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Bachmann Climax Upgrade

by JRinTawa    22nd March 2011

This page is a work in progress - more to follow in the next few days.

Some 5 years ago I purchased a Bachmann Spectrum Climax loco for use on the H&MGR.  It worked for a short while in as new condition before it came under the bodger's knife.

Changing Appearance

Their were several Class B Climax loco's on bush tramways in New Zealand and my intention was to give the loco a similar general appearance.  This was pretty straight forward involving removing the lettering and lining; repositioning the back headlight off the cab roof and onto the bunker; move the coal load which doubles a weight block from outside to hidden inside the bunker;  fit a load of slab wood into the bunker, including some bars from brass to extend the bunker sides; and finally a bit of light weathering.

Our Climax ran in this form happily under track power but as part of the evolution of the H&MGR a change to battery power has now occurred.

Fitting Battery Power & Aristocraft Revolution Control

Step 1
Remove the track pickup bullets from each bogie/power unit.  I pried them out with a flat bladed jewelers screw driver and fine nose pliers.  Extreme care is needed as the little ball bearing, or the spring, or another little brass internal part are all free to fall out and into the power unit as you do this!

Step 2
Remove ashpan base, it's a click fit, and lift out the PC board within.  The yellow wire is from when I relocated the headlight of the cab room, yes every other wire is either red or black!  Thus sorting which wire went were was somewhat trial and error; gently pulling wires back and forth and labeling as identified.

Step 3
This board in the bunker is there if you were to want to fit sound.  In my case I didn't and would not have enough room anyway, so the board is cut from the wires.  One pair of red & back wires go right through to the front of the loco and one pair to the ashpan PC board.  Don't pull the wires out, they will get used for other feeds.

Step 4
I removed the front bogie to back it easier to identify which wires came front the sound board in the bunker to what must be some form of sound timing in the cyclinders.  The red wire & black wire from the sound board are cut close to the cylinders and pulled back into the smokebox to be used in StepXXX.  Since I had the bogie off I cut out a couple of black wires between the cyclinders - they relate to sound so aren't needed, though you can't really see then was on the track so could be left.  If don't want to remove the bogie you could cut the red and black wires inside the smokebox.

Step 5
The smokebox front is a push fit and can be gently prized off.  I have chosen to remove the smoke unit, which never worked and removing it makes running the wires easier.  The smoke unit could be retained should you wish using the smoke unit switch supplied with the Aristocraft Revolution receiver.  At this stage I had stripped out the smoke unit wiring so there were slightly less pairs of red and black wires to identify.  This was possibly a mistake as I needed some extra wires later when wiring the charging plug, but more on that in a bit.
At this step I have joined the bogie pick-up wires to what were the sound unit wires, the wires that run right through to the bunker area.

Step 6
With all the surplus wires stripped off the ashpan PC board it was time apply a bit of power and check the cab light, plus firebox and ashpan flicker LED's still worked.  They did.  So I also then applied power to the two bogies/power units as a check.  Both rotated the same way with power feed to the same coloured wires.  So I treated the Red wire as +ve and black as -ve.  This may seem obvious but I heard of locos where the wires needed reversing on one bogie, red connected to black, and black to red!

Step 7
Now happy I had stripped out the excess wires it was time to decide where to put the battery charging socket and on/off switch.  Various placed considered then light bulb moment - behind the smokebox door is what was the on/off switch for the smoke unit, I could use that, and put the charging socket there.  Would have been handy to have retained the old smoke unit wires, but it wasn't to much hassle to draw 4 new wires along the wiring duct from the bunker into the ashpan then along the inside of the boiler.
The picture shows the charging socket and  on/off switch which cuts battery power to the Receiver and ensures the Receiver is isolated when charging the batteries.

Step 8
There you go, smokebox front back in place, even handy on off words!

Step 9
Now the fun part, with zero millimeters to spare it's time to see if the batteries really do fit.  A bit of surgery was needed inside the bunker removing the original mounting screw studs and planning off the back side of a groove into which a some moulded boards slot in. Just what needs trimming is hard to explain and would be governed but the length of you holders.  Installation would be easier with a customise 12xAA cell battery pack rather than the two battery holder (6 batteries in each) that I used.
The wires sticking up everywhere are not in there final locations.

Step 10
Test fitting the Receiver which has just about 1mm tolerance in height to fit under the bunker top.  I unsoldered all the supplied wires on the Receiver mounting board later in preparation to soldering my wiring in their place.

Step 11
Battery wires, motor wires and feed to ashpan PC board hooked up and under test.  The feed for the ashpan PC board are connected directly to the motor feed wires.  As taught by Ian I set the starting voltage on the Reciever to just under the voltage the loco moves off at, thus with the first push of the speed up button on the Revolution handpiece there is enough voltage to light up the cab light, ashpan and smokebox LED's without the loco moving.

End for now (25th March) - find I need a picture to show completed wiring with the headlights etc ....and a jolly good reread so you have half a chance of following what I did!

  Page is a Work in Progress  - more in the next few days