The germ of an idea, SP & 53 beginning

Onizukachan Nov 18, 2018

  1. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    Have you tried the method of a shop vac with a nylon panty hose over the nozzle?
    Onizukachan likes this.
  2. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    I have hardwood floors, I’ve swept, gone under the baseboards with a light and paintbrush, etc. it simply is gone.
  3. SF Chief

    SF Chief TrainBoard Member

    Sorry about the missing number boards. I don't have any suggestions there. But I'm really enjoying reading your thread. As a kid, I visited Santa Clause village a few times and love that stretch of coast. A great place to model. Also I enjoy reading about your weathering and electronics as you proceed with your project.

    Regarding the GS-4 working in DC but not DCC, there is a chance that your engine--if you bought it used--is a natural born decoder killer. The very first Kato GS-4s that came out in early 2008 ran great in DC but fried decoders every time. Kato fixed the problem within weeks and let consumers know. To those interested in installing DCC, by request Kato sent out little plastic pieces to slide between the drivers and the frame to prevent the engine from shorting out the decoder. I'm not sure visually how to tell one of the decoder killing engines of early 2008 from more recent GS-4 runs, however. The troublesome engines include 4449, are in daylight colors and do have the big "Southern Pacific" lettering on the side of the tender, as opposed to the smaller "Southern Pacific Lines" lettering. Of course, the vast majority of Kato 4449s in Daylight colors with large font "Southern Pacific" run fine in DCC. Someone else (Spookshow?) might be able to give you a better sense of what to look for.

    Regarding your question about the black widow paint job, the first F3s were delivered to SP in mid-1947 with Black Widow paint. SP subsidiary Cotton Belt had previously taken delivery of FTs in the Black Widow paint.

    One more thing. I love your Disney monorail--maybe you could do a layout based on Springfield, the town in the Simpsons that had an unfortunate experience with a monorail project. Or build an alternate universe in which Oxnard built a monorail. If you do, just don't forget to include "Lard Lad" donut shop.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    Thanks Chief! Glad you are enjoying!

    I was hoping some one would say “Hey, if you buy another F3A, new, or another F3B, new, they come with extra number boards in the box like your GS4 did.”
    My GS4 is a first run, aka the decoder killer, but I have now solved Kato’s shorting issue by significantly deepening the wheel wells in all 3 axis, taller wider and deeper, clear coating the upper frame, and then using kapton tape as well.
    The wheels can no longer touch the upper frame, and if they did, the frame is double insulated.
    After I got the F3a converted to dcc, I converted the GS4 back to dcc as well. It needs some fine tuning still on the lower speed CVs and kick, but it is very very close to how I had it before the misadventure, with lots of momentum.

    Going back to the F3a, I just need to figure out which pads in the TCS K08D-B in the f3 are positive and negative for the “other” headlight (instructions just say “yellow” but don’t see markings on the decoder itself) so I can solder in a 603 warm white as the actual headlight. I’m very close on the mars light, it wasn’t bad out of the box, but it didn’t quite have the zing on that last flash, so I am playing with the values to get it to pop a little more.
    Once I am happy I will post my settings for others to benefit from, and I am considering running independent number boards on the F3a as well.

    Up next...
    My work gives us rewards in the form of gift cards sometimes, so last night I spent Some of their money on eBay, buying things I will need for the warehouse project, styrene wood flooring, hanging lamps, functional gooseneck lamps, a pin vise, a power distribution board, a sugar cube speaker for sound, etc.

    I also got a TCS fl4 for the GS4’s lighting.
    I chose it rather than the slightly less expensive digitrax Kobo used in the GS4 for two reasons:
    1: the em13 is made by Digitrax and thus already has Transponding. I’m sure 2 transponders wouldn’t be good if I ever run it at a local club night I’ve been invited to.
    2: I liked the tunability of the mars light on the TCS decoder in the F3a, and should be able to replicate the same settings for a consistent effect between locomotives.

    I will be running one set of wires from the tender up to the locomotive, so I can use/ connect my rear light to it.
    This is a single 402 warm white LED attached to the original lens. I merely snipped off about 3/16ths of the extra length with my sprue cutters (while still attached to the tender), then removed it, glued the led in place with cyano, and once dried to the lens, painted the backside with cyano to seal it, and then the smaller diameter stem of the lens (the non interference fit part) with white paint.


