Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

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End2end
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Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby End2end » Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:16 pm

I'm looking for any information, inspiration or ideas from anyone that has improved one of the new Bachmann Auto Trailers. More specifically using the attached pick ups for lighting, although I'd appreciate seeing any improvements anyone has made.

The only 2 videos I could find online were an "unboxing" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1mmJa0vwW0
and an "adding passengers" video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12i1pkxrZPY

Nothing is even mentioned about the pick ups on the Bachmann website as fair as I've found. :?

In the video's the narrator barely even glances at the under carriage pickups and for those of you who have followed my previous posts, this is not my usual way of lighting coaches. Opting usually for my own home made circuit, picking up power via DCC Concepts axle pick up springs.
Nor is it possible to site my home made circuit in the usual place underneath a coach, as on the Bachmann Auto Trailers there is so much detailing underneath.

The Auto Trailers have pick ups on both bogies and I think, by utilising them both (positive AND negative coming from BOTH bogies) I may not need a stay-alive capacitor?
Or
Do I install a more expensive FUNCTION ONLY decoder for the lighting meaning I could turn it off?
I'm really not sure. :?
Thanks
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Bigmet
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Bigmet » Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:52 pm

My Bachmann DMU's have the same pinpoint current collection from all wheels, and it is so reliable that no 'stay alive' has been necessary to keep the lighting running at least as reliably as it did on BR's stock! (We were no strangers to flickering and dimming coach lighting back in the day, and the models very rarely flicker. I'd go as far as saying at least as good as what BR managed with steam era carriage stock, which is everything up to early mk2. My wife refused for some years to consider train travel for more than the hop into London, after a 1981 long distance service with the lights off for 50% of the night time section of our journey home. She wrote a pretty harsh letter to Sir Peter Parker, and he did have an underling confess on his behalf with good grace that this was unacceptable.)

Now decoders. Thanks to fitting these for friends, and purchasing locos on offer or s/h which turned out to have decoders fitted, I have a motley crew of damaged decoders, and decoders that are only good enough to be light switches, in my various carriages and DMU cars with lighting. So if you have any impaired or 'unfit' for loco purposes that's an option to try.

Location. Is there enough space above the 'ceiling level' light board to slip a decoder in between the board and the roof underside? Or is there space for it to go vertical up against the vehicle end with a paper 'wall' concealing it? 'Slicing of the bottom of the seat mouldings is another possibility; it leaves the moulding very weak but inside the vehicle this is really of no concern as they don't get any handling.

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End2end
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby End2end » Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:13 pm

Bigmet wrote:Location. Is there enough space above the 'ceiling level' light board to slip a decoder in between the board and the roof underside? Or is there space for it to go vertical up against the vehicle end with a paper 'wall' concealing it? 'Slicing of the bottom of the seat mouldings is another possibility; it leaves the moulding very weak but inside the vehicle this is really of no concern as they don't get any handling.


Thanks for the reply Bigmet.
I knew there was something else I forgot to ask.
The vertical seat mouldings have been "straightened off" (for want of a better term) rather than arched to match the roof profile. Is there anyway I can find out the clearance? Again, looking on the Bachmann website I found nothing.

The coach has no internal light board fitted but across the top of the seating is where I could run my own veroboard holding the LED's, placed where I want them so knowing this gap would really help.
This, as you mention Bigmet may also be big enough for a small decoder.

Also, can I just ask. I think I remember reading it somewhere that to use a normal decoder as a function only decoder you need to add something to simulate the motor draw or something. Is this still the case?
Thanks
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Bigmet » Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:49 pm

End2end wrote:....The vertical seat mouldings have been "straightened off" (for want of a better term) rather than arched to match the roof profile. Is there anyway I can find out the clearance?

...I think I remember reading it somewhere that to use a normal decoder as a function only decoder you need to add something to simulate the motor draw or something. Is this still the case?

For the first, I would use pieces of blutak or similar on top of the moulded partitions, push the roof down and then remove to gauge the height. If the blutak adheres too well and deforms as the roof is removed, lay a scrap of clingfilm over it to prevent it sticking to the roof underside.

A normal decoder needs a motor load for the address change (once the address is set any other programming can be on 'main', no motor load required). Options include first plugging the decoder into a loco for the address change, or temporarily attaching a 12V motor to the orange and grey leads. Never had cause to try with a simple resistive load such as a 12V bulb, as the options listed are always to hand...

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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby End2end » Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:56 pm

Bigmet wrote:I would use pieces of blutak or similar on top of the moulded partitions, push the roof down and then remove to gauge the height.

