Modifying BTTB BR23

Re: Modifying BTTB BR23

Postby dileTTante » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:36 pm

After many many hours of work, mistakes, and frustration the modification of this locomative has been completed. Primarily a decoder was installed and LED lighting added to front and rear. Also cosmetic improvements --closer coupling of tender to engine, removal of protruding fasteners, and a modest weathering with black wash over the red plastic. Some of the black wash weathering has rubbed off from handling and maybe that can be touched up. The boiler and tender are fastened to the frames by screws as described before.

In the original engine the U-shaped yoke which holds the rear bearing of the drive worm poked through the bottom of the firebox. On the outside the ends were twisted to hold the yoke in place. The U piece of metal fit just as well upside down and I put in a small screw to secure it. I took photos before the motor was back in place but they've gone missing. Anyway, there are no more bits of metal sticking out of the firebox.

The decoder could have been put in the tender but that would require extra wires to the locomotive for the motor. The headlamp unit was removed from the front of the engine leaving just enough room for the decoder. Typical of the problems that cropped up, the struts for the smoke lifters go into the boiler and are bent over just where the decoder was meant to go and took up the needed clearance. I had to remove the plastic wrapper from the decoder to get it to fit. The decoder fits against the pillar which holds the front drive bearings. Up the side of the pillar are two metal strips which formerly fed track voltage to the headlamp. The strips now feed power to the decoder.

The biggest problems were the lights. There originally were no lights in the tender. Small plastic protrusions on the chassis fit into the light openings to hold down the rear of the tender. Earlier photos showed my first arrangement of LED lighting which looked alright when tested with battery power. With DCC they were brighter and the red plastic glowed from light inside. I glued the LEDs to the lamp openings in the body of the tender and painted the diodes black on the inside. With the LEDs now fastened to the removable shell the wires fastened to a small socket made for diodes used in a computer. The wires from the loco were terminated with short pieces of lead cut from resistors so the wires could be plugged into the socket.

For the headlamp the main problem was to get light out through tiny openings in the frame without having light show from the back between the frame and boiler. I first tried two LEDs mounted on a plastic baffle with some black heat shrink around the diodes to block interior light. That didn't work. More light came out of the frame than out of the headlamps. I considered using fibre optic bundles which came from a BR86 but this looked like more of the same problems. Then I sanded down miniature LEDs and fit them into the headlamps. Very small pieces of heat shrink tubing were glued around the LEDs to look like the black headlamp housings. They stick out too far so I may try to improve them. Since the boiler with the headlamps separates from the frame I put connectors on the wires to the LEDs. This was a headache. There was barely enough space inside.

Information on the internet about LED lighting usually recommends loading them with a 1000 ohm resistor for each LED. I wired both LEDs in series with a 2200 ohm resistor which produces a reasonable brightness. With 1000 ohms the lights were too bright. These LEDs are much brighter than the ones used in Tillig's BR01 which I'm also modifying.

I really wanted this locomotive running again and ready for the November train show in Vancouver. It runs very well and looks pretty good which is a miracle considering my age and skills. I don't know how anyone does anything in N scale.

Last edited by dileTTante on Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modifying BTTB BR23

Postby dileTTante » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:38 pm

More photos
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Re: Modifying BTTB BR23

Postby ConducTTor » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:52 pm

I can't believe you got a decoder, LEDs and diodes to fit where they are. Insane. Great job!!!
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