Author Topic: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale  (Read 3790 times)

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bbunge

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #45 on: April 02, 2024, 10:04:49 AM »
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Dwight,

Excellent work!  As I mentioned to you, I have PCC project in the future.  When it comes to trolleys, IMHO, the inside frame bearings of the PCC trucks are a unique look to the PCCs.  My first approach will be to paint the centers of the wheels with a rust/burnt Umber paint.  I guess you could also use metal blackening fluid to darken the flanges. 

You might also consider seeing if you can modify one of the provided truck sides to more closer resemble the magnetic brake unit that is on the PCC trucks, or just cover up the two holes in the provided truck frame.

There is a nice CAD project out there for someone to make an adapter for this chassis and the Bachmann PCC shell.  There is a similar adapter on Thingiverse to fit a Kato chassis in the Bachmann Brill shell. 

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3505538

Bob

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #46 on: April 02, 2024, 08:35:53 PM »
+1
Hey Bob.  Yes, I suppose you’re right about trying to uphold the proto appearance of those PCC trucks.  If the rest of the project pans out successfully, I’ll revisit this matter and make corrections. In the meantime, those press-fit “disguise” pieces effectively eliminate the chrome glare!

When you mention a CAD project, or Thingiverse, my guess is that you are implying 3D printing (johnb also inferred 3D printing in his comment).  Unfortunately, I’m not at all conversant nor capable in this facet of the hobby (maybe somewhere down the road).

I made a small bit of progress - drilled out the tail-lights:



… and then created tail-light “lenses” with a drop of UV-cured clear plastic:



I also spent some time exploring ways of mounting two 0603 red LED’s for the rear lights.  The easy way is to affix them behind the lenses within the shell.  However, my preference is to NOT have the shell tethered to the frame-mounted decoder; I’d much rather have the LED’s permanently mounted on the chassis.  The difficulty with the latter is impeccably aligning the frame-mounted LED’s with the tiny shell-born tail-light holes (without getting a red glow within the passenger compartment, or light leaking out the bottom, etc).  Hence the exploratory investigations. 

bbunge

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2024, 07:48:01 AM »
+1
.....
I also spent some time exploring ways of mounting two 0603 red LED’s for the rear lights.  The easy way is to affix them behind the lenses within the shell.  However, my preference is to NOT have the shell tethered to the frame-mounted decoder; I’d much rather have the LED’s permanently mounted on the chassis.  The difficulty with the latter is impeccably aligning the frame-mounted LED’s with the tiny shell-born tail-light holes (without getting a red glow within the passenger compartment, or light leaking out the bottom, etc).  Hence the exploratory investigations.

My approach to this is to cut a short piece of 3mm (1/8 inch) clear acrylic rod.  I usually use one end for the headlight, with the rod attached to the shell.  I then cut a longer piece of black 1/8 inch heat shrink tubing and slide it over the rod on the inside of the shell, leaving 3-5mm of extra hanging past the end of the rod.  When I slip the shell onto the chassis, I make sure the LED slips into the open end of the heat shrink.  The black heat shrink blocks the vast majority of the light and I haven't tethered the shell with the chassis or had to deal with a plug of some sort. 

I can upload a photo later if interested.

Bob

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2024, 07:28:11 PM »
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Bob, thanks for the ongoing interest and suggestions.   

That was a good, clear description, but a photo or two is always a ‘nice-to-have’. 
I’ll probably use your approach for the front light, and I’m trying out a couple of ideas for the two rear lights.

The LokPilot decoder should be showing up within the next day or two.

bbunge

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2024, 08:49:51 AM »
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Bob, thanks for the ongoing interest and suggestions.   

That was a good, clear description, but a photo or two is always a ‘nice-to-have’. 
I’ll probably use your approach for the front light, and I’m trying out a couple of ideas for the two rear lights.

The LokPilot decoder should be showing up within the next day or two.

The heat shrink over the clear rod that also sticks out the front of the car to create the headlight.




Here I've pushed the LED into the heat shrink prior to closing up.



Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2024, 11:00:20 AM »
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Perfect!  I like this approach … “loosely tethered”!

Thanks for taking the time to post pics.

Lemosteam

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2024, 11:12:06 AM »
+1
Another way to separate the shell from the chassis is to add a connected + and - phosphor bronze plate on each side of the top or end of the chassis, then add two more bent strips to the inside of the shell, sprung, to make contact inside the shell.  This would be very effective, especially with the snap features that the shell uses on the side of the chassis.

I did this on the locomotive below.  The sprung tabs are under the roof of the cab and are used to power the LED for the backup light mounted in back edge of the roof.


peteski

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2024, 12:19:03 PM »
+3
Over the years I have used the contact method John mentioned on multiple models.  Here are some examples (all photos originally posted in threads about those models).

