Sunday, August 7, 2016

Adding Blackstone lighting to an Athearn/MDC Shorty Passenger Car

Having installed LED lighting using various methods, from using an old decoder, lights always on direct from the track, through the resistor, and Soundtraxx soundcar, I was intrigued when I seen the "Long Caboose Lighting Decoder" from Soundtraxx/Blackstone models. (Part No. 8100137) This is meant as a plug and play install straight into the HOn3 Blackstone Long Caboose. 

It's lists at Soundtraxx for $36.00, but my dealer was having a sale so I picked up two for $27.00. What I can appreciate is the resistor and "keep alive" capacitor are already part of the board, all you need to do is solder track power to the two solder pads on the decoder. I had a 4-pack of the Roundhouse passenger cars I picked up at a train show for a very good price (D&R.G.W.) and plan on removing that lettering. 

So lets begin:

I'm starting with the car "Solitude", the roof simply pops off. 

The decoder isn't wide enough to put directly on the ceiling so I glue a couple of lengths of styrene across the roof and applied two sided tape.

Wires presoldered  onto the decoder, and decoder mounted with tape.

The next task was to remove one truck from the car and drill an access hole to route the power wires from the truck. There is a metal weight sandwiched between the car body and frame, so be careful and patient.

After that it was time to drill and tap the truck for 2-56 screws, these will hole my homemade wheel wipers.

Next I added a quick disconnect so I could seperate the roof from the car for maintenance.

My homemade wheel wipes using Kadee coupler springs, I then soldered the wires and screwed them to the truck. One truck is all that is needed, I suppose you wire up both but since the board has a capacitor, the lights shouldn't blink.

I threaded the wires through the floor and soldered in the female quick disconnect, made the connections and put it on the track.

I love the color of the lighting, one down, three more to go!.
It took me about three hours for this installation, I hand-drilled through the floor which took up a lot of time, us a Dremel and be done in seconds. The next step is too install some Woodland Scenics Light Diffusing Window Film so you can't see the workings inside the coach. 

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