Re-gauging and back dating a Bachmann Porter:
Finishing details

The next step was detailing the back head with a Johnson reversing bar (right side), brake valve (left side) and a steam turret (immediately below the steam pressure gauge). Note that all three of these parts were included in the Backwoods Miniatures Porter dress-up kit. The Johnson reverser bar was quite difficult to assemble as it had seven separate pieces and it was only 0.75" tall but well worth the effort.

Note the red highlights that I have painted on the brake control valve and reverser bar:

By this time I had installed the rear pilot beam, a brass draw bar for the tender (just visible above the 3-pin DCC connector for the north / south rails and sound cam) and started the loco wiring. I also installed two tool boxes under the cab floor which added much needed weight to the locomotive. The intention being that this will improve both traction and electrical pickup.

After I had completed the back head detailing, I air brushed the new cab (the construction of which is described in Part 2). After carefully routing the head lamp and motor wires under the cab's 0.040" high false floor that I had fabricated on the Fireman's side (left-hand side of the photograph above), I glued the entire assembly to the locomotive floor. Cool, now she's actually starting to look a lot like a locomotive again!

I also added the "rope" for the bell and steam whistle so that the crew will be able to send an audible warning that the loco is either moving or about to move.

Next, I added a 4-pin connector for the motor and head lamp wiring so that I could connect them to the Tsunami decoder inside the water tank in the tender. After a lot of trial fitting, I decided that in the end I didn't have enough room for the two connectors underneath the tender and in between the two front wheels. I really dislike undoing my own work but in the end, I had no choice. I removed the connectors and hard wired the tender to the locomotive as it was my only alternative. Like the locomotive, the tender is small too - only 2¼" long and has to hide the Tsunami 750 decoder, seven wires, 2 resistors, a diode and a 220µF electrolytic capacitor. The diode and resistor combination ensure a slow in-rush of power to the hold-over capacitor thus allowing my NCE Powerhouse Pro system to both read and write Configuration Variable (CV) values:

Coming soon:

 Adding the diamond stack and air pump.
 Completing the tender and adding the freight draw bar.
 Tweaking the Tsunami DCC chip Configuration Variables (CV's) for optimum performance.

Please note that in widening the drivers to 3' gauge, I have found that they have a tendency to slip on the axles and that tends to ruin the quartering of the drivers. In order to resolve this, I am planning to make new 3' gauge axles on my lathe but I need to obtain a suitable knurling tool first. Please stay tuned.

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Last updated: May 2018