    Unlike the factory headlamp, this actually puts light on track, and really works well. (Tender isn’t fully pressed down as the light’s wiring is running out the side to a battery pack)


    I also saw that the forum sponsor I buy my decoders from has the NCE 524-161 {Light-It-3} pack for later if I want to do passenger coach lighting, or special effects in the warehouse, like mercury sodium lamps ( remember those from gym class, and how it took them a while to “warm up”?). They aren’t excessively expensive and they can work on dc as well as dcc, so that is an idea for later.

    I am also thinking of building an interior framework, ie the rafters and studs to hold my hanging warehouse lamps so you can still remove the roof but leaving the rafters in place holding the lamps, and appreciate the interior of the building.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  5. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    Sorry, I was missing a pic of the 402 install to the lens.
    It is small enough to be installed to the lens outside the tender and the wires and LED passed thru the hole.

  6. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    I just got a picture at work that made me very happy.
    My wonderful wife made the extra effort to sift the dustpans before throwing them each one away today and found this.

    mtntrainman likes this.
  7. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    Awesome! Take her out to dinner! :). I knew you would find it!
  8. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    Cue huge sigh of relief. Now just to repair the shell chip and ding.
  9. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    Over the last two days I’ve been working on taking down the Christmas tree and packing the monorails away, as well as taking the (now) old couches out to the garage. I finished moving the new couches into the house (which involve carrying them out the garage, over the wall into the backyard and then into the house via the rear French doors) and got them to the living room. Am nearly done with getting the living room into shape, so I took a train break.


    I began working on the Kato GS-4 Daylight again, doing all the prep work and LED installs for the FL4 lighting decoder install.
    I did some things different from what I have seen others do, as it seemed more logical to me the way I am doing it.
    But then again, perhaps ignorance is bliss, as this is my first Non-drop-in install.
    As my usual photographers were busy watching movies, and a lot of this is two handed work, I apologize that it can’t be a pictorial how to. Or a video, which would have been ideal. I will do my best to describe what I did and why.

    Some info & pics.

    Parts & Tools:
    Dremel with cutoff wheel and tapered grinding cone attachments.
    Sprue cutter
    560 canopy glue
    Black acrylic paint
    2x 402 prewired LED (number boards)
    1x 402 prewired LED (optional tender reverse light)
    2x 1206 prewired LED (Mars and Headlight)
    2x Very small triangles of aluminum foil (as light blockers between mars light and headlight)
    Superglue (I used gorilla brand that has a brush)

    1- the front lens insert on the gs4 is tied together as one piece, you need to VERY CAREFULLY remove it and using the sprue cutters separate it into two parts, upper rod is mars light, the lower triangle and rod are the headlights and forward number lights. Please remember, the handrail goes on the bottom when you reinstall them to the boiler front.
    They will fit backwards so double check your work on reinstall (I did it wrong way the first time).

    2- Once separated and jaggies cleaned up, you will need to trim a couple of mm off the back of each piece to make room for the LEDs. I used my sprue cutter first and then a small file to clean it up.
    (This might not be necessary if you use the much smaller 603s, but I wanted the biggest brightest smd I could fit)
    I painted the middle 80% of the remaining Mars light rod black, and most of the upper surface of the headlight/numberlight part black as well. Once dry, I then adhered the LEDs using canopy glue by dipping the part into a dot of glue, waiting 30 seconds, and then dipping the LED in also. Hold in place for a couple of minutes until bonded enough to let go, and set carefully aside to dry for several minutes.


    3 - Once that was dry, I then took my two foil triangles, one with its point facing forwards as it will go into the cone of the boiler front, the other has its point facing rearwards covering over the led itself. small dab of canopy glue and they stick nicely in place on the headlight/ numberboard assembly. ( See above) This seems to work well to have truly independent lighting, with no bleed over to the numberboards/headlight from the Mars, and vice versa.


    4 - I also removed the light circuit board assembly that was under the boiler, and then remove the circuit board from the black plastic holder itself.
    I then cut the circuit board itself with the dremel and cutoff wheel saving the part with the brass tangs to use as power pickup for the decoder. I adhered it back to the tray with a dot of Gorilla superglue (about 5-10 seconds dry time) and reinstalled both parts back to the frame to ensure correct alignment as the glue dries.


