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Brass steam locomotives are works of art, but they no longer meet today's standards for operation, if they ever did.
I am converting several brass steamers to DCC, with and without sound. I have already converted several, made many mistakes, and hopefully learned from them. Here I will document more conversions and the process I have developed. Any suggestions are always welcome.
If the conversions seem daunting, then i suggest RTR locos from Broadway Limited. They have done marvelous work creating a line of US prototype steamers that operate and sound as good as they look, but to me, brass is still the gold standard.
Now firing up the soldering iron.
The first things I had to face are compromises. I had to drill, cut, and file some bits to get it running with DCC. I would not modify museum pieces, but I want operating models. Break out the drills!
First big change: I reverse the insulated tender wheels to the same side as the insulated wheels on the loco. Now the body of the tender is the same polarity as the body of the locomotive. Reason is, if the tender touches the loco on a curve, it will not short out.
Second big change: I permanently couple the tender to the locomotive. I replace the pin on the tender with a screw. Reason is, I can pick up the unit and the wires are not stressed between the loco and tender. If you think about it, locos are rarely separated from their tenders. We do it only for shipping models in smaller boxes.
Modeling the fictitious Norwottuck Railroad, a Northeastern branch of the PRR in Western MA, just South of New Salem running over the Central RR tracks.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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