TCS Z2 Decoder Installation for the HO-Scale Bachmann Speeder performed by Carl Marchand, Tampa,FL

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PHOTO: SpeederBeforeIinstall

Recently I was approached to install a DCC decoder in a Bachmann HO scale speeder. The challenge was intriguing; how to find room for the decoder without placing it on the "control deck", which is the easy way. Could the headlamp be illuminated?
After carefully examining the entire assembly and making a few measurements, I decided the best approach was to slightly modify the control deck by raising it 5.5 scale inches and carving out bits of plastic from the deck to accommodate a TCS Z2 decoder.


Summary of parts:
TCS Z2 decoder
Plastruct styrene sheets and strips - .010 in, .060 in (or .020 and .040 strips)
TCS Sunny White SMD LED( with leads)
TCS Kapton Tape
PollyScale SCL Hopper Yellow Paint or similar
5 minute Epoxy
3M 415 double sided tape (not the foam kind)
3M 191CL Repair tape - clear
SMD (Surface Mount) 1/4 watt or 1/8 watt resistor, 1.5 K ohm
STEP ONE - Remove the bottom cover
TIP : break in unit thoroughly before installing any electronics. This gives the motor brushes a chance to "seat" and will polish the wheel contact surfaces for better operation.


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PHOTO: Speeder1a
Unscrew the five screws and remove the bottom cover. Mark the bottom of the motor with a dot from a magic marker, preferably black as lower terminal is the negative terminal.
STEP TWO - Remove plastic material from top cover as shown below
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PHOTO: Speeder2a

STEP THREE - Add styrene sheet to control deck top
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PHOTO: Speeder4a
Removing the plastic material may "blemish" the top side of the cover; to resolve this issue, carefully sand the top side until its flat, then "laminate" it with a sheet of .010 styrene. I made mine from bits of styrene then used Bondo Glazing Putty to fill the seams. Next, paint the entire assembly with SCL Hopper Yellow. Dont worry if the yellow differs from the main assembly; the original deck is slightly different from the overall body color.
STEP FOUR – Preparing chassis halves
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PHOTO: Speeder5a 
Flatten the metal contacts so they will not touch the motor commutator; this isolates the motor from the frame.Attach the decoder input wires to the contacts as marked.
STEP FIVE - Attaching decoder power input wires
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PHOTO: Speeder6 a
After soldering the wires to the contacts, attach strips of Kapton tape to the areas indicated by the red boxes. Be careful not overlap the tape onto worm gear wells.
STEP SIX - Wiring motor and decoder

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PHOTO: Speeder 7 a
STEP SEVEN - Preparing body and top cover; attaching decoder to motor
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PHOTO: Speeder8 a
Optional - to illuminate the false headlamp, carefully remove the lens by saturating the lens and housing with Walthers Solvaset to loosen the lens glue, then remove by breaking the seam with a Xacto #12 blade (small curved). Drill the housing dead center with a number 61 drill bit. Remove enough plastic from the housing by drilling to accommodate a SMD LED (Surface Mount LED), available from TCS. Use a 1/4 watt SMD 1,500 ohm resistor in series with the WHITE function wire. Coat the resistor with epoxy or similar adhesive to electrically insulate it.
STEP EIGHT - Dressing the wires
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PHOTO: Speeder9 a
Reassembly - this is probably the trickiest part of the process. Carefully slide the body over the main assembly while keeping TOP control cover tucked inside its walls; do not attach the cover to the frame until the body is attached and the wires from the headlamp are carefully tucked underneath the cover. Take care to keep the wires away from the four cover mounting holes (refer to the photo for positioning).
STEP TEN - Finished Product
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PHOTO: Speeder10 a

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