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Discussion Starter · #62 · (Edited)
I finally completed work on installing a DCC decoder in a Proto2000 GP9 that I purchased last fall. It was more of an ordeal than I had planned, so I am glad that this was not my first attempt to convert a locomotive to DCC.

Upon disassembling the locomotive, I was able to confirm that there were only two motor pickups from the trucks and the metal body frame was used to conduct electricity from the trucks to the motor. Both of these issues would need to be addressed.

Train Rolling stock Track Toy Railway


I desoldered the wires from the frame and soldered extra pickup wires to the trucks. I then installed the decoder along with some LEDs, which I had to file down to fit into the groove of the body. Despite being careful, I managed to burn out my first decoder, because the lower wire to the motor was not properly isolated from the body. I replaced the decoder and improved the insulation.

Green Blue Train Toy Rolling stock


It's a very tight fit! As I read online, if this were not a high nose version, I would have needed to file down the body to fit the decoder. (That would have been more of a project than I was willing to take on!)

I also discovered not only were there cracked axle gears (as I'd expected), but some problems with the other gears as well. I was able to order additional gears online, and between cleaning out and replacing old grease and switching out gears by trial and error, I ended up with a quiet and smooth running locomotive.

Finally, I painted the crew and lightly weathered the shell. This locomotive would have been quite new in 1965, the year my layout depicts. I really like how this one turned out!

Train Vehicle Window Cloud Toy



Train Vehicle Rolling stock Mode of transport Locomotive


Among other things, I will use this one on a local passenger train:

Train Rolling stock Track freight car Railway



This project also prompted me to take my SW8 back apart to paint the crew hidden inside it:

Motor vehicle Wood Bird Electrical wiring Circuit component


These are nicely detailed and well-running locomotives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 · (Edited)
I posted some information on my doodlebug last summer in a thread started by @Stumpy. I completed work on my doodlebug this winter, so I thought I would provide an update on my layout thread.

I had been looking for a Great Northern doodlebug, but all of the ones I looked at were expensive and/or seemed to have cracked gears. I found this Burlington doodlebug new for $39 plus shipping, so I couldn't resist, especially given how well it complements my other Burlington equipment.

It was DCC ready, but I chose to remove the control board to fit a speaker and to remove the light strip to upgrade to LED lights, both for the headlamp and for the passenger compartment.

563039



I ordered the decoder from Yankee Dabbler, and they uploaded a custom rail diesel car sound file for me before shipping it (at no additional charge!). I also modified and painted some figures to ride in the passenger compartment.

563040


Once I was satisfied with the figures (including a standing conductor), I painted the passenger compartment, based on photos I found online, and secured the figures in place. I also studied prototype photos to get ideas for exterior weathering and detailing.

Wood Track Rolling stock Railway Mode of transport


Since this piece of equipment would have been rather old by 1965 (though still running on my layout), I decided to add more rust than might have been typical for passenger equipment.


Train Plant Vehicle Wheel Rolling stock


I also added truck chains (secured with super glue) and additional grab irons on the top, front, and sides.

Train Plant Rolling stock Vehicle Motor vehicle


Train Plant Mountain Vehicle Motor vehicle


I'll probably do some minor adjustments on the weathering, but I'm quite proud of how this turned out. It was my first attempt at adding grab irons, and now I feel ready to add them (and perhaps diaphragms) to my FT-A/B set.
 

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Just an FYI, your Northern Pacific locomotive, which you called a GP9, is actually a GP18, which was made by Proto 2000 a long time ago (late 1980’s)…..that’s why it was tougher to install a decoder, the newer ones had the 8 pin plug that made it much easier….
Motor vehicle Vehicle Font Rectangle Parallel
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 · (Edited)
Update: I'm moving to a new house.

Because the layout was constructed as three modules, I was able to cut it apart for moving.

Mountain World Sky Urban design Wood


The most tricky part was the backdrop, which I cut very carefully and hopefully will be able to reassemble without obvious seams. It is helpful that my backdrop is shaped somewhat unusually, to accommodate the trains moving from back to front, so there are corners that I can use to hide the seams once the layout is reassembled.

Our previous house had a Michigan basement, so the layout was built onto the ledge around the perimeter. The new layout has a large utility room in which the layout will fit perfectly. However, I will need to put legs underneath it. I have ordered IKEA Krille legs with castors. Once I have everything reassembled, this will be very nice, because I will be able to move layout for access to the backside, which was very difficult with my previous setup. I also will have much easier access underneath the layout then I had previously.

The housing market is hot, so all this happened very quickly. We're only moving about two miles, so I was able to move the layout myself.

Currently, it is stored in the garage. I hope the cold, dry air hasn't caused any irreversible damage. Based on what you can see in the photo below, I have some concerns about the backdrop and the water.

I intend this week to make some space for the layout and get it into my basement. However, given many other tasks yet to be completed and summer weather (hopefully) coming soon, it probably will not be reassembled until late fall. I might try to get legs under the three modules before then, even if the layout is not reassembled until later. It will take some new track to reconnect everything, and a good cleaning to get the trains running again.

Textile Art Creative arts Automotive design Urban design
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
Thanks, @Old Bandit . I'm optimistic, but I won't know until I try to put it all back together.
 
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Discussion Starter · #74 · (Edited)
Thank you for the good wishes.

We gradually are getting settled into our new house. We bought it as a fixer, so it is taking some time, but we are making steady progress.

There is a large utility room with smooth walls and a high ceiling that will become the new hobby room. We inherited some metal cabinets and a work light from the previous owner, so it will be a very nice place to work.

The layout is now in the room but still in sections and on its side.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Wood Gas Automotive design


I am hoping in September to get some legs under the layout and then spend some time repairing and re-laying track. This time the layout will be on large casters, which will make the work much easier than before. Hopefully by December everything I previously had completed will be working and repaired and I can begin to work on new things.
 

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Congrats on the new house!
Had I known you were looking I would’ve shared a diamond I found a few months ago. But then considering…. So I’ve got to now ask. I don’t recall the streets at that intersection but there was an all stone house, which looked like a literal castle on the market. The 2nd floor of the turret had a full 360 balcony walkway, with a full 360 mahogany(?) railing, open to the first floor in the turret center. Every room looked great. I don’t know what was wrong with it because I’d expect an asking price of $600k or more. They were asking less than $80k! That full circle bannister was amazing looking.
Don’t tell me you scored that place…
 

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A perfect example of why you should build your layout in modules. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress as you reassemble it.
 
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I consider everyday a blessing as I outlasted a few of my classmates already.
If the big one comes, I am toast as I live a few miles from a major international airport.
Being in the Syliviana hills under a garage bunker, you just might survive.
Might want to get a few batteries, a solar charger and a mini layout down there to pass the time while you wait for the coast to clear....
 
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