Monday, February 6, 2012

FS & BS Coaches

For the last couple of days I have been in an experimental mood. I bought two packs of Austrains T&R FS/BS coaches a few weeks ago and have not been very happy with my purchase. There have been some great modification articles already written and I intend on doing most of the procedures within however there are still a few issues not covered that I want to resolve.

Anyway I decided to have a go at building some working diaphragms. There was an article in AMRM, I think (sorry to the author) on converting the old powerline diaphragms by cutting the rubbing plate part of and then building up a telescoping section with styrene. I used this method and carefully cut the Austrains diaphragm up. They were quite easy to build and by adding a piece of bronze wire at an angle across the pivot wire they are nice and springy (is that a word?) I have added a few photos of the finished but unpainted attempt. I still have many more to build so I will take some construction shots for a later post.

This method allows the diaphragm to be simply clipped back into place and no coach body work is needed. The next challenge however is altering the position of the couplers so as to get a nice close coupled train. If anyone has some ideas on how to change the coupler spacing I would love to hear them. I am using short shank, scale head Kadees and they are still set too long. I have a few ideas but they involve a fair amount of work.

That not all folks! As the coaches do not roll very well, due to sticking brakes I decided to fit 88 wheels. Problem solved they run along very well now. As the replacement wheel sets do not have a split axle a cut in the steel weights is required thus utilising each bogie for the opposite polarity (insulated wheel on opposite sides). This however leaves only half the amount of pick up available for the lighting though.
After looking over the lighting circuit board I noticed there is a 100 ohm resister on the input, a bridge rectifier, a couple of caps and a voltage regulator. This has all the makings of a flicker free circuit minus the super cap! I quickly de-soldered a super cap - I had one on a circuit in my draw and clipped it over the output of the bridge rectifier (make sure you get the polarity correct). I bench powered the circuit and wouldn't you know it after cutting the power the LEDs remained lit for just under ten minutes! Who needs all wheel pick up! The super cap I used was a little large in capacitance so I will put an order into Jaycar for a couple of 0.047f types. At around $4.00 a cap I think this is a cool, easy mod. The cap will most likely have to have leads fitted and then secured in the ends of each coach. I am not sure how this circuit will behave under DCC. It should be fine as the input to the super cap has been rectified. Would love someone with DCC to experiment.

That's it for now. Hope someone can have some fun with this. BTW I have only just completed the flicker free mod and will test it out over the next few days for reliability.



  1. G'day Linton

    I also found that my set would not role very well so replaced the wheels with RP88 wheels I ended up removing the weights as per Ray Pilgrim's article on his blog

    and rewired so each end formed a pick-up.
    as for the diaphrams I did see these a while ago on Andrew's blog they may be of use I was thinking of getting some while I am in the states

    cheers Jon

  2. G'day Jonathan,

    I will have a look at Andrews blog. I know the fs bs cars are suppose to be on the heavy side but I actually like the weight! I have no grades on my layout so hopefully it won't effect too much.

    Yeah I can't believe it is such a simple mod to add the super cap and have proper constant lighting! Thanks Austrains ha ha

    Have a good trip to the states.