Dollar Store Trailer Upgrades

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Fred_M, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    We have several dollar stores in the area that along with Walmat sell cheap semis that are close enough to scale for me to accept. But some of them look downright STUPID. Here's an idea that came to me when trying to peel off a stupid sticker, make my own. So I started with some truch pictures that were close to square and took them to paintbrush. I cut and pasted and resized for awhile and printed the resultant to 1/2 page address lables. (the kind UPS give to shippers for free) The lables are also sold at Walmart, etc as "Avery" lables. I then cut them out and have my own stickers. DASH

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  2. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Now the wheels still look stupid, but they could be replaced too. But I am still happy with the job. It's basically a $2 semi. FRED

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  3. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    And here's the trailer deliverd at the dock. FRED

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  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    Not bad looking at all... Can't see what's wrong with the wheels from here, but I can immagine. Can you paint them and weather them? Maybe paint them grungy black (50/50 black/brown). A dark wash would do the chrome parts nice if you could get it to stick. Perhaps dullcoating it first? Neat find!
  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    They are "hot wheels" type. They are too small, the hubcaps are outside the tires, they are chrome, and they are single and wide. I have put some extra Athearn's wheels on in the past but they cost to much to buy seperate. Maybe I should try making a mold and casting some....hum...FRED
  6. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

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    looks good to me;) :thumb: :thumb:
  7. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    version 2.0

    What's nice about these are they are a buck, so if you scap them so what. First I open the package. FRED

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  8. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    version 2.0

    I then see that a stud is melted and that's what holds the trailer box on the frame, so I drill it. I then drill 8 1/16 holes in the back and thread two real small red LEDs in.

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  9. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    version 2.0

    I then solder in a 4 cell AAA battery pack with NiMH batteries I got on clearance for 2/$1. I also glue on some strips to the box to make a bumper and a saftey bumper. I also made sure they would fit in the box, they just. They glow nice and bright red. FRED

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  10. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    version 2.0

    I then spray on some primer just to see what I got. FRED

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  11. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

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    Great:thumb: :thumb:

    More pics please:wave:
  12. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    :( Well, the batteries ran down in 5 days.:( I thought I read that LEDs ran months on a set of batteries? So I guess I'll pull the batteries out and hard wire the trailer. I found a van truck that will make a nice Bekins moving truck? or who else runs these with color? FRED

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  13. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Put on the stickers. This trailer is good enough for now. I am disappointed that the batteries didn't work better. Now it has to be static I guess. FRED:(

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  14. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

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    Dash,
    Lots of times the batteries you get in a discount store or something like that are either old/stale, or they're the cheap batteries they make for demo-ing things in the store and aren't made to last long. I got some AA batteries for my CD player once and couldn't get a whole CD out of a set, switched to Duracells and I'd go all day.
  15. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    These were new fully charged NIMH rechargables. They work fine in other items such as wireless headphones and flashlights. So I don't know, besides Duracells cost too much for a silly trailer light. But thanks for the idea. FRED
  16. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Somebody with more knowldege correct me if I'm wrong, but the batteries I used were 550 mAh and the LEDs were 20 mA. So they should of ran about 25 hours per charge but ran 5 days because as the voltage dropped the current draw decreased. So how do people claim a battery will run an LED for a month? FRED
  17. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

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    Hello Fred,

    You answered your own question.
    Add a resistor.
  18. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    So I installed a 220 ohm resistor between the batteries and LEDs. I then soldered in a plug to the outside of the trailer to charge the batteries from a 6 VDC wall pack. The LEDs are dimmer but may last longer per charge. I then packed some red playdough under the LEDS and when it dries will paint it black to eliminate red under the trailer. Installed a screw to hold it together and some bigger wheels from another Dollar store trailer I purchased for the tank that was on it. FRED

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  19. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

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    Hello Fred,

    You're getting way too much fun out of your dollar....haha.

    A couple of brass contacts under the trailer (thumb tacks) and a couple of brass wipers in a handy model loading dock, gas station or truck stop could make for easier charging, especially if you start building a fleet.
  20. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I had thought about metal wheels on the landing gear and pads to park on, but I'm only going to make a couple and I had the plugs laying around. I'm going to do another with a flasing led for a turn signal to put on the road. FRED