Pick-up wiring

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jr switch, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. jr switch

    jr switch Member

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    Maybe some of you will have a suggestion on this. Iv'e just recently gotten a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 and a Spectrum 4-6-0. Both are set up for DCC and have the rectangular plug and square plug between engine and tender. The wiring is very stiff and also has to go on one side or the other of the tow strap from the engine. The wires are stiff enough to support the weight of the front of the tender and hold the front truck off the track. Also, the force of the wiring keeps the tender out of line with the engine. Is this just one of those things where you just keep bending the wiring until it allows tender to track straight and sit low enough that the wheels are resting on the rails? Should the wires be pulled out to each side more?
    If anyone is considering one of these Spectrum 4-6-0's or "tenwheelers", you wouldn't be disappointed. The level of detail is unbelievable. Quite a lot of detail added at the factory. Runs great and pulls several freight cars with no problem. Got it from Hobbyfrenzy.com for $117.00 total. Gary is a great guy to deal with and quick delivery.
    I'll try to get some photos of both posted soon---------------John R
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    The wiring between the loco and tender, particularily on the Ten Wheeler, can often cause the problems that you describe. On one of mine, the little rings of what appears to be wire insulation, used to keep the wires bundled together, had bunched up at the spot where the wires come out of the tender. Moving them to the "droop" in the wire helped. Some locos seem to have more wire exposed than others, and you'll need to try routing them different ways, until you find one that works. Some need to be above the drawbar, others below, and some even need the wires to go around the drawbar. While these multiple wires are intended for DCC users, it's not too difficult to rewire things, if you operate with DC, so that only the two-wire harness is used. I improved mine simply by removing the wiring for the lights, as I prefer an engine that runs, with no lights, to one that lights, but doesn't run.:rolleyes:

    Wayne
  3. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    Wayne, you sound like one of my Drill Sergeants at the armor school, "if a tank can shoot and communicate but not move it's no good, if it can shoot and move but not communicate it's no good, if it can communicate and move but not shoot it's a 70 ton portable radio"!

    I agree an engine that has lights, smokes and sound but won't run it eye candy!

    Rick
  4. jr switch

    jr switch Member

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    Doctorwayne------Thanks for the info on the wiring. How hard is it to eliminate the big plug? If all I wanted on most of my locos was DC running only, can the big plug just be cut out? All I lose is the light? I could easily live with that in order to get away from the pressure of these wires. Maybe the small plug is for power to the motor and the other for lights and DCC functions? Sure would be a simple fix---------John R
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I think the Bachmann Spectrum series of steam engines have pick ups on the tender wheels as well as the locomotive drivers. This makes them more reliable operating over dirty track or loose connections. If my memory is correct, the small plug connects the tender pick ups to the locomotive. The large plug has a jumper plug installed for use in dc mode. To run in dcc, you need to remove the jumper plug and install a decoder. If you just eliminate the big plug, you need to determine what wires the jumper plug connects and make sure you make connections on those wires. If you don't make the correct jumper connections, you will have an open circuit between the track and the locomotive when you remove to plug.
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    The artistic triumph pictured below is a representation of the small circuit board located beneath the cab of the Bachmann 4-6-0. The top of the picture faces towards the front of the loco.
    [​IMG]
    On the Bachmann Ten Wheeler, the small, two-connector plug feeds power from the locomotive's drivers back to the circuit board, and eventually back to the motor. The pin/receptacle [E], closest to the front of the loco, sends power from the drivers on the fireman's side of the loco, while the rear pin/receptacle [F] transmits power from the drivers on the engineer's side.
    On the tender, the front truck picks up current from the fireman's side, and is therefore the same polarity as [E]. The rear tender truck, picking up current from the engineer's side, is the same polarity as [F].
    Pin/receptacle combination [A] is the power feed for the upper terminal on the motor, and is fed by current from [F] and the rear tender truck, after first going through the circuit board in the tender.
    Similarily, pin/receptacle combination is the power feed for the lower terminal on the motor, and is fed by current from [E] and the front tender truck.
    Plug/receptacle combinations [C] and [D] are for the lights on both the loco and the tender.
    If, like me, you don't care about working lights, and do not use DCC, the circuit board can be removed from the tender, and the loco rewired as follows: working in the tender, connect the wire from [E] to the wire from the front tender truck, then connect both to the wire in the 4-pin plug that feeds . Likewise, connect the wire from [F] to the wire from the rear tender truck, then connect both to the wire in the 4-pin plug that feeds [A]. This will allow you to remove the wires that work through [C] and [D].
    Alternately, working at the locomotive circuit board, run the wire from the drivers on the fireman's side directly to the lower motor terminal, and the wire from the drivers on the engineer's side directly to the upper motor terminal, thereby negating the need for the 2-pin plug.
    An even better solution, in my opinion, is to connect the wires as noted in the previous step, then, working in the tender, connect the wire from the front tender truck to the wire connected through the 2-pin plug to [E], and the wire from the rear tender truck to the wire connecting through the 2-pin plug to [F]. This will eliminate the need for the 4-pin connector.
    You're on your own as far as lights go, as I'm already confused enough.:rolleyes:

    Wayne