    5 - clip a couple mm off the rear lens in the tender, remove lens from tender and glue a prewired warm white 402 directly to the lens. Once dry, reinstall to the tender. I used a toothpick to dot the wires with super glue so they will stick to each other about middle of tender and just before end of tender. Makes them much easier to keep together, while not affecting flexibility. Then simply run them out the front of the tender. (See earlier posts)

    6- Take your dremel and notch where the wiring will go jsut above the factory drawbar. Do not cut thru, just start a notch with your cutoff wheel, then switch to the cone grinder and widen it up a bit. Once cleaned up, use your tooth pick to put an extremely tiny amount of superglue in the groove and lay the wiring in. I then used a tiny flathead to hold the wiring down in the groove while depressing it down in the drawbar area to create some slack to allow for vertical movement. I held it until the glue set. I also painted the red lead black where it is visible.



    7 - by now your glue is dry enough that you can reinstall the lightrod LED assemblies back to the GS-4s silver boiler insert. Once again, double check you are installing the one with numberlights to the hole nearest the handrail. Use a tooth pick with canopy glue to ensure they are adhered once you do get them aligned and fully inserted, just to be safe. If you screw up (I did!) canopy glue is removable, take them out, remove the glue, and do it again!

    (No pics as it is still drying)

    8 - while that is drying, move on to installing the 402s into the mid number lights ( or forward if you have a later model GS-4 ) with care you can align the LED with the opening. Again I use my handy tooth pick to apply a drop of canopy glue to the LED, and after waiting a minute or two, I hold it against the opening until it bonds. Then I apply more to seal it to the opening fully. Once fully (an hour or two) dry, I paint over it with black acrylic paint. This step is unnecessary once reassembled, but I felt better after doing it.

    (The led is bonded here, but the glue is not fully dry, it is still milky white. Canopy glue dries crystal clear)

    9 - I then started test fitting the FL4. I found that if I put one particular side down, and moved it forward a mm or so, it would drop down into a preexisting recess saving a couple mm height, so I did. I attached it to the cradle with a single dot of super glue.


    And that is where I ended the night for tonight. Everything is glued and ready for soldering to the FL4 and the 1,000 ohm resistors.
    Wish they’d release an FL4-Led that had on board resistors! Or someone would do some SMD prewired resisitors and prewired caps!
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019 at 1:40 PM
  10. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    Tonight I decided to do the LEDs in the F3A so I only have to run the Soldering iron once.

    I have installed a 402 to each number board, and the one that kept falling out is now glued in.
    I also glued in a couple of 402s above the side glass to give the portholes jsut the hint of a glow.


    Finally I installed a 1206 for the headlight, it is mounted rotated 90 degrees so it will fit perfectly in the vertical slit where the lenses slide in.


    Prior to installing it, I added some Kapton tape to the recess for safety’s sake.
    Again I clipped Kato’s plastic that joins the two lenses, filed flat and painted the gap, then a dab of canopy glue ensures they do not come loose unintentionally later.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019 at 9:48 AM
  11. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    I also got the electronics soldered and sound files loaded for the upgraded sound for the Steam Whistle Warehouse.



    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019 at 10:43 AM
  12. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member


    Well, the F3A is back together, though I need to take the shell off one more time and fix some light bleed issues, a little black paint on the heatshrink surrounding the mars LED, and over the back of the canopy glue covering the light boards will solve those easily. I may just go ahead and paint the light rods also while I am in there.

    I now have Mars, headlight, numberboards and portholes illuminated (portholes are superdim after programming). I also made a rear window glass for the rear door using canopy glue to flood and fill the rear opening, but no need for a light there.

    After the above pic and video, I also learned some new settings in JMRI, as well as how to label my function buttons, and how to gang two outputs to a single button, so that was fun also! I was able learn to dim the numberboards as well as the portholes.

    The GS4 will be fun for a different reason, instead of hyper tiny wires and tiny pads (nerve wracking!), I have to solder in resistors, then the tiny wires. I actually think in some ways it is going to be easier.
    I’ll try to get it done later today or early in the evening so I can play with it also.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019 at 2:29 PM
    Carl Sowell and MK like this.
  13. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Member

    Black paint applied to inside of nose lightboards and lightpipes resolved my cross lighting issue, I also applied some to the tops of the porthole plastic, big mistake. Should have left it alone as it wicked in and I had to peel the glue back off and reglue. But all is well that ends well, so I did a little shell weathering, jsut a touch to accentuate rivets, fans, grills, etc and to dull it down a bit with some light grey and black while I was waiting on glue and paint to dry for reassembly. Still need to do the trucks.


    And here is a video of everything in action.
    Numberboards do Not flicker in real life, it’s an effect of shutter speed in the video combining with the PWM dimming.

    Enjoy everyone!

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