Large Scale Central

Installing battery R/C into the Bachmann 45t diesel

Hello LSC’ers. The Bachmann 45 ton diesel is one of the smoothest running diesels I have come across. At first I was not going to convert mine as I did not really like it. However after doing a conversion for a customer last week it has grown on me so I decided to get stuck into converting my “DIZZIE” to battery R/C. Here are the first steps I took. First I stripped the loco down to the bare chassis. Make sure all components are marked as to which go forwards. All the Bachmann printed circuit boards and wiring were removed. I left headlight wires as long as possible. I also removed both trucks and the wimpy plunger contacts. I soldered new motor leads to the printed circuit boards inside the front and back slots on the top of the motor blocks. To enable these new leads to feed back up into the chassis with flexibility and still retain the truck swing limiting stops I cut off only the front and back old plunger guides.

This plate was then re-installed.

I hardwired to the trucks to eliminate the plunger contacts.

Before re-installing the trucks I mounted my usual rear charge/aux batt jack on the rear frame. Instead of using an external nut I tacked the jack into position with a tiny bead of super glue and secured the jack with silicone adhesive. Be very careful not to get any glue inside the switch. This way the jack is much less obvious from the outside. ( See next pic). Painted red will hide it even more. I then hot glued the cables along the underneath edge. These three wires were fed through a new hole I drilled so they go up to the chassis top. At the same time I cut the antenna and attached a tag at one end. I drilled two small holes in the front and fed the antenna down under the chassis and hot glued it underneath along the other side. The screw heads you can see in the above pic are holding the inner mounts in place. (Explained below).

The loco uses two long stanchions either end to hold the original Bachmann pcb’s. With some difficulty (They are loctited in) I removed the two long ones from the rear and mounted them at the front. These will support styrene platforms to hold the ON-OFF switch, RCS throttle, RF-RX and whichever sound system I end up using. You can also see the antenna wire coming through the chassis to a terminal on front.

At the rear I used four 25mm long stanchions held with our normal 3mm screws. These will support the platform for the 14.4 volt 2300mah NiMh battery I will be using.

Also shown are the RCS RF-CHK pcb’s that provide the motor noise suppression. Bachmann have thoughtfully provided a ground (-) contact to the motor case via the yellow wire on the truck holding screw. The three wires from the trucks are connected to the RF-CK’s once the trucks have been re-installed. The styrene platforms will removable so that I can get at the truck screws for easy removal if necessary. The stock Bachmann speaker enclosure is designed for small speaker which is unlikely to reproduce decennt sound. I removed the baffling styrene and drilled some more holes underneath so that I could install a good quality oval speaker. I mounted the speaker with silicone and sealed off the front from the back with thin styrene sheet. Ultimately I will also seal off the fuel tank so that the back of the speaker is completely enclosed.

I fabricated system mounting platforms out of 2mm styrene sheet.

Here are the dimensions.

They sit on the previously installed stanchions. Shown here temporarily in place.

Next step will be to mount the batteries on the rear platform and the RF-RX, Throttle and sound on the front platform. Having the platforms removable enables me to work on them away from the loco. What with getting ready all the new RCS stuff I announced this week I have not had much chance to get stuck into the installation. However, I did get a bit done. I have never tried a proper air tight sound enclosure so I plated in the fuel tank with styrene sheet to make a sound box.

I then sealed the speaker magnet hole with silicone and painted the whole shebang a low sheen black.

I had my own design 12 cell 14.4 volt 2300 mah NiMH battery pack made up by Master Instruments here in Australia. Not cheap but I have never had any problems with their Sanyo batteries.

Normally I do not recommend using spring grip battery holders. Mainly because they get a bit iffy at loads above 2 amps. Over time the spring contacts get tarnished and build up resistance. The performance of the loco then suffers. However, because the DIZZIE does not draw a lot of power it would be OK to use two AA six pack holders wired in series. I have only one shown here because that is all I had for the pic but I know two will fit.

My BIK-U power ON-OFF switch was mounted on the rear of the plate.

I also mounted the 3 way programming DIP switch.

Plus the RCS EMD-3 Motor Driver pcb. Originally I also mounted the RF-RX as shown. Later I moved the RF-RX up into the cab roof which greatly improved the range.

…and the Dallee sound system which has subsequently been removed ready to be replaced with a Sierra. I drilled some small access holes from one side to the other to help keep the wiring neat.

The component plate was installed on the chassis mounts.

The blue and white wires are for the front headlight. I loomed up the rest of the wires to make a neat job of locating them under the cab floor. There is plenty of room for the plugs and sockets I like to use. The Dizzie has never had really good range. A situation I have long wanted to resolve. I have tried all sorts of remedies. Nothing seemed to make a big difference I had contemplated using the Azarr antennas but had always thought they must be stretched out in a straight line. After mounting the RF-RX and Azarra antenna in the roof of my LGB #50 dismal and doubling the range I thought I had better try it with the Dizzie. Here is how I mounted both the RF-RX and antenna in the Dizzie roof.

The RF-RX was mounted in front of the cab light with silicone cement. The antenna was stretched out around the perimeter of the cab roof and lightly tacked in place with dabs of hot glue. I lightly glued the RX-RF cable to the front wall of the cab. When the loco is reassembled the wiring is virtually invisible. A coat of grey paint would hide it even better. Bench testing indicated good range which was subsequently born out when tested at Bill Wellington’s RR. Well over 100’ now compared to 30’ - 40’ previously. I hope the above has been of assistance to anyone contemplating R/C’ing the 45T. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.