Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Sunday, 6 March 2016

There is a fine line between detail and insane.

I have been in the process of installing lights into the two SEC trams, Ballarat 28 and Bendigo 29. These trams were DCC chipped nearly two years ago, they had their CVs tweaked and have been in regular service since.

County cousins from about 2 years ago.
However a tram without running lights can be a hazard to itself and to others, for when it is called up by the controller, you have no clear idea which direction it will go when it moves into step one, (usually into the tram 'behind' it at the depot), nor can you tell if it has stalled on dirty track or it's just being difficult.

That's the thinking behind about fitting lights are, the headlights let you know which way it should go and the saloon lights inform you that the tram is receiving power and is waiting for further instruction, this sums up the detail aspect.

The insane part of this blog, is that both trams are of the single truck four wheel variety, (Ballarat 28, a reworked tyco/mantua trolley and Bendigo 29 a JEM resin kit on an Bachmann 44t powered bogie) therefore there is a distinct lack of real estate inside these models, even when you have installed rather small decoders, there is the space consumed by the mechanism, then you decide to install headlights, marker lamps and interior saloon lights as well, enter the two blokes with the straight jacket and a few sessions of weaving cane baskets!

The mechanism of Bendigo 29, with a socket on top
fashioned from half an eight pin IC socket.
The innards of Bendigo 29.
With three LEDs at each end, two warm white, on red.
What makes this concept more interesting is that I install LEDs with dropping resistors for lighting, but as I choose not to incinerate surface mounted LEDs for these projects, no, I use the more robust 3mm LEDs, warm white for the headlamps, red for the tail/marker lamps and yellow for interior lighting.

With the marker lights, I use 1mm(.040") fibre optic thread/element that is heat shrunk to the LED, and to ensure that the 'magic smoke' does not exit the decoder, all leads of components and wires are heat shrunk and insulated. All of which is in the confined space of these trams.

The marker light assembly, a warm white LED with heat shrink
surrounding the two smaller heat shrunk sleaves that the 1mm Fibre optic
element will press fit into.
Testing the marker light assembly before installation.
Ballarat 28 was just as entertaining to do, and was fitted out in a similar way. The results speak for themselves
Ballarat 28 & Bendigo 29 passing outside the Grand Theatre,
and earlier in the evening along Victoria St.
Then back at the Depot later that night.
From under the wires with little trams in the dark.

P.S. This is the 100th post of Victoria Street.




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