Here I used a variation where the contacts are on the sides of the cab, so no downward clamping force for the shell is needed.  In this example the same PC boards with the springy phosphor bronze contacts also house the current limiting resistors for the LEDs and also act as junction locations for wires.





The contact plates in the sides of the cab.



The next one has 3 contacts (front/rear headlight and common positive), and this one does require clamping force of the shell being attached to the frame of the model.

The 3 contacts are at the right edge of the custom etched PC board which also contains the resistors and decoder.





The flat contacts are in the roof of the shell.



Here is a photo of the contacts joined together.



And another example of motor-mounted contacts.



I don't have a good photo of the roof mounted mating plates.  In this photo a small cornet of the contact plate is visible in the left side of the photo (with black wire soldered to it).



I have few more examples, but no handy photos of them.


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Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2024, 02:26:15 PM »
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Really good stuff guys.  And that is some magnificent N scale electrical conductivity work there Peter … it must be so very satisfying when scratchbuilt explorations like that actually pan out.

Thanks a bunch - you folks have given me an abundance of ideas to mull over.

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #54 on: April 06, 2024, 05:17:17 PM »
+2
While awaiting delivery of a LokPilot decoder, I carried on with a few other things.

At some point, the Toronto Transit Commission retrofitted a lot of their buses, and some of their streetcars, with bulbous black plastic front bumpers.  I’m not 100% on this, but I think they were filled with water (?).  Regardless, I decided to replicate that type of bumper out of styrene.  I managed to bend each end of the bumper by heating the styrene strip over a lightbulb, and then cemented on the row of ‘water boxes’, following up with black paint.  I also put a drop of UV cure plastic to form a clear front lense on the headlight opening.  Oh yeah, I put in a front windshield as well.



On the back end, I ended up fabricating an assembly to accomodate the two red taillight LED’s.
It’s simply two short styrene tubes, properly spaced to match the taillight openings in the shell, and then fastened to the Tomy chassis with a tiny 00-90 nut & bolt.  It was only after I painted the LED holder burgundy (which I seem to remember as being the colour of TTC’s heavy vinyl seating upholstery) that I realized that the decoder will probably sit on top of this assembly. 

In  the pic, the LED on the right is in place, while the one on the left has yet to be inserted into its retaining tube.  I used a red sharpie to make the two taillight lenses look like they are made out of red plastic, and a rear window was cemented in place.



As a next step, I’m thinking of modifying an old Kato lightboard to serve as an interface between the Tomy chassis and the LokPilot decoder.  That’s where I could put the resistors for the LED’s, as well as solder pads for the track power (blk & red) and motor (orange & gray) leads.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2024, 05:24:24 PM by Dwight in Toronto »

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #55 on: April 12, 2024, 05:07:07 PM »
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I spent a few days mulling over how best to facilitate tying in the decoder with the chassis.

My first attempt was to modify an old Kato light board to sit on top of the chassis, and use that as an interface with the decoder. In other words, solder all of the chassis leads (track power pickups, motor leads, front & rear lighting, LED resistors) to individual pcb pads on the board, and then solder the corresponding decoder leads to their portion of each respective pad.  In this way, the decoder is indirectly ‘hard-wired’ (hopefully ensuing photos will explain this clearer).

While this approach worked really well technically, the thickness of the board and the solder connections interfered with the inside ceiling surface of the shell, and prevented it from seating on the frame.

Back to the drawing board.  I held on to the concept of a pcb interface, but ended up fabricating two small boards as shown in the following pic:




The small board on top was shaped to fit within an existing recession, and the orange & gray leads can be seen where they come up from the motor and have been soldered to pads on the left edge of the board.  When the decoder gets mounted, its orange & gray wires will go on the corresponding pads on the right edge of the board.  This configuration provided a lower profile, such that the shell readily popped back into place.

Similarly, I made a second pcb and affixed it to the side of the chassis.  This one serves as a junction for the front 3mm warm white LED (blue & white wires), and the two red 0603 LED’s mounted in the taillight tubes at the rear (blue & yellow wires).  When the decoder goes in, the blue +ve ‘common’ will get soldered to the pad that resides between the two tiny 1.8K current-limiting resistors, and the decoder white & yellow leads will go to their respective pads, thus enabling F0 lighting control.  At least, that’s the plan.

The length of white styrene tubing contains one leg of the 3 mm LED, and allows sort of a minimal “trombone” effect whereby the LED can be slid forward so as to be right up close to the headlight lense.

Special appreciative acknowledgement - big thank you to Peteski for providing me with a superb email tutorial on how to calculate a resistor value for those two red 0603 LED’s located in the rear of the trolley … big help!

Oh yeah … note that the shiny chrome wheels have had a first, crude ‘dirtying up’, and that the non-prototypical side suspension assemblies have been removed.  I still have to modify some trim bits to fit back into those bogie holes.