I haven't actually taken the coach apart yet but that Bigmet, is a TOP TIP!!! :D
Thank you!
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Chops » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:27 pm

Bachmann makes some of the most interesting and unusual articles. Regrettably the mech is often poor and failure prone. It seems that they
are a. hoping that when it fails, it won't contribute to a secondary market, or b. they don't think modellers really run their stuff more than a few
hours over a lifetime, and the added trouble and expense is not worth it. I am guessing of course. "Pinpoint electrical contacts." Brilliant.
Nessie rocks!

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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby End2end » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:40 pm

Sorry Chops you've lost me a bit there. Are you talking about Bachmann loco's?
Or Is this what Bachmann are saying about what they have used for pick ups on these auto trailers?
As mentioned before, I'm finding detailed information extremely sparse on these. :?
Thanks
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Bigmet » Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:21 pm

End2end wrote:...that is a TOP TIP!!! :D ...

And not mine! Some time past when I was first shown this technique, it was with well warmed up plasticine...

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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Peterm » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:20 pm

To use a motor decoder for lighting only, solder a 100ohm resistor across the motor outputs; orange and grey. This can be left in if you need to re address it anytime.
Pete.

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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby End2end » Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:34 pm

Thanks Peterm. That sounds like a good plan. I've had the odd decoder need a reset before.

On the subject of possibly using a decoder, would it be able to light 10-12 LED's?
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:44 pm

Bachmann would appear to be putting the pickup/bearing on all of their passenger bogies, they are certainly fitted on the Directors Saloon. The mk2 from my Shakespeare Express has them as well as the two Pullmans with their illuminated table lamps. They are certainly free rolling, fortunately the axles don't seem to be magnetic which can make free rolling a mixed blessing if you have permanent magnet uncouplers.
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Bigmet
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Bigmet » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:30 am

Bufferstop wrote:Bachmann would appear to be putting the pickup/bearing on all of their passenger bogies... They are certainly free rolling...

From what is currently available in RTR OO rolling stock, these set a very good standard for 'free-rolling' straight out of the box. No idea just how far through the coach range this feature has extended to, anyone know? Doubly welcome where electrical pick up is required as it comes with no incremental friction beyond the essential pin point bearing. It should only be dome this way as standard on all rolling stock, and especially where it enables doing away with pick up wipers of any design.

On which, if only Bachmann would think to expand this feature to loco tenders, where they have latterly moved to adding pick up provision. That might persuade Hornby that their 'no-roll' tender arrangements of captive axles with added wipers for continuous braking are a poor idea; arguably the worst aspect of their steam locos, a last remnant of ye olde Margateness haunting their product range.

Peterm wrote:To use a motor decoder for lighting only, solder a 100ohm resistor across the motor outputs; orange and grey. This can be left in if you need to re address it anytime.

That goes against the grain, the sacrifice of an output that can run lighting! Just because it's intended for motor supply, doesn't mean you cannot use it for lighting control! (I am mean, even though it's 'repurposed' decoders that I use for lighting control, I still want to squeeze all the utility possible out of them.)

Wonder if the lighting on the motor outputs allows enough current for re-addessing? I have never needed to try this...

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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby End2end » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:12 pm

Just going through my stock of decoders, I have the following :-

A. - 4 pin Hornby R8215 with 4 pin socket on the end
B. - 8 pin Hornby R8249 with leads terminating in 8 pins
C. - 6 pin Gaugemaster that is just pins with no socket nor leads attached (not sure which model number this decoder is)
D. - TCS M1 terminating in 8 loose leads (for hard wiring into a loco)
Decoders.jpg


Realistically I don't think I will buy any more loco's beyond a 2-10-0 that I'd like to add to the fleet so any of these can possibly be used for lighting the Auto Trailer.
Thoughts welcomed, remembering that if a decoder is used, it needs to be able to power 12 internal LED's.

One other thought. If EACH bogie picks up both positive and negative and I wire them all, does this negate the need for a stay alive?
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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby Ironduke » Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:10 pm

TheTCS M1 has more feature which you might find useful
https://tcsdcc.com/sites/default/files/M1.pdf
options include
Dimmable function outputs
Single button control for the motor output (turn the motor output on or off at a set speed using a function button)

the functions will drive 100mA = 5 LEDs in parallel or 5 parallel circuits of 3 LEDs in series. What LEDs are you using?
Regards
Rob

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Re: Have you improved a Bachmann Auto Trailer?

Postby muggins » Wed Mar 10, 2021 7:12 am

Bigmet wrote:... when I was first shown this technique, it was with well warmed up plasticine...


Which had the advantage over BluTak of smelling nice ...


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