I bought two Protocab starter packs from you last February/March and thought you might like to know that I’ve finally got round to installing one. I used a new 00-gauge Hornby Flying Scotsman, Railroad range, which has a remarkably good flywheel motor and plenty of room in the tender. Having isolated the wheel pickups I used the 8-pin DCC socket as a base on which to solder a 9121 extension lead, the other end of which sits in the cab. All other components are in the tender.
Tender showing PCU housing - Photograph (c) 2016 Bill Watts
My railway, which will eventually be out in the garden, is gradually taking shape in modular form in the garage and so far I have been able to test the loco only on a 15-feet stretch but it worked flawlessly. Viewed at garden railway distances the engine-tender connection doesn’t need to be hidden too carefully, which simplifies installation. The railway will be double-track throughout and I bought two starter packs so as to be able to run two trains simultaneously. I’m now thinking of converting a small tank engine, using a permanently coupled box van to accommodate the electronics.
Initial test - Photograph (c) 2016 Bill Watts
I really like this wireless system of yours – it has considerable potential, especially for outdoor lines where electrical continuity and track-cleaning can be a real difficulty.
The more nervous modellers might be reassured to know that within the loco body I have left the pick-up wires in place, merely disconnecting and isolating the motor-ends of those wires. So the engine can be returned to conventional use at any time, if so desired. It’s comforting to keep options open!
Loco-tender connection - Photograph (c) 2016 Bill Watts
Positioning the 9601 is indeed a challenge. A tender with a water filler is ideal but in other cases the floor does look like the answer. Another issue is hiding the 9121 junction and I am about to try a Molex connector instead which is available from Farnell in Leeds under part no. 2500019. It’s smaller and quite easy to solder up.
For several years in the 1990s I ran a 00-gauge garden railway which eventually featured in the August 1998 Railway Modeller. So I’m aware of some of the difficulties – which is why I rather like your system! I look forward to further developments.
Live test run - Photograph (c) 2016 Bill Watts
Thank you Bill for taking the time to write and for permitting us to publish your installation report. We are very pleased to hear of your conversion and that you are happy with the system! The conversion looks excellent. We've found that modellers appreciate very much seeing how other modellers have carried out Protocab conversions. Thanks again for sharing your photos and write up with us. - Ed