Next step - wire in the decoder.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2024, 06:38:43 PM by Dwight in Toronto »

Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #56 on: April 13, 2024, 02:00:44 PM »
+2
I installed the LokPilot decoder.  It’s held in place in the rear of the chassis by a small lump of sticky-tac.

As can be seen in the pic, the front light works.  I’ve also got good motion. 

Unfortunately, the two red led’s in the rear aren’t yet operational.  The LokProgramming/function mapping setup is correct, so I suspect that all of the prodding, poking and tucking in of decoder wires may have caused one of the soldered connections to have come off one of the 0603’s within the retaining tubes.  Will be investigating this further.




Managed to get a pretty good colour match on the (formerly white) styrene retaining tabs - a pink Sharpie, followed with an over-swipe with a brown Sharpie, worked out pretty darn good!

Trimmed down the side bogie structures and press-fitted them in to the trucks, mainly just to fill in the mounting holes.


Dwight in Toronto

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #57 on: April 16, 2024, 07:19:56 AM »
+2
It’s Alive !

I figured out why the taillights weren’t working.  I’m embarrassed to say that I had flipped around the anode and cathode connections when I soldered the wires to the LED’s.   This is despite having checked, and rechecked, for proper polarity using the diode test on my multimeter at least 3 or 4 times.  And this isn’t the first time.  For some obscure reason, I have a mental fixation that perpetually insists that ESU’s blue wire is a  -ve/common lead, even though I know that it’s +ve.  Go figure.




Anyway, at least that part of the build is out of the way.

Next, I’m going to simply let the chassis run around my test loop on DCC for several hours just to break in the motor, gears and trucks. 

I think I have some small gold-coloured decals around somewhere, which I’ll use for car numbering on the shell. 

Also, I noticed a while back that all the Toronto Transit proto photos show a small green light centred on the roof of the driver’s cab area:



Turns out that these “advance lights” were unique to the TTC, and their sole purpose was to enable passengers at a designated stop to peer down the road and be able to see if a streetcar was visibly/imminently approaching.  Kinda handy at night, I suppose.

Regardless, now I’m contemplating if I want to go to the trouble of modeling this additional feature.  The decoder has two additional power outputs available, and it would certainly be uber cool if I could pull it off.   Hmmmm … gotta think about this!

I also noticed that every streetcar has a “cowcatcher-like” rail assembly directly under the front of the cab.  I believe that this was a protective emergency shutdown device, whereby immediate braking would occur if someone stumbled in front of a moving trolley.  I guess the idea was that this grate would initiate braking, and maybe push the ‘obstruction’ along until inertia was overcome, hopefully well before the front bogie was encountered.  I’m thinking that I should probably try to model this device as well.  We’ll see.

« Last Edit: April 16, 2024, 07:32:48 AM by Dwight in Toronto »

brill27mcb

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #58 on: April 16, 2024, 06:14:15 PM »
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No, the device under the front of a streetcar went generally by the brand name "Lifeguard" catcher. The vertical part in front (with a few horizontal slats) was hinged. When it was tripped by hitting a fallen person on the street, it would release a larger flat slatted tray that hangs behind it. The front of the tray would drop to the street and scoop up the person, keeping him/her from reaching the wheels. It had nothing to do with the braking system.

I've been following this thread with great interest, but I have to admit that I cringe every time I see the title "Quality Streetcar ... " now being associated with the Bachmann PCC. The Bachmann PCC has nothing that's "quality" associated with it - it's way oversized (to fit the old motor), ill-proportioned, lacks the smooth sleek automotive-influenced styling of the prototype, and has a horrible chassis design with no gearboxes and known unresolved issues with cracking gears. On a forum where people wring their hands about a diesel hood being a scale 6" too wide in N scale, the Bachmann PCC should be relegated to Lee's retro old school layout.

My concern is that future web searches will find this and direct people to the Bachmann PCC as a "quality streetcar model in N scale." Please consider changing the title, maybe to "Bachmann PCC: Making a Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear."

By the way, have I ever told you what I think of the Bachmann PCC?   :P
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peteski

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Re: Quality Streetcar models in Nscale
« Reply #59 on: April 16, 2024, 06:28:24 PM »
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My concern is that future web searches will find this and direct people to the Bachmann PCC as a "quality streetcar model in N scale." Please consider changing the title, maybe to "Bachmann PCC: Making a Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear."

By the way, have I ever told you what I think of the Bachmann PCC?   :P
Why don't you tell us how you really feel about Bachmann PCC trolley.  :D

My thought was that it is too bad that Dwight did not start a separate thread on his trolley build, instead of just posting it in this general discussion about finding quality trolleys (from any manufacturer) in N scale.  Maybe moderators could be asked to split off Dwight's build.
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