is required to get the pulling power of the old ones and there isn't a lot of space for the additional weight.  If I was doing a DCC conversion I would put the decoder in the tender.  On the old ones drill and 'tap' into each chassis half (I have done this to put tender pickups and I have seen pictures of others doing the same for a tender location, on the new ones just run new wires into the tender this will give you more room to add weight to the loco.

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