Glasgow, Scotland 

Clydeside Model Rail Club

Model Railway Club in Scotland

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Proper Lighting on Locomotives
In recent times Duncan has been turning his attention to the lighting on his DCC locomotives.

In particular, although most DCC chips are at least four functions, on the eight pin “DCC ready” sockets often only two of these functions are utilised. Normally the front and rear lights are interconnected so that the rear lights are always on if the front lights are on. This is done to make the models compatible with analogue operation but clearly this is not satisfactory if the locomotive is pulling a train when the rear lights should be extinguished as in the prototype.

Duncan picks up the story:

The new mission is to separate the rear lights from the front lights so that they can be independently switched on and off.

First up is my Bachmann Class 66: This also has an issue in that the marker lights don’t illuminate.

There are kits on the market for these but being the notorious tightwad that I am I decided I wasn’t going to splash out £20 on a kit, however

I did look at YouTube to see what other people have done.

One idea was to paint the inside of the rear lights area white (avoiding the red LEDs) to provide reflection and install two white LEDs alongside the existing red LEDs.

The next problem is how to wire them up. The wiring in the Bachmann 66 is quite complicated and allows for switching between right and left headlights for daytime or night-time running. As the marker lights are on for both day or night running any wiring through the headlights would be very difficult.

However, you may recall that one of the purposes of this exercise was to separate the tail light operation from the headlights. This freed up the existing taillight connections which are switched on and off with the headlights (both left and right).  I used these connections on the circuit board to supply the new marker lights.

The change for day and night running is still made manually on the switch under the locomotive. It is not possible to change this on DCC with an eight-pin plug and four functions if the rear lights are to be independently switched as well.

A quick visit to the programming track and the rear lights illuminate with F1 as appropriate dependant on the locomotive direction.

Conversely of course if you are running the Royal Scotsman with a Class 66 top and tail you can put off the headlights on the rear locomotive and run with only the tail lights on.

Overall cost was about £4 for the locomotive and £10 in the swear box for my burnt fingers and the fiddly wires and putting it all back together without snagging the wires in the screw holes.

Duncan Malcolm


Class 66 near Poltalloch Ferry Station in daylight

    Class 66 near Poltalloch Ferry Station at night

If you want to know the technical details of how this was done  it will be published in the next club Journal  (Editor permitting)