The trick is to modify the type 1 pickup bricks from the 1969-1975 12v motors so they are compatible with the 9v conductive plates. Note I think the type 1 is better than the later 1976-1980 type 1 & 2 due to :
1. the side of the brick the pins are - they fit the right side of a standard wheel base.
2. the thick, 100% metal pins are better for this mod
3. the pickups themselves seem to be made of better quality metal (I don't know but it's more 'brassy' looking - things were made solid in those days!).
Obviously using such an ancient brick is both the beauty and the flaw to this as they are becoming rarer and on top of that you can say I either bring them up to date or brutalise them depending on your point of view. At least I can spray Teflon lubricant at them without fear that I'll break the motor whilst doing so.
The example I'm going to show you is to convert the 7745. I've also changed all the 7745 standard wheels to 9v/PF wheels as they are so much better from a friction point of view, which matters when using PF motors, and also look good in my opinion. I like the classics but also like to apply upgrades as it keeps things alive, plus some things I never liked such as the 7740 pantographs, so was happy to swap those for a modern design.
The rough and ridged 12v track probably doesn't help that much either regarding friction and I have a feeling the the PF motor wheels spin slightly on the curves due to the ridge on the inside tracks, it's not a big issue but I'll probably replace them with ME Model curves if/when they come out. I would probably go all the way to 9v if there was a viable pickup option that didn't rely on using old 9v motors which are soon becoming as expensive as the 12v ones.
Step 1 - Convert two Type 1 pickup bricks.
Note that the base of the pins exactly match the size of a stud!!
We need to cut and sand down the metal until we no longer have the pins but instead two metal studs. It took me a while to get fast at this, first I use some heavy duty cutters followed by sanding - be very careful not to accidentally sand off the top of the plastic studs! Here is a before and after :
The bricks are now 9v conductive plate compatible!!
Step 2 - Add a 1x2 conductive plate to one of the modified pickup bricks:
Step 3 - Add a 9v/PF wheel set to the pickup brick with the 1x2 conductive plate. I did try using motor wheels but the technic axle hole meant that the pickups were about half a plate too far or too close to the track.
Step 4 - Add a 2x8 conductive plate (these only seem to come in white) on top of what we have so far :
Step 5 - Attach a 2x4 conductive plate to the 2x8
Step 6 - Add one plain non-conductive 1x2 plate :
Step 7 - Add another 9v/PF wheel set on the other side :
Step 8 - Fill in / reinforce the missing gaps in the middle with standard plate / any decorations :
Step 9 - Add a bogie plate and magnet assembly :
Step 10 - Add a 9V wire to the other side. Note a 9v plug is two plates thick, so we don't need any more conductive plates to complete the circuit to the other pickup brick.
Step 11 - Add the second pickup brick so all elements are connected and we have a complete bogie!
Now we can put it with the loco :
Here it is on the track :
Without the roof, there is a 'plug tower' consisting of the PF motor plug, 2 9v/PF conversion wire plugs, 9v bogie pickup plug and for a 9v plug for the lights (which I converted to end in 12v plugs so I can still use the 12v light bricks). I had to lose a couple of studs worth of the decorative motors, but all in all it's hardly noticeable. I did also add one more weight brick at the end to give the PF motor a bit of extra grip, which means this 7745 now has two weight bricks.
From underneath, note the distance between the pickups is exactly the same as on a grey era 12v motor.
I also gave the end buffet car carriage one pickup for the lights. You can use two pickups but one is fine for lights - I don't mind the slight flicker you get when the train crosses switch points. This avoids the old problem with the 7745, whereby you have to run a wire along the whole length of the train just to light up the end car. I got an extra carriage for it, so that would be an extra pain!
Bear in mind that you may want to skip this if you are pulling more than 4 carriages as the additional pickup on the end carriage will increase friction.
That concludes the guide, hope you found it useful! More coming soon.
I should add this train is mega-fast!! I usually avoid over-charging it on 12v by the fact that at that speed it will derail. I find that as long as I have 2 trains running it's not a problem to whack it on full, but if the other train stops for some reason I'm in trouble. Plus, as I said, if I do break the motor I can still use the pickups and just get another cheap motor from S@H, a lot easier than trawling ebay for a good deal on an original 12v motor. Although I may try opening up one motor (probably when I break my first) and swapping out the internal model with a brand new 12v one (the same one mentioned in Railbricks used on model railways) and see how that runs.
Edited by bricks n bolts, 17 December 2011 - 12:17